We are living in a technological society. Everything around us has been technological or will become. To reach more potential students, many institutions offer on-line or teleconference courses, resulting in distance learning. However, technological skills are needed for students, distance learners, to be able to use this type of venue.
It is best to be comfortable with computers and have a reasonable amount of computer skills. Although, many public schools teach students computer skills, there are still many people who have little computer skills. If you are unskilled in computers, it is best to take a beginner’s computer course offered by a local community college or library, before beginning distant learning.
What kind of computer skills are needed to become a distant learner? There are many skills needed. Of course being familiar with the keyboard is important. It is ideal to be able to type without looking at the keyboard. However, you can “peck” the keyboard with your fingers as long as you’re familiar with the layout of the keyboard.
You must be familiar with the Internet and some basic terms, such as web, website, email, search engine. You should be able to know what are the functions of each of those basic terms. For example, being comfortable to interact with a website, by clicking its links or answering question on the site. You should have an email account because the instructor may send you important information through this venue. Familiarity with the search engine and usage is important. Being able to use discussion boards and chat rooms are important because this is where learners will post their ideas and thoughts on an issue or topic.
The instructor may have some kind of writing assignment that you must submit on-line. So you need to know the basics of a word processing program. The most common program is Microsoft Word. You should know how to write a paper using a word processing program, then save it, and be able to submit on-line. Also, depending the assignment, basic knowledge of a spreadsheet program may be needed.
It is best to practice on the computer daily, until you reach a sense of being comfortable with it. This will make your learning less stressful. However, it is best to ask the instructor before beginning a distant course of computer skills requirements. Each course may use the computer in great detail or as a supplement.