Male student using a laptop near fountain

Are You Ready To Be an Online Student?

Being a successful online student requires some additional strategies from being a successful student in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. Online students need to be more independent in their learning, able to work without in-person interaction with instructors or classmates, and be technologically capable of managing course requirements. 

Course Requirements: 

An online course typically will require more reading and writing than a face-to-face course. A typical week in an online class may require you to 

  • ​Read the week's assignments and lecture materials, including PowerPoints, videos, or other web links.

  • Read the textbook or other articles assigned - typical college courses required 40-100 pages of reading a week; online courses have more reading. 

  • Participate in multiple discussion boards with classmates.

  • Post blogs or journal responses.

  • Complete any other assignments, including quizzes or exams. 

Characteristics of a Successful Online Student:

  • ​Independent Learner - if you require immediate feedback, online learning may not be right for you.

  • Self-Motivated - if you require someone looking over your shoulder to get you to work, online learning may not be right for you.

  • Proficient Reader and Writer - if you feel you are lacking in basic reading and writing skills, remember that an online course requires lots of both reading and writing. 

  • Deadline-Oriented - if you tend to procrastinate or put work off to the last minute, online learning may not be right for you. Online students must meet published deadlines and online instructors rarely allow for late work. 

  • Take Responsibility for the Learning Process - successful online students seek out tools and knowledge to help them accomplish their goals. If every time you get stuck on something you have to wait for someone to tell you the answer, online learning may not be right for you.  

To Find Out If You Are Ready:

To help you assess whether you are truly ready for an online course, explore the California Community College's Online Education Initiative's (OEI) Online Student Readiness Tutorials​. These tutorials and the associated tools will help you determine if you really have the time and resources to be a successful online student. Most students who are unsuccessful in an online course are so because they did not realize the commitment needed to take an online course. Make sure you are ready! 

To explore these tutorials, head to the next page!

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