Succeeding in an Online Course

Are online courses right for you?

Taking courses online works well for many students, but the truth is that they are not right for everybody.

If you are an independent learner, self-motivated, and have decent computer skills, you're a good candidate to succeed in an online course. Conversely, if you are a procrastinator who relies heavily on the instructor for motivation and can't use a computer very well, you probably should stick to face-to-face courses.

Three main reasons why students enroll in online courses are:

  • Lifestyle. Many students juggle work and family, and they just can't get to campus at specific times. Students in these situations who are organized and disciplined do well online. Students who are not tend not to do well.
  • Format. Many students like the interactive nature of online courses. For example, students can feel more confident participating in class discussions because they have adequate time to organize their thoughts and post something they feel proud of. Some students just enjoy using technology. Others, who are more passive learners and/or don't enjoy technology, have a hard time.
  • Convenience. Students don't have to deal with traffic or parking problems. If you are only taking an online course for convenience, please make sure you fit the profile of a successful online learner.

Take the self-evaluation below to help determine if online courses are right for you.

Self Evaluation for Potential Online Students, from the University of Illinois.

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