Distance Learning Guidelines

Technical Skills and Equipment Requirements:

  • You must have Internet access.  A high speed connection, either ADSL or cable, is recommended.
  • You should know how to use a web browser to navigate the web to locate educational resources and download files.
  • You will need the files management skills necessary to create directories, to save files and to retrieve files.
  • The following software is required: Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Word, Skype.

Quality Online Learning:

  • Undertaking a distance-learning program does require a different approach to your learning experience.
  • This is an asynchronous learning experience. This means you can respond to the various elements of the course at any time. Unless you are involved in a chat room or audio bridge, you cannot ask questions and receive immediate answers.
  • Though you do not get immediate responses, your instructors will respond within 48 hours to your work. This environment allows you to have more time to digest the information, formulate your questions and then evaluate the instructor's responses.
  • You are responsible for both sharing your thoughts and also reflecting on the other class participant's insights.
  • You can ask other participants questions either on the discussion board or by sending them a direct e-mail message.
  • You can send the facilitator of your course a direct e-mail message if you have a personal question or concern.

Setting your Learning Expectations:

  • You do not have a specific time you need to participate in each class session.
  • There is particular work for each week.
  • You do need to maintain a strict schedule of reading, participation, and assignments.
  • Avoid procrastination.
  • You are somewhat responsible for your own learning even though you are engaged with a facilitator and other participants in the course.
  • The following checklist may assist you in preparing for and successfully completing each session:
    • Purchase all class materials well in advance. Course outlines will be available at www.newman.edu one month before the course begins which contain the book list.  Some of the readings are on line. Books can be purchased or ordered from our bookstore or online.
      We encourage students to purchase their books from the NTC bookstore. Call to order at 780-392-2457.
    • You will receive a Course Information e-mail with login details before the course begins.
    • Be thoroughly familiar with the syllabus and course structure.
    • Check the Internet often for weekly updates and other participant's contributions to the discussions.
    • It is best to log into the online course once a day to feel comfortable with the process.
    • Familiarize yourself with your course facilitator. She/he is there to support you in your learning.
    • Note all the due dates. The course is paced with specific assignments for each week. The course does have a beginning and end date.


  • Self-direction is an integral part of virtual learning.
  • The success of your distance education course is how well you keep yourself focused on making the experience a worthwhile investment of your time.
  • Creating a sense of a 'community of learners' is imperative for the course. This is what makes this different than a 'correspondence course'.
  • Keep in mind that you are an adult learner in search of knowledge and sharing knowledge. It is important to find ways to share new information from additional outside resources - websites, videos/films, or readings (publications). Share these with the other participants in the course.
  • The online course also offers you an opportunity to share how you are or have engaged in teaching and learning about the subject/theme in the past.

Typing in your comments, insights:

  • It is important to write clear statements when expressing your ideas. If you wish you can type your comments or ideas in your word processor document and paste them into the message box, if this helps you.
  • Keep your sentences short. Write in simple paragraphs with space between them. This is easier to read.
  • If you are referring to another participant’s comments, it helps to refer to the participant by name.
  • You can always go back more than once to any given section to continue to share your reflections from the readings.  You may even call to the attention of other participants that you have added some new insight into an early class discussion. The more you participate in the course the more effective will be the interaction and learning experience. Remember…this is a new type of adult learning!
  • The advantage of the distance education courses is that it requires you to use knowledge and skills in the context of real life situations or issues.
  • It also integrates the demonstration of multiple learning experiences you have had in the past.