Special Advice for online students

TESL Master's Program

Taking online courses is not the same as taking courses on-campus.  With our asynchronous online courses, the student and the faculty member interact with each other on a regular basis, but typically, the student does not interact with other students this class.  For TESL/TEFL teachers with teaching experience but without official credentials, these online courses can be ideal, as they allow you to keep you jobs from teaching ESL in an elementary school on a variance to teaching EFL in a Korean English Institute.  Not only can you keep you jobs, but you don’t have to move or commute to take these courses.  At the same, our experience with online courses suggests that you should understand that online courses are different than on-campus courses and that you most importantly you need to know your work and study style very well if you choose to take online courses.

First and foremost, online courses are not for procrastinators.  Many of the online courses have strict schedules with deadlines for assignments and exams and if the deadlines are missed and you fall behind, you fact flunking the course or withdrawing from it.  In short, if you procrastinate, you are giving us the course tuition without any benefit.  At the same time, life does include change and emergencies, and the faculty members in the program are more than willing to be flexible for emergencies, but each faculty member will have a different interpretation of an emergency.  If you are a person who schedules your days and for the most part keeps to this schedule, then online courses will work very well for you.

Second, if you have no experience whatsoever with TESL or TEFL, an online program is most likely not the best program for you.  You will not have much interaction with other students and you will not be able to participate in graduate assistantships on-campus, which provide excellent internship programs.  On the other hand, taking one or two courses online to prepare for a TEFL Peace Corps or TESL Teacher Corps assignment would be a good plan and you would actually be able to continue taking courses online during and after these assignments.

Third, for our online courses, you will need a computer that is no more than two years or so old and you will need a DSL or similar hook:  not a dial-up connection.  Our Linguistics courses required that you use special International Phonetic Alphabet scripts and only newer computers have this capability.  Also, some of our courses use videos which you check out from out library using electronic reserves:  you will simply click on the name of the video within the content part of the course web site and then be taken to the video.  These videos are videostreamed from our library, and they most probably require a good internet connection at the computer that you are using for the course. 

For more information email the TESL Director, Jim Robinson at:  jhrobinson@stcloudstate.edu.

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