Learning from a Distance

| By Kylie Reaman |

The Distance Learning opportunity began at Warren County Community College over 10 years ago and is very convenient for students who cannot make it to class every day. Distance learning opportunities gives students with tight schedules the opportunity to take classes outside of an on-campus setting. With no limit to how many classes a student can take through distance learning, a student is able to obtain a degree without drastically changing their everyday schedule.

Although students who take classes through distance learning do not have to be in class at certain times of the day, they are still expected to put in about the same amount of hours, if not more, to online classes. “There is a large amount of time needed for these courses”, said Marianne Van Deursen, coordinator of the Distance Learning program. Time needs to be allotted for discussion board questions and weekly coursework.

All students are welcome to distance learning courses but it has been found very popular among students who juggle school with full time jobs. Distance learning gives students with jobs the ability to be flexible with their school schedule and get work done outside of class. All age groups enjoy the distance learning courses, traditional, non-traditional, part time, full-time, not just one particular group of students are found in the online classrooms. Since most colleges and universities now offer distance learning courses, online classes from WCCC are usually transferable to a four year school.

“procrastination is the biggest mistake students make when taking an online course”

Each semester different courses are offered through distance learning. Enrollment and the students need for online classes determines what classes will be offered online each semester. Students can find the distance learning courses offered in a particular semester by looking at the course schedule. Distance learning classes take place through “MyWarren”, which can be found on the WCCC main website. Each class is different and students are required to read through the syllabus to know what is expected of them. Most classes expect students to participate in weekly discussions with their classmates through Discussion Board and upload coursework to each unit by the appropriate due date. If a problem arises students are expected to contact their professor or set up a meeting with them.

As far as requirements go, students need to be disciplined and self-motivated. Students must pay attention to tutorials and be able to adapt quickly to an online classroom. According to Van Deursen, “procrastination is the biggest mistake students make when taking an online course”. By visiting the distance learning page under the academics tab on the WCCC website, students have the ability to take a Distance Learning Skills survey to see if a distance learning course is right for them.

The distance learning programs offered at WCCC are very successful. By switching from Blackboard to eLearning the student achievement and adaptability seen at WCCC has greatly improved. The staff is trained to be able to teach distance learning courses which increases improvement in students. Van Deursen’s advice to all students considering taking an online course is this, “Students need to have the ability to navigate through an online classroom, talk to your professor immediately if you are having any problems with your online class, read directions carefully each course week, have good planning skills, and be able to manage your time well”.

To schedule a distance learning course, review the course schedule for the semester and meet with an advisor. Students who are interested in taking a distance learning course or have questions, contact Marianne Van Deursen at vandeursen@warren.edu or by calling the Office of Academic Affairs at (908) 835-2310.

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