Do You Have What it Takes to Be a Successful Online Student?

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Distance learning is great form of education – it allows you to have a flexible schedule, learning material whenever and wherever you want. But online learning is not right for everyone. Do you have what it takes to be a successful online student?

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before signing up for an online course:

  1. Do you feel comfortable working independently? You will need to be in charge of your own learning, and be able to learn without a roomful of classmates surrounding you. Your professor will be there to help, but you will need to do most of the work on your own.
  2. Are you sufficiently computer literate? Do you know how to download files, send and receive emails with attachments, search the web, and play online videos? These skills are necessary for any college course, and they are even more essential in online courses.
  3. Do you have the self-awareness to realize when you need help, and the confidence to reach out for help when you need it? In a regular classroom setting, the professor is always standing by to offer help and answer questions, but in an online course you will have to take charge and initiate contact on your own.
  4. Do you have excellent time-management skills? To be a successful college student, you need to manage your time well, and in online courses this skill is especially important.
  5. Are you self-motivated? You will have to be able to proceed through your coursework with a lesser degree of feedback from your teacher, and without the sense of peer pressure that comes naturally in a regular classroom setting.
  6. Do you have enough time to dedicate to the course? Online courses allow you to have a flexible schedule, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take time! Make sure that you have enough time in your schedule to fit in all the studying and work that you will need to do, and that you will be able to balance your schoolwork with your other work and family responsibilities.
  7. Do you have strong reading comprehension skills? Much of your learning throughout the class will likely be based off of reading the textbook on your own. Textbook-based learning may be more difficult for students who are primarily auditory leaners, so you may want to consider your learning style before jumping in to an online course.
  8. Do you have strong written communication skills? You will likely need to do a lot of written communication throughout your online course, such as emailing questions to your professor and posting on discussion boards. You will need to write clearly and articulately in order to get your ideas across.

Online courses are not necessarily easier than traditional courses; they are just more convenient. So before you take an online course, take some time to reflect on whether online courses are a good fit for you and your learning style.

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