Is CUOL right for you?

Online learning is very different from learning in a traditional, face-to-face classroom setting. Students succeed in online courses when they access their course materials regularly, communicate when they are having problems, participate effectively in all elements of the class and stay on top of their course requirements. Reflect on the questions below and see whether CUOL courses are a good fit for you.

  1.  Are you a self-motivated and self-disciplined learner?
  2. Can you be open minded about sharing your experiences with others, be it life experiences or work experiences?
  3. Are you able to communicate effectively through writing?
  4. Are you able to think through ideas before responding?
  5. Will you be able to “speak-up” if there is a problem?
  6. Are you willing to commit just as much or more time than you would to an in-class course?
  7. Do you have ready access to a computer with Internet access, and do you have moderate technical proficiency?
  8. Do you believe that high-quality learning can take place without going to a traditional classroom?

1. Are you a self-motivated and self-disciplined learner?
Online learning affords freedom and flexibility, but this means you need to be able to effectively manage your own time and ensure you’re completing tasks on time.

2. Can you be open minded about sharing your experiences with others, be it life experiences or work experiences?
With online learning, you’ll benefit from engaging in online forums, discussion boards and other forms of group discussion. Being able to share and relate your experiences to your learning will help you better understand and contextualize complex ideas.

3. Are you able to communicate effectively through writing?
Communication in online learning is almost entirely done through writing, so being able to express yourself effectively is pivotal to being understood by others. The distance course community includes peers who might be able to lend support, as well as instructors and TAs who can provide guidance and respond to questions. Limitations in your ability to communicate through writing should be addressed prior to enrolling in an online course.

4. Are you able to think through ideas before responding?
In the virtual classroom, it is important to be able to contribute to discussions and provide meaningful input. Careful consideration of your ideas is crucial to the learning process.

5. Will you be able to “speak-up” if there is a problem?
Due to the nature of online learning, it is more challenging for instructors to identify potential issues students might be facing (such as confusion, distraction, etc.). It is important that you know how and when to identify and articulate an issue that might be an obstacle to your learning.

6. Are you willing to commit just as much or more time than you would to an in-class course?
Online learning requires a great deal of time investment. You need to be prepared to spend anywhere from four to 15 hours per week on each online course.

7. Do you have ready access to a computer with Internet access, and do you have moderate technical proficiency?
When it comes to online learning, having the right equipment and knowing how to use it is just as important as having the right skills. Success in an online course requires reliable Internet access and regular computer use.

8. Do you believe that high-quality learning can take place without going to a traditional classroom?
Online learning is not for everybody, but can be a tremendously rewarding way to learn for those who invest the time, energy and effort into it.