Key Elements of the Online Classroom Explained

As you research your different education opportunities for going back to school chances are that you are considering taking classes online.

In 2010, more than six million students took at least one course online. If you are new to the online learning environment, understanding the classroom features and setup is a good first step.

Below is a list of the key elements of an online classroom, however they may differ depending on the school you are attending.


1. Academic Resources – These include library services, tutoring, career services, and much more.

2. Course Announcements – Posted by your instructor they are typically assignment tips, homework reminders, and further learning opportunities.

3. Course Calendar – This feature helps you stay on top of your assignments by being able to regularly check assignment due dates.

4. Course Email – This tool helps you stay in contact with your instructor and classmates for each course.

5. Course Homepage – From this page you can access your current courses, view course mail, and much more.

6. Course Login – A unique username and password that you use to securely login to the classroom.

7. Course Syllabus – In this document you can check out the course description, performance objectives, required textbooks, grading criteria, school policy for your course as well as information about your instructor.

8. Discussion Board – Online discussions are used to discuss the topics of study each week with your classmates as assigned by the instructor.

9. Dropbox – You will use this tool to hand in any homework assignments to your instructor.

10. Instructors/Faculty Bio – Many online instructors have industry experience; they are a key element of helping you learn and want to see you succeed.

11. Grades – In the online classroom you can check to see your most update to date grades at anytime.

12. Instant Messenger – With this feature you can instantly connect with instructors, or fellow classmates that are logged into the online classroom to ask questions or chat.

13. Lessons – Within the classroom, each lesson will give you your learning objectives and let you know what assignments you will need to complete.

14. Library – Here you can access our electronic databases and other resources or connect with our knowledgeable librarians to assist you in completing your research projects right from your computer.

15. Student Email – This email service is used exclusively for students in order to communicate with classmates, faculty, and staff.

16. Student Lounge – Here you will meet fellow students to discuss homework, current events, or even network.

17. Student Portal – This online portal serves as a central location for student and faculty to access multiple resources and beware of upcoming events.

18. Technical Support – Our support team is here to help you resolve any technical issues day or night 24/7.

19. Toolbox – A fun feature where you can save any bookmarks, upload files so you can access them anywhere, and more.

20. Wimba – This online course tool will help you communicate with your instructors and other students via a virtual classroom environment with audio and video features.

If you are interested in learning more check out this video demo.

External links provided on Rasmussen.edu are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Grant Tilus is an Associate Inbound Marketing Manager for Collegis Education who writes articles on behalf of Rasmussen College with the aim to inspire, motivate and inform current and prospective students in a positive way.

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