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Are You Ready for Online Learning?

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Based on the answers you provided, it is recommended that at this time you would benefit from a more structured face-to-face classroom environment. Before attempting an online course you should increase your knowledge of several of the skills essential for success in online classes. Review the summary checklist below, use the resources provided, and print out this page for further review.

Based on the answers you provided, you possess many of the skills required for successful online learning. For the areas identified on your assessment as needing improvement, take measures to increase the skills and knowledge needed before undertaking your first online class. Review the summary checklist below, use the resources provided, and print out this page for further review.

Based on the answers you provided, you have the ability to succeed in online learning. You should find that you easily adapt to the online classroom; however, it is still recommended that you review the summary checklist below, use the resources provided, and print out this page for further review.

Summary Checklist

The following skills and learning habits form the basis for successful online learning:

  • Persistence: Dedication and persistence are needed to complete coursework and exams, to meet due dates, and to fulfill course requirements so that the goals you have established can be achieved. When information is needed, review course materials, and if you are unable to locate it, reach out to the instructor and your fellow classmates.
  • Plan Your Learning: All online students must establish goals, stay focused, and create a plan to stay on track for each individual course and the overall program. This will keep you organized and allow you to evaluate your progress.
  • Online Learning is Self-Directed Learning: Self-Directed learning means assessing and monitoring your progress throughout your class and having the ability to keep yourself motivated, focused, and on-task. Online learners should be prepared to problem solve, perform research, gather data, and process, analyze, and assimilate information to complete assignments.
  • Determine Course/Project Requirements: Make sure you understand the requirements and assignments for each class from the very beginning. Mapping out steps and creating a timeline for completion will keep you focused and on-track.
  • Devote 8-12 Hours Per Week Per Course: It is strongly recommended that you devote 8-12 hours weekly for each online class. This will ensure that you are actively engaged in the course and are able to complete the course requirements. Time requirements may vary in each course based on your skills, learning style, and familiarity with the subject matter.
  • Be Comfortable with Technology: Online course success is increased when you possess basic computer and internet navigation skills. If you are unsure of your skill level in this area, consider computer training at a local library or community college. Basic computer skills include, but are not limited to, the ability to attach files, download software, and to create and send emails. In addition, having the ability to troubleshoot when technology doesn’t perform as expected is beneficial. If you are unable to reach a resolution on your own, contact the CMU Help Desk.
  • Possess Strong Typing Skills: Strong and efficient typing skills are needed since communication is primarily done through the written word and your computer keyboard. If you do not have strong typing skills, additional training and practice should be undertaken to increase your speed and efficiency.
  • Consistent Computer/Internet Access and Reliability: The primary tools used for online classes are a computer and the internet. Set yourself up for success with consistent, reliable access. Broadband internet is recommended along with an up-to-date computer.
  • Consistent Class Log-In: Be prepared to log into your online class 4-5 days per week to ensure you remain engaged, active, and up-to-date in class. The time you spend logged into class will depend on your familiarity with the subject matter and the content being presented.
  • Express Self in Writing: You should be comfortable expressing your thoughts and reasoning in writing. If you are not, take a local writing class to strengthen this skill.
  • Read Materials Thoroughly: It cannot be emphasized enough how important it is to thoroughly read materials and emails. Skimming materials will not provide a foundation for comprehending and processing the course information. Vital account and university information is conveyed to you through emails and online systems you will use throughout your education.
  • Time Management is Crucial: Allotting enough time to your studies is key to success! Establish a study schedule and cultivate the discipline to stick to it. Upfront planning of course assignment due dates is strongly suggested.

Participating in online classes may provide a convenient alternative for students with busy schedules or those unable to attend in classrooms. However, due dates, exams, and other structured commitments remain part of class, whether online or in a classroom. Staying focused requires effort and discipline on your part and taking classes online may not be the best choice for every student.

In order to ensure you are well prepared for the online learning environment, please take this 15 question assessment. Remember, answering as truthfully as possible will provide you with feedback needed to determine if taking part in a class online a good fit for you and how ready you are for online coursework.

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