Online Courses

Summary: Online courses are becoming prevalent. However, before taking an online course you should ask yourself this question: Are online courses right for me? The following questionnaire may help you decide. 

Online Courses: Are they right for me?

With the ever-increasing popularity of the Internet, online courses are becoming prevalent. You can take an online course to obtain credits toward a college degree, update your knowledge in your career field, or for your personal enrichment. At some colleges, you can even obtain an Associate, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree completely online.

However, before taking an online course you should ask yourself this question: Are online courses right for me? The following questionnaire may help you decide.

Question Answer
1. Are you comfortable using a computer? Yes No
2. Do you have several hours per week to devote to a course? Yes No
3. Do you enjoy reading? Yes No
4. Do you enjoy solving problems? Yes No
5. Do you enjoy working alone? Yes No
6. Do you enjoy interacting with others via the computer? Yes No
7. Are you comfortable interacting with others in writing? Yes No
8. Do you enjoy doing research? Yes No
9. Do you tackle projects immediately (as opposed to procrastinating)? Yes No
10. Are you good at meeting deadlines? Yes No
11. Do you stick with a project until it is completed? Yes No
12. Are you good at managing your time? Yes No

Give yourself one point for each yes answer.

Score Your Likely Success with Online Courses
12–10 You are highly likely to succeed.
9–7 You are likely to succeed.
6–4 You may have problems.
3–1 Online courses may not be for you.

Question 1: Comfort Using a Computer

Online courses require you to use a computer to interact with your instructor and other students, to obtain course materials, and to submit assignments. An absolute prerequisite to taking an online course is being comfortable using a computer.

Question 2: Course Time

As with courses held in brick and mortar classrooms, online courses require time. If you are taking a course for college credit, the course designer will likely divide the course into 10 to 15 modules. Depending on how rigorous the course is, you may need to spend up to 9 hours per week on assignments.

Question 3: Reading

Although online courses increasingly use audio and video, many online courses are presented primarily through text.

Questions 5, 6, & 7: Problem Solving, Working Alone, Communicating with Others in Writing

With an online course, your instructor provides guidance, structure, and help when you need it. However, you are primarily responsible for working your way through problems. Although you will be able to interact with your instructor and other students through online meetings, chats, discussion boards, and/or email, you may not have any face-to-face contact with your instructor or other students.

Question 8: Research

Without an instructor present to answer your questions immediately, you may find that you have to do more research when taking an online course when compared to taking a course in a brick and mortar classroom.

Questions 9, 10, 11, & 12: Tackling Projects, Deadlines, Stick-to-itiveness, and Time Management

One of the benefits of an online course is that you can access course material at your convenience. However, it is completely up to you to manage your time and to complete your tasks in a timely manner. Procrastination can mean the downfal of an online student.  Each week of a college course requires several hours of study; if you fall behind, you may have difficulty catching up.

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