The question is often asked whether online classes are easier or harder than traditional on-campus classes. The answer really depends on you. Online classes offer a flexible alternative to the traditional on-campus class, but are just as rigorous and require the same time commitment, if not more. We highly recommend that you carefully consider both your technical and learning skills described below, before registering for an online class. In addition, consider that access to a desktop or laptop computer, not just a mobile device, will be required.
The skill set needed for online learning includes a lot of basic computer and technology skills that you may already know. Brushing up now on the ones less familiar to you will help make your online experience smoother. Necessary skills can include:
- Navigating and finding information on the Internet
- Using Canvas
- Using email and/or the Canvas Inbox
- General word processing including creating/saving/opening documents
- Downloading and uploading files
- Using online media players and recording tools
- Creating screenshots
- Downloading and installing software
- Accessing publisher websites and/or resources
Learning and Digital Information Literacy Skills
Online classes offer a different style of learning than traditional on-campus classes. For some, this new style of learning can be a struggle and for some it can meld with their personal learning style perfectly. It's a good idea to know your learning skills before starting an online class. Skills that make a successful online student include:
- A general comfort with using reading and writing as a substantial means of learning
- Using online libraries and databases to locate and gather appropriate information
- Properly citing information sources
- Learning how to avoid plagiarism in all coursework
- Self-motivation and discipline
- Good time-management skills and the willingness to put in the time necessary to complete the work
- The ability and willingness to communicate effectively and appropriately through writing
- The ability and willingness to utilize critical thinking
- A positive attitude and the willingness to work through problems as they arise without letting them derail you
- Ability to familiarize yourself with the resources and contacts available to you for assistance
What Makes a Successful Online Student?
For more information regarding what a successful online student looks like, check out this great article from the Illinois Online Network.
An updated, later-model computer system running Windows or Mac OSX with Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome browser and access to Internet will be required.
Mobile devices can be used for some aspects of online learning, but it’s going to be difficult to do all your work on one. During normal college operations, you can use the college’s on-campus student labs; because of the COVID-19 outbreak, that is not currently an option.
Visit our Technical Requirements page to learn more.