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Is Online Learning Right For You?

Assess Online Learning Style

The following questions are designed to help you understand which skills are necessary for you to be a successful online learner. The categories are divided into individual characteristics, time management skills, feelings about learning, and technology skills.  Be honest in accessing yourself.

Individual Characteristics

 As an online student, you will be required to do lots of reading and writing. You should also be a good independent learner who does not procrastinate. You will undoubtedly take exams online some of which may be timed exams.

  • Are you a self-motivated and self-disciplined person?

  • When it comes to schoolwork and deadlines, are you a procrastinator? 

  • Are you able to meet deadlines?

  • Are you comfortable communicating in writing? 

  • What is the highest-level writing course that you have completed?

  • Do you enjoy reading? 

  • Would you rate yourself as an average, below average, or above average reader?

  • Are you comfortable doing coursework independently?

  • If you have any disabilities, do you have adaptive software and hardware that enable you to work online?

  • Do you feel anxiety or panic during an exam so that taking an online exam would be an experience you would not want?

Time Management

Online students report that their online courses are rigorous and require time and attention rather than being less intense than a face-to-face course.  You should accurately assess your own life at this time to determine if you have the time and the tenacity to pursue an online course.

  • Does your lifestyle (family, work, personal schedule) make it difficult for you to attend courses during the day?

  • Can you dedicate the necessary time during the day or night to participate in the online learning process?  Multiple 12 by the number of 3 credit courses.  For example,  3 courses x 12 hours = 36 hours for time necessary each week for online course work.

  • Do you make a time management plan and follow it?

Thoughts about Learning

The following questions will help you focus on your perceptions of the online environment instead of the traditional face-to-face classroom. 

  • Do you feel that high quality learning can take place without having face-to-face interaction?

  • Are face-to-face class discussions helpful to you?  (Online discussions are important in online classes; but they do not happen in face-to-face.)

  • Do you subscribe to the value of introducing critical thinking into the learning process?  (Critical thinking and writing your thoughts are important in online courses.)

  • Do you have a place in your home or at work that can be claimed as yours for expended periods of time for study?

Technology Skills

The following questions will provide a framework for you to evaluate your technology skills and your access to appropriate technology for online learning.

  • Do you have (or are you willing to obtain) access to a computer and Internet connection at home?

  • Are you comfortable with email, computers, and new technologies/  (Do you know how to send attachments?)

  • How are your keyboarding skills?

  • Are you comfortable using a mouse?

  • Are you comfortable with the Internet?

  • Have you used word processing software, such as Microsoft Word?

  • Do you feel comfortable downloading and installing software programs?

  • Do you have persons and/or resources nearby that can assist you with any technical problems you might have with both software applications as well as computer hardware?