Online Course Checklist

Student Qualifications

  • Students who routinely procrastinate are not good candidates for online courses.
  • Students who have no problem sticking to a routine are good candidates for online courses.
  • Students who learn easily from material with minimal outside instruction are good candidates for online courses.
  • Being able to learn well from written material is imperative.

Technical Ability /Access

  • An average background in computer usage is a huge plus.
  • Student should have ready access to a reliable ISP or the college computer lab.
  • Student should have a dedicated email address for course related mail only.
  • Student should be able to use a word processing program, download software or files, and send emails with attachments when needed.

Equipment

  • If the student will be using their own computer, a compatible one should be used that allows access.
  • In some cases a modem may be required to enhance speeds and enable internet access.
  • A browser such as IE or Firefox is needed to operate an online course.
  • A reliable email client with attachment functionality should be used.
  • A student version of Microsoft Word or a comparable program is best.

Material.

  • Students may need to download specific programs.
  • In some cases, this information may be on discs.
  • Most online courses have accompanying textbooks which may come with the course or may have to be purchased separately.

Sign up

  • Make sure you meet prequalifications (some advanced courses require graduation from beginner courses first).
  • Signing up for too many courses can cause you to fall behind and score badly.
  • Know the start and end date for each course.
  • You should always login in on the first day of each class to provide information for your instructor.
  • Your username, password, login information, instructor's name and name of class should be printed and put somewhere safe.

Many classes can be taken online these days, meaning taking courses is easier than ever. Many students who work full or part time jobs while going to college enjoy the flexibility of online courses, and can fit them into their work schedule more easily than fighting to constantly rearrange their classes. Online courses can take the stress out of college and make life a lot easier. Online courses can be taken any day of the week, at any hour, day or night. This makes them ideal for students with less than desirable work schedules, or for night owls who are at their sharpest in the wee hours of the morning. There are pitfalls, of course - non-motivated students may procrastinate; online courses can be expensive; and some students don't do well without constant supervision. However, for many students, online courses are a lifesaver - and with the following checklist, taking such courses can be easy and fun.

Tips

Nearly any type of course can be found online. Most major colleges even offer distance learning courses. Online courses should always have access to a faculty member to help if needed. Some systems have a live chat line being monitored at all times by a faculty member who can help out if needed, letting even shy students who would never raise their hand to ask a question in a traditional classroom get the assistance they need. There are some skills which are necessary to take online courses; basic computer knowledge being the main one. An internet connection is also imperative, although  some programs may allow you to work offline for some segments of the course. Also, some colleges may insist that courses be accessed through a particular server or in the campus' computer lab, so get all the facts before you sign up for online courses - you don't want to run into difficulty gaining access.