Online Learning Readiness Quiz

Before enrolling, you can assess your readiness for online learning with this quiz. Your answers to these questions will help determine what you need to do to be successful in online coursework. The explanation beneath each question will give you a good idea of what to expect from an online course. 

1. The amount of time I expect to spend on my online course is:

  1. More than I would for an on-campus course.
  2. The same as I would for an on-campus course.
  3. Less than I would for an on-campus course.

If you're interested in an online course because you think it will be less work than a traditional on-campus course, you should know that it is not the case. Most of our students believe an online course is at least as much work as an on-campus course. In fact, many say their online course involved significantly more work. However, most students say the additional workload is compensated by the fact that they can "go to class" whenever they had the time, whether it be 2 a.m. or 6 p.m.

2. In regard to assessing my own progress and learning in a course:

  1. I feel I can gauge how well I am doing on my own, even with little instructor feedback.
  2. I need regular feedback from my instructor, but that feedback does not need to be immediate.
  3. I need frequent and immediate feedback to assess my progress.

If you answered (a) or (b), then you will adapt fine to an online learning environment. If you answered (c), you may have to adjust to this learning format. Due to the nature of online learning, feedback from your instructor may not be as frequent or as immediate as you are used to in a traditional class, although this can vary from course to course depending on your instructor's teaching style. Many students feel they actually receive more quality feedback from instructors in this format. Some students also feel they have more consistent contact with their instructors in an online course.

3. I consider my reading skills:

  1. Very good. I need little or no help understanding what I read and implementing that knowledge.
  2. Average. I need to go over some sections twice, and sometimes I need an instructor's help to understand the material.
  3. Not great. I have to reread many sections and usually need help in understanding the material.

Most course materials in an online course are presented in a written format. Instead of being presented orally, the lectures may be text-based, and you won't have the chance to ask the instructor for immediate clarification. Instead, you will need to contact your instructor electronically (via email or their preferred method), but the response will mostly likely not be immediately while you are reading the material. If you answered (c), you might want to talk with your instructor about it, and you also have access to free tutoring from the Learning Commons.

4. When it comes to assignment deadlines:

  1. I usually have things done ahead of time.
  2. I usually have things done on time, but sometimes need reminders of the deadline.
  3. I often turn things in late or forget that they are due if not reminded often.

One of the most important things to understand is although you are able to work on your coursework when you want to, online courses are NOT self-paced. They have assignment deadlines, and not meeting them can cause you to fall behind — the leading reason online students do not succeed. Because you don't have a regular class time, it is essential to keep on top of your assignments; you won't have instructors or fellow students to remind you.

5. I prefer my feedback from an instructor to be:

  1. Written comments.
  2. Written comments with oral clarification if needed.
  3. I need oral comments to understand the feedback.

If you answered (c), you might need some time to adjust to communicating in an online course. This style of teaching usually does not involve oral feedback, but is written comments. It is essential to your success to understand this type of feedback.

6. When given an assignment I prefer to:

  1. Figure out the instructions on my own with little clarification.
  2. Try to understand the instructions, then ask for clarification.
  3. Have the instructions explained to me in detail.

Most successful online students are able to work well independently and with little direct guidance. While it's true that your instructor is there to assist you in understanding the course materials, it is your responsibility to seek out their help.

7. Classroom discussion is:

  1. Very important to my learning style.
  2. Somewhat important to my learning style.
  3. Not important to my learning style.

Although there is no in-person discussion in an online course, there is still discussion, but the amount of discussion will depend on the structure of the individual course. This interaction will likely take the form of an online discussion group, chat, or email. For some students, electronic communication is a poor substitute for face-to-face discussion; however, many students prefer this style of discussion and feel they participate more freely than they do in an on-campus setting.

8. Having face to face contact with my instructor is:

  1. Not important to me.
  2. Somewhat important to me.
  3. Very important to me.

In an online course there is usually little or no face-to-face contact with your instructor. Some instructors do make arrangements for in-person office hours or make special arrangements to meet students; however, you should plan that the majority of your contact with your instructor being via email or other electronic communications.

9. I consider my learning style:

  1. Visual: I learn best by reading and viewing visual aids.
  2. Auditory: I learn best when things are verbally explained to me.
  3. Tactile: I learn best by "doing" (i.e. a lab experiment).

Although some online courses have elements that fit all three of these learning styles, most of the information is presented visually. If you answered (b), you may consider courses that use videotapes to supplement course materials. If you answered (c), then you may want to look into courses that include hands-on labs; however, these classes do require an on-campus meeting once a week to perform experiments.

10. My primary motivation for taking a class online is:

  1. I need it for my major or I am very interested in the subject material.
  2. I love the internet and taking a class this way seems like a perfect fit for me.
  3. I want to save time.

The most successful online students are those who are taking a course in which they have a personal interest or one that is necessary for their graduation. If you are already comfortable navigating an online environment, this learning style may work well for you. If you answered (c), you should remember that while you can work on your on schedule, this in no way means you will spend less time on your coursework. In fact, some students feel they spend at least as much, if not more, time doing work for an online course.

11. The social aspects of the traditional on-campus environment is:

  1. Not very important to me.
  2. Somewhat important to me.
  3. Very important to me.

While there are opportunities for interaction with your classmates in an online course, some students might find the interaction unsatisfying. This isn't to say that you won't have any interaction with your classmates in an online course —in fact many students say they got to know their classmates better in this type of learning environment. If you think you need more social interaction in your classes, you may want to consider a combination of online, on-campus, and hybrid courses.