• Are Online Programs Right for Me?

    What are some of the important study habits and personality traits of successful online students?

    Take Responsibility for the Learning Process
    Online students must feel comfortable in a learning environment that places emphasis on individuals taking responsibility for their learning process. While the online classroom includes interactions between the student and instructor, they are not always immediate as in a traditional in-person classroom setting. Successful online students understand that their instructors are facilitators of their learning process, and the individual student must be a dedicated and goal-oriented self-starter. They put their schoolwork at the top of their list of priorities. Successful online students are not afraid to ask questions; however, they ask for clarification after they have attempted to understand the material on their own by re-reading the textbook, the instructions, or lecture.

    Goal Oriented
    Successful online students must be self-disciplined and goal-oriented as they work to complete their weekly assignments, send email messages and work with their classmates in their online class.

    Basic Computer Skills
    The computer is an integral part of the online classroom. While mastering the lessons of your online course, you do not want to be saddled with less-than-adequate computer skills. These basic skills include proficiency in sending and receiving emails with attachments, using Microsoft Word and using the Internet.

    Comfortable in Cyberspace
    Most online classes do not provide visual or auditory images of the instructors or students, so “who you are” in class primarily is conveyed by the messages you post in the class discussion threads or work groups. You should be comfortable with this alternative method of creating a “picture” of who you are
    and what you think.

    Set a Schedule and Meet Deadlines

    Online instructors expect their students to be organized in setting a schedule that allows them to meet their deadlines. Most online classes require signing in and posting messages in the classroom multiple days per week in order to stay current with class activities. Online students who are successful in completing their courses know how to schedule their time to meet deadlines for classroom discussions, work group activities, and graded assignments. Successful online students understand that others in their classroom are counting on their participation in classroom and group activities.

    Proficient Reader and Communicator
    Online classes are reading intensive; students are expected to gain information from their texts and from their online lectures to apply to work assigned to them. Communication mostly takes place in written format.

    Not Easily Frustrated
    Students in an online class sometimes are faced with obstacles that are out of their control: computers can breakdown, ISP servers can crash, and electric power can go out. A successful online student identifies solutions for unexpected “catastrophes” by thinking ahead about solutions to these problems. Possible solutions include: using a friend or relative’s computer, using the college computer labs, using a computer at the library. Remember to save all work on an external drive (such as a flash drive) so if your hard drive crashes you do not “lose” your work.

    Remember Netiquette
    Successful online students exhibit respect for the classroom environment and remember their manners when communicating to their fellow classmates and to their instructor. They understand that taking out their anger and/or frustration on their classmates and their instructor is not proper “netiquette” any more than it would be in a traditional classroom.