Am I Ready for Online Learning?

For each question, click on the button beside the answer that most represents your own interests, habits, and needs. Note the reason for each question after you answer.

1. My need to take this course now is:

A. High. I need it immediately for a specific job goal.

B. Moderate. I could take it on campus later or substitute another course.

C. Low. It could be postponed.

Why this is important:
Generally, the more urgently you need to take an online course, the more motivated you’ll be, and therefore more successful. If you have a strong reason for taking an online course, like a job goal, you’re more motivated to spend the time to complete it.

2. Considering my work and personal schedule, the amount of time I have to work on an online course is:

A. More than for a traditional course at the college.

B. The same as for a traditional course at the college.

C. Less than for a traditional course at the college.

Why this is important:
Allowing more study time while you’re taking an online course is a good idea, partly because it may take a while to get used to the way it works, and partly because there’s generally more reading and writing to do in online courses. Of course, when you work on your course is up to you.

3. Coming to campus on a regular schedule is:

A. Extremely difficult for me. I have commitments (work, family or personal) during times when classes are offered.

B. A little difficult, but I can rearrange my schedule to allow for regular attendance on campus.

C. Easy for me, but I want the option of not attending.

Why this is important:
If online is the only way that you can take your course, you’ll be very motivated to succeed in it. If you’re considering taking an online course, but you also can get to campus easily, you may want to review your reasons for considering it. It might save commute time, but you’ll need to stay motivated to keep up with the coursework.

4. The space I have available for studying is:

A. Private, quiet and roomy enough for me to work.

B. At the kitchen table, with other family members coming and going.

C. I can study at the public library or at work when I’m not busy.

Why this is important:
Any study space should be private, quiet, and roomy. For online courses, you need to have access to a computer as well, so your study area must also be where the computer is located, which is ideally at home.

5.  I would classify myself as someone who:

A. Often gets things done ahead of time.

B. Needs reminding sometimes to get things done on time.

C. Puts things off until the last minute and sometimes don’t get them done.

Why this is important:
If you have the self-discipline to complete tasks, online courses should be no problem for you. If you need frequent reminders to stay on schedule, online learning might be more difficult for you.

6.  In my past school experience, I:

A. Studied a lot outside of class.

B. Sometimes studied outside of class, but usually with a friend.

C. Almost never needed to study outside of class.

Why this is important:
Since there is no set class time, all your studying will be outside of class. If you’re used to doing this regularly, you will be a lot more successful in and online course.

7.  I would classify my reading ability as:

A. Good. I read pretty fast and usually understand what I read without help.

B. Average. I read pretty fast, but I sometimes need help to understand what I read.

C. Below average. I read slowly and often need help to understand what I read.

Why this is important:
It’s important to be a good reader when taking online courses, as most of the course information is communicated in print materials.

8.  When I receive an assignment, I prefer:

A. Figuring out the instructions myself.

B. Trying to follow the directions on my own, then asking for help as needed.

C. Having the instructions explained to me.

Why this is important:
Online courses require you to work from written directions. The instructor can be available to help, but it may not be at the time you want.

9.  When I study:

A. I am able to prioritize assignments and make 6-9 hours for every 3 credit hour course available for study each week.

B. I am able to prioritize assignments, but don’t always have the time to finish them.

C. I know what the assignments are, but work on the easiest ones first, and often don’t get them all completed.

Why this is important:
Online courses may require more time than traditional courses. If you’re not able to stay on schedule in a traditional course, you’ll probably have more trouble in an online course.

10.  When I study:

A. I often check outside resources like dictionaries or websites to try to understand better.

B. I like to have all the resources I need, given to me by the instructor.

C. I don’t like to use any resources that aren’t assigned by the instructor.

Why this is important:
You need to be more active in seeking out information for an online course than for a traditional course. You need to be able to find answers to questions on your own, and some assignments require you to use outside resources that you find on your own.

11.  Feeling that I am part of a class and a college is:

A. Not particularly necessary for me.

B. Somewhat important to me.

C. Very important to me.

Why this is important:
Online courses require you to be an independent learner. If feeling like you “belong” to a class or the college is important for you, you may feel isolated taking online courses.

12. Classroom discussion is:

A. Rarely helpful to me.

B. Sometimes helpful to me.

C. Almost always helpful to me.

Why this is important:
Some people learn best by listening to others, especially in class. Though most online courses include discussions, videos, or chats, it’s a different form of communication than in-class discussion.

13.  My favorite way to communicate with my friends and co-workers is through:

A. Leaving phone messages and email.

B. Texting, social forums, or instant messaging.

C. Face to face conversations.

Why this is important:
If you need instant responses as in face to face or even “live” online types of communication, you may have difficulty with online courses. Most communication is asynchronous (one way, with a time delay) in online courses.

14. I feel that I can better express my opinions:

A. In an online discussion format or on paper, where I can write my thoughts.

B. In a “live” online setting, like a webinar.

C. In a real classroom with the rest of the class.

Why this is important:
Putting your thoughts and opinions in writing is very important for online success. Though there are sometimes instances when you can interact verbally, even from a distance, it’s much rarer in online learning than writing assignments.

15. I feel that I learn better when:

A. I can study alone.

B. I study alone, but can talk to my instructor during office hours.

C. When I study with friends.

Why this is important:
Studying alone is the most common method in online courses, but most instructors have online office hours, or are available via email or phone, for short questions. Though there are often group assignments, the group might never meet together in person.

16. I have access to a reliable computer:

A. Every day, whenever I want it.

B. Three or four times a week, at work.

C. At my local library when I can get there.

Why this is important:
Of course, a computer is necessary, but it also has to be available to you at the times you want to study. Limited access can be very frustrating, or keep you from staying on schedule.

17. The computer I use has:

A. (whatever NCC has for min requirements; plus high-speed Internet access, Microsoft Office software, sound card, DVD/CD-Rom, high-resolution monitor) requirements, with the newest versions of MS Office products.)

B. A dial-up modem, lower resolution PC and a “freeware” type of word processing application.

C. Something that doesn’t meet the minimum requirements at all.

Why this is important:
There will always be a minimum configuration required for taking online courses, but it’s much better if you have access to up-to-date software and high-speed communication.

18.  I use a computer mostly for:

A. My daily tasks at work.

B. Surfing the web and social networking sites.

C. Checking email and playing solitaire.

Why this is important:
If your computer is part of your daily life, you will be more at ease using it as your only access to your course.

19. My level of experience using a computer is:

A. Working with a variety of applications, such as photo or imaging software, spreadsheets, some databases, etc.

B. Working with files, such as creating, saving, attaching, printing documents, and copying, pasting and deleting in a document.

C. Logging on, working with email, and using the mouse.

Why this is important:
Your familiarity with a variety of applications, and your comfort level using a computer, in general, is a good indicator of your chances of success in online learning.

20. My level of experience using the Internet is:

A. Installing and using different web browsers, search engines, and reference tools.

B. Using web tools such as the forward/backward buttons, print, bookmarking, and working with pop-up windows.

C. Entering a web address, scrolling, and closing the site.

Why this is important:
Your only access to your online courses is via the Internet. Good Internet skills will also help you in many assignments that require finding and following links, getting back to your course materials, and so on.