Is Online Education Right for You?

If you are thinking about taking online courses, it is important to consider whether or not you'll be successful as an online learner. Although online learning is designed to meet various learner needs, it isn’t always for everyone.

Basic Computer Skills

You should have a basic level of comfort with your computer to take online courses.  You should be able to turn it off and on, start your web browser, copy and paste text, save files, attach files, and send and receive e-mail. Many online programs also offer courses in basic computer skills to help you get started on the right foot.

Time Management Skills

Good online learners have the discipline to complete projects before the deadlines and tend not to procrastinate.  Expect to spend approximately 8 to 12 hours per week on coursework for an online course. The benefit is that you can do your coursework at a time that works for you, rather than traveling to campus and attending class at certain times.  Time management skills are essential for online learners. Assignments are often due on a weekly basis.

Motivation and Self-Discipline

Since there are not set times of day in the online courses, you must take the initiative to complete coursework on your own.  Those hours that you would normally have been sitting in a classroom you need to use well to learn the course information through the online lectures and other teaching methods used. Creating a structure and sticking to it are essential to succeeding in online learning.

Can I communicate in and learn from the written word? 

Learning online requires written communication in e-mails, chat sessions, discussions, and assignments. Reading and writing is a large part of any college course, online or face-to-face. Whether you are strong in written communication and reading now or not, the online courses will help you develop these important skills.

What about my support system?

All students, not just those going to school online, do better with supportive families – significant others, children, parents, work colleagues, and supervisors – maybe even enrolling with a buddy to create your own support system.  What does your system look like?

Do I have a place to study?

Taking online courses with in front of the TV is generally not the best idea.  Do you have a space for your books, files and printer?  Even if it’s small and perhaps shared with someone else, having a dedicated space to study is important.

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