Alexandra, 16

University of West Georgia
Chapel Hill High School

Alexandra is a student at Chapel Hill High School and is currently attending college online as a dual enrolled student with the University of West Georgia. 

Why is completing your degree important to you? 
I plan to transfer my credits to UGA in order to pursue a degree in environmental sciences (most likely). This is important to me because I will not have the skills or qualifications to pursue a career in environmental work if I do not complete an accredited degree program. 

Why did you choose to take online classes? 
I chose to do online classes with eCore because I was not satisfied with the options available at my school, and due to my class schedule, extracurricular activities, and distance from my home institution, an on campus class would have been inconvenient for me

How would you describe the instructors you’ve had in your eCore class?
The online teachers are, in one word, distant; but they are available to help when needed. It is definitely not like the classroom experience where the teacher is always right there instructing you directly. 

What has been the best thing about taking online classes?
The best thing about taking online classes is definitely flexibility. I can choose how to spend my time. If I need to work on one unit more than another, I can take more time on that one. I can also prioritize my time with my schedule, so if I need more time for other classes, I can take that time as well. 

When you’re not working on your eCore class, what else are you doing?
I still have other classes at my high school, so when I'm not working on my online course work, I am either at school, doing extracurriculars such as marching band or musical, working on homework for my high school classes, and the rest is free time spent with friends and family. 

How and when do you make time to focus on your eCore class?
I took two out of eight class periods out of my school schedule to work on my online courses. Therefore, I wake up in the morning and work on my eCore coursework, then go into school at 10. 

What would you say to someone who is considering taking their first online class through eCore or eMajor?

If you procrastinate, don't do it. If you have poor planning skills, don't do it. If you are awfully forgetful, don't do it. In these classes, no one is there to push you or give you a warning. You are completely on your own when it comes to getting things done, and that means you have to be responsible for yourself. The teachers and tutors are there to help you when needed, but they aren't supposed to be baby sitters. You have to have maturity and discipline in order to be successful in these classes. To those who have their heart set on taking eCore classes, to you I say good luck and remember to take your own notes. It really helps. 

There are many misconceptions out there about online learning. One of the biggest is that students in online classes are on their own to learn the material - with little to no support or assistance when they need it. In a quality distance learning program, nothing could be further from the truth. 

Students in eCore and eMajor courses have access to several academic support services and resources. If you haven’t utilized any of the resources listed below, check them out. They may just be able to give you that extra boost you need to ace the class! 
  1. Embedded Tutors (STEM Courses) Embedded Tutors are subject matter experts and are, as the name says, embedded inside all Science and Math eCore courses. These tutors are enrolled in the course just like students, so they are familiar with the course materials and assignments. Embedded tutors can help with content questions, clarification of assignments, or can even help you work out sample math problems or labs. 

    To communicate with the embedded tutor, look for the “Tutor Talk” topic on the discussion board inside your course in GoVIEW.

  2. Embedded Librarians
    Not in a STEM class? No problem! eCore has librarians embedded in all non-STEM and non-SPAN classes. These are actual librarians that are enrolled in the course and there to assist students with research and any library-related questions. They are a great resource if you are having trouble using GALILEO. The embedded librarians can be contacted via email, or through the discussion board.

    Librarians will also be embedded into all ORGL and CJ eMajor courses starting Short Session II of Fall 2016.

  3. Smarthinking
    All eCore and eMajor students have free, unlimited access to Smarthinking, an online tutoring service. Look for the Smarthinking logo in the top navigation bar inside your course in GoVIEW to access this service. With Smarthinking, you can interact with a live tutor, submit writing assignments for feedback, or submit a question to be answered by a tutor within 24 hours. There are also online Study Aids and ESL services offered under the Spanish Language Center, which allows students to receive feedback in English or Spanish.

    Smarthinking has several instructional videos on their YouTube channel to show you how to utilize these services.

    How to Use Drop In Tutoring
    How to Schedule a Tutoring Session
    How to Submit an Essay
    How to Use Writing Feedback

  4. Campus Tutoring Centers
    eCore and eMajor students are all enrolled through a home academic institution and have access to their college or university’s tutoring center. Services will vary by institution, but it is a good idea to check out what resources are available at your institution so that you already have the information when you need it. Links to campus tutoring centers are included on each institution’s directory page on the eCore and eMajor websites below.

    eCore Institution Directory
    eMajor Institution Directory

  5. Your Instructor
    Last, but most definitely not least, is your instructor. Students are sometimes too nervous to reach out to their instructor if they are struggling with an assignment or concept, especially in an online class. However, maintaining communication with your online instructor is one of the most crucial aspects of successful course completion. In eCore and eMajor courses specifically, instructors understand that online students are not your typical full-time, on-campus college student. Our students have jobs, families, and are often returning to college after being out of school for an extended amount of time. If at any point in an eCore or eMajor course you feel like you are falling behind or need a little extra clarification, reaching out to your instructor is always a smart move. Your instructor’s contact information is listed at the top of your syllabus, and you can also send them a message within the GoVIEW system. 
When evaluating online programs, take the time to investigate the student support resources available. In addition to other factors such as reputation of the institution and tuition rate, availability of and access to student support and resources should be another main component to consider when deciding which program is right for you.