These questions are intended to help you decide whether to take a fully online class but may also assist you in understanding some of the demands any online class may entail.
1. Are you able to login regularly to a computer with Internet access?
Response: Fully online learners should be able to commit anywhere between 6 to 12 hours per week per three-credit class, depending on the instructor. Having access to a good and speedy Internet connection is integral to quickly navigating courses and completing assignments.
2. Do you have a computer at home with Internet access?
Response: Please note that dial up or satellite connections may not be sufficient for specific courses (i.e. where video is used); please contact instructor about the type of content you are expected to be able to view.
3. Are you comfortable taking notes, reading or viewing material from various sources
(textbooks, articles, Websites) including content delivered solely online?
Response: Your ability to consume or be engaged by/with online content, whether textual or audio/video is important to being successful online. Courses also may require you to be able to find information via the Internet. If you learn best by hearing the instructor, you may want to consider an on-campus class or one that is less dependent on online learning content.
4. Are you comfortable addressing technical problems and learning challenges at a
Response: An online instructor cannot see her/his students and won't know if you are confused, bored, or frustrated unless you are willing to talk to her/him about it. She/he will also expect you to be able to take the appropriate steps to work through any technical problems with the appropriate university support staff.
5. Are you at ease learning new computer software, technologies and techniques?
Response: Learning online will expose you to some new and not always comfortable ways of experiencing learning. The ability and willingness to be flexible, adaptable and open to things that are new are critical to a good online experience.
6. Are you comfortable working independently without constant attention and direction
from an instructor?
Response: You will need to be self-motivated, self-disciplined and have good time-management skills as an online learner. You will need to plan to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments.
7. Do you have reasonably strong writing/typing skills and feel confident expressing
yourself in writing?
Response: The majority of your interaction, even with voice chat or other voice-oriented tools, will be through writing. It is important for you to be comfortable and competent in your writing ability to be able to express your ideas effectively online.
8. Do you feel that quality learning can take place without having face-to-face interaction?
Response: If you do not feel comfortable with the concept of online learning you probably should not sign up for an online course. You should also be cautious and work to improve your skills before taking a course that delivers content, requires submission of assignments and communicates substantially online.
9. Do you feel competent in assessing your own progress and knowing what assignments
are due without frequent feedback from the instructor?
Response: Some online courses provide minimal direct feedback. You will need to be able to easily understand where you are in terms of your course activities and assignments without continual guidance.
10. Do you feel comfortable and competent interacting and communicating with your
instructor and fellow classmates via email, discussion groups, and chat rooms?
Response: Online interactions are often an essential element of the learning experience. Courses often require you to communicate via email and course messaging tools (chat, discussion boards, wikis, blogs). You will need to be able to work well cooperatively, even when your communication is restricted to the course communication tools to able to work with others to complete projects or assignments. This includes being willing to share your ideas, carefully considering your responses to others, and being prepared to have your ideas challenged occasionally.
If you answered YES to 7-10 questions, you should be successful in an online environment.
If you answered 6 or less questions YES, you might want to improve your computer and time management skills before taking an online course or course heavily dependent upon online learning.