Definitions

eLearning is a term used to describe education that takes place using computers, the Internet and other technologies, such as CDs and DVDs. Students can experience eLearning in courses they take on campus or in courses taken through correspondence or another form of distance delivery offering. eLearning can either be synchronous (where students are online all at the same time) or asynchronous (where students are online at different times at their own convenience). You might experience online learning in a variety of ways while you study at Mount Royal.

Overview: Types of eLearning

facetoface_chalkFace-to-Face

Face-to-Face courses:

  • offer students the chance to take courses on-campus
  • often include a lab component, which enables students to use the latest teaching and learning technology
  • promote frequent contact between students and instructors

technology_enhancedTechnology Enhanced 

Technology enhanced courses:

  • use technology to augment and enhance regular face-to-face, campus-based courses
  • may include online resources, such as a course website or Blackboard site containing a variety of course materials and learning activities that students access outside of class time
    Learn more about technology enhanced courses

blended_deliveryBlended

Blended delivery courses:

  • combine the best features of classroom-based courses with online courses
  • reduce the need for scheduled classroom or lab instruction
  • offer students the benefit of meeting their instructor on a regular basis, while still enjoying the flexibility that online learning offers
    Learn more about blended delivery courses

distance_learningDistance Learning 

Distance-delivered courses: 

  • generally have no required face-to-face meetings
  • use a variety of mediums, such as print materials, Internet, e-mail, audio and/or video conferencing
  • offer frequent contact between students and instructors by telephone and/or e-mail
    Learn more about distance courses

fullyonline_distancedeliveryFully Online Learning

Fully online courses:

  • enable students to complete all course activities online
  • eliminate the need for face-to-face meetings between students and instructors, although instructors may make meetings available to students as an option
  • offer students flexibility
    Learn more about fully online courses

technology_enhancedTechnology enhanced courses

Technology enhanced courses use communication technologies to augment and enhance face-to-face courses. In a technology enhanced course, instructors often create a course website (usually a Blackboard site) that contains a variety of course materials and learning activities students may access outside of class time. The types of resources and activities an instructor may include in a course website or Blackboard site are the course outline, class notes, related web links, discussion forums and practice quizzes. Technology enhanced courses are the most common type of eLearning options offered at Mount Royal.

The benefits of technology enhanced courses include:

  • access to online class resources at any time for review, practice or study
  • innovative learning activities for students, both in the classroom and as a complement to classroom learning

Considerations for technology enhanced courses

  • To find out if you are ready for the online components of a technology enhanced course, please see: Are You Ready for eLearning?            
  • If you are not comfortable using computers and accessing resources on the Internet, you may need to seek additional technical support from services on campus such as the START program.

blended_deliveryBlended delivery courses

Blended delivery courses combine the best features of classroom-based teaching and learning with the best features of online learning in order to enhance the educational experience and give students added scheduling flexibility. A key feature of blended delivery courses is a reduction in scheduled classroom or lab time, usually by 25 to 50 per cent. For example, a course that normally has three one-hour classes per week might require only two classes each week when offered in a blended format. Students make up for the reduction in class time by engaging in online learning activities, usually delivered on a website. In blended courses, students benefit from meeting their instructor on a regular basis, face-to-face on campus, while still enjoying the flexibility that online learning offers. Look for the words ‘blended delivery’ in the master schedule of classes (online and print versions) to find these courses.

Benefits of blended delivery courses

Students can take advantage of the flexibility blended delivery offers, including:

  • flexible scheduling because students do not have as many on-site lectures to fit into their timetables;
  • access to course materials because resources and activities are available online whenever students need to review or practise;
  • reduction in commuting time to campus because classes do not meet as often face-to-face;
  • class time that is focused on engaging learning activities and discussions;
  • a broad range of learning materials that accommodate a wide variety of learning styles.

In an evaluation done by Mount Royal between 2000 and 2003 (Course Adaptation Research Project), students enrolled in blended delivery courses reported they had enhanced understanding of course content. Overall, these students reported that they:

  • felt the blended approach enhanced the course;
  • would recommend blended delivery to a friend;
  • would take another blended course.

Considerations for blended delivery courses

  • Reduced time in the classroom does not reduce the amount of course work. It simply allows you to complete the work at a convenient time.
  • It is important that your computer meets the technical requirements of the course. If you do not have access to a computer with the minimum technical requirements (operating system version, processing speed, memory requirements, browser version, required software) and access to the Internet (adequate download speed etc.), it can greatly affect your success in the course.
  • To find out if you are ready for the online components of blended delivery, please see: Are You Ready for eLearning?
  • If you are not comfortable using computers and accessing resources on the Internet, you may need to seek additional technical support from services on campus such as the START program.

fullyonline_distancedeliveryFully online and distance delivery courses

Fully online courses are courses in which all activities are completed online. Generally, there are no required face-to-face meetings between students and instructors, although instructors may offer meetings to students as an option. Mount Royal’s fully online courses can be taken from anywhere, eliminating the need to be on campus, yet still enabling students to participate in a highly interactive and engaging learning environment. Fully online courses may also be taken by students who are on campus but need a flexible course option because of scheduling concerns. Look for the words ‘online delivery’ in the master schedule of classes (online and print versions) to find these courses.

Like fully online courses, distance delivery courses generally have no required meetings between students and instructors. Distance courses are delivered using a variety of tools and technologies that vary from course to course but include combinations of the following:

  • print materials – course packages, textbooks, articles
  • Internet – course websites, e-mail
  • videotapes
  • audio teleconferencing
  • videoconferencing

While regular meetings between students and instructors are generally not required in distance delivery courses, students and instructors still have frequent contact with one another by telephone and/or e-mail.

Fully online and distance delivery courses may be an attractive option for students:

  • whose work or family commitments do not allow them to attend classes at the times courses are scheduled on campus;
  • who live in areas where they cannot commute to campus to take face-to-face courses;
  • who are taking other courses on campus but wish to explore the flexibility that distance/online learning may provide.

Benefits of fully online courses

  • Flexible schedules. You can work independently and complete coursework at times of the day and days of the week that work best for you.
  • Reduced child care costs. If you are a parent, you won’t need to find child care during lectures because you will do your course work from home.
  • Reduced commuting. Because you won’t need to come to campus to attend classes, you’ll avoid commuting issues, such as traffic, time spent traveling etc. (You may have to come to campus for exams.)

Considerations for fully online courses

  • Students sometimes underestimate the time involved in taking online courses. You will spend as much time on course work for online courses as you would in face-to-face courses.
  • It's important to keep up with the work according to the schedule. Once you fall behind in the workload, it's difficult to catch up.

Please note:

  • It’s important that your computer meets the technical requirements of the course. If you do not have access to a computer with the minimum technical requirements (operating system version, processing speed, memory requirements, browser version, required software) and access to the Internet (adequate download speed etc.), it can have an impact your success in the course.
  • To find out if you are ready for the online components of blended delivery, please see: Are You Ready for eLearning?
  • If you are not comfortable using computers and accessing resources on the Internet, you may have difficulty completing the required coursework.
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