Are You Ready for Online?

Students studying at a table.

Taking an online course is different than going to a classroom.  A "yes" answer to most of the following questions indicates that online courses may be right for you.

Do you have reliable access to a computer and the Internet?

To be a successful student in an online course, you need to have regular unlimited access to a computer and the Internet. 

You will also need a reliable Internet connection. If you experience frequent busy or dropped signals, you may have difficulty completing courses on time and participating in chat sessions.

Do you enjoy writing and participating in discussions?

Most communication in an online class consists of written messages between you and the instructor and discussions among class participants. If you have difficulty with an assignment or have questions, you must be willing to "speak up" to inform the instructor. Good typing skills also are a plus.

Do you frequently use e-mail and browse the web?

You must login to your online course and interact several times a week. This can include working on assignments, participating in discussions, and responding to e-mail. If you're not accustomed to routinely accessing the Internet, it may be difficult to motivate yourself to do the work. You must be disciplined enough to keep your coursework current.

Do you read course material carefully?

All of the material you're required to read for this course is online and you must read it carefully. Some students just print out the syllabus and key information to read offline. It's important to realize you can't just skim over the content and be able to have a clear understanding of when assignments are due and what is expected of you.

Does your schedule make it difficult to attend classes on campus?

One of the major reasons students register for online classes are for the convenience of being able to take the course without having to travel to the course location. Do keep in mind you still must spend about the same amount of time on coursework as for any normal course or workshop.

Do you like to plan ahead and finish assignments a few days ahead of schedule?

It's often tempting to wait until the last minute. If you're a procrastinator, you may have already learned that sometimes things don't work quite as well as you had hoped. With online courses, it's better to get your work done a little ahead of time so if problems do occur, they can be resolved prior to the deadline.

Do you enjoy solving problems and learning new programs on the computer?

Sometimes learning new programs or applications on the computer can be frustrating if they don't work exactly as you expect. Taking an online course may require you to learn new techniques beyond just e-mail for interacting with other students in the class.

Qualities of a Successful Online Student

Successful online students are committed to their studies. While online courses offer more flexibility and convenience, they can be more demanding of time and energy than regular courses or workshops. Online students need to:

Next Steps