Are Online Courses Right for Me?

1. I plan to take courses online because:

I took one before and liked it.

Although each class is different, you have a general idea of what to expect and what is expected of you as the student.

I’m interested in online classes and I have time to take one

You may be a good candidate for online classes. The online student orientation will help answer any questions you may have.

I need the class to graduate or for a job and I can’t fit the on-campus class into my schedule

If you are trying to squeeze a class in, it may be better to consider not taking an online course. If an online course fits your schedule better and you have time to devote to it, then online courses may work well for you. You will need to devote time throughout the week however, so consider that before registering.


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

High. I have to take it now. No choice due to time courses are offered, graduation, transfer, etc.

Highly motivated students do well in online classes. But, if needing to take the class is immediate due to procrastination or having dropped it in the past, you may want to reconsider whether the online format is right for you. Students in online courses more frequently procrastinate and neglect their coursework than do those students in on-campus courses.

Moderate. I could take it on-campus later or take a different course

If you are well organized and self-disciplined, online classes may be right for you. Remember, online classes take a lot of work and motivation. You need to do coursework in online courses several times each week throughout the week, and not wait until the last minute.

Low. It’s a personal interest that can be postponed

Unless you are especially interested in the subject matter of the course, you may want to consider taking the course on-campus. Without compelling reasons to take the course online, online courses are more frequently ignored or neglected than on-campus courses.


3. I am someone who:

Often gets things done ahead of time

You may be a good candidate for online classes. Online learning gives students greater flexibility with their schedules, but generally requires more self-discipline thank on-campus classes.

Needs someone to remind me to get things done on time

Online students don’t get much regular reminders and must check-in regularly (several times a week) without being notified to do so. Online courses require more self-discipline than on-campus courses.

Puts things off to the last minute

Along with more flexibility with online courses comes more responsibility. Students must hold themselves accountable for logging into the class and keeping up with their coursework. The typical schedule will include logging into the course four or five times a week and completing coursework each week.


4. I think I am:

Independent, motivated and organized

This is perfect and what you need to succeed in and online class.

Motivated, but I need someone to encourage me at times

You may need to push yourself to complete assignments because no one will be reminding you.

Impulsive and not too disciplined. I need someone to motivate me and help me stay on top of my coursework.

Online courses may require regular participation in discussions and assignments. You must rely on yourself to keep up with your coursework. You can fall behind quickly and it is very difficult to catch up.


5. I can devote ____ of uninterrupted time to an online class:

12 hours or more per week, anytime during the day or night

Great! You will likely need this time to complete assignments and stay on task

9 – 12 hours per week, mainly at night

Good. 9 hours is the minimum amount of time you will probably need to stay on schedule in a 3 credit course. Find the time of day that works best for you and make a habit of studying then.

Less than 9 hours per week

Reconsider taking online classes at this time. To increase your chances of succeeding, plan to take an online course when you have at least 9 hours per week per online class to participate and stay on task.


6. My job and personal schedule allow me:

More than enough time for an on-campus class or on-line class.

Great! If you are disciplined and manage your time well, you may be a good candidate for online classes.

The same amount of time for an online class as it takes for an on-campus class

Online learning courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses, and usually more

Less time than it takes for an on-campus class

Do not register for an online class because you think it will take less time. Online courses are structured and just as rigorous as on-campus classes. As a matter of fact, they usually require more time and work thank on-campus courses because of the amount of reading and writing you must do. Online classes have assignment due dates and require that you work at the course several times each week.


7. I have dropped a class after the College term has started

Never

It has been shown that students who do not drop college classes have the self- discipline and motivation to work independently and complete an online course.

Once

If you dropped a course because of unusual circumstances such as the wrong level of course, extreme family or personal emergency, you still may be a good candidate for online classes.

It has been shown if students frequently drop courses, they are not strong in self-discipline and motivation to work independently and complete an online course.

More than once

You might want to reconsider taking an online learning course. It has been shown if students frequently drop courses, they are not strong in self-discipline and motivation to work independently and complete an online course


8. Feeling like I’m part of a class is:

Not very important

Some students prefer the independence of Online Learning

Moderately important to me

Online classes may work for you. Students interact regularly through discussions and other communication channels. Most students don’t have the same feeling of connection as with an on-campus class, but you may find out online discussions are adequate.

Very Important to me

Some students feel uncomfortable without the social interaction of a classroom. You might want to reconsider whether online classes are right for you.


9. Discussing the subject of a course lesson is:

Important. It helps me learn the information presented in class. I almost always participate in class discussions.

You may enjoy online classes since discussions are a large part of the class and weekly lessons.

Somewhat important to my learning. I sometimes participate in class discussions.

Discussions are a large part of online learning and often play a significant role in your final grade. If you’re not sure that you can or will participate regularly, you may want to reconsider taking an online class.

Not very useful to me. I usually do not participate in class discussions

Discussions are a large part of online learning and often play a significant role in your final grade. Unless you plan to participate in discussions, you probably won’t do well in an online learning course.


10. Concerning technology, I have:

A computer at home with Internet access

Computers are important for taking online learning courses because you will need to participate in your course regularly, download and upload files, and communicate with your instructor and other students.

Regular access to a computer with Internet access and I have permission to download files

OK if you have access to this computer for extended periods of time. In most cases a computer at a local library, a computer at work, or other places of business may not allow adequate time needed. You will need to be able to download and upload files, get assignments and communicate with your instructor and other students.

You may use the MHCC computer labs and Library when open. There you might possibly have more time on a computer. Remember to bring a jump drive, and ask ahead of time about downloading assignments if needed.

No computer at home

If you do not have a computer at home, you will need access to another computer where usage is not timed and you can make it there during their open business hours.

You may use the MHCC computer labs and Library when open. There you might possibly have more time on a computer. Remember to bring a jump drive, and ask ahead of time about downloading assignments if needed.

If you do not have a computer at home and cannot make it to another location with adequate time to complete work, online courses will not work for you.


11. My technology skills are:

Very good. I can use e-mail, web browsers, word processing software, download files and create attachments. I like to try and solve technology problems on my own and do not get frustrated easily

Great. These are skills you will likely need in any course you take.

Average. I can use e-mail, web browsers, and word processing software. I don’t feel comfortable solving technology problems on my own

It’s good that you understand these basic skills. Be sure you know how to get help in case you have problems with technology.

I put it off or try to avoid it

Online classes probably aren’t for you because they use technology extensively for learning


12. When I need to use new software or other forms of technology that’s new to me:

I look forward to learning new skills

Your willingness to learn how to use new technology will be a benefit to taking online classes.

I feel apprehensive, but try anyway

Online learning courses use computers and other technology for learning. It’s great you are willing to learn them! The key for will be to know how and where to get help when you need it.

I put it off or try to avoid it

Online classes probably aren’t for you because they use technology extensively for learning.


13. Which statement about learning best describes you?

I look for opportunities to learn new things and master new technologies

You will probably do well and like online learning courses.

I get nervous with new technology, but I like to learn

If you’re ready for a challenge, online learning may work for you. Be sure to give yourself time to work through any problems that may arise. Ask for help when you need it.

I avoid learning new technologies

If you consider online learning and the associated technologies to be new and they make you nervous, you may want to look at options other than online courses.


14. When I need help in class:

I feel comfortable asking questions and for help

Great. It is your responsibility to speak up if you have any questions or concerns. That might be the only way the instructor can tell if you are challenged in any way.

I’m reluctant to ask questions of the instructor, but I will ask for help if I need it

It’s good that you realize when it’s important to speak up. If your instructor doesn’t hear from you, they will assume you are doing fine.

I feel intimidated when I have to ask questions or get help

It is important that you contact your instructor if you are having any sort of problem. If you’re not likely to do this you should consider taking classes face-to-face.


15. When it comes to analyzing course material and expressing my own opinions about them, I feel:

Confident I can analyze course materials and formulate opinions on what I have learned

Many online classes will challenge you to think critically, consider the various viewpoints and state your opinion. You may find that you like to share your perspective with your classmates through the discussion forums.

A bit nervous. I can sometimes analyze class materials and form opinions but it is a struggle for me.

You’ll need to decide if you feel confident enough to spend the extra time it takes to understand the material well enough to express you own opinion. You may want to consider taking one online learning class to start with.

Like I would rather do this with a group guiding me; analyzing material is not something I do well

You may not want to take an online learning course. Many online learning classes require you to understand the material and give your opinion.


16. When an instructor hands out directions for an assignment, I prefer:

Trying to follow the instructions on my own, then asking for help if I need it

Good. Online Learning requires you to work from written directions without face-to-face instructions.

Figuring the instructions out myself

Good, but you also need to be comfortable asking for help if you can’t figure them out

Having the instructions explained to me

Online learning requires you to work from written directions without face-to-face instructions.


17. I need instructor comments on assignments:

Within a few days so I can review what I did

You have reasonable expectations. Be aware that weekends and holidays can add to the amount of time it takes for the instructor to grade and comment on your assignments.

Within a few hours or I forget what I did

It may take several days for your instructor to grade and make comments, and weekends and holidays will add to the time it takes. Remember, this probably isn’t the only class the instructor is teaching and they have to comment on each individual assignment.

Right away or I get frustrated

Online courses probably aren’t for you. Some tests are graded automatically and will give you immediate feedback. But for most assignments, the instructor must grade them manually. Remember, this probably isn’t the only class the instructor is teaching and they have to comment on each individual assignment.


18. Face-to-face communication is:

Not essential to me. I am comfortable learning without face-to-face interaction

You are likely to feel comfortable in an online class.

Important to me and I wonder about my ability to learn without being able to see the instructor or other students.

Consider how important this is to your learning. You may want to take just one online learning course the first time and see how you do. Then you will be able to make a better decision as to whether or not online classes are right for you.

Essential for me. I learn when I can interact in person with the instructor and other students

Stop here. If you need face-to-face interaction and are an audio learner, online learning courses are not for you.


19. As a reader, I would classify myself as:

Good. I can even read subjects I am not fully interested in and usually understand the text and other written materials without help

Online learning classes rely heavily on reading. You’ll spend most of your time reading the assigned materials such as textbooks, lecture notes, instructions, comments, and the discussion forums.

Average. I sometimes need help to understand the text or other written materials

If you are willing to ask for help and are motivated, self-disciplined, and persist in your studies, you will probably succeed.

I don’t like reading and need help understanding written materials

Online classes may not be for you due to the fact they require a lot of reading. Most online classes are text based. You will be required to read the assigned materials such as textbooks, lecture notes, instructions, comments, and the discussion forums. Maybe consider taking a reading class to help prepare you for online courses.


20. I would describe my writing skills as:

Strong. I am comfortable with writing and have strong organizational, grammar, punctuation and spelling skills.

Strong writing skills are very important when taking online classes.

Average. I am moderately comfortable with writing and occasionally need help with organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling.

You may want to consider taking a writing class first. Once you have honed your writing skills, online classes may be a good fit for you.

Need help with organization, grammar, punctuation and spelling. I look for classes without a lot of writing assignments.

You may want to reconsider online learning classes. Take a writing class on-campus first and then check out online courses. Online communications are almost always in writing.