Once students have registered and are enrolled in an online course, they will receive an email containing their login credentials and start-up instructions. Each student uses a temporary password to login to their online classroom for the first time, but will be immediately prompted to change the password. The learning environment is beautifully designed - not only to be visually pleasing, but also to be intuitive and user-friendly. To ensure student computers can access lesson tools and materials, an automated "system check" runs at each login. All new students are also automatically enrolled in the New Student Orientation course.
The New Student Orientation is a free, one-hour tutorial that guides the student through the basics of being a successful online learner. Whether students are experienced computer users or brand new to online learning, this orientation will give them the confidence and experience they need to navigate the course environment and utilize the tools for taking assessments, participating in discussion forums and uploading written assignments. The course makes use of video tutorials as well as opportunities to practice using the tools of an online course. Even after students have completed the final assessment in their orientation course, it remains available to them as an on-demand resource for training, reminders, or review.
Before students begin their first day as online learners, they are introduced to their online instructor through a welcome email and a welcome phone or Skype conversation. As they begin academic courses, students use the patterns and practices they perfected during orientation to navigate the environment and interact with course material. One of the first tasks is to submit a pace chart detailing their plan to complete the course. Lesson materials are engaging and interactive, providing students with a challenge, but also all the academic resources and accountability needed to thrive. Although course content is delivered through the online lessons and not by the online instructor, students interact regularly with their teacher. Online instructors provide constant feedback on assessments and assignments, and engage students through discussion forums, course mail, and regularly scheduled calls and chats.
Although students are surrounded by assistance, training and resources, sometimes technical problems arise. Sevenstar's learning environment features a searchable "help" knowledge base through an icon link available on every page. Also available on every course page is a "Support" tab, which provides students with quick answers and downloadable resources to get immediate assistance on common issues. It also provides steps to take if these resources do not answer their questions, including a ticket form to ask a live Support Specialist for expert assistance.