Virtual Classrooms: A Crash Course

If the internet wasn’t part of your childhood, then the idea of taking bachelor’s degree courses online might be daunting. Rest assured that virtual classrooms have been designed with you in mind!

An Orientation to Online Learning

Every online degree program begins with some sort of orientation to online learning. Some schools simply ask students to read through a guidebook and follow several internet links prior to starting classes. Other schools have mandatory orientation courses that last a week or an entire semester. Different levels of courses may be offered to accommodate beginners and more experienced computer users.
Virtual classrooms typically include links to course syllabi, readings, and the university’s digital library. They may also link to interactive features such as email and chat forums. A simple orientation course would ensure that students can access the course schedule and readings, submit assignments online, contribute to chat forums, etc.

Technical Skills

For most online bachelor’s degree programs, students do not need special computer skills. However, slow typists will probably want to improve their keyboarding skills in order to work more efficiently. Typing speed usually improves naturally with experience, but there are plenty of free online typing exercises and games to help students, too.

Computer Requirements

Most distance learners need to have reasonably modern computers. For many online schools, the minimum Apple platform requirement is OS X 10.2 and the minimum Windows platform is Windows 98 SP2. Recommended computer platforms are the OS X 10.3 and Windows XP or later.
Students will also need to have a certain amount of hard disk space available, a minimum internet connection speed, and audio and video capabilities. Online schools post their specific requirements on easy-to-find webpages.
Software downloads, if needed, are typically free or included with tuition. Students who wish to purchase Microsoft Office and other computer programs can usually obtain substantial discounts through their online schools.