Harper College

Orientation for Online Students

Orientation for Online Students       onlinelearningicon

Welcome to Online Learning at Harper College!

Online courses provide students with flexibility and convenience. However, with this flexibility comes additional responsibilities. This overview is designed to provide you with information, tools, and resources to help you be successful in your online courses.

Online Anytime Asynchromous Online ANYTIME Classes (Asynchronous)
Online ANYTIME courses are delivered 100% online, with no required face-to-face sessions or scheduled virtual class times. Classes are taught entirely online following instructor timelines and learning outcomes. Students learn content through videos, and materials posted by the instructor. Interaction takes place through discussion boards and written messages. All assignments are submitted online. Exams and orientations can all be completed virtually in this modality. Instructors may schedule optional synchronous study sessions, as necessary.

Online Live Synchronous Online LIVE Classes (Synchronous)
Online LIVE courses are delivered 100% online using “real-time” synchronous sessions (specifically scheduled virtual class times for online interaction between the instructor and/or the class). Class meeting times are designated in the schedule. Exams and orientations can all be completed virtually in this modality. Online LIVE classes allow for engagement in a remote classroom such as Zoom, WebEx, or Blackboard Collaborate.

Blended Classes Blended Classes
Blended classes consist of both on-campus face-to-face meetings and online instruction. The amount of time spent on campus is less than a traditional face-to-face class and the remaining amount of time for the course is completed in an online asynchronous environment. Instructors may schedule optional synchronous study sessions, as necessary.

Blank Icon Flex Learning Classes (Student Choice Options)
Flex Learning classes allow students to choose how they engage in class depending on what works best for them on any given day. Students may move in and out of the offered modes based on learning preferences and/or their life circumstances. Courses will be designated with an ‘X’ (ex. PHY121-X01) in the course schedule and the format choices offered for that class will be visible in the Section Comments/Course Description. There are four types of Flex Learning classes offered:

In-person and Online LIVE
While the instructor is in person, students can engage in class in one of two ways: in person or online live (synchronously).

In-person and Online ANYTIME
While the instructor is in person, students can engage in class in one of two ways: in person or online ANYTIME (asynchronously).

Online LIVE and Online ANYTIME
While the instructor schedules online LIVE classes, students can choose whether to attend each class live or participate in equivalent online anytime work.

In-person and Online LIVE and Online ANYTIME
While the instructor is in person, students can engage in class in one of three ways: in person, online LIVE (synchronously), or online ANYTIME (asynchronously).

  • Ability to choose the course format that works best for you to complete work and assignments.
  • Opportunity to communicate and collaborate with classmates through virtual group work and meetings.
  • Online courses help students learn how to manage their time, so you not only gain knowledge from the coursework, but also sharpen your time management skills.
  • Working with diverse students that makes you part of a unique learning experience.
  • Flexibility to work at your own pace each week while applying your own self-discipline skills to meet required timelines set by the instructor.
  • Engaging course activities – some of which may require synchronous (live) participation or asynchronous (anytime) participation.
  • Strong incorporation of reading, writing and technical skills.
  • Instructor interaction and feedback to promote student success.
  • Web-based learning management system, Blackboard, with individual login access.
  • Online resources and support available.
  • Review technical skills. Online courses require basic computer skills to be successful. Review your current skills and make sure you can perform tasks including creating and saving documents, organizing files, and folders on storage devices, performing Internet searches, and sending email messages.
  • Prepare for classes. Preparation will allow you to start on the right track even before the first day of class. Be sure to purchase any required textbooks and other materials ahead of time. Review the Blackboard course information including the syllabus and course calendar.
  • Create a dedicated workspace. Select a quiet, distraction free space that is dedicated to your coursework. Stock the area with items ahead of time including pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Create digital folders for each course for quick access to your materials.
  • Practice time management. Time management skills will assist you in balancing your courses and other responsibilities. This is especially important for online courses that require you to create your own schedule. Create a calendar of dedicated time to spend on your studies and note important due dates and deadlines for the semester. Treat your scheduled study time as your work schedule, or other time commitments. For additional time management assistance, you may refer to Student Success Services.
  • Minimize Distractions. Stay focused by putting away electronic devices, avoiding social media and turning off the television. Let others in your proximity know that you will not be available during your dedicated study time. Try using noise cancelling headphones and closing the door to your study area.
  • Be an Active Participant: Take an active role in your learning by participating in online discussion boards, asking questions, and communicating with your instructor. Complete all course activities to enhance your understanding of course concepts. 
  • Engage with Other Students. Be willing to engage others by introducing yourself and engaging through online discussion boards. You can create virtual study groups and even connect further through shared memberships in student clubs and organizations. Utilize social platforms such as Google Hangouts to chat or FaceTime with friends.
  • Be Accountable. Set goals for yourself from the beginning of the semester including how often you plan to study and what grades you plan to earn. Check in weekly on your progress and adjust along the way. Partner with a friend or family member to hold you accountable for your goals.

Access a printter-friendly version of this checklist to access the linked soucres and help keep yourself on track this semester! How to Prepare for Online Classes Checklist.pdf

To experience an online course in Blackboard, select the following link: Harper College Demonstration Course.

  • Once inside Blackboard, look for the My Courses area.
  • Select the Harper College Demo Course option. This will allow you to enter the demonstration course and experience how online course materials may be provided and function within Blackboard.

Complete a brief survey to help you assess if an online learning format is a good match for you. Each question will provide you with helpful feedback according to your specific answer. Take the Survey.

New to using Blackboard? These video-based, Blackboard online tutorialswill explain how to use many of the most common Blackboard tools.

For additional technical support visit Harper’s Student Tech Support Services.

Last Updated: 12/14/23