Welcome to OLOT - the Online Learning Orientation Tool
OLOT is a freely available self-paced learning tool designed to help students understand what online learning entails and introduce the skills and knowledge that are key to success. Used in conjunction with the Online Learner Readiness Rubric, OLOT can help students better understand what to expect when participating in an online course and their level of preparedness. Content is divided into four modules and covers a broad array of topics, including the nature of online coursework, the technical skills needed for online course participation, the influence of learning skills, interest, and motivation on online course performance, and basic organization and workflow tips for students.
While students, parents, mentors, and others are able to use OLOT however they see fit, OLOT will be more effective if students have someone they are accountable to for the results and someone – their mentor, parent, or guardian for example – directing and supporting their efforts. Michigan Virtual University has created a guide to facilitate use to meet specific user needs.
Students can navigate OLOT freely, picking up where they left off or repeating components as they please. Individual student progress is not saved. Each time a user opens OLOT, a new session is begun.
Each module is comprised of a varying number of individual units. Click the tabs below to see the units within each module and read more about the contents of each one. All units include a short post-quiz and the ability to print a certificate of completion upon passing. Click the "Go To Unit" button to view a specific unit.
To use OLOT on a mobile device, launch each unit using the “Mobile Version” buttons under each unit description. Printing certificates of completion for each unit is not an available feature when using OLOT on a mobile device. Additionally, users may be required to download a third-party application to view OLOT content on some mobile devices.
- Knowing What to Expect
- Technical Skills You'll Need
- Learning Skills You'll Need
- Managing the Day-to-Day
Before beginning any new endeavor, students should have some level of basic preparation and idea of what they’ll be encountering. When it comes to online learning, students should have an understanding of how the work differs from a face-to-face course, the different types of online courses and what they entail, and how to approach difficult situations like tests and troubleshooting problems. The five units in this module provide a foundational understanding of the online course experience that all students should have prior to participating in an online course.
Online vs. Traditional
Learn the basic differences between an online course and a traditional face-to-face course, including the kind of work that’s involved, the amount of time and effort required, some of the trade-offs of online learning. This introductory unit will help you decide whether online learning is right for you.
This unit covers the different types of online courses, including stand-alone and facilitated courses, and how the experience will differ based upon the type of course a learner is taking. .
Costs and Requirements
Learn about the different costs associated with online courses, including course fees, hardware and software costs, and whether you or your school will be responsible for paying them. .
This unit explains what it’s like to take a test online and describes some of the situations you may encounter in taking an online test.
Learning online requires technical knowledge and a specific set of skills because learning and instruction take place in a different setting using many different technology tools. This module provides students with an understanding of the technology needed for participating in an online course, instruction about using a variety of tools for communicating with peers and instructors, and basic information about how to use the Internet use to enhance the online learning experience.
The Right Hardware and Software
Gain a better understanding of what hardware and software you’ll need to get the fullest and most successful experience in your online course. This unit covers what types of applications and software you’ll need.
Using a Browser
The web browser is a key tool for navigating all that’s available on the Internet. This unit covers the basics on how to use a web browser and make its use easy for you in your online course.
Using a Search Engine
The ability to search the Internet for information and other resources is a key skill needed in taking an online course. This unit provides some basic instruction on how to search engines and some helpful tips for finding the results you’re looking for.
Uploading and Downloading Files
This unit covers the basic function of uploading, or sending files to others, and downloading, retrieving files for your own computer, as these two processes are essential functions when taking an online course.
Working with E-mail
This unit covers the basics of using e-mail, including sending and receiving messages, attaching files, and strategies for managing your e-mail use in an online course.
A discussion board is a very prominent feature of many online courses, and allows students to discuss a variety of topics with fellow students and instructors. This unit describes the difference between threaded and non-threaded discussion boards and basic functions like how to post and reply.
Chatting and Instant Messages
Communicating in real-time can be very helpful when taking an online course. Using tools like chat rooms and instant messaging clients can help students communicate instantly with fellow students and instructors, and help them achieve success in their online courses.
Research shows that a wide variety of factors influence student success in any educational setting. This module focuses on identifying students’ learning styles, interests, and motivations and understanding the impact they have on the learning process. It also provides techniques for effective time management and organization -- two skills that are vital for online learning success.
Different learning styles affect how quickly and effectively students learn. This unit helps students identify their own learning styles and discover how they influence their education and careers.
Interest and Motivation
Research shows that interest and motivation go a long way in determining success in an educational setting. This unit covers the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation and demonstrates how each can influence a learner’s success in an online course.
This module deals with specific elements of an online course that students will encounter on a day-to-day basis, including navigation and assignment completion, communicating with peers and instructors, and resolving problems that may arise in an online course. A good understanding of these concepts is crucial to preparing for the learning in an online course environment.
Basic Course Elements
Online courses typically have common features and elements, including announcements, syllabi, assignments, and navigation and communication tools. This unit covers the appearance, purpose and function of these elements to familiarize students.
A set of ground rules for online communication, called netiquette, helps keep communication civil and productive. This unit covers some aspects of netiquette and demonstrates how to communicate with others politely online.
This unit shows how to ensure you are making meaningful contributions to discussions in online courses, and provides some techniques on “sorting through the weeds” to find the most helpful information from everything you’ll encounter.
Students may encounter different types of problems in online courses, and should know how to deal with them effectively to resolve them. This unit covers the types of problems you may encounter, the primary contact for each of those types of problems, and strategies for describing them effectively to get them resolved.