Web Course FAQ

Is Online Learning Right for You?

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What is the online learning environment like?

In many ways, learning online is similar to learning in the classroom. Your instructor will provide quality readings, exercises, assignments and tests. As with face-to-face classes, what you get out of the course is related to how much you put into it. Expect to spend the same amount of time and energy on an online class; in fact, online classes can take more time and energy than regular classes. Online courses allow flexibility in scheduling but require strong motivational and organizational skills.


What kind of study habits do you need?

Online classes are convenient and flexible but students have to be disciplined enough to make time to study and participate. Successful online students:  

  • Log in regularly to their classes (multiple times per week).
  • Plan ahead to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments.
  • Take notes as they study.
  • Commit 6 - 9 hours each week for a three-credit class.
  • Enjoy communicating in writing and reading the writing of others.
  • Are able to work with others via e-mail and chat to complete projects.
  • "Speak up" to their instructors when problems arise.
  • Are willing to share their ideas and carefully consider their responses to others.
  • Are prepared to have their ideas challenged occasionally.


What learning styles work well with online courses?

Online learning is best for those who learn by reading and writing; if you learn better by hearing lectures or making presentations, an on-campus class might be a better fit. Successful online students:

  • Are active learners who are willing to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Are visual learners able to learn easily from reading and writing. If you learn best by hearing the instructor, you may want to consider an on-campus class.


What skills do you need?

The instructor can not see their students and won't know if you are confused, bored, or frustrated unless you communicate it. Successful online students:  

  • Are comfortable with technology.
  • Read and write well -- Most, if not all, of your interaction with your instructor and other students will be through email and forum postings.
  • Are assertive -- It can be harder to make your needs known in an online course than it is in a traditional classroom setting.
  • Have good time management skills -- You will need to plan ahead and follow a schedule to finish readings, assignments and tests on time.
  • Have solid research skills, including how to effectively use the Internet.
  • Have the ability to work well cooperatively -- Your course will require you to interact and coordinate with others even though your communication is restricted to e-mail, forum postings, or chat.
  • Are flexible and adaptable -- Learning online is an adventure that will expose you to many entirely new experiences. The ability to be flexible and remain open-minded is critical to having a positive experience as you move into this uncharted territory.