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See if you are ready to take an online or hybrid course

Are You Ready to take an online course?

Are you thinking about taking an online course or several online courses? Consider the following four statements before you decide to take an online course:

1. I want to take this course because
    A. it is very important for my degree program or my job
    B. my friends are taking the course also
    C. I'm interested in the subject, but I have no deadline to complete it

If you have a strong motivation to complete your course you will do well. If not, you may want to take it at another time.

2. When course work gets tough and I don't want to study
    A. my significant other/parents/children/friends encourage me to keep going.
    B. my significant other/parents/children/friends are not concerned.
    C. my significant other/parents/children/friends discourage me from studying and encourage me to do other things.

If you have a support system, you will be motivated to complete your work. If not, others may interrupt important study time.

3. I have time to study
    A. because I do not have a lot of other obligations. I am able to fit class and study time into my weekly schedule.
    B. even though I have other obligations, because I manage my time well.
    C. but I have many obligations which may take priority over my course and study time.

If you can manage your time well, you will find the time to be an active participant in your course If you have too many other obligations (job(s), marriage, childcare, parent care, time with friends, other obligations and activities), you may not be able to keep up with your assignments.

4. I can login to my course
    A. anytime, because I have unrestricted access to a multimedia computer and an Internet connection at home or a laptop with wireless Internet access.
    B. every day, because I will be using a computer at work or in a college computer lab.
    C. only at certain times, because I will be using a computer used by other members of the family (or at a public library or at the home of a friend or relative).

If you have appropriate access to a computer and Internet connection on a daily basis during your prime study time, you will enjoy using the course software. If not, you may become discouraged by logistical and technical problems.

If you have decided that your motivation, support system, available time, and technology access are acceptable, you will need to consider the following issues (and tips) to succeed as an online student.

  • Time management

Managing your time well is the most important factor in your success as an online student. Online courses actually take more time than classroom courses because they involve reading and writing instead of listening and speaking. The time that you spent driving to campus, parking, and going to your classroom will now be spent reading and writing. In online courses discussion postings and email can accumulate quickly. You need to login every day to keep up with course communication.

  • Reading

Online courses involve a lot of reading. Information that you would normally hear in a classroom will usually be available for you to read. If you like to read, have good reading comprehension and read fast you will do very well in an online course.

  • Writing

Online courses involve a lot of writing. Things that you would normally say in a classroom will usually have to be written so that the instructor and other students can see them. If you like to write, have good writing skills and can type fast, you will do very well in an online class.

  • Self-directed learning/monitoring your own learning

In an online course, the instructor is a facilitator, not a lecturer. You must take the responsibility for your own learning. Information will be presented in your textbook and through lesson content, PowerPoint presentations, video, and Websites. It is up to you create your own learning path and monitor your own progress.

  • Efficiency and Organization

Since you will be directing your own learning, you will do much better if you are efficient and organized. Knowing the assignment due dates and test dates on the course timeline is very important. You can add private entries to your course calendar for additional reminders. Take your tests and hand in assignments early.

  • Anxiety and Stress/test taking

Everyone has some anxiety and stress when taking classes, handing in graded assignments, and taking tests. If you are concerned about the time limits and technology involved in online testing, you may want to ask your instructor if he/she will create a practice test for the students in your class. The best way to relieve anxiety is to avoid procrastination. Taking your test early in the test availability period will eliminate the anxiety of a computer crash or power outage at the last minute.