Getting Started in an Online Course

Online Course

If you are taking an online course, it is easy to get started! To access COD’s new Learning Management System, Canvas, you can log into My COD from the right side of the main college website. Follow the steps to logging in for the first time if needed.

  1. Remember, you can set your MyCOD email to be forwarded to another email address if you choose, but it is important that you set up and use your MyCOD email as it is how the college conveys important information to all students and the only way faculty can communicate with you about grades. Get in the habit of checking it regularly. Also, remember that you have access to Office365 via your MyCOD email.
  2. This can be downloaded to your own computer so you will have consistent access to the Microsoft Office programs your instructors will expect you to use. Once you have logged into MyCOD, choose the Canvas button.
  3. When you first enter the Canvas learning management system, you will see your Dashboard. This will show courses that your instructors have “published”. Online instructors are required to have courses available by 8:00 AM on the first day of the semester. On campus, instructors may or may not utilize Canvas.
  4. If an instructor does not use Canvas, you will not find the course on your Dashboard. This does not mean there is an issue with your enrollment, which can always be verified via Web Advisor. From your Dashboard, you can also see what is on your to-do list, what is coming up, checking your grades, or access your Canvas Inbox.
  5. You can also update your account settings, including adding a picture or avatar, and, perhaps most importantly, update your notifications preferences. Canvas allows you to customize what information you want to receive and how you want to receive it, including via text message.
  6. In order to add additional notification methods, you must access the “Settings” page and then add email addresses or other contact methods. Please note that this does not update this information with the college. These updates only apply to Canvas. Any updates to this information you want to provide the college need to be made via Web Advisor.
  7. Once you have completed this step, you can access the “Notifications” page and make choices about what information you want to be notified about and how often. We recommend that you regularly receive “Announcements” from the system as this will alert you to updates your instructor may have posted. Successful online students keep in touch with their instructors and regularly check into their courses.
  8. When you are satisfied with your settings, choose a course to explore from the Dashboard or Courses list. Faculty may have you begin on the “Home” page or directly in a specific area of the course. Just learn how your instructor(s) organize their courses and know that just like face-to-face courses, online classes may be organized differently from one another. When in doubt, ask your instructor for clarification.
  9. In a Canvas course, you may find links to the Syllabus, Modules, Assignments, Discussions, or Quizzes. Know that in Canvas, all exams are called “Quizzes”. In Canvas, the “Syllabus” may provide you with an overview of the course or more detailed policies your instructors want to share with you, but it also provides a list of assignments that are due in the course. This is a great spot to always check when you first come into a course. Successful online students keep up with their work and have a system for staying on schedule with due dates and assignments.

The first week of an online class can be overwhelming, so if you have a plan for how you will get the work done ahead of time, it will be less so. Remember, the work you see posted do not all have to be done at once! But also know that just like a face-to-face course, online courses still have specific due dates and “attendance” policies.

The best way to learn about your online courses is to start exploring them as soon as the instructors make them available to you. It’s important in an online course to read everything closely so you understand what you are being asked to do and when in doubt, ask questions!

Online instructors should tell you the best ways to contact them or their preferred method of communication, whether it is via email, the Canvas Inbox system, or a Q&A Discussion. If you are unsure, find out what your instructor prefers! Remember that online students are required to access their online courses and complete any assigned “Check-In” activities within the first 48 hours of the semester or they can be dropped.


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