Online Learning: What You Need to Succeed

How do online classes work?

Online learning is an accessible, affordable, and flexible learning environment that allows students to work around their personal schedules to obtain quality education. 

Many learners prefer this method of learning, which can be completed when convenient for you. While there are still deadlines for some assignments, you can choose to study online wherever you are, at any time of the day (or night). All you need is access to high-speed internet and a suitable computer or tablet. Please see Technology Requirements (below) for more information about internet and computer specifications. 

Our online course modules are offered through Brightspace, an online learning platform. This is essentially a password protected website where you can access everything you need including course materials, quizzes, grades and feedback. When you start the course there will be videos and tutorials to orient you to Brightspace.

Digital Connectivity Options: If you have limited access to reliable internet or an internet connected device:

  • To complete coursework: you may contact your local Extension office to schedule a time to use their WiFi during office hours (in the building) or use WiFi anytime from the parking lot.
  • Contact the National Digital Equity Center for no cost or low cost tablets for Maine Residents who are of low to moderate income.
  • Many public libraries have computers available for public use. Contact your local library for more information.

Will I succeed as an online learner?

While we can not guarantee success, many students are surprised at how well they manage online classes. Certainly, there are personal attributes that can help you be more successful and comfortable with online learning. Please check the list below when deciding if online learning is for you. 

 

Successful online learners:

  • Are self-starters. Having a flexible learning environment requires you to make a plan to complete the learning modules within the scheduled time-frame. 
  • Are resilient and patient. You’ll need to keep yourself going even when there are technical difficulties or some of the material is not as easy to understand. 
  • Use effective time management. Be sure to check for weekly assignments and schedule time to complete each module. 
  • Are comfortable with technology, or are willing to become comfortable. An online learning environment requires using various types of technology including Zoom, discussion boards, and navigating Brightspace. Don’t worry too much, though- we will supply you with the orientation you need to get started, and you will have access to IT support during the course.
  • Set themselves up for success. An important part of online learning is a good study environment. Find a quiet place to work, mute your cell phone, set up good lighting and comfortable seating. Choose a time during the day that you will be more focused and less distracted. And don’t forget about ergonomics! 

 

First Day of Class tips: 

  • Who do I contact if I have trouble logging in: extension.brightspace@maine.edu
  • Plan to spend time orienting yourself to the learning environment. 
  • Add any due dates and other course related dates to your personal calendar. 

How much time will it take to complete the course? 

The online learning modules consist of 4-5 hours of self-paced learning content, including short videos, readings, activities, and self-graded quizzes. 

Minimum Technical Requirements

An email address, access to a reliable internet connection, the newest version of your web browser and an electronic device (i.e. laptop, desktop, iPad, or tablet) with video/audio capabilities are required to complete this course. 

Accommodations: 

If you need a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in the course, please contact us at extension.gardening@maine.edu or 207.581.3188 a month before the course begins. Requests received after this date will be considered, but we may not have sufficient time to make necessary arrangements. 

 

Digital Connectivity Options: If you have limited access to reliable internet or an internet connected device:

  • To complete coursework: you may contact your local Extension office to schedule a time to use their WiFi during office hours (in the building) or use WiFi anytime from the parking lot.
  • Contact the National Digital Equity Center for no cost or low cost tablets for Maine Residents who are of low to moderate income.