Are Online Courses Right For Me?

How well would online courses fit into your busy life-style?  This quiz may give you a better idea of whether online courses are suited for you and vice versa.  Choose one answer for each question (be honest with yourself) and score as indicated.

1. My need to take this course now is:

a. High – I need it immediately for degree, job, or other important reason.
b. Moderate – I could take it on campus later or substitute another course.
c. Low – It’s a personal interest that could be postponed.

2. My favorite type of class would have me:

a. Watching a performance
b. Doing the activity myself.
c. Hearing a lecture.

3. I would classify myself as someone who:

a. Often gets things done ahead of time.
b. Needs reminding to get things done on time.
c. Puts things off until the last minute.

4. The following best describes my communication style:

a. I always participate in classroom discussions & have no problems voicing
    my opinion.
b. I may occasionally participate face to face, but feel comfortable writing
    about my ideas and feelings.
c. I avoid participating face to face or in written form, I don’t like to share my
    thoughts and opinions with others.

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

a. Figuring out the instructions myself.
b. Trying to follow directions on my own, then asking for help as needed.
c. Having the instructions verbally explained to me step by step.

6. I need faculty comments on my assignments.

a. Within a week, so I can review what I did.
b. Within a few days, or I forget what I did.
c. Right away or I get very frustrated.

7. Considering my personal schedule, the amount of time I have to work on distance ed courses is:

a. More than enough for an on-campus or an online course.
b. The same as for a class on campus
c. Less than for a class on campus.

8. When I am asked to use computers, email, or other new technologies:

a. I feel confident and immediately try out the new tool.
b. I read all instructions before I start using the new tool.
c. I prefer having someone with me when I use the new tool.

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

a. Good – I usually understand the text without help.
b. Average – Sometimes I have questions after reading text.
c. Actually I‘d rather not do much reading.

10. I would classify myself as organized and resourceful:

a. All of the time – I make schedules for myself and can figure out how to
    accomplish most tasks.
b. Some of the time – I’m fairly organized and generally make an effort to
    figure things out.
c. Never – I am usually too busy with other aspects of my life to put much
    effort into organizing and pacing myself & prefer to have things scheduled
    out for me.

Add 3 points for each “a” that you indicated, 2 for each “b” and 1 for each “c”. If you scored 20 or over, an online course is a real possibility for you. If you scored between 11 and 20, online courses may work for you, but you may need to make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits to succeed. If you scored less than 10, online courses may not currently be the best alternative for you; talk to a counselor.

The ten questions in the questionnaire reflect some of the facts about taking online courses.

  1. Online students sometimes can end up neglecting courses because of personal or professional circumstances, unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.
  2. Online courses involve more independent study that relies heavily on reading and other print materials.  If you learn best in a face to face classroom environment, distance education courses may not be for you.
  3. Online courses give greater freedom of scheduling, but require more self-discipline than on-campus courses.
  4. Online courses do not provide for face to face communication with students and instructors, rather, the interaction is through email and online conferencing. Participation, however, is usually a requirement, and because you have more time to think about your comments, you may find yourself participating more fully in your online class.
  5. Online courses require you to work from written directions without face-to-face instructions.
  6. It may take time to get comments and feedback from your instructor.
  7. Online courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses – never assume they will save you time.
  8. Courses online use technology for teaching and communication, basic computer use skills are a must.
  9. In an online class you will be required to do a lot of reading for directions and information.  Even discussions require good reading and writing skills.
  10. Keeping on task and completing an online course takes organization, self-discipline, and commitment.