Is online education right for you?
Taking a course online requires discipline. There won’t be anyone standing over your shoulder, making sure you’re participating in online discussion, watching lectures, doing readings. You’ll probably want to block out a regular time for getting your coursework done, and a quiet place to focus on it.
Comfortable with technology
You don’t need to be a computer specialist to be a good online student, but you will need to be comfortable with the basics. Your laptop or desktop is going to be the access to your classroom for the duration of your program, so being at ease using it will be key to your success. If you can check, send, and attach files to email, search and browse commonly used sites like YouTube, Facebook, or Amazon, and can view and produce simple documents and presentations using productivity software like Microsoft Office, you’ll do fine in an online course.
Comfortable with reading
While a lot of your online course time may be spent watching video, listening to audio, or interacting with your classmates and professors in realtime using live classroom tools, a lot of your time will also be spent reading. You'll be reading textbooks, journal articles, and notes from your professors and classmates. As a result, reading comprehension will be critical to your performance as an online student.
Able to express myself in writing
While many online courses incorporate technology that allows you to communicate with your professors and peers using your voice, your primary mode of interaction will be through writing. Writing for an online course isn’t like sending texts or posting to Facebook or Twitter either. Writing in an academic environment requires good grammar and spelling. At the same time, if you're the sort of person who likes to take some time to gather your thoughts before responding to a question, or who would rather not speak up in a crowded classroom, online education may actually be a better experience for you. Either way, comfort expressing yourself through writing is critical to being an online student.