Lesson 2: Learning to Navigate the Online Learning Environment
Learning to Navigate the Online Learning Environment
Course Outcomes/Lesson Objectives
CO 1: Explore and navigate the learning management system known as Canvas
- Identify in Canvas where to find announcements, modules, discussions and course resources
- Demonstrate how to put in a discussion post
CO 2: Identify strategies for success in the online learning environment
- Identify best practices for online scholarly communication
Congratulations! You have set the foundation for success in online learning. This lesson will focus on learning more about the online classroom and our learning platform called Canvas. You will learn about the importance of communicating in a professional manner online and how that can be different from communicating on social media. In this module you will get to practice putting an introductory post into the discussion board and will get a chance to meet some of your peers and respond to them. Establishing social connections in the online environment can be helpful in having some extra supports so that you know you are not alone in your educational journey.
The Virtual Classroom:
Learning occurs in the graduate program in a virtual classroom setting, and students are required to actively participate in a professional manner. Many students are familiar with online social networks or sending text messages to a friend, and have developed a casual and specific dialogue of abbreviated language that is acceptable when chatting in these types of environments. In contrast, the scholarly dialogue in an online classroom is specific to an identified topic, and dialogue is selected to aid the student in meeting Course Outcomes. The virtual classroom requires a communication style that is much different from one that is acceptable for chatting on a social network.
Best Practices for Communication in an Online Environment
As a professional nurse, you must have effective communication skills, and the online learning environment is not exempt from this expectation. Netiquette is the term for professional behavior and/or communication in an online learning environment. Netiquette is the appropriate and respectful way of communicating via electronic communication. You must be mindful of the tone of a message and the way in which your message may be perceived or misconstrued by the recipient. For example, the use of all capital letters (caps) in an electronic communication is construed as shouting and should be avoided (unless it is obvious that one is excited, and the sender will not be offended) (Brusco, 2011).
An electronic environment lends itself to creating a sense of informality as well as a false sense of privacy. By design, the electronic environment can dehumanize social interactions. It is easy to forget that there is a person on the receiving end of an e-mail or an online interaction. Due to the fact that one is not in a face-to-face encounter, one may be more inclined to make comments that may not be made in a face-to-face interaction. When composing an e-mail, stop and ask, “Might this be said if the person was standing in this room?”
As with any form of communication, an e-mail or post in a discussion board may be the first impression or professional encounter that you have with others. At the graduate level, you are expected to be concise and demonstrate professionalism in every form of communication: verbal, written, and electronic. Ensure that messages are written in a professional manner, with careful attention given to syntax, grammar, spelling, and punctuation. As you interact in an online discussion board, it is very important to demonstrate professionalism.
The discussion board provides you with the opportunity to engage in scholarly dialogue with peers. A major benefit of the online classroom is that everyone has the opportunity to voice an opinion and support the dialogue with a review of the literature. Multiple students responding to a discussion in an online environment can cause confusion. One way to decrease the confusion is to follow best practices when submitting a post. It is best practice to begin each post with the name of the person you are addressing, and then proceed to discussing the current topic.
Technology and Communication
Innovations in technology have led to a shift toward a casual communication style commonly used in text messaging, e-mail, and communicating on a social network. It is not uncommon with this mode of communication to see a unique set of abbreviated language with no expectation of proper grammar. The problem is that this casual communication style can work its way into professional writing, scholarly dialogue, and/or the workplace. It is not appropriate to use these abbreviations and casual style of writing in scholarly dialogue, professional writing, or in college assignments.
What is your opinion of discouraging casual communication from permeating into other aspects of our lives? Those who type text messages have created a language that cuts down on time and effort (e.g., typing “U” for “you” and so forth). Communication is constantly evolving. Does our insistence on adhering to “old” rules make us resistant to progress and stifle our ability to communicate with those who are fluent in these new “languages?” Or, should we keep the boundaries, and stress that there is a time and a place for different styles of communication?
What is it? The learning management system (LMS) that Chamberlain College of Nursing uses for the delivery of online education is known as Canvas. Canvas houses your classroom along with many other resources to assist you in your educational journey.
How do you use it? You will be able to log into your classroom to click through important information such as your course syllabus, information about your professor, announcements about the course, and modules that break down your weekly requirements (for example: required readings, discussion forum prompts, and assignments to be completed).
Why is it important? Canvas is your classroom! It is where you will participate in discussion forums, submit your assignments, have most of your interactions with your professors and classmates, and locate many helpful resources.
What do I do if something is not working?
- First, check your browser to make sure you are using google chrome, firefox or safari.
- Next try clearing your browser and then attempt the task again
- If it still is not working and you are having difficulties, contact IT. How do you contact IT? See below. Begin by clicking on your Help tab in your Navigation Bar on the left hand side of your screen.
Please click on the tutorial below for an introductory training for navigating your online classroom in Canvas.
- For a quick look at how to use Canvas, check out thisfour-minute video tutorial(Links to an external site.).
An Important Page in your Classroom
One very important page to refer to in your classroom in addition to annoucements are the Week-At-A-Glance pages. These pages will detail what is due for the week in your course and will assist with planning and organization.
During this lesson, you have identified ways to properly communicate in your online classroom. You have learned that scholarly and professional communication is important when interacting with both peers as well as you instructor in the virtual classroom. You will now complete some activities in order to better familiarize yourself with your virtual classroom and the online learning platform Canvas.