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Most colleges now offer some online classes with an online component. You experience an online class via a computer rather than a classroom. Many different variations exist, but all online classes share certain characteristics, such as working independently and communicating with the instructor (and sometimes other students) primarily through written computer messages. If you have never taken an online course, carefully consider what’s involved to ensure you will succeed in the online class.

  • You need to own or have frequent access to a recent model of a computer with a high-speed Internet connection.
  • Without the set hours of a class, you need to be self-motivating to schedule your time to participate regularly.
  • Without an instructor or other students in the room, you need to be able to pay attention effectively to the computer screen. Learning on a computer is not as simple as passively watching television!
  • Without reminders in class and peer pressure from other students, you’ll need to take responsibility to complete all assignments and papers on time.
  • Since your instructor will evaluate you primarily through your writing, you need good writing skills for an online course. If you believe you need to improve your writing skills, put off taking an online course until you feel better prepared.
  • You must take the initiative to ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  • You may need to be creative to find other ways to interact with other students in the course. You could form a study group and get together regularly in person with other students in the same course.

If you feel you are ready to take on these responsibilities and are attracted to the flexibility of an online course
and the freedom to schedule your time in it, see what your college has available.

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