Is Online Right for Me?
Test your readiness for online learning
Online courses can be ideal for busy students. They eliminate the need to physically attend class while still providing for interaction with the instructor and students. If this is your first experience with an online course, you may be wondering if this is an appropriate learning environment for you. Use the following questions to help guide your choice toward the best option for your learning objectives. If needed, your academic adviser can provide additional guidance and information.
My knowledge and comfort level in the use of a computer and the internet is:
A. Expert. I use both a computer and the internet on a regular basis.
B. Comfortable. I can perform basic tasks on both a computer and the internet.
C. Nervous. I typically do not use the computer.
The availability of a computer with internet access for my use is:
A. Readily accessible. I own a computer with internet access.
B. Accessible on a limited basis. I have access through my local school, library, or a friend.
C. Not accessible. I would need to pursue options to access a computer and the internet.
When given directions, I typically:
A. Ask questions immediately if I don’t understand.
B. Try to figure out the directions on my own and ask questions if needed.
C. Need someone to explain the directions to me.
I would describe myself as:
A. Someone who completes assignments and tasks on time or ahead of time.
B. Someone who is usually on time but can get distracted if other tasks emerge.
C. Someone who is typically late or needs to be reminded of due dates.
If you responded C to any of the questions, an online course may not be the best learning environment for you.
Key online course lessons
• Since courses are delivered strictly online, it is necessary to have a basic understanding and level of comfort in the use of the computer and the internet.
• Generally, you will be required to access your online course several times throughout the week; therefore, it is important that you have access to a computer with internet on a regular basis.
• In an online course, where facial expressions cannot be seen, it is difficult for your instructor to determine if you are confused, have a question or don’t understand something. It is necessary that you feel comfortable to “speak up” and let someone know that you need help.
• Since there are no regular meeting dates in an online course, it can be easy to fall behind. It is important to have self-discipline and to stay motivated.
In taking an online course, you join a rapidly growing group of students who are utilizing technology to advance their education and career potential. But, because online courses are quite different from face-to-face ones, it’s important to be prepared for the unique challenges and benefits of studying online.
• Plan ahead.
• Online courses are demanding and move rapidly. Plan to devote 15-20 hours per week to each course.
• Although you are not required to access your course on specific days, you should plan on accessing several times during the week. Most instructors expect assignments and discussion postings to be completed throughout the week. Waiting until the weekend may affect your grade.
• If at any time during the term you know that you will be unable to access your course, contact your instructor as soon as possible.
• Order your required books and materials ahead of time so that you receive them prior to the start of your course.
• Start immediately upon being granted course access. Waiting to order your materials and access the course may cause you to fall behind. Not all instructors allow students to submit late assignments.
• Ensure you have open and regular access to a computer with internet.
• Verify that your computer meets the minimum system requirements established by the provider so you can fully access the online environment.
• Ask for help when you need it.
• Because your instructor and fellow students cannot see your expression when you are confused or have a question, it is imperative that you speak up.
• If you are experiencing technical difficulties, please contact the Help Desk. It is always a good idea to notify your instructor as well, especially if the issue will affect your participation in the course.