Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology
Illinois State University
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Students on computers

Skills and Requirements

To be successful in the online environment, learners will need to have a basic working knowledge of and access to computers, the internet, and various software programs, as well as good communication/netiquette and time management skills. Below is a list of the most crucial of these skills and requirements.

  • Technical Skills
  • Technical Requirements
  • Communication/Netiquette
  • Time Management/Credit Hour Policy
  • Access and navigate the internet, including downloading and reading files from websites
  • Access and navigate Illinois State’s learning management system, ReggieNet
  • Access and navigate the Milner Library website, downloading and reading files from library reserves and databases
  • Use Redbird Mail, including attaching and downloading files from emails
  • Create, save and submit files in commonly used word processing program formats (.doc, .docx, .rtf)
  • Copy and paste text and other content on a computer
  • Download and install software
  • Computer that you can use for extended periods of time
  • Reliable broadband internet access (cable modem, DSL, or other high speed)
  • Activated ULID account
  • Redbird Mail account, checked regularly
  • Consistently updated browser (Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Explorer)
  • Up-to-date Flash and Java plug-ins
  • Permissions and ability to install additional plug-in or class software, as needed

To help guide online interactions, ISU requires both students and faculty demonstrate appropriate netiquette, i.e. internet etiquette. That is, interacting in a positive, cooperative and supportive manner, displaying respect for the privacy and rights of others. This policy is inclusive of, but not limited to the following guidelines:

  • Keep your questions and comments relevant to the discussion topic. If another participant posts a comment or a question that is off topic, do not reply. The instructor will reply in private to the participant.
  • Be courteous and treat co-learners with respect, modeling the same standards of behavior online you would follow in a face-to-face discussion.
  • Be respectful and open to opinions and ideas that differ from yours. Being deliberately hostile and insulting online, i.e. flaming, is not appropriate under any circumstance. When responding to messages or posts made by others, address the ideas not the person.
  • All course communication should be conducted in Standard American English to ensure understanding among diverse participants.

Note – Instructors reserve the right to remove posts that are not collegial or fail to meet netiquette guidelines.

Effective time management is critical to the successful completion of your classes. Online courses are unique in that they allow so much flexibility and place responsibility of when to attend on students.

The key to success in managing your time while enrolled in an online course is to set aside time each day to review materials and complete activities. Below is a chart that details the number of hours you should devote each week or day, given the length of the course in which you are enrolled. The numbers listed are for a 3-credit hour class.

According to Illinois State’s Credit Hour Policy, “A credit hour shall be the unit of University academic credit representing approximately three hours of work per week by a student throughout a 15 week (fall, spring) semester (exclusive of final examination period) or its equivalent in total work for short courses...” To highlight further, below is a chart of the number of hours you should expect to devote towards the successful completion of your classes, whether they are traditional, blended or fully online.

  Hours per Week Hours per Day
(7-day week)
Hours per Day
(5-day week)
16-week Class 6 - 9 1 - 1.5 1.5 - 2
8-week Class 12 - 18 1.5 - 2.5 2 - 3.5
6-week Class 16 - 24 2.5 - 3.5 3 - 5
4-week Class 24 - 36 3.5 - 5 5 - 7
3-week Class 32 - 48 4.5 - 7 6 - 10
2018-06-13T15:23:24.218-05:00 2018