Are Online Courses for You?

Online courses provide greater flexibility in taking classes between work, family responsibilities, and our busy lifestyles. But they do require you to be more self-motivated and self-disciplined than most on-campus classes. Online classes require as much time, if not more time, than a face-to-face class. Most of the class is delivered through a text-format so you will need to be comfortable reading from a computer screen and following written instructions. Your participation in class will be through e-mail, online discussion, and a Web-based learning management system called Canvas.

What is Canvas?
Canvas is a learning management system which allows students and faculty to participate in classes delivered through the Internet. Canvas enables instructors to provide students with course materials, discussion boards, online quizzes, and a variety of academic resources.

Online Readiness Quiz
To see if an online class is right for you, respond with a "yes" or "no" to the following statements:

  • I need the convenience of a flexible schedule.
  • I consider myself well-organized and a good time-manager.
  • I enjoy reading.
  • I enjoy working independently.
  • I usually complete homework and assignments on time.
  • I am comfortable asking for clarification or for assistance if I need more information.
  • I would be comfortable communicating primarily through a text-based medium.
  • I am willing to spend 9 - 12 hours a week on an online class.
  • I enjoy learning new skills and technologies.
  • I have a computer at home with an Internet connection.
  • I have an Internet e-mail account.
  • I have a printer and have no problem printing course documents from the Internet or from a word processing file.
  • I can easily perform the following tasks using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word: open and close files, create and save new files, copy and paste information between different documents, and save files in different file formats.
  • I know how to use a search engine such as Yahoo or Google to find information on the Internet. I also know how to bookmark a web page or "Add to Favorites" so I can return to that page.
  • I am familiar with navigating through a website which provides navigation buttons and links.
  • I am comfortable performing all of these tasks: sending and receiving e-mail, sending and receiving e-mail attachments, uploading and downloading files.
  • I know how to protect my computer from viruses.
  • I know how to enable Java and Cookies in my Internet browser.
  • I could download and install a new Internet browser, service packs, or plug-ins if needed for an online course.

 If you can answer "Yes" to most of these statements then you will probably do  just fine in an online course. If you answered yes to fewer than 15 of these statements, you may want to rethink your reasons for wanting to enroll in an online course or enhance your skills in those areas before enrolling.

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