Is Distance Education Right For You?
While some students thrive with the online approach, others say they are more vulnerable to procrastination and don't take the necessary initiative to seek help when they have questions. These students find the structure and personal interaction of the traditional classroom setting helps them do their best academic work.
Online courses aren't for everyone. If you are considering taking an online course, take time to assess your academic strengths and weaknesses.
- Do you study well independently?
- Are you an initiator?
- Are you self-motivated to keep up with deadlines, reading, and assignments?
- Do you feel comfortable expressing yourself in writing?
Tips to help you avoid potential pitfalls when taking an online course.
- Take the program and yourself seriously. Be sure to solicit the support and cooperation of those with whom you live. If they understand your need to focus at the computer regularly, your commitment to your online course will be easier to keep.
- Make sure you have private space for study. Take a look at the location of your computer. Is it in the center of things or in a private nook? You may want to relocate your computer to a spot more conducive to study. Also, make sure you've got adequate space around your computer to spread out your work.
- Log on to your course every single day. If you let too many days pass between contacts with your instructor and peers, you will lag behind, finding it difficult to catch up.
- Take advantage of your anonymity. With the online format, you don't have to feel intimidated or upstaged by students who can speak faster than you because you can take all of the time you need to think your ideas through and compose a response before posting your comments to your class.
- Be polite and respectful. Being anonymous doesn't give anyone a green light to be unkind or thoughtless. Remember that you are dealing with real people at the other end of your modem, and respond to them in the same way you would like them to treat you.
- Speak up if you are having problems. Because visual clues are not available, it is all the more important that you speak up with questions, problems understanding something, and technical glitches. Remember that if you don't understand something, chances are that several people have the same question. Use the discussion board to post questions and respond to your classmates' questions.
- Apply what you learn. As in a traditional class setting, making the effort to apply what you study to a real life situation - your work, current events, situations around you - helps you understand course materials better and faster.
Five Qualities of Successful Distance Learners:
- Do just as well, if not better, without people looking over their shoulders.
- Never (or at least rarely) procrastinate.
- Have good reading comprehension skills.
- Can resist constant distractions.
- Feel alright about missing the social elements of traditional schools