Etudes Basics: Self-Paced Tutorial
By Dr. Gayle L. Fornataro, Virtual Valley Student Success Coordinator
1. What is Etudes?
2. Setting Your Computer to Run Etudes
2A. Checking Computer and Internet Requirements
2B. Using a Supported Web Browser
2C. Setting Browser Cache
2E. Enabling Browser Cookies
2F. Disabling Pop-Up Blockers
3. Logging on to Your Class Website
4. Getting Help
5. Keys to Success
The Etudes Course Management System (software) is at the heart of the Virtual Valley program for online education, allowing faculty and students to engage in a dynamic, flexible, virtual classroom environment in classes taught by the same knowledgeable faculty that makes LAVC a respected institution of higher learning in California. Although distance education requires that you be self-motivated and disciplined, when you take an online class at Virtual Valley, you do not learn in isolation. You become part of a virtual community, engaging in class discussions and working collaboratively with your peers, guided closely by your instructor.
To enable all this, online classes use a computer program, commonly called a "CMS," or "Course Management System [software]" to create the virtual classrooms where you read lesson modules, submit assignments and tests, receive feedback on your work from your instructor, moniter your grade throughout the semester in the Gradebook, engage in class discussions, peer review, and collaborative learning activities, and do everything else necessary for you to have a positive, engaging, rigorous, effective, and personally and professionally rewarding educational experience.
Run by the Information Technology staff at the ETUDES Consortium (an independent group that LAVC contracts with to use it), ETUDES stands for Easy-to-Use-Distance-Education-Software. Etudes, the offical Virtual Valley Course Management Software program, lives on the Internet. You do not have to "download" any software to your own machine*, but rather you visit a Web site and login to your Etudes account, where you can access all your class Web sites in one place.
While this program really is "easy-to-use," there are some important points you will need to know about using Etudes that might not be obvious. The six important sections of this tutorial in Lesson II are designed to teach you how to set up your computer run Etudes properly so that you will get the most out of your online class with a minimum of frustrating technical problems.
- - -
* While you do not need to download Etudes itself, you may need to download some other software programs, known as "plug-ins," such as Macromedia Flash or some sort of a media player, to access all of the content your intstructor uses. You may also need to download a new Web browser if you are currently using one that is not Etudes-supported -- there is more information about supported browsers in Lesson II.2 of this tutorial.
Students who are most successful in online courses are those who are self-motivated, self-disciplined (able to make and stick to a study schedule), and who have good technology skills.
Before taking signing up for a class, check out our Online Readiness Quiz
Once you are in an online class we recommend that you take two online tutorials, available on the Virtual Valley Student Resources webpage, or by clicking on the links below:
Students taking online classes are more likely to be successful if they possess the following technology skills before starting their course:
- Know how to use a mouse and keyboard to select and start programs, and to enter information.
- Know how to connect to the Internet and use web browser software to locate information on the Internet.
- Know how to create and manage folders on a computer, including finding, uploading, downloading, and saving individual files.
- Know how to send email attachments
- Know how to download and install "plug-in" software such as media viewers, java, etc.
- Know how to manage security settings on your computer through the Internet browser software and firewall.
- Know how to use word processing software such as Microsoft Word to create, edit, and print text documents.
- Know how to "cut and paste" and "copy and paste" within documents.
- Know how to send and receive messages using e-mail.
If you need help developing any of these skills prior to taking an online class, study the following two tutorials, available on the Student Resources page of the virtual valley website:
The short answer is no. Online and hybrid courses teach the same material as our on-campus courses.
Online classes may even require more weekly work, but they are more convenient.
Students who have poor technology skills or who need the discipline of regularly scheduled class meetings in order to stay on task are likely to feel that online courses are more difficult than classroom-based courses.
Students who have good technology skills, are self-disciplined, regularly make time to study and complete assignments, and have good reading and writing skills are likely to feel that online courses are similarly challenging to on-campus classes.
Yes. The exact same content is taught in online as in a traditional course that meets on campus.
All online and hybrid courses are developed by LAVC faculty.
These courses are reviewed by the department chair and an instructional designer.
For course components that are online, you do not normally have to be online at a certain time. Instead, you can study when it is convenient for you, as long as you complete and submit required assignments and tests by due dates indicated in the syllabus.
Some instructors may require small group or other discussions to take place at a schedules time, which is often negotiable. Contact your instructor for any specific time requirements.
If you are taking an online class or a hybrid, you don't need to go out and buy a computer. HOWEVER you do need frequent access to a reliable computer.
LAVC does have a computer lab in BJ 103. For lab hours see the following link: Help Desk/Computer Lab Information.
For more information about the lab, contact Ken Freeman at (818) 947-2568.
No. LAVC offers its online classes through the Etudes course management system, which is available over the Internet. All you need is a good computer with a reliable Internet connection.
However, some instructors may require purchase of special programs, such as Microsoft Word, or other discipline-specific software. Check with your instructor prior to the beginning of the class for any additional software requirements.
Yes, you need an active email account. Those are available for free from Gmail, Yahoo, etc.
Regular access to a good computer
Reliable Internet access. While dial-up modems will work, they are very slow, so cable or digital Internet connections are recommended.
Note: If AOL is your Internet service, you will not be able to use your AOL browser, but will need to download another browser.
- For more information about computer, Internet, and browser requirements, see the System Requirements.
A good word processing program, such as Microsoft Word (some professors require this program).
Check with your instructor to see if there are any additional equipment requirements prior to taking class.