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Online Ins & Outs: How E-learning Works

by Donald Haugh

Online classrooms are the way of the future, and rather than discussing the benefits and drawbacks of e-learning, let’s look at how e-learning works on two of the top e-learning environments running today.

Capella University Online

There seems to be an emphasis on learning rather than commuting at Capella. The site states a student should allow ten hours per week, per course, with two of those hours spent doing online coursework. All classes are asynchronous, allowing a student access to their classes twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Capella’s virtual environment creates four sections for students—Schedule, Media Center, Course Room, and Profiles. The Schedule provides unit outlines, deadlines, and the course’s calendar, all archived for the student’s convenience. The Media Center is a list of accessible resources, such as lectures, articles, and other online sources. The Course Room is an archived discussion, which will sort by user, subject, date, or topic. The Profiles area allows each student to meet their fellow classmates and instructor; one can show or hide as much personal information as they like. Each course is accessible from the student’s homepage that organizes all courses, deadlines, etc. into an online daily planner. Accessibility and community are the goals of Capella University online.

University of Phoenix Online

The University of Phoenix’s online program is probably the most famous, due to endless marketing. The University of Phoenix uses a series of newsgroups to set up courses, which are accessible from any computer at any time. These newsgroups are set up through Microsoft Outlook, which carries course materials, discussions, and collaborations. In this setting, these newsgroups become a message board, as students interact with the instructor and other participants. Each student reads assignments and the week’s lecture, then answers questions posted by the instructor. Each discussion can go on for a week or more. An assigned reaction paper is the last requirement per discussion. Each week, the instructor grades the assignments, sending a message back to the student with a grade. Students also form learning teams to provide interaction among peers. These learning teams have their own assignments, which are handled much like the student’s individual assignments.

Both universities list system requirements before one ever registers, so students can be prepared with the software needed for their online coursework. Both universities allow students to complete the educational experience online, by allowing them to register, buy books, pay their tuition, and view their transcripts, all from the convenience of their homes. E-learning is the way of the future and concentrates on accessibility and convenience. There is a variety of e-learning experiences out there. A potential student need just look to find the one most suitable.


University of Phoenix online

Capella University