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What Does It Take?

Succeeding in an online degree program means being organized and prepared.  An online learner is self-disciplined and determined to be a successful student.  It’s learning anytime and anywhere, but you’re still responsible to make sure the work gets done on time.

A few key characteristics of a successful online learner:

  • Can communicate through writing.  In an online classroom or learning management system, nearly all of your interactions with fellow students and instructors is written.  It’s important to understand that writing will be an important factor in your experience as an online learner. 
  • We said it already - self disciplined.  Completing the coursework, studying, participating in forums in an online or hybrid class can be difficult, even more so when you add in work responsibilities, your kids, your pets, or any extracurricular activities you participate in. Be willing to commit 9-12 hours per week per three credit course.
  • Willing to ask for help.  Your instructor won’t be able to see that you’re confused or frustrated or absent in an online environment.  You won’t be raising your hand to ask questions, you’ll be sending emails or posting in forums.  If you experience difficulties, you’ll need to contact technical support.  If a problem arises, you need to make sure that your instructor knows that you’re struggling with the course material or meeting deadlines. 
  • Can work with others.  In this day and age, being a team player is essential to any workplace environment and it will be essential to your success as an online student.  Assignments in online and hybrid courses may be group projects and doing this in an online environment will present unique opportunities and challenges.

Watch a panel of real online students at the 2014 WCET Annual meeting : What Do Our Students Really Think of Online Learning? - It's real students talking about their real-world experiences with online learning.

Is online learning for you?  Take the readiness assessment to find out!