To answer his question, yes I had concerns. The following are my previous worries and my answers to them.
- Do online class members ever have to assemble, or attend events, in person? No. In my years going through SLCC’s genealogy program, everything mandatory was accomplished online.
However, teachers may give students the option to meet them at RootsTech, but this is not mandatory.
- Do students need to attend online classes at set times? No, but to clarify… each semester has a beginning and ending date. Homework assignments also have deadlines, but when we work on our studies is up to us. We could do classwork in the middle of the night if we wanted to.
One slight exception to this rule is that one (or two) webinars may be required for our classes each semester. However, teachers generally let their students decide which webinars they want to attend (meaning we can choose ones that fit our schedules).
In the rare instances that students are not allowed to pick their webinars, the required viewings are generally pre-recorded and available to watch anytime within a 24-48 hour window.
- Can we contact our teachers and ask them questions? Yes. All of the teachers I’ve had have been extremely helpful. They never punished me for asking questions, and they never seemed annoyed at me either.
Although, it’s good to know that each teacher has his/her preferred method of contact and sometimes their contact information may not be easily found in the syllabus.
If we were to email a teacher, and they don’t respond within 24 hours, it’s probably because they prefer phone calls instead. There are multiple ways to contact our instructors, so it’s best to find out which methods they prefer (before time sensitive issues evolve).
- Will the online classes be socially stimulating enough? Yes, but this is a personal preference. You might feel differently (as I’m more of an introvert). If you’re extremely social, you might be disappointed with online classes.
For help deciding if you’re an introvert (less social), or an extravert (more social), you can take the Jung Typology Test at HumanMetrics.com (click here).
In addition, students have the opportunity to join in “discussions.” This is where students can post comments about their projects and ask for advice from other students. Discussions are all online and have deadlines, but when we decided to post our comments is up to us. Sometimes classes have Facebook groups for socializing too.
- Is it easy to learn while attending online classes? Yes and no. The fact that the teachers are so willing to answer questions makes this one a yes for me, but you may feel differently. Everyone has different learning styles.
These classes may be difficult for you if you are technologically challenged, a procrastinator, or have problems reading. Although, these classes might be perfect for you if you enjoy: webinars, online demonstrations, and reading.
- Is being a procrastinator an issue? Yes. Online classes are different than attending in person. The teacher isn’t constantly reminding us when the deadlines are due. We have to stay on-top of things. If possible, I recommend submitting assignments 1-2 days ahead of the due dates (just in case there are technical issues).
- Are technological problems an issue? Yes! Technology is our lifeline to our classes. The following may prevent homework to be submitted on time: blackouts, computer failure, uploading failure, forgotten passwords, updates (on our end or SLCC’s end), and etc. Keeping the following numbers available to us (and not just in our computers) is important: our teachers preferred method of contact, Maria Griffin’s phone number (801-957-5423), and Canvas Support’s phone number (#844-334-0397).
- Are backups important? Yes! It can mean the difference between passing, or failing! Each class has a major project at the end of the semester instead of testing. Our course work becomes our major projects, so that’s a lot of work to lose!
In addition, each class builds on another. Homework completed in one class will be needed for other classes (especially for the certificate program). Losing our data (even for past classes) could be a disaster!