Is Online Learning for Me?

The nature of computer-based and online courses is completely different from the traditional classroom environment specifically in terms of modes of delivery and interaction.  While online courses do offer maximum flexibility, they also require self-discipline and good reading and writing skills, as well as a willingness to work independently.

The following review has been developed to assist you in deciding if online and distance learning is for you.  Please review the following questions, keeping in mind that the more you answer YES – the more likely your learning experience will be both rewarding and successful.  If you find you answer NO to some of these questions, you may want to consider whether this type of learning environment will satisfy your goals and needs.


Learning and Communications Skills

  • Are you a self-motivated learner?
  • Do you like to learn on your own?
  • Can you fully express your ideas and questions in writing?
  • Do you enjoy writing?
  • Do you have strong reading skills?
  • Are you able to problem-solve independently?
  • Do you prefer learning on your own with no “live” interaction or feedback from the instructor or classmates?
  • Do you fully understand and are you fully comfortable with “virtual” relationships that involve no face-to-face interaction?
  • Do you seek advice freely?


Time Management Skills

  • Are you willing to spend more time on an online course than the traditional classroom course?
  • Do you have good time management skills?
  • Can you meet deadlines if it’s up to you to set your own coursework schedule within a given week?
  • Can you set priorities when faced with a number of tasks?
  • Do you often find yourself completing assignments ahead of schedule?

Minimum Computer Hardware Requirement

To participate successfully, the following are the minimum technical requirements we recommend.  If you don’t have access to this level of technology – you may want to explore upgrading your systems prior to taking an online class.  Do you have:

  • Access to a printer?
  • Your own Internet Service Provider?
  • The ability to check email at least once a day?
  • The following hardware and software are minimum specifications to work with the Blackboard application: PC Requirements
      * Windows 98, 2000, XP
      * 64 MB of RAM (128 MB or higher recommended)
      * 500 MB of hard disk space
      * An active e-mail account
      * Access to the internet through a local internet service provider
    Macintosh Requirements 
      * Mac OS 9, 10.1 or higher
      * 64 MB of RAM (128 MB or higher recommended)
      * 500 MB of hard disk space
      * An active e-mail account
      * Access to the internet through a local internet service provider

Technical Skills

  • Is a computer with a modem or Internet connection readily accessible to you?
  • Is the computer equipment reliable?
  • Are you willing to log on once a day to check for messages and assignments?
  • Are you able to stay online for long periods of time?
  • Are you comfortable using email?
  • Do you know how to send and open attachments?
  • Can you use a word processing program such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect comfortably?
  • Are you familiar with your Internet Service Provider, and the access they offer you to the Web?
  • Do you have access to a fax machine?

Learning Style Comparison