Are Online Courses Right For Me?

Students often wonder if they will be successful in online coursework and programs. The list below presents common characteristics found among the most successful online students. This list is not meant to be exclusionary in nature but to present a list of actions, behaviors and skills sets that will lead to your success.

  • Students should be comfortable with computers and technology. Knowing how to use the Internet will save time and energy.

  • Students should be strong readers. There is often more reading in an online class because the instructor and classmates communicate through writing.

  • Students should be self-motivated. The flexible structure of an online course means students will have to organize their time wisely and take responsibility for getting help, turning in assignments on time and communicating with the instructor.

Take the quiz below to determine whether online courses are a good fit for you. Then contact an NICC advisor to discuss your best options.

1. My technology access is best described as:

I have a computer at home with Internet access.
I have regular access to a computer with Internet access and have permission to download files.
I don't have access to a computer or an e-mail address.

2. My technology skills are:

Very good. I can use e-mail, Web browsers, word-processing software, and can download files and create attachments. I like trying to solve technology problems on my own and don't get frustrated easily.
Average. I can use e-mail, Web browsers and word-processing software. I don't feel comfortable solving technology problems on my own.
Very basic. I have used e-mail, Web browsers and word-processing software, but I get frustrated when things don't work the way they should.

3. Face-to-face communication is:

Not essential to me. I am comfortable learning without face-to-face interaction.
Important to me, and I wonder about my ability to learn without being able to see the instructor or other students.
Essential, and I learn only if I can interact in person with the instructor and other students.

4. When I need help in class:

I feel comfortable asking questions and asking for help.
I hesitate to ask questions of the instructor, but I will ask for help if I need it.
I often feel intimidated asking questions or asking for help.

5. The amount of uninterrupted time I have to devote to an online class is:

15 hours or more per week, anytime during the day or night.
10-15 hours per week, mainly at night.
Less than 10 hours per week.

6. I would describe my personal style as:

Self-motivated, self-disciplined and organized.
Motivated, but I need help remembering assignments and due dates.
Spontaneous and not too disciplined - I need someone to motivate me and help me stay on top of my coursework.

7. My reading and writing abilities are:

Above average. I enjoy reading and writing and have confidence in my abilities.
OK. I read well but I'm not comfortable expressing myself in writing.
Below average. I don't like reading and look for classes without a lot of writing assignments.

8. When it comes to analyzing class materials and expressing my own opinions about them I feel…

confident; I can analyze class materials and formulate opinions on what I've learned.
a bit nervous; I can sometimes analyze class materials and form opinions, but it is a struggle for me.
like I would rather do this with a group guiding me; analyzing material is not something I do well.

9. Class discussions are:

Important to me and useful in helping me learn the information presented in class. I almost always participate in class discussions.
Somewhat important to my learning. I sometimes participate in class discussions.
Not very useful to me. I don't usually participate in class discussions.

10. When it comes to learning:

I welcome opportunities to learn new things and master new technologies.
I get nervous around new technologies, but I like to learn.
I get very nervous around technology and would rather not try it.

11. I am considering taking an online course because:

I've taken an online class before and enjoyed the experience.
I'm curious about online classes and have room in my schedule.
I need the class for a graduation requirement or job situation, and I can't fit it in to my campus schedule.