Check Out Your Course Expectations

The first step toward a successful online learning experience is to be aware of what will be expected of you in your online course. Once you have logged into your course, check out the course Syllabus, your instructor's Welcome Letter, and any other documents your instructor has posted. These additional documents might be titled: Course Information, Introduction, Overview, or Start Here.

Find specific answers to as many of the following questions as you can. They will provide a good idea of what you will need to do to be successful in the course you are taking.

  1. Check out course requirements.
    1. Attendance: Surprised? Yes, this exists in an online course.
      • How often are you expected to login to the course website each week to check for posted information, participate in a discussion, or submit an assignment?
      • Are there weekly discussions?
      • What quantity and/or quality of contribution is required?
    2. Textbook
      • What textbook(s) are required for your course?
      • Do you have the correct text for your course section?
      • Is an access code from the textbook publisher required to view online materials associated with the textbook?
      Note: Textbooks can be ordered online or obtained in person from Oakton’s Bookstore. They are listed by course and section number, ex. PSY 101-OC1.

    3. Learning activities and assignments:
      • What types of activities and assignments are required?
      • When must they be completed?
      • How do you submit your work?
      • Are you expected to come to the campus to take exams or for other learning activities?
      Note: Students residing outside Oakton’s district may arrange to take required exams at a local college or university. Check out these “Proctoring Requirements” posted on the Distance Learning website. You may also contact Online Learning for further details,, Phone: 847.635.1970

    4. Grading:
      • What is the grading scheme?
      • What are assignments, exams, participation, projects, and/or quizzes worth toward your final grade?
      • Is there a rubric or set of guidelines for work you submit?
      • Will late work be accepted?
      • What are the penalties and procedures involved with submitting work late?
  2. Know how to contact your instructor

    If you have a question about something you don't understand in your course, contact your instructor.
    • What is his/her Oakton email address (outside of the course) and phone number?
    • When does he/she have office hours?
  3. Find out how you will receive feedback.

    Feedback can be anything from a numeric grade to extensive written comments.
    • How will you receive feedback – by email, in a private discussion, or by another means?
    • How frequently will you receive feedback on your work?
  4. Investigate how much course discussion matters.
    • Does discussion play a large or small role in how the course is conducted?
    • Are you expected to participate in a discussion each week?
    • How much are you expected to participate?
    • How much does your participation count in your grade?
  5. Have a backup plan.

    What if your computer crashes? What if your Internet connection fails?
    • Try to submit your work with sufficient time to seek out solutions if you run into problems. Waiting until the last minute puts you and your hard work at risk.
    • Identify a backup computer or Internet connection. Do you have another computer with Internet access at home? Do you have a friend or neighbor who could help? What about the local library?
    • In the event you don’t have time to correct the situation before a major deadline, contact your instructor by phone (or by email if you are able), right away, alerting him/her to your difficulties.

Direct questions about this page to the Manager of Online Learning Operations.