Image of the Tempietto in Kogan Plaza during cherry blossom season

Preparing for Classes

In many respects, the preparation for online learning and classroom-based learning are very similar. In advance of the class, students should:

  1. Review course prerequisites and syllabus. Verify that you meet all prerequisites and review the course syllabus to make sure you understand the course format, objectives and expectations.
  2. Get everything you need for the course. Based on the course syllabus, make sure you have any required materials, such as textbooks and software—and review GW’s online learning technology requirements as well.
  3. Determine when and where the class meets. Online courses may be:
  • Fully Asynchronous Online – In asynchronous courses, faculty and students do not interact in “real time,” allowing participants to complete work and communicate with their instructors on their own schedules. Course content and interaction relies on Learning Management Systems such as email, pre-recorded lectures, discussion boards and blogs.
  • Fully Synchronous Online – Synchronous courses create a more traditional classroom environment in which the professor and students have a set time for class activities. Delivery may include video conferencing, chat sessions and prerecorded material.
  • Blended/Hybrid – These courses combine online learning with scheduled face-to-face meetings, either on or off campus. Variations of this model include combining:
    • Online and in-classroom activities for all class meetings
    • Short-term in-classroom residency and longer-term synchronous or asynchronous online segments
    • Short-term field trip/travel and synchronous or asynchronous online course completion

Check any specified meeting dates and times and be sure the schedule works for you.

  1. Explore your virtual classroom. Find out how to log in to the course management system and make sure your username and password work. Then become familiar with the system and software and its menu options. Contact Student Technology Services or the instructor if you need assistance.
  2. Manage your time wisely. Time-management skills are essential for success with online courses. Missing assignment deadlines and scheduled course interactions are equivalent to missing scheduled classroom sessions.
  3. Have a computer and Internet connection. Be certain an adequate computer and a reliable Internet connection are available for the duration of the course.