Online Learner Support
Recipe for success
Many students are suprised to learn that online courses are often more challenging than traditional “face-to-face” courses. Here’s an idea of what to expect and a short list of qualities and attitudes you’ll need to succeed.
Take responsibility for your own learning.
Successful online learners are motivated, persistent, and can work independently.
Manage your time.
It’s incredibly easy to fall behind in an online class. Days and weeks go by quickly and it takes discipline to keep pace with a fast moving course when you don't have to go to a physical room for regular face-to-face classes. Review the syllabus carefully and develop a plan for completing your assignments, readings, study, and other course responsibilities. Stick to your plan and resolve to never a miss a deadline.
Expect to spend a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a week for a three-credit course. In a typical week, you might need to: 1) read through the week’s objectives, assignments, and lecture materials which may include videos 2) carefully read the textbook and/or other assigned materials 3) respond to online discussions 4) complete a graded written assignment 5) possibly take a graded online exam and 6) possibly work online with a group of other students.
Good written communication skills are important for online courses. Ask questions if there's something that's not clear. Comment thoughtfully and appropriately in online discussion forums. Post your photo to your Kodiak profile, do your part to help create a sense of community, and always remember to treat others with respect.
Bring your computer skills.
You’re taking an online course that relies completely on computers, software and the internet. You’ll be working with Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files, images, videos, web browsers, the Kodiak learning management system, and possibly online web meeting systems. None of this is extraordinary in today’s internet-driven world, but if you are a new Western New England student you will need to learn about Kodiak and your Western New England email account.
Does this sound like you?
- I am self-motivated and disciplined.
- I am a good reader and I am comfortable learning through individual reading and study.
- I am comfortable using online discussion forums
- I am very good at planning and managing my time so that my work is on time and complete.
- I can set aside the amount of time required to complete an online class.
- I have little or no trouble expressing myself in writing using correct grammar and spelling.
- I have my own relatively new computer (under 3-4 years old) and reliable high-speed internet access.
- If I can't figure out something, I am comfortable asking my classmates, the instructor, or technical support staff for help via email, discussion board, or chat.
- I am proficient at creating, saving, locating, and opening different types of files on a computer.
- I know how to check my Western New England University email account.
- I know how to use Kodiak.
About our core technologies
Here's the major online platforms used to deliver Western New England online courses.
- WNE UserId and password (ALL courses)
- Your WNE UserId and password combination is your key to your online courses. Visit the Login Help page to activate your account for the first time, or to change or reset your password.
- Kodiak (ALL courses)
- "Kodiak" is our local nickname for the D2L Brightspace online learning environment. It's the web program you'll use to access course materials, interact with your instructor and classmates, submit homework assignments, take exams, and much more. Visit the Kodiak for Students page for basic tips and short how-to videos. You'll find links to a searchable online help system under Kodiak's Help menu, and you can even find help on Google and YouTube as long as you remember to use "D2L Brightspace" instead of "Kodiak" in your searches. Be sure to see the Technical Support section of this web page to learn how to get help with Kodiak from Educational Technology staff.
- OWA Outlook Web App (ALL courses)
- All registered students get a UserID@wne.edu email account. Kodiak is linked to your WNE email address is several ways, so it's important to check your email daily by logging into Outlook Web App. (You'll also find an link to Outlook Web App under the U-Links menu within Kodiak.) See the Email Help page to learn more about your WNE email account.
- Echo360 (some courses)
- Echo360 is the system used to present video lectures within online courses. If your course uses Echo360 you'll find a link to the videos within your Kodiak classroom. Just click the Echo360 link, select a video from the list, and click the Play button. If you're interested in the finer details, you can read the Echo360 Student Help pages, but keep in mind most instructors use the system only for presenting videos and they don't use the discussion and Q&A features of Echo360.
- Adobe Connect (some courses)
- Adobe Connect is an online meeting app used by some courses to enable live, real-time meetings that very closely simulate a traditional classroom experience. (Connect sessions can also be recorded for on-demand viewing after the live session has ended.) Your Kodiak classroom will include links to Adobe Connect sessions if your instructor uses the technology. Just click the link, then enter your name and continue on to the live session. You may want to read the Adobe Connect Participant Guide if you are new to using web conferencing systems.
What you'll need
Here's some guidelines to help you decide whether your computer and network connectivity will be sufficient for an online course.
- You will need a reliable, not too old, and virus-free computer Windows (version 7 or later) or Macintosh (OS X 10.9 or later). Note that an iPad or Android tablet is not sufficient - you MUST have a Windows or Macintosh desktop or laptop computer. By "reliable and not too old", we mean a computer you can use to do things like browse Internet sites, use email and social media, view online videos, participate in webinars, and work with Word, PDF, and PowerPoint files without crashing or slowing down to the point of frustration. If your computer is less than 4 years old and you're satisfied with its performance doing these types of tasks you should be set.
- You will need a reliable and fast internet connection. As a simple measure, if you can reliably watch high def online videos without buffering, you should be OK. You can visit Speedtest.net to check the performance of your Internet connection - a download speed of 2.5 Mbps and an upload speed of 1.5 Mbps is close to the bare minimum.
- You will need up-to-date web browser software. Kodiak works with the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer 11. Visit Kodiak's System Check to make sure your browser and associated software meets the basic requirements.
- Most instructors will expect you to submit homework assignments and papers as Microsoft Word files. If you don't have already Microsoft Word, learn how to use the Save As feature of your word processor to generate Word files.
Online courses may have other requirements beyond these basics. For example, some instructors may expect you to have a microphone or webcam to participate in online webinars. Certain courses may require you to have specific software or specific versions of a software package. Ask your instructor if you are unsure about the technical requirements for a course.
Getting Help with Technology
Kodiak, Echo360, and Adobe Connect are supported by the Educational Technology group within the University's Office of Information Technology (OIT). Please note we cannot solve most login problems - see the next section for help with passwords. The best way to reach us is to email email@example.com . If you leave a phone number, we'll call you as soon as possible. If you are on campus, you can drop by the Educational Technology office for assistance M-F 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM ET. We're located on the ground floor of D'Amour Library in Room G-9 next to the TV Studio and across the hall from the G-26 computer classroom. Our phone numbers are:
Richard Pont 413.782.1742
Suzanne Orlando 413.782.1765
Steven Narmontas (Director) 413.782.1778
Resolving password issues
Kodiak's login page is at https://kodiak.wne.edu. If you can't login, test your password by logging into email at https://owa.wne.edu. If you can't login to email either, try using the self-service features on the login help page to resolve your password issue.
To report any technical problem contact the OIT Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413.796.2200 (toll free: 800.325.1122 extension 2200). Service Desk hours are M-F 8:00AM - 4:30 PM ET.
Student Support Services
Visit the Academic Scheduling website for links to the University's current course catalog, course calendars and schedules.
Undergraduate students are encouraged to visit the University's Academic Success Center website for important information about course registration and advising.
The Graduate Studies Student Resources website is equally important for those pursuing master's degrees, and includes information specifically for online learners.