Online Course Structure
The Clinical Informatics and Patient-Centered Technologies (CIPCT) Master of Science program organizes online courses very similarly to traditional in-person courses. Coursework is assigned weekly according to a posted syllabus. Deliverables are due regularly throughout the quarter and students are expected to collaborate with fellow students on group projects frequently. Students do not work through assignments in isolation in the CIPCT program. Interaction with fellow students is an important part of the educational process, whether those fellow students are in the same room or on the other side of the country.
Course content is delivered in several ways. Some instructors record a lecture using a PowerPoint slideshow with a voice-over recording which can be viewed at your convenience. Others provide content through web conferencing (both synchronous and asynchronous recordings). Most CIPCT courses use discussion boards to facilitate conversations between students and the instructor.
Occasionally a course will use a live web conference (also called a synchronous web conference). Instructors try to schedule these for mid- to late afternoon to accommodate working students from the East to the West coast. Many of these sessions are optional and recorded for later viewing.
Distance Learning Technology
CIPCT uses an online classroom management system, Canvas, which gives the students one place to go for all course information, online exams and quizzes, discussion forums, online assignment submission, and course deadlines. Canvas is an open-source, web-based software that requires no purchase or downloads to student computers.
CIPCT also uses an Adobe product to deliver web conferences and voice-over presentations. This software is also web-based and will require the download of a plug-in. This is also free of charge.
As long as you have a high speed internet connection and access to a computer capable of running the most recent version of Flash, you will be able to access all course materials.
Online Learning Tips
Online learning requires strong self-motivation and self-discipline. Preparation in advance can help ease the transition from the traditional classroom to the online environment.
- Create a quiet place for coursework, clear of distractions and interruptions.
- Create a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
- Test your computer and accessories in advance. If participating in a web conference, log in early to make sure everything is working properly.
- Don’t procrastinate – especially in regards to discussion boards. Leaving your discussion board posts until the last minute will only leave you out of useful conversations.
- Keep lines of communication open with faculty and other students.
- Maintain a connection with your cohort outside of class for general support.