Learning Modes

Tips to help you succeed in online and in-person courses

Oakton offers six different types of instruction. When you register for your courses in myOakton, you will see an instruction type below the title of the course.

Check out the sections below for important information and helpful tips about each mode of instruction.

We asked faculty members across the College for tips for student success.

Here’s what they want you to know:

  • If you have questions, you should always feel welcome to contact your instructor via email. They will include their contact information on the syllabus.
  • Instructors often communicate via email. Make sure that your student profile includes your email address and check your email regularly.
  • Most classes, online or in-person, require access to a web-enabled device. Having access to a computer and internet will be essential for your success. The College provides laptops and wifi hotspots to students who need them. Contact it@oakton.edu to learn more.
  • All classes use D2L, an online platform where students can access course materials. Log into D2L before your first class and familiarize yourself with the platform.
  • There may be additional costs associated with taking some courses including the purchase of books, lab kits, or software. You can reach out to Financial Aid if you need assistance covering these costs.

In-person courses require you to attend class meetings face-to-face, where you will interact with your instructor and classmates. Most of your independent and group work will happen outside of class.

Here are a few tips for success:

  • The first day of class is very important. If you can’t attend, make sure to tell your instructor in advance.
  • It takes at least half an hour to travel between the Des Plaines and Skokie campuses by car, and longer by public transportation. Plan your schedule with plenty of time to commute.
  • Find the building, room number and start date for your classes in myOakton.

Online live courses are similar to in-person courses, except that you will meet virtually with your professor and classmates using Zoom, Google Meet or Big Blue Button. If you like the traditional in-person learning style, but would prefer to be online, this is a good choice for you.

Here are a few tips for success:

  • Just like an in-person class, you will need to attend the entire virtual class session and participate in breakout groups and other course activities.
  • This course type almost always requires a computer and internet access. Participating via phone is challenging.
  • It is helpful to be in a quiet space without distractions during your class time.
  • Some courses use a test monitoring program called Honorlock, which will be reflected in the course fee. Honorlock requires you to have a webcam and microphone and will record your face and surroundings during a proctored (monitored) exam.

Online Anytime courses allow you to learn independently with the support of an instructor. You will access course materials through an online learning platform. You can meet with your instructor by appointment, via email or by visiting them during set times called office hours.

Here are a few tips for success:

  • Much of your participation in the course will take place through independent reading and writing and scheduled discussion posts.
  • Like other course types, you will have regular assignments to turn into the instructor on a schedule. Make sure you look ahead on the syllabus and plan for assignments.
  • This course type requires strong time management skills. We suggest that you set a weekly schedule for participation and log on at least two or three times a week to check for course updates.

Hybrid courses mix in-person courses and online anytime work. There are many ways to design a hybrid course—some meet in person often, while others may require more online work.

Here are a few tips for success:

  • You will need to attend the in-person classes and will be expected to interact with the instructor and other students. Online work may include group or collaborative work.
  • Read the syllabus carefully and plan ahead. You will need to know your responsibilities for the class meetings and online assignments and plan accordingly.
  • Check out the tips for in-person and online anytime courses—many of those tips will help you be successful in hybrid classes, too.

(Mode launches in Spring 2024)

Online Mix courses mix online live class meetings and online anytime work. The students and instructor have required scheduled meetings as a group and course content is delivered online through D2L (learning management software). Instructors are available to meet by appointment, through set office hours, or via email.

Check out info about Online Live and Online Anytime modes (above) for great tips for success in Online Mix classes.  

(Mode launches in Spring 2024)

Flex Classes (In-person with synchronous option)
While the instructor is in person, students can engage in class in one of two ways, in person or online live (synchronously). Students may move in and out of the two modes based on learning preferences and/or on their life circumstances at any given moment. Students should make every attempt to attend in person but do have the option to join synchronously as needed.

Flex Plus Classes (In-person with synchronous and asynchronous option)
While the instructor is in person, students can engage in learning in one of three ways, in person, online live (synchronously) or online anytime (asynchronously). Students may move in and out of the various modes based on learning preferences and/or their life circumstances at any given moment. Students should make every attempt to attend in person but do have the option to join synchronously or participate asynchronously as needed.  

Here are a few tips for success for flex and flex plus classes:

  • Be sure you understand your professor's expectations for participation for the way you are engaging in class on a particular day. Familiarize yourself with the instructor's "netiquette" and/or discussion guidelines, depending on whether you are participating online or in person.
  • Your professor may advise you to attend via a particular mode on a given day/week.
  • Think carefully about what mode (in person or online live) works best for you to master the material.
  • Follow the tips above that match the mode (in-person or online live) you are using on a given day.
  • You are not limited to one mode. Remember, you can switch your attendance mode at any time during the semester.
  • Try out more than one mode in the first weeks of class and contact your instructor about any issues.
  • If you are engaging synchronously (online live), it's preferable to have a laptop/computer (rather than a phone) and a decent internet connection. Contact IT for a laptop and/or wireless hotspot you can borrow.
  • Be familiar with and check D2L and email frequently.