The Open SUNY Readiness Guide
See how an online course works. Check your computer skills. Prepare for success in online courses.
Successful distance learners have a few characteristics in common. Read this list to determine whether online classes are a good fit for you.
Are you self-disciplined and motivated?
Unlike traditional courses in which classes meet face-to-face at specific times, you will complete your work throughout the week when it is convenient for you. However, without the structure of regular class meetings, it will be up to you to pace yourself and keep up with assignments.
Are you able to commit time each day or week to your online course(s)?
Online courses often require at least as much or more of a time commitment than traditional courses. Before enrolling, be sure you have enough time to keep up with your daily or weekly assignments.
Do you have good reading, writing, and communication skills?
In online courses, most communication is written. If writing is a challenge for you, be sure to find out how much writing is required for the course before enrolling.
Are you comfortable seeking help when needed?
If you have problems with the technology or course content, you need to let your instructor know as soon as possible so that he or she knows how to assist you.
Will you miss the experience of sitting in a classroom?
There is considerable interaction in online courses. However, it is not the same as face-to-face interaction. If you feel that a traditional classroom is essential for learning or you want to experience campus life, then online classes may not be right for you.
Are you comfortable using computers?
Your computer is your primary learning and communication tool in online courses. Though you do not need to be a computer expert, you do need know some basic technology skills, such as word processing and using a Web browser.
If you have the right qualities to be a successful online student, you will likely find it to be a very convenient and rewarding alternative to traditional classroom learning.