Online learning can be a great learning opportunity provided you have the necessary skills, resources and attributes. Answer the following 25 questions to help you determine if online learning is suitable for you.
1. I anticipate being an active participant in an online course and I am willing to ask for help when needed.
a. Agree: Great. If you are proactive in asking for help, and also actively participate, you will be much more successful.
b. Disagree: If you are an active participant and are willing to ask for help, you will be much more successful. Instructors cannot see your face to know if you are confused. You have to ask questions and not be afraid to ask questions. It is your responsibility to ask for clarification if you have questions or are not clear on the subject matter.
2. I am willing to use email, discussion boards, and other online tools to clearly communicate in written form with my classmates and instructors.
a. Agree: Excellent. In an online class you will need to use messages, email, discussion boards and other tools to communicate with your classmates and instructors.
b. Disagree: Uh oh. This could be a problem. In an online class, you will need to use messages, email, and discussion boards as well as other tools. You might have to step out of your comfort zone and become more familiar with these tools.
3. I am comfortable working with others, making certain that our group achieves our goals in a timely fashion.
a. Agree: It is important to be comfortable working with others as some classes may have group assignments.
b. Disagree: Some online classes have group assignments. It will be important to work as a group to complete the goals set up in these assignments.
4. I can understand directions and usually do not need clarification.
a. Agree: Since you will need to follow written instructions provided by your instructor, this is a very important skill.
b. Disagree: In online classes, you will be expected to follow written instructions given in the course. If you have a problem understanding directions without clarification, please make sure to reach out to your instructor for more details. If this is difficult for you, you may be more successful in a face-to-face class.
5. I have good research skills and understand basic web navigation and search strategies.
a. Agree: Perfect. Knowing how to navigate the internet and your course are very important skills.
b. Disagree: If you have difficulty with researching, web navigation and search strategies, you may want to strengthen those skills before signing up for an online course.
1. I am willing to spend at least 10-20 hours each week for a 3-credit online course. (Time required per week varies by number of credits per course and duration of course – 14 week, 10 week, 7 week, etc.)
a. Agree: You will have to spend at least as much time in an online class as you would in a face-to-face class, with additional time on coursework instead of time spent on coming to class, so it does take time management skills and dedication.
b. Disagree: Online courses are as difficult – if not more difficult – than face-to-face classes. You must be willing to spend at least as much time in an online class as you would in a face-to-face class. Many students find it helpful to schedule regular times each week to work on their online class. It takes time management skills and dedication.
2. I keep a record of what my assignments are and when they are due
a. Agree: Keeping a record of due dates is a great way to stay on top of your assignments.
b. Disagree: Your instructor will post assignments and due dates. It is your responsibility to keep track of what assignments need to be completed and when to submit them.
3. I plan my work in advance so that I can turn in my assignments on time.
a. Agree: Working in advance and looking ahead is a great time management skill!
b. Disagree: You should always look ahead and know what is coming up next. If you wait until the last minute to check when an assignment is due, you could miss a deadline. Stay organized. Working in advance is part of time management skills.
4. I am usually able to stay on task and avoid distractions (texting, Facebook) while studying.
a. Agree: It is important to avoid distractions and stay focused on your class.
b. Disagree: It is a good idea to turn off electronics and remove distractions so you can stay focused on your class. Texting or checking social media will interrupt your concentration, undo your learning, and cause you to miss deadlines.
5. I can meet deadlines without needing frequent reminders or prodding from my instructor.
a. Agree: This is so important! Instructors will expect you to meet deadlines without reminders or prodding.
b. Disagree: Instructors should not have to remind you to turn in your assignments. They will post due dates and expect that you will be responsible and turn assignments in on those dates. If you have questions about an assignment, contact your instructor immediately so they will have time to respond.
6. I have already thought about how I will need to change my schedule to fit this course in.
a. Agree: By planning ahead like this, you are already preparing for your course.
b. Disagree: Online courses require considerable time and effort – possibly more than a face-to-face class. It is critical to adjust your schedule to spend time studying and completing assignments.
1. An online course is more difficult than a traditional face-to-face class.
a. Agree: This is true! You need to be a motivated, self-starter and be able to follow complex instructions and schedules set up by your instructor.
b. Disagree: Some people believe that online courses are easier and can be completed in less time than face-to face courses. This is not true. Online courses require much more effort because you are in charge of your time and your learning. You must be a motivated, self-starter and be able to follow directions and meet deadlines set by your instructor.
2. I believe that I am responsible for my own education; what I learn is ultimately my responsibility.
a. Agree: This is very important. You will be more successful if you understand that what you learn is ultimately your responsibility.
b. Disagree: Ultimately, you are responsible for your own education. Instructors will provide the information and the support, but what you learn is your responsibility. It takes hard work and dedication, but is worth the effort.
3. If my computer (or software) breaks down at some point during the course, I will get it fixed immediately and will use another system in the meantime.
a. Agree: We can never predict what may happen. It is great to have a backup plan.
b. Disagree: Always have a backup plan. It is your responsibility, not your instructor’s, to find a way to complete your course if your computer or software has issues.
4. I think that I would be able to complete my work even when there are distractions in my home (e.g., television, children, and such) or distractions online (e.g. texting, surfing, etc.)
a. Agree: There may be many interruptions when you are working on your course. It is important to be able to complete your work even with distractions.
b. Disagree: Interruptions can be devastating to learning and should be avoided if at all possible. Be sure to adjust your schedule to spend the required additional time studying and completing assignments that may be required.
1. I am comfortable and proficient at creating, saving, locating, and opening different types of files on a computer.
a. Agree: These are very important skills. In an online class, you will have to use these skills often.
b. Disagree: These are important skills. You may want to brush up on these skills before taking an online class.
2. I have a reliable high-speed internet connection on my computer with an operating system that supports standard web browsers and word processing applications. I am aware of any internet restrictions where I live that would prevent me from accessing College websites.
a. Agree: These are “must haves” to be successful.
b. Disagree: If you do not have these resources, now is not the best time to take an online class. Wait until you have acquired these resources, then sign up.
3. I am comfortable using online discussion forums and understand netiquette.
a. Agree: This will be important as most online classes use discussion forums.
b. Disagree: If you are not comfortable using online discussion forums, or don’t understand netiquette, please review the information at the end of this survey. There are many great articles about netiquette on the internet. See suggested links at the end of this survey.
4. I have my own relatively new computer onto which I can install any additional software necessary for the course.
a. Agree: This is important to take online courses. If your computer is older, you may have issues with completing your course.
5. I have the ability to download plugins and media readers that may be necessary to access some course content.
a. Agree: This is important to take online courses. There may be requirements in your course that have you access these.
1. I prefer to take control of my own learning.
a. Agree: This is a strength when taking online classes. You have a better chance of being successful by taking control of your own learning.
b. Disagree: Taking online classes is challenging. You must be able to take control of your own learning to be successful.
2. I do not have a problem completing tasks without feedback or input.
a. Agree: It is important to be able to complete tasks without feedback or input. Your instructor is always there to assist if you need help.
b. Disagree: If you often need feedback or input, you will need to be proactive in seeking guidance and assistance from your instructor. Or you may need to take a face-to-face course.
3. I enjoy solving problems.
a. Agree: Although instructors give detailed instructions to follow, being a good problem solver will be an asset in taking online classes.
b. Disagree: Although instructors give detailed instructions, there are times when you will need to problem-solve on your own to make sure you are successful. You can always contact your instructor if you need assistance.
4. In most learning situations I enjoy challenging requirements.
a. Agree: This is a strength when taking online classes as online classes are more challenging than face-to-face classes.
b. Disagree: Taking online classes is challenging. If you think you will have problems with the challenging requirements that come with taking online courses, you may want to wait until you feel more comfortable to sign up.
5. I am a good reader and am capable of determining main ideas and concepts when reading college textbooks.
a. Agree: Online classes will require independent reading and studying.
b. Disagree: Since online classes require more independent reading and studying, it is important to have strong reading and comprehension skills. If you do not feel that you have strong skills in these areas, it may better to wait until you have improved in these areas before taking an online class.