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Distance Learning - Getting Started with Distance Learning

Getting Started

What is Distance Learning?

Distance Learning is when courses are taught at a distance using electronic educational technology. Distance Learning is characterized by:

  • Physical distance and/or time separation of the student and instructor during the majority of the class
  • The use of electronic educational technology is used to bring the student and instructor together to deliver the course content
  • Two-way communication between student and instructor uses electronic technology

Oglala Lakota College uses electronic educational technology to deliver courses and to enhance communication between students and instructors. OLC uses the following methods:

  • Video Conferencing using PolyCom or PicTel
  • Internet/online using Moodle

Learn to Learn Online

This link from MIT has many great resources. Please remember that some of the pages are for MIT students

| Quick Tips for Academic Success


Is Distance Education for me?

To determine if distance learning is right for you, see how many times you answer "yes" to the following questions. The more often you do, the more likely it is that distance learning may work for you.

  • Are you disciplined enough to complete your coursework including homework on your own schedule while still meeting the course's deadlines?
  • Do you like to work independently with minimal in person interaction with others?
  • Are you proficient at using a computer to visit websites, send email and participate in online discussion groups?
  • Can you learn the material you want to study primarily through written instructions without much interaction from the professor?
  • Will you be willing to dedicate as much time to your distance learning program as you would to a traditional classroom program?
  • Does your schedule allow you to focus on your coursework every day?
  • Will you be motivated enough to complete the program even if you never speak to another student or professor aside from email and message boards?

If you answered "yes" to most of the questions above, then you should consider the benefits of distance learning. One of the greatest benefits is the flexibility that it offers. Because you do not have to go to classes at a certain time, you can study when it's more convenient for you and you may not need to quit your job to fit your studies into your schedule. You will also save time by not having to commute to campus. This is especially helpful if you live in a remote area or if it is difficult for you to travel. In addition, you can take courses from institutions across the country. You are not limited to the courses offered by your local college or university.

Before my Distance Class begins

You have registered for a Distance Learning Course and want to know how it will work? First, please remember that your course will be using electronic technology and will not meet on a certain day and time at a certain location. Before the course begins you will need to:

  • Contact your instructor using e-mail to let him/her know you have registered for xyz course
  • Request an copy of the course syllabus from instructor
    • The course syllabus will be sent to you through OLC's e-mail system
  • Remember - your distance learning course will begin the first week of classes and will have weekly assignments
  • Login into the course site if your course will be meeting on Moodle
    • Read and become familiar with the information located in the course site
    • Do the "Before the Course Begins" assignments
  • Purchase a copy of the course textbook
  • Read and review each of the links at the bottom of this page

Important Policies

| Distance Learning Policy

Other Helpful Links

Educators and Advisers

Before my Distance Class begins

  • A month before classes begin
    • Prepare an announcement to each of your students that includes your e-mail address, biography and an initial class announcement
  • Two weeks before the class begins
    • A detailed course syllabus
      • Includes contact information, course goals and objectives, required textbook and course materials, grading criteria, a brief listing of project assignments, a course schedule of assignments and due dates.
    • An introduction to the course
    • A list of acceptable file types with naming conventions
    • The first week's content and activities
    • The first weeks online meetings such as synchronous meetings, Instructor and students introductions, etc.

Ref: Expectations for Classroom Setup and Online Teaching, University of Maryland University College

College Center Support

Before Distance Classes begin

As College Center Staff you have advised and registered a student for a Distance Learning Course. Take a few extra minutes and help each Distance Learning student to understand how Distance Learning works? First, please remember that Distance Learning courses use electronic technology and do not meet on a certain day and time at a certain location. Before the semester begins you will need to:

  • Have a list of Distance Learning instructors with each instructor's contact information and give to each DL student
  • Advise the to student to contact their instructor using e-mail to let him/her know they have registered for xyz course as soon as they have registered for the course.
    • Remind the student to check their OLC e-mail each day. This will be crucial to their success in the course
    • Remind the student to check their assignments daily and submit their assignments through out each week. Assignments may be due several days each week.
  • Request an copy of the course syllabus from instructor
  • Advise each student that preparation BEFORE the first week of classes is very important
  • Have the student work through the list of things to do in the Student section above
  • Provide for and advertise training sessions before the first week of classes
  • Each staff member should be able to answer questions about the information in each of the links at the bottom of this page

Contact Us

Moodle Help

The first contact should be your online Instructor. For other questions and concerns contact

Moodle Tutorials

Registration/Admissions Help

Before registering for online classes each student should visit with their Academic Adviser. Resources you may find helpful are:


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