Participant Guidelines

Ensuring Quality Learning Experiences at a Distance

  • Undertaking a distance-learning program does require a different approach to your learning experience.
  • This is an asynchronous learning experience. This means you can respond to the various elements of the course at any time. Unless you are involved in a chat room or audio bridge, you cannot ask questions and receive immediate answers.
  • Though you don't get immediate responses, your instructors will respond within 72 hours to your work. This environment allows you to have more time to digest the information, formulate your questions and then evaluate the instructor's responses.
  • You are responsible for both sharing your thoughts and also reflecting on the other class participant's insights.
  • You can ask other participants questions either on the discussion board or by sending them a direct e-mail message.
  • You can send the facilitator of your course a direct e-mail message if you have a personal question or concern.

Setting your Learning Expectations

  • You do not have a specific time you need to participate in each class session.
  • There is particular work for each week.
  • You do need to enter the course sessions three (3) times a week (minimum).
  • You do need to maintain a strict schedule of reading, participation and assignments.
  • Avoid procrastination.
  • You are somewhat responsible for your own learning even though you are engaged with a facilitator and other participants in the course.
  • The following checklist may assist you in preparing for and successfully completing each session:
    • Purchase all class materials well in advance. You will receive a Course Information e-mail detailing all such materials. Some of the readings are on line. Books can be purchased or ordered from your local bookstore or online vendor. The Peter Li, Inc materials can be purchased via the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives.
    • Be thoroughly familiar with the syllabus and course structure.
    • Check the Internet often for weekly updates and other participant's contributions to the discussions.
    • It is best to log into the online course once a day to feel comfortable with the process.
    • Familiarize yourself with your course facilitator. She/he is there to support you in your learning.
    • Note all the due dates. The course is paced with specific assignments for each week. The course does end on a particular date.

Self-Direction

  • Self-direction is an integral part of virtual learning.
  • The success of your distance education course is how well you keep yourself focused on making the experience a worthwhile investment of your time.
  • Creating a sense of a 'community of learners' is imperative for the course. This is what makes this different than an 'correspondence course'.
  • Keep in mind that you are an adult learner in search of knowledge and sharing knowledge. It is important to find ways to share new information from additional outside resources - websites, videos/films, or readings (publications). Share these with the other participants in the course.
  • The online course also offers us an opportunity to share how we are or have engaged in teaching and learning about the subject/theme in the past. How does it apply to what you are learning here today?

Typing in your comments, insights

  • It is important to write clear statements when expressing your ideas. If you wish you can type your comments, or ideas in your word processor document and paste them into the message box, if this helps you. This is not necessary, but it is recommended so that you have a personal copy of your answers.
  • Keep your sentences short.Write in simple paragraphs with space between them. This is easier to read.
  • If you are referring to another participants comments, it helps to refer to the participant by name.
  • You can always go back more than once to any given section to continue to share your reflections from the readings, etc. You may even call to the attention of other participants that you have added some new insight into an early class discussion. The more you participate in the course the more effective will be the interaction and learning experience. Remember…this is a new type of adult learning!
  • The advantage of the distance education courses is that it requires you to use knowledge and skills in the context of real life situations or issues.
  • It also integrates the demonstration of multiple learning experiences you have had in the past.

Your Facilitator

  • Your facilitator will not know you are having trouble unless you communicate with them. Her/his e-mail address is listed in your course website along with the other participant's personal e-mail addresses.
  • If you have technical difficulty, click here to contact VLCFF Support.
  • Your facilitator is here to help guide and direct the conversation in cyberspace.
  • Your facilitator is eager to enable you to succeed in cyberspace.
  • Although the facilitator might share what works and what does not work, it is more likely they will expect you to learn by integrating your life experiences with new information to construct meaning.

What is expected to earn 2.5 CEU's?

  • Five Week Courses: You are expected to spend from 25-35 hours on a course over its five-week span. This means anywhere from 5-7 hours per week.
  • Three Week Seminars: You are expected to spend between 15-21 hours on a seminar over its three-week span. This means anywhere from 5-7 hours per week.
  • You will have engaged in depth reflection and community learning. Do not short change your study or your classmates. We need everyone to journey forward. It is both the University of Dayton and our VLCFF Diocesan Partners that expect you to give the required time to this learning experience.
  • A few clues:
    • Read reflectively and critically. Our readings are not too difficult but they are challenging; thus, you need to give yourself quality time for the readings.
    • Write 2-3 well thought out paragraphs (4-6 sentences per paragraph) for the answers in the feedback section, as well as the discussion boards.
    • You are expected to post 3 times on each discussion board each week. Post your own ideas and then return several times to see how the conversation is moving along. If nothing new is posted, please add another idea so the facilitator knows you were at the discussion board continuing to engage in the dialogue.