The content on this and the following four pages is adapted from unattributed material posted on several university websites, including Western New Mexico University.
Are you prepared to take online courses?
1. Do you have time?
In a traditional face-to-face class a rule of thumb has always been that you should be prepared to spend two hours outside of the classroom doing "homework" for every hour you spend in the classroom. "Homework" includes reading textbooks, doing research, completing assignments, and studying for tests. In a typical 3-unit class you will receive 45 hours of classroom instruction. Therefore, the total time commitment for that class will be about 135 hours.
In an online class, the time commitment is much more difficult to estimate. Since you do not attend classroom lectures in an online class, you may mistakenly believe that an online class takes much less time. This is not true. Faculty and students alike report that an online class, if anything, may take a greater time commitment than a face-to-face class because the instruction you receive and your response to it occurs for the most part by reading and writing.
Time management is another factor to consider. In a face-to-face class, time is organized for you. The class schedule tells you when and where to attend, and for how long.
In an online class, there may be no class sessions to attend. You must develop your own routine to regularly check in with your Canvas courses to read the announcements, assignments, discussions, and other required online activities. It is up to you to keep up with the course schedule and requirements.
Therefore you must be able to effectively manage your time to succeed in the online environment. In an online class it is up to you to manage your time successfully. It is easier to fall behind in an online class. In fact, this is the biggest problem among online students. Once you fall behind, it is difficult to catch up. So you should truthfully consider how disciplined you are in managing your time, recognizing that an online course will require more self-discipline.
To what degree do the following statements apply to you?
- I am good at managing my own time.
- When I have an assignment that is due, I know how to get it done early.
- If I need to schedule time to take an in-person exam or meet with my instructor, I am good at making and keeping scheduled appointments.
- I like the freedom of choosing when and where I will do my class work.
- I want to take an online class because I need to take it to meet my goals.
- I do not need a lot of face-to-face discussion or explanations in order to learn a topic.
- I do not think an online class will be easier than an in-person class.
- I like having all the time I need in order to formulate the answer to discussion questions.
The more of these statements you said "Yes" to, the more likely online classes will be a good fit for you.