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Dr. Chamberlin's Spring 2004 Online Course Guidelines

This page last updated: Thursday, December 18, 2003 10:05 AM

4. Computer and Internet Requirements

Okay, it should be pretty obvious that you need computer skills to take an online course but maybe you're wondering just how good your computer skills need to be.

You should be comfortable with and familiar with the following:

Familiarity with online discussion boards is helpful but not essential. You may also be called upon to use a spreadsheet program (Excel), a presentation program (Powerpoint) and a web authoring program (Front Page or Dreamweaver) but if you don't have these skills, don't worry. If we need them, I'll walk you through them and chances are more than a few of your classmates will be able to help you out.

You may also need to troubleshoot software and hardware problems. Above all, you will need patience: patience with your computer, patience with yourself and patience with your instructor. Patience starts by taking a deep breath, so if you are having technical problems, take a deep breath first. Then slowly, methodically and patiently take steps to eliminate the source(s) of the problems.

If you don't have this knowledge, make sure you know someone who does and make sure you have an alternate location for conducting your class work. Failure of your computer is not an excuse for not completing assignments. Computers can be found in the numerous computer labs on our campus or in the library. You may also find a computer with Internet access at your home, your parent's house, a friend or relative's house or at some other location.

You may also want to check out these web resources on basic computing and using the internet:

Internet 101
Yahoo voted this site as the best introductory web site on the Internet. The authors bill it as the site for people who don't like to read instructions. Whatever your level of knowledge, this site offers great set of graphics and instructions for surfing the web and more.

Using and Understanding the Internet: Beginner's Guide
The Public Broadcasting System does a swell job with their educational programming so check out their web site for pointers on using e-mail and the internet. They offer a lot of links to things you need to know so if you mostly know what you're looking for, this can be a great site.

Above all, don't let technical issues hamper your studies. If you really are not that good with computers (and you will know who you are), then I strongly suggest that you develop those skills before you take an online course.

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