Online and Hybrid Course Learning

Learning How to Learn in an Online or Hybrid Class

Today's university students are required to take online classes and hybrid classes in addition to those traditional face-to-face class. Online classes are more and more quickly becoming a part of higher education. Whether you are pursuing your undergraduate degree, graduate degree, or even take an online course for professional development, online classes provide flexibility. There are two types of online learning: An online class offered over the Internet with all the instructions, learning materials and tasks online and a hybrid/blended class which offers online educational materials and opportunities for interaction online together with a course instructor face-to-face in the classroom. 

Benefits of Online Learning

  • Flexible time and place to engage in learning

  • Completing your degree program while achieving other personal/professional goals

  • Increased competence of being an effective self-regulated learner.

  • Better prepared for future career with online learning and communications.

  • More learning resources online available for deeper exploration of the topics.


Challenges of Online Learning - and How to Solve Them!


  • Making sure to connect with peers and instructors

  • Solving unexpected problems with technology

  • Adjusting to each professor's unique Canvas format and layout

  • Obtaining help for your questions and issues

  • Keeping track of deadlines and due dates

Online Classes vs. Traditional Classes

Online classes are NOT easier than traditional classes. They require you to be an independent learner with good time management and organization skills. Some students register for online classes and then run into challenges that can cause roadblocks to success. Two common misconceptions of online learning found among FGCU students are (1) online learning is easier than those face-to-face classes and (2) there is no sense of real learning in online classes. 

  • In many ways online courses are like traditional courses. FGCU's online courses typically follow the schedule of a normal semester with clear due dates for learning tasks and assignments.
  • Online classes still require reading, study topics for inquiry, group discussions via class posts and responses, assignments, and examinations to complete by a specified due date. Upon successful completion of the course you will receive a grade and the course credits.
  • Online courses differ from traditional courses in that the course is conducted entirely online or a hybrid, allowing you the flexibility to complete your weekly work—anytime, day or night!


Challenges for Online Learning

There are specific challenges for online learning. Some challenges for online learning found among FGCU students are: 

  • Difficulties in keeping up with assignments due dates and project deadlines;
  • Frustration with technology problems such as browser compatible issues with Canvas.
  • Learning without immediate feedback from the course instructor.
  • Lack of needed guidance or encouragement from the course instructor at the time of difficulties.
  • Difficult to collaborate online with classmates for assignments and projects.


Take Control of Your Online Class

A number of things are important if you want to take control of your online learning at FGCU.

  • Take initiative: Make an appointment to see your online professor(s) during office hours. Do this sooner than later! Voice your feelings and ask for advice. You can find contact information of your professor on the course syllabus or at FGCU faculty and staff directory.
  • Create a Class: Send an email to the people in your online class to set-up a “Study Group” or create a time for some students to meet for your own “Class”. Do this sooner than later. You can book a study room at the FGCU Library.
  • Check Your Technologies: Some browsers do NOT work well with Canvas! Google Chrome and Firefox are the recommended browsers for Canvas; Internet Explore/Edge and Safari are NOT recommended.
  • Keep your browser updated. Check your browser version and update manually if necessary.
  • Be Proficient with Canvas: Visit Canvas help and download the Canvas App from the App Store or Google Play: “Canvas School” but DO NOT use a tablet or smartphone for taking quizzes or exams since some technical issues are frequently found with the App.
  • Learn How to Learn Online: Go through FGCU Orientation to Online Courses


To attain the SUCCESS of an online class

You must commit to be

  • Self-motivated and self-disciplined. Remember! The freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes a real commitment and discipline to meet course requirements and deadlines.
  • Willing to develop a personal schedule to complete your coursework. Online courses do not take less time than a traditional class. In the online environment it is easy to get behind and feel overwhelmed. Pace yourself.
  • Make it a habit to login regularly to your classes. You will be expected to log-in at least three times per week or perhaps every day. Plan ahead to ensure you have enough time to study and complete assignments.
  • Collaborative to reach out to your peers. Keep each other informed of assignments and due dates. Stay in regular contact with your professor. Your professor(s) are a valuable resource, and they can only help if they know you are struggling.
  • Committed to dedicate 5–15 hours per week per course. Online is not easier than the on-campus course. In fact, many students will say it requires more time and commitment. The requirements for an online course is the same as a traditional course.
  • Willing to speak up if you are having problems. Many of the nonverbal communication methods that professors use in determining when students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online class. If you are experiencing difficulty at any level (either with technology or with the course content), you must communicate this immediately. Otherwise the instructor will never know what is wrong.
  • Flexible and adaptable. Learning online is an adventure that will expose you to many new experiences. The ability to be flexible and remain open-minded is crucial to having a positive experience.