Technology for Online Learning

Every learning environment expects certain aptitudes, whether these include managing deadlines, using research resources, or negotiating transportation. Online learning expects students are comfortable with computer technology. You do not have to be a computer “geek” to succeed in online learning, but you do need to know the standard conventions associated with modern computer use.

Hardware, Internet & Essential Software

Because materials and interaction between participants is presented entirely online, a fairly new computer is recommended –one not more than two years old. It might help you to think of your computer with the same importance you would place on reliable transportation.

Here is what you will need:

  • A computer no more than two years old. Note: Although a tablet computer (iPad, Galaxy Tab, etc.) will allow you to read content and comment in discussion forums, authoring papers on a tablet is very frustrating. Formatting footnotes is especially frustrating and in some cases, impossible. For this reason, online students must also have access to a reliable desktop or laptop computer.
  • Virus protection installed with updated definitions
  • The ability to create and edit .docx files
  • A broadband connection to the Internet (e.g., DSL, cable, or wireless broadband). Note: Because of the delays in transferring information with satellite-based Internet services (e.g., Wild Blue, Exede, HughesNet, etc), these services are not recommended for coursework taken through Claremont Online.
  • A reliable computer headset with a noise-cancelling microphone. Note: The speakers and microphone built into a laptop computer are not adequate for video conferencing because of the feedback they create.

Discussion Forums

One of the tremendous advantages of online learning is the rich dialogue available among students and between students and their professors. Discussion forums are used within the learning system to facilitate and organize this written interaction.

Video Lectures

Some professors post short video lectures to introduce materials or a discussion topic to their students. These videos may be offered in real-time, but will be recorded for playback later.