What To Consider Before Taking an Online Course or Program:

Before signing-up for an online course, there are several factors that you need to consider. Thoughtfully addressing the following questions could help you make a wise decision about enrolling in an online course.

1. Do you have enough time to commit to an online class in order to be successful? Many students find that online courses require more total weekly time than a traditional face-to-face course does. Do you a have full-time job? Are you a stay-at-home parent with young children? Do you have many other commitments that require a large part of your week? Although two primary benefits of obtaining an online education are accessibility and convenience, it is important that you allot adequate time to your studies. If you think that you are leading a busy lifestyle, but are interested in taking an online course, make sure that you create a schedule that would allow you to focus on your studies, as well as attend to the other obligations in your life.   

2. Do you have enough discipline and determination to succeed in an online course?
An online course requires you to take more responsibility for your progress than a traditional face-to-face course does. Again, because online learning allows you to be free to create a schedule that would be convenient for you, you should make sure that you are disciplined enough to accomplish the other obligations in your life. It would be helpful to avoid distractions when it is your scheduled time to study and to allot time for relaxation and extra-curricular activities, which could enrich your learning experience. Generally speaking, online courses are harder than face-to-face classes, not easier. Online courses require a tremendous amount of self-discipline and technical competence.

3. Do the benefits of taking an online course outweigh those of taking a face-to-face course? Do you think you would be exposed to the same opportunities online as you would in a traditional face-to-face class? Are there any resources or tools which would be available online rather than at GCC?

4.  Do you have basic computer skills to troubleshoot minor computer problems?  Students must have access to a reliable computer with high-speed Internet.  Although GCC will provide support to access your online course, they cannot troubleshoot hardware problems on your personal computer. It cannot be stressed enough that students must already have the ability to operate a computer and navigate the Internet before the class begins.  Knowing how to use the World Wide Web, Moodle, chat, online conferencing programs, and e-mail for research and study are all part of the necessary tools a student should possess before enrolling into an online course.     

5.   Do you have good writing and communication skills? Do you feel comfortable expressing your thoughts and opinions in writing? In an online course, nearly all communication is written, so it is critical that students feel comfortable expressing themselves in writing.       

6. Lastly, is your learning style compatible with an online course? Do you feel you would be able to take an online class and understand the material without having your instructor looking over your shoulder or discussing the lesson in a face-to-face setting? If yes, then enrolling in an online class might be your best option since you would have the freedom to learn and apply the material in your own way.  Students who are not self-directed learners, or have experienced academic problems, are strongly urged to take traditional face-to-face classes before enrolling in an online course.    
Last updated: 11/26/2013 1:59:59 PM