How to Study Online at Yorktown University

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1 How to Study Online at Yorktown University As an enrolled student at Yorktown University, you will have purchased all the required books used in your first course and established a start date for that course. From that date, you have eight weeks to complete all coursework. Your first step will be to familiarize yourself with the University s online coursedelivery system, Izio. Izio will be your interface with the University throughout your enrollment at Yorktown. To begin this important orientation, contact the University registrar to schedule a training session in Izio. The registrar s address is Be sure to suggest a couple of 90-minute time periods and more than one date. Afternoons and early evening are the best times for training in Izio. Expect to spend 90 minutes in this training program. During this orientation, your trainer will help you find your way around in the system and will remain available to you by for further questions throughout your enrollment at Yorktown. You ll find Izio located at (below). Notice that you must login with a username and password. You ll be given these once you complete the enrollment process. 1

2 Once logged in, you ll be taken to your own Home Page. It has your name at the top of the page and a list of all the courses in which you are currently enrolled. To look at a particular course, you select that course from the list. For example, if you are enrolled in and want to begin looking at the course, Roots of American Order, and you select it from the course list on your Home Page, this is the page that you will see next. You will see the name of the course at the top, a brief course description below, a line of useful tools: how to contact your instructor and other Yorktown University staff, a list and contact information for other students enrolled in the course, a course calendar and timeline. Take the time to send your instructor an confirming your presence in the course and tell him or her something about yourself. You may do so by clicking the Instructor feature at the top of each of the pages on the site. From there you can access the instructor s and contact him directly. Likewise if a mentor has been assigned to aid the instructor in the course, communicate that you are starting the course. 2

3 The row of buttons on the left is your control panel. This is the primary navigational tool for your online course. To begin to review your course, click on Syllabus in the control panel. What appears is the Course Outline, which describes the course, its goals, what you should expect to learn and do with the knowledge you will receive from the course, and the list of required and recommended texts. In the upper left-hand corner, in a smaller blue font appears the word Syllabus. If you click on that word, a PDF version (hard copy text) of a complete syllabus, including course schedule, assignments, and performance requirements, will be downloaded to your computer. This is the full course outline and syllabus in a printable copy for your reference throughout the course. Under each segment on this syllabus, e.g., Lectures, there will be information about what you will find under Lectures on the course site. The same is true for Assignments, Discussion Topics, etc. Your syllabus will have three important sections entitled Performance Requirements/Class Grades Assessments, and a URL for the University s grading rubrics. These describe the course deliverables and how your instructor will determine your grade from those deliverables, and how instructors assess those deliverables. In other words, you have a hard copy version of your complete course schedule and what will be required from you as a student in this online course. This is the most comprehensive document about your course. Read it and understand it; if you don t understand any element, ask your instructor or the staff. Using your hard copy syllabus as a map, take a little "walk" around the online course clicking on this button here, that button, until you are comfortable with the course layout. The next step will be starting work on the course itself. 3

4 Read through any announcements that may have been posted on Announcements to see where your instructor wishes you to start. The Assignments section of Izio provides a schedule of your course requirements, including a session-by-session reading schedule, term paper and other writing assignments, mid-term and final examinations. The only exception to this comprehensive schedule is the session s discussion topics, which appear under Discussion. The discussion activity is critical to the success of online learning. This is where you and your instructor, as well as fellow students, interact directly in an online discussion based on your response to questions posted under the Discussion feature of Izio. Every session in the eight-session course requires at least four discussion responses. By selecting Discussion in the control panel, you can access the Discussion topics for each session. Choose one topic, post your response and wait for your instructor to respond. Respond to his comment and then choose a second topic. Your instructor will grade each discussion activity. These grades are part of your cumulative final grade. But it is also an opportunity to explore your thinking and ask questions regarding the course subject. 4

5 This is the area that you want to spend time with your instructor. Below, you will see the Discussion page. You will find also that in many Yorktown University courses audio lectures have been recorded. In this case, your course features recorded lectures that may be accessed under the Lectures/Texts section in Izio. Sometimes these are posted in the Resources section, which will be noted in the syllabus. 5

6 Also, instructors may point you to additional resources for the class, which are typically useful websites found under the Resources section (below) in Izio. Finally, and not least important on the course site, is the button entitled Grade Book. The U.S. Department of Education guidelines require the University to assess your progress during the course and at its conclusion. Your instructors at Yorktown University will grade your weekly contributions to discussions, required paper assignments, quizzes and final exams. These are all available for your private viewing under Grade Book. 6

7 General Guidelines for Success 1. Starting Now One of the ways that courses at Yorktown University are different from traditional universities is that they are conducted via the Internet using a computer. Your greatest support in completing an online course is early and repeated work within the course site. First, schedule and take the orientation training class with the instructional trainer. You may do that by sending a message to requesting a training session. Second, upon first entering your course, contact your instructor via and introduce yourself. Simply click Instructor. A window with his address appears; click that address and type a message. Then, click Send. You re off and started! 2. What's in a "Term"? Yorktown University operates on a 48 week academic year. This year is divided into three semester of sixteen weeks. Courses at the University follow a "semester" divided into eight (8) weekly sessions. You should be able to complete all coursework in eight weeks. If for any reason you can t complete coursework within the allotted ten weeks, you must request an extension and pay a course extension fee of $50. You will then be given three (3) more weeks to complete the course. 7

8 Students whose schedules will not allow enrollment in Yorktown University semester schedule may elect to enroll whenever they are ready. We call this the Independent Study method. For each session of a course you will typically do the following: 1. Read assignments from required texts; 2. Listen to a brief voice lecture, when provided; 3. Read a longer written lecture, when provided; 4. Respond to weekly discussion topics; 5. Contribute and respond to discussion comments posted by your instructor and fellow classmates. 3. What is Different about Yorktown University Courses? As noted above, the most salient difference is that online classes do not meet at regular and scheduled hours. However, these courses are also quite similar to traditional courses: There are readings from required books and texts, (on-line) discussions, quizzes and exams, and writing assignments. Your instructor will tell you where and when those exams are to be taken. There are two places to locate exams: under Assignments and Home Page, once the instructor has scheduled them, you ll see links to Quizzes or Tests. Like a traditional class, Yorktown s courses also offer the opportunity for discussion among classmates and between you and your instructor. Although not synchronous exchanges, they nevertheless offer many benefits. An online discussion avoids the contingencies of personalities and classroom atmosphere and maximizes the time you spend preparing your discussion responses and 8

9 answering questions from instructors. If you are like many of our students, you may find that your contributions to online discussions are less inhibited than your ordinary face-to-face conversations and discussions. In addition, you will receive more focused time with your instructor. In an informal survey we conducted of a traditional fifty-minute lecture course, only twenty minutes per lecture were devoted to serious discussions about course content. 4. Participating in Discussions A significant part of your course grade consists of your participation in discussions. Unlike verbal discussions, where much that is said can be understood from its context, an online discussion depends on your providing the context for your responses. Therefore, when you participate in discussions you should strive to present your point(s) or question(s) as clearly and carefully as you can. You must remain polite and patient with others: Neither insults or profane language will be tolerated. 9

10 If you desire to chat online with your instructor in real time, Izio provides access to a synchronous chat functionality. Obviously, both you and your instructor, or fellow students, must be online at the same time and agree to participate in a live chat. A predetermined date and time for such discussions is best. At that time, merely click Chat, and persons enrolled in your course can communicate with one another in real time. 10

11 5. Habituation Once you have started your course, you will need to habituate yourself to regular and frequent reading and consistent use of your computer. From the outset, you should organize your time to include a regular time to read, listen to lectures, answer discussion questions, and participate in discussion exchanges with your instructor. The discussion feature is the most helpful in keeping you on track because it allows you to have one-on-one time with your instructor and other students, promoting the highly sought after seminar environment of traditional universities. Some of you may find it convenient to set aside a couple of hours each day for coursework; others may work less regularly but more intensely. Whatever is your predilection, you should try to cultivate some sort of habit by which you attend to the course at least five times each week, preferably for two hours each time. You should expect to devote approximately ten or more hours per week to each course (reading off-line, working on-line, and so forth). For that reason, even though you may have enrolled in two courses a semester, we want you to complete one course at a time. If you follow that schedule, you will be able to complete 6 courses every 48 weeks for a total of 18 credits. 6. Contacting Faculty Do not hesitate to contact your professor if you have any course-related questions, whether these are about the readings, the schedule, the assignments, etc. You may contact him by clicking Instructor from your Home Page and an address for your instructor will pop up. In some instances, instructors will also provide their home telephone numbers and encourage you to make an appointment for a telephone conversation, especially at the beginning of a course. 7. Assessments Just like in any other educational course, your coursework will be assessed. Instructor reports on student progress are conducted at the end of the second and fifth sessions, and of course a final grade. Students also have an opportunity to evaluate their progress at the end of the fifth and ninth session using the following survey form: At the end of each course, we ask students to assess his or her instructor in an online survey that is delivered automatically to the University s registrar by using the following survey form: 8. Gearing up for the Next Course In order to review other courses that might interest you, go to click View available courses without logging on to your Home Page, then click Department and select the course that interests you. The University keeps course outlines up to date on these pages so that they 11

12 are an accurate reference for choosing courses, and purchasing required textbooks. 9. Out of Sight and Out of Mind In a traditional course you are expected to attend class and to participate in class discussion. Likewise, showing up for your online class enforces your commitment to pursuing your educational experience at Yorktown. Self-motivation, discipline, habituation are the keys to online learning. You should make it a priority to log in to your course every day. The modern world of digital technologies makes it easy to learn from the comfort of your home, where you are the master of your time. It does take self-discipline, though. In traditional classrooms, students can lose interest, stop doing coursework, and miss the due dates for assignment. They become drop-out or absentee students. Yorktown is different, however, insofar as its staff will contact you if you miss an assignment, or fail to log in for two or three days. We do this in order to learn about problems that may be disrupting your progress and to reengage you in your coursework. We want you to succeed at your chosen educational goal. 12

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