Online Learning

What is Online Learning?

Online Learning is any learning and other resources that is delivered using the Internet.

What Does Online Learning Offer?

  • Provides 24/7 accessibility to course materials
  • Provides flexibility for students who may not be able to come to campus
  • Accommodates different learning styles
  • Promotes a more learner-centered approach
  • Enhances communication through the use of discussion boards, chat rooms, email, and whiteboards

Types of Online Learning

Web-Enhanced Courses

Course materials and resources are posted to a web site to supplement the face to face classroom and there is usually not any or limited use of interactive tools such as email or a discussion board.

Here are some examples of how faculty are enhancing their face to face classroom with a web-enhanced course. 

  • Posting the course syllabus
  • Posting course handouts
  • PowerPoint slides are posted for students to use as a review from a class lecture
  • Topic related web resource links

Blended Courses (sometimes referred to as Hybrid Courses)

Learning takes place through a combination of online learning activities and face-to-face meetings. In some cases, the term “hybrid” refers to courses are conducted 50% online and 50% in the face to face classroom. Blended course design requires faculty to carefully consider which classroom instructional activities would be best suited for the online environment. Faculty can use the online course component to move some of their face to face class room activities in a variety of different ways such as;

  • creating online instructional activities that elicit discussions prior to a class meeting
  • extend a face to face classroom discussion to the online environment
  • facilitate assignments
  • facilitate assessments
  • facilitate a student research project
  • provide group areas for students to work on team projects

Fully Online Courses

Learning takes place 100% online and both the instructor and students interact via the course website. For more information and a listing of the current fully online courses, please see PCE Online Courses or UMassOnline.

Faculty at UMass Dartmouth who are interested in using the web to enhance teaching and learning have a choice for establishing a course web site.

Option 1: Faculty Course Profile
If you are interested in utilizing a course web site for simply posting course materials such as the course syllabus, lecture notes, and web links to resources to a web page, this option is for you. The repository of your course materials is located as part of your faculty profile area that is listed at under the Courses tab. This option does not provide any interactive capabilities for using interactive tools such as the discussion board, chat room, or whiteboard. Please keep in mind that this repository area is currently not password protected and is publically accessible.

Option 2: UMD Learning Management System
myCourses (Blackboard Vista Enterprise System) If you are interested in utilizing a course web site for providing course materials, resources, and conducting online instructional activities using interactive tools or would like to integrate multimedia into your online course site, this option is for you. myCourses is a learning management system that provides a template area to upload course content using a variety of course tools that easily help organize the structure of the course as well as integrate communications, assessment and course management components.  

Facutly should consider some of the following questions before creating an online course site.

  • What do you hope to achieve by placing part or all or your course to an online environment?
  • What instructional activities do you think would transfer well to an online environment?
  • How much time can you commit to the course site design, development and management?
  • What are the technological considerations for you and your student? (computer accessibility, connection speed, etc)

These important questions and other instructional design considerations can be further explored in the course design section.

UMD Learning Management System - myCourses Training

In order for faculty members to receive access to a myCourses course site, they must first successfully complete the myCourses Online Teaching & Learning Strategies Course. This mandatory 2-week course is primarily conducted online with two face-to-face meetings and takes place several times throughout the year. The course requires a 5-6 hour time commitment per week from faculty, as well as a one hour start-up meeting before the class begins to receive user names and passwords and a two hour meeting in the second week of the course for a hands-on lesson in creating course content. The policy of the Instructional Development team at CITS is that each faculty member must participate actively in the training course and learn to be a self-sufficient user of WebCT Vista before receiving course sites for class use. If a faculty member is not participating in the class, the ID Team reserves the right to remove the individual from the training course and to deny access to the WebCT Vista learning management systems.

More myCourses training information