The world is facing a distressing situation due to COVID 19 and the resulting need for social distancing. What does this mean for the education environment? The logical next step is to move toward online studies. Many higher education providers and universities provide online studies as alternative learning in a classroom setting. Is this a good idea for you? Will it fit into your lifestyle? How does it compare to the traditional classroom setting?
Well, online studies provide a wonderful opportunity to skill up in the comfort of your own home. You will be able to set your schedule according to your work requirements. It provides a flexible option to work around your family and work commitments. The lectures are recorded in advance and students can watch the content in their own time. Assignments/Quizzes and Exams can also be completed online in the comfort of your own home.
What is an online study?
Online study is conducted in a virtual environment, without any face to face requirements. Depending on the course, students studying online will receive weekly recorded lectures and can attend a weekly timetabled synchronous tutorial via Zoom.
What is the online class space?
Online Delivery classes use a virtual space rather than a physical class space that can be accessed via the Learning Management System (LMS) Canvas. Just like a real class, you are grouped with other students and a dedicated academic teacher for that unit or subject. The online class space is the main place where interaction happens and where students access the curriculum content.
What study materials do I have access to?
All students receive free online access to the comprehensive, instructionally designed Subject or Unit Manual and Readings from within their online class space. Students have access to the online Library to access references for their papers. Students can choose to download and save or print the online material.
Features of online delivery and interaction:
Activities – Activities are specific to each unit or subject and are designed to enhance learning through reflection, feedback and application of knowledge. These generally encourage interaction between students and the academic teacher in the class and may include activities such as discussion questions, quizzes, toolboxes or video presentations.
Email – students and academic teachers can email one another regarding individual questions or issues.
Tutorials (Zoom webinar/ synchronous Tutorial sessions) – This involves a live web conference session between the academic teacher and students. It can also be recorded and viewed at a later date for those students who cannot attend at the allocated time.
Telephone – there are some individual instances where an academic teacher or student needs to speak via telephone/Skype/Microsoft Teams. This can be arranged directly between the academic teacher and the student.
What are the technical requirements for me as a student?
All students at IHM require the following:
Access to a reliable internet connection – access to the internet and a reliable internet connection is essential for those wishing to study at IHM. Enrolment, grades, assessment, course materials and interaction with the College occurs online or via email. IHM uses Canvas for its Learning Management System (LMS).
An email address – all IHM students are issued with an IHM email address, however, it is recommended that you also have a personal email address so we can contact you, for example, in the case of a lost password.
Microsoft Word – students are required to submit their written assessments electronically in Microsoft Word.
Quizzes/Exams-students can write their quizzes/exams at scheduled times from anywhere in the world through the Canvas LMS.
Why study online at IHM?
Studying online at IHM provides you with Australian qualifications that are recognised worldwide.
How does IHM build a sense of community among our students?
Online study at IHM means being part of a community. The Canvas LMS we use lets students message each other instantly and send emails. Students can also voice call and video call each other. The academic support staff will interact with students through these communication channels too, ensuring that communication feels natural and reducing barriers to students seeking help.
Discussion forums are an important part of online community building too. Students can get to know each other’s insights and ask each other questions while lecturers and academic support staff moderate and contribute as needed.
What kind of support is offered?
There is 24-hour student support available to students, so that no matter what day or time zone you are studying in, you have access to assistance.
How is the professional identity constructed in online learning?
Students learn about their own online identity as part of their course, culminating in the ePortfolio unit. Students are taught to be aware of the language they use, the image they project through their profile picture (choice of clothing etcetera) and the kinds of sources they refer to when commenting on or communicating about the course content. Because in an online setting all communication is subject to scrutiny, students receive feedback on these issues from peers and staff members and are socialised over time into a culture of professionalism. Managing a professional identity online is one of the most important employability skills of our time and is something that students will take from online learning.