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The Virtual Classroom: What to use?

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You’ve read about virtual (or online) classrooms, but now you’re wondering which ones to use?  There are so many to choose from!  Do you go for an expensive one, or a free one?  Professional, or fun?  Well don’t fret, this article will help you with the information you seek.  After all, it was your quest for knowledge that brought you to this article!

Online Classrooms: Please take a seat

There are many websites that you can use for learning, this is true.  However they all have a few traits in common that make them brilliant.  These are “ease of access”, “progress tracking”, “content, and delivery”,“online testing”, and “verification”.  As long as an online classroom has these five points, you can trust them.

Ease of Access

How difficult is it to use the software or website?  Once you log in, is it easy to start your lesson, or do you have to go through a 50-click process before you can start learning?  Less equals to more in this situation.  Although that may sound like an oxymoron, it’s useful to remember.  What we mean by this, is that the less time you have to spend in getting to your lesson, the more you will learn.  The top websites will often have a link in your personal home page to your next lesson, which reduces the number of clicks to a massive “1”.  Brilliance in a nutshell!

Progress Tracking: Where are you?

Because everything is online, and easily accessible, it’s not a huge stretch to want to view your progress over the past few weeks, months or terms.  A good website should have a way to check your progress, showing your “average lessons done/week”, “Average test results”, as well a comparison graph, showing your results against the average of all the other students on the site.  If the site has these features, then you should definitely consider it.

Content:  What is it, and what do you see?

The third point is naturally, what coursework the website has, and how it is delivered.  Depending on what you’re looking for, it’s always better to go for a website that has a wide range of online courses.  If they have a lot of courses, chances are you’ll find the subject you’re needing most urgently.  However, having a lot of courses isn’t the final point.  What also needs to be solid is how the coursework is delivered.  If the website teaches with the aid of video lessons, then it’s a good website indeed.  If it has videos along with papers for you to print, and formulas for you to copy, then you should sign up at once!

And The Test Starts Now!

The fourth point that makes up a good online classroom site, is online testing.  Not testing as in “bug testing”, that many people do to make sure software works.  The testing we mean, is along the lines of mock exams, and online quizzes.  It’s no good having a lot of comprehensive coursework, if there’s no way for the student to know if he or she remembers everything correctly.  What a virtual classroom needs therefore, is online testing.  Many website employ the “multiple choice” method, which has proven very effective in providing the student with an accurate picture of their progress, and what they still need to learn.

Verify your sources

The fifth point that’s needed is verification.  You can’t trust a virtual classroom website, if you don’t know where they are getting their sources.  If they are making up the lessons from the top of their head, how would you know?  It’s simple.  Have a look on the website for a “verification” section, all good sites have one.  This section should have references to the people who do their verifications, whether they’re professors, have degrees, or experience in the relevant fields.

The Final Word

Sometimes however, you won’t be looking for a virtual classroom.  In that case, you’ll need to look at hiring an online tutor.  These tutors conduct their lessons via Skype or FaceTime, and are quite affordable.  The benefits to having a private tutor, is that you can ask specific questions regarding topics you are struggling with.  However, the above points will still apply to the tutor.

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