Is Online Learning Right for Me?
Despite the many benefits of learning in an online environment, this model is not for everyone. The following series of questions will help you to “diagnose” whether an online learning environment is the right choice for you.
Unlike traditional courses in which the students and instructor meet face-to-face once or several times a week, most of the learning activities and communication in an online course are asynchronous. This means that each class member participates and completes his/her assignments without any time or place constrictions. This arrangement makes it possible for you to do your class work when it's most convenient for you. However, with this increased freedom and flexibility comes responsibility. Without the structure of regular class meetings, it will be up to you to be disciplined in the use of your time and keep up with assignments.
Online courses often require at least as much, if not more time and commitment than traditional courses. Online courses, on average, require about 10 to 12 hours of time per week for a three credit course. So before enrolling, be sure you can set aside enough time to keep up with your daily or weekly assignments.
In online courses, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing. If you feel that you are weak in this area, try to brush up on your writing skills and find out how much writing is required for the course before enrolling.
While the level of interaction can be very high in online courses, it is not the same as face-to-face interaction. Some online students miss having the opportunity to see and listen to their instructor and classmates. If you feel that a traditional classroom is essential for learning or you want to experience campus and dorm life, online classes may not be right for you.
Your personal computer is the primary learning and communication tool in most online courses. You don't need to be a computer guru to succeed, but you do need to have some basic technology skills, such as word processing and how to use a web browser. Needless to say, you will also need regular access to a computer with an internet connection. Additionally, you should be comfortable uploading attachments and navigating Blackboard Learn, which is essentially your virtual classroom for online courses here at Wentworth.