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Do I Have the Profile of an Online Learner?

An Online Learning Survey

1. Do I have the goal of furthering my education, yet still need to work and/or take care of my family?

A major benefit of pursuing education online is the flexibility of the course work. Working adults or stay at home parents frequently find online learning a good match for them.

2. Can I perform basic computer functions such as create, save and manage files on a computer, navigate the Internet, download files, attach files to an email message and save and open attached files from an incoming email?

The primary means of communication between an online student and classmates, and an online instructor is through the learning management system (LMS), that schools use to deliver online learning. Examples of LMS software applications are Blackboard, Canvas, and Sakai. Being comfortable with computers, using search engines and using email are essential prerequisites for online learning.

3. Do I have access to a computer and the Internet?

For the reasons described under #2, having easy, frequent access to both a computer with the latest operating system and software, and the Internet is vital. If you do not own your own computer or do not have an Internet connection at your home, contact your local library or explore Internet cafes and other nearby venues. Libraries often have a computer lab for public use. You will want to bring a USB flash drive to save your documents.

4. Do I consider myself to be self-motivated?

Most work, including tests, reading and writing assignments, for online courses is done on the student’s own schedule, following specific deadlines for completion of course assignments.  A successful online student is an independent, self-motivated learner.

5. Can I communicate effectively with others in a group environment?

Online instructors sometimes assign team projects that require collaboration to produce a cohesive project. Many courses include discussion boards where the exchanging of viewpoints and gaining knowledge from one another are expected in the learning process.  Online discussions are considered as important to the learning experience as in-person communication. 

If you answered "yes" to most of the above questions, then online learning may be the right option for you.

Return to the Online College Guide.