Benefits of OLRN for Alamo Colleges' fully online students

August 12, 2020

1080x1080-DecidingBetweenRemoteAndOnline.jpgYou may choose online learning for any number of reasons, likely because it is convenient and flexible. At the Alamo Colleges, we respect the importance of your decision to become an online student and want you to feel well prepared, which is why we offer a self-paced course called the Orientation to Online Learning (OLRN).

The OLRN course prepares students for their college's online learning experience. During an OLRN usability study, participants took an average of fewer than two hours to complete the orientation. Students commented on the many advantages of the course. When asked, students indicated OLRN "was very helpful and...would calm the nerves of people who are nervous or unsure about taking online courses.” Without a doubt, the course is beneficial for students.

OLRN offers first-time online students at Alamo Colleges a brief but very valuable preview of the online learning environment.

Rudy Lopez, Online Learning Coordinator
Alamo Colleges District

One key benefit of the OLRN course is the experience it offers to build technical skills, although this varies among the Colleges. Once you begin, you “see” firsthand how an online syllabus looks and the type of information it contains as well as an overview of the specific steps or tasks you will complete as you navigate the course. Videos “show” you the information, while quizzes ask you to demonstrate what you learned.

Students learn the differences between an online and face-to-face classroom, most notably the environment, and they also learn how to best communicate with instructors and peers. One of the most compelling components of the course is the practice environment it creates. Rudy Lopez, the Online Learning Coordinator for Alamo Colleges Online, explains OLRN was purposefully designed to “provide a robust set of tools and information to ensure students understand the online classroom and are familiar with the many resources available online.” Without the academic pressure of being “enrolled,” students participate in discussions and quizzes, both of which instructors use in online courses. As students self-pace through the course, they clarify questions about online learning and explore ways they can best succeed.

Although the logistical details conveyed in the OLRN course are most helpful for potential online learners, the course also provides the opportunity to hone more transferrable skills. Students learn time management skills and netiquette (proper net etiquette), learning how to interact with respect in an online environment. Students also explore strategic ways to take responsibility for the learning process. More specifically, the course introduces students to additional online resources, such as library services and online tutoring support. While it’s true that online learning demands students to practice excellent time management skills and take full responsibility for their learning process, these skills extend beyond the classroom.

Students highly tout the OLRN course as helpful and, with each revision, students will see even more benefits. With the successful completion of the course, students feel better prepared and less anxious about the uncertainty of being an online learner. In short, they gain confidence and the skills necessary to succeed as an online student.

For more information

Contact an Enrollment Coach, today!

Enrollment Coaches are here to help you get started with the application process and to guide you through registration for online courses this upcoming semester. We can also connect you to an advisor, as well as refer you to services available to online students.

Don't delay, call (210) 485-0110 or email AlamoONLINE@alamo.edu, today!

About AlamoONLINE

AlamoONLINE represents the range of opportunities for students pursuing degrees, certificates, or awards delivered online from Northeast Lakeview College, Northwest Vista College, Palo Alto College, San Antonio College, and St. Philip’s College.

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