Am I Ready for Online Learning?

For each question, select the answer that most represents your own interests, habits, and needs. Note the reason for your answer.

1. My need to take this course online now is:

A. High. I need it immediately for graduation, program, or 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.

More Information/Resources: Time Management

3. Coming to campus for occasional course-related items 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 you’re considering taking an online course, you may be expected to come to campus for a proctored exam, assistance in the Learning Center, and for other resources.

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.

More Information/Resources: Time Management

 6.  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.  If your Accuplacer scores placed you in a sub-100 level English or reading course, you may want to reconsider taking an online course until your reading skills are college-level.

More Information/Resources: Online Reading Strategies

7.  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 classroom-based courses. If you’re not able to stay on schedule in a classroom-based course, you’ll probably have more trouble in an online course.

More Information/Resources: Organizing for Online Courses 

8.  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 provided by the instructor so I don’t have to seek any outside resources.

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 classroom-based 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.

9.  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. Students who feel they are more connected to campus, regardless of course location, are typically more successful.

10. I feel that I can better express my opinions and engage with other students:

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.

More Information/Resources: Communication for Online Courses

11. 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.

12. 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:
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.  It is imperative that you have a reliable computer with audio capabilities and high-speed internet access.

More Information/Resources: Getting Tech-Ready

13. My level of experience using a computer in an academic setting includes:

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

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

C. Working with and navigating an online learning management system, such as Blackboard, Desire 2 Learn (D2L)/Brightspace, etc.

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.  You will be required to utilize D2L/Brightspace software for your online coursework.

More Information/Resources: Getting Tech-Ready