550.002.81 – Introduction to Online Learning
Third Term, AY 2015-2016

Course Syllabus

Course Description | Course Objectives | Course Topics | Course Format | Mandatory LiveTalk Attendance | Course Exercises and Grades | Contact Information | Help | Schedule | Course Materials | Do I Really Need a USB Headset Microphone and Microsoft Office? | Dropping the Course | Ethical Conduct | Disability Support Services

Course Description

Introduction to Online Learning (IOL) is a mandatory course that will prepare a learner and his or her computer for taking an online course offered through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Attention is focused on learner responsibilities and communication strategies in online courses. Course instructors do not assume that anyone taking the course is a computer expert, although it is expected that all online students have a good, basic understanding of how to operate a computer.

Please note: Do not wait until the month before a term starts to take IOL! Unforeseen issues (such as problems with LiveTalk) can require some students to take IOL multiple times before passing, and the School will not allow a student who has not passed IOL to enroll in an online course. Note also that students can take IOL a maximum of three times.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Navigate through a standard JHSPH online course
  • Use online communication tools, including the BBS and LiveTalk
  • Determine whether or not the computer that you use is capable of running JHSPH online courses
  • Discuss expectations that both faculty and student bring to online courses.

Course Topics

  • Using the Flash player
  • Using the Adobe Reader
  • Watching lecture presentations
  • Finding lecture and course resources
  • Communicating in a bulletin board (BBS)
  • Participating in LiveTalk sessions
  • Registering for online classes
  • Being a JHSPH online learner

Course Format

IOL has three modules, each of which has an exercise that must be completed. The full course can be completed in approximately 1–4 hours total over a two-week period, depending on your personal skill level. The majority of students complete the course in 60-90 minutes. Students who are uncomfortable working online may need four or more hours to complete the course requirements.

Like most of online courses at JHSPH, Introduction to Online Learning allows you to work on the class materials on your own schedule — with the notable exception of LiveTalks, which are scheduled at specific days and times.

Mandatory LiveTalk Attendance

In order to complete the requirements of this course, you must attend one of the three scheduled LiveTalk sessions in the course. The schedule of LiveTalks for each class is listed on the home page for this course as well as the course schedule. If you do not attend one of the three scheduled LiveTalk sessions in the course, you will not complete the course. No exceptions will be made to the LiveTalk attendance requirement.

Because of technical difficulties that some students have with LiveTalk, it is strongly recommended that you do not wait until the last LiveTalk in the course to try to participate. This is particularly important for students who plan on using a work computer on a network behind a firewall. Waiting until five minutes before the LiveTalk to see if you can connect to the LiveTalk is a very bad idea. Be prepared, and you'll have less stress and fewer problems.

LiveTalk times, like all times listed on course schedules in online courses at JHSPH, are set to Baltimore (Eastern) time. If you do not know your time relative to Baltimore (Eastern) time, please use this world clock to determine your local time.

Course Exercises and Grades

For IOL, you are required to read through the content and complete the exercise for each module. Additionally, you are expected to complete individual lecture evaluations and a final course evaluation. All exercises must be submitted no later than 11:59 PM EST/EDT on the last day of the course. No extensions will be granted and no exceptions will be made. If you do not complete all exercises in the time allowed, you must re-do any exercises you have already done if you take the course at a future time. Completed exercises do not carry over from offering to offering of this class.


You may use the progress tracking page in the Resources section of the course to track and confirm which exercises you have completed. If you fail to complete all the exercises, then you must re-register for the course. You may take the course a maximum of three times.

If you successfully complete all exercises in the class, you will receive email notification of completion of the course. You will also have access to the course Web site for future reference. No grades are given for this course, nor will it appear on any official Johns Hopkins transcript.

Contact Information

For technical support:

For questions about course content or completion:
Brian Klaas

For questions about enrollment in IOL:
Joyce Mapp



Concerns about course topics and assignments
Technical concerns about the functionality and operation of course Web pages (before emailing, please make sure that you can replicate the problem)
  • CTL Help, the central help system for all tech support inquiries related to online courses
Technical help with JHSPH email or desktop applications
  • JHSPH User Support: 410-955-3781


Click on the "Schedule" link at the top of this page to view the schedule for this class, including all dates and times of course LiveTalks.

Course Materials

All online classes at JHSPH require that students have a USB headset microphone in order to participate in LiveTalk sessions. Information and recommendations about headset microphones for LiveTalks can be found on the computing requirements page.

No textbook is required for this course. For additional course-related information, please use the resources listed in the Web links section of each module and explore any other resources in support of mastering the course material.

Do I Really Need a USB Headset Microphone and Microsoft Office?

While you can get away with not having a headset mic for IOL, you need one for regular, for-credit, academic courses. Faculty expect to be able to speak to any student, at any time, during a LiveTalk, and more and more faculty are making student presentations and voice participation in LiveTalks part of their course’s final grade.
If you plan to only take Introduction to Online Learning and not any other online course offered by JHSPH, you do not need to purchase Microsoft Office nor a USB headset microphone. If you take any other online course from JHSPH, you must have both Microsoft Office and a USB headset microphone before beginning that course.

Dropping the Course

There’s no problem with dropping the course at any time. There’s no penalty and nothing will show up on your transcript. Please send your request to drop the class to Joyce Mapp (jmapp@jhsph.edu).

You can re-enroll in IOL at any time by going to the same page that you enrolled for IOL in the first place:


Instead of creating a new eLearning account, you’ll just use your existing account.

Ethical Conduct

The academic ethics code, as discussed in the Policy and Procedure Memorandum for Students, March 31, 1998, will be adhered to in this class.

Disability Support Services

If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact Betty H. Addison in the Office of Career Services and Disability Support: dss@jhsph.edu, 410-955-3034, or Room E-1140.