Students in these classes are in charge of their learning in a way that is different from a traditional lecture class. You will have some freedom to set the speed at which you wors through the material in the sense that you may spend less time on topics with which you are already familiar and more time on topics that are troublesome for you. This means that you may actually be able to complete the course before the end of the semester! In a distance learning math course, you will be provided with a weekly schedule of topics to be covered and a schedule of exams. In order to complete the course on time, you must keep up with the weekly schedule and test schedule. In order to succeed in this class, you should plan to spend about 9 to 12 hours each week working on the material, depending on how much of the material is already a review for you.

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Do you have the time to do the work?

Students taking a traditional "in-class" three-credit college math class are expected to work outside of class 2 or 3 hours a week for every one hour in class. In a distance learning class, during a sixteen-week semester, you should be spending 9-12 hours per week working on the course – even more if the course is only 11 or 12 weeks long! To be most effective, these hourse should be spread over at least three different days each week.

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Are you able to:

  • Work efficiently through the instructor-written/recorded lessons, which provide guidance through the materials.
  • Work / read practice problems from the textbook, checking your work using the e-book answers and other materials provided to help students work problems, and keeping track of practice problems.
  • Use the software for additional mini-lectures when needed to assist you in learning the material.
  • Work and submit quizzes and compare your solutions to the posted or given answers.
  • Have the ability to scan and send written homework assignments.
  • Take paper-and-pencil tests in an ACC Testing Center.
  • Work computer test problems at home if/when required.
  • Optional: Small group work (via email or study group) with classmates.

Time requirement: In this distance learning class, you are expected to work through the instructor written/recorded lessons.

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Questions to Consider

Before taking a distance learning course, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the course a subject that you are strong in?

    If the subject is one that you dislike or are not proficient in, you will probably not enjoy working on it alone.

  2. Do you have a sufficient amount of time to succeed and complete the course?

    If you are trying to squeeze this course into an already hectic schedule, then you might have a tendency to give your distance course last priority. There is no one to remind you otherwise except yourself. You are the one responsible for keeping up with assignments.

  3. Will you miss the interaction with a teacher and peers?

    Students in online courses sometimes feel isolated. Although students in online courses are usually in regular communication with teachers and peers, they sometimes miss the real-time, face-to-face interaction.

  4. Do you ask questions immediately when you don't understand something? Or, is it often the case that you find yourself frustrated before asking for help?

    Feelings of isolation can amplify feelings of frustration or discouragement.

  5. Do you know how to head off and/or deal with those feelings?

    The usual answer is to get help before you are overwhelmed, but you have to know when to ask.

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Sticking to a Schedule

Plan your schedule carefully and stick to it. Look at your work schedule, school schedule, and family obligations. Write down the days and hours that you will work on your class. If you find yourself falling behind in your studies, look back at your calendar. Are you working on your course during those allocated hours? If not, what kinds of adjustments can you make to the calendar to get back on schedule?

Note: There are 168 hours in a week. If you are spending 40 hours a week working, 5 hours a week commuting, 5 hours a week eating, 42 hours sleeping and 30 hours with family and friends (in person, email, phone, texting), that leaves less than 48 hours to work on school. (Plus, don’t forget going to the grocery store or just taking a break!) You MUST make a schedule and stick to it to keep yourself on track. I will be happy to help you go over your week and help to set up a reasonable study schedule.

Keeping a homework log is a way of tracking your progress. Your calendar maps out the hours you intend to study; the homework log lets you know how well you are sticking to your original schedule. If you are falling behind, check to be sure that you are putting in the requisite hours. If you are putting in an inordinate number of hours for the course and you are not mastering the material, be sure to contact your instructor for help or seek tutorial help. It is essential that you seek help before you get too far behind or too frustrated.

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Communicating with Your Instructor

In a traditional class, your instructor can read the body language of the class and discern whether or not the majority of the students understand the material. In addition, you can ask questions as they come up in class and get an immediate answer. A distance learning class is different. You will have to take the initiative and ask your instructor questions if you do not understand the material. In an Internet class, asking a question is as easy as writing an email. Or, you might have to call in and leave a message on your professor's voice mail. Either way, the response is usually not instantaneous. Move on to other material if you can as you wait for your instructor's response.

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