Important Tips to Consider Before Taking an Online Class

Fact or Myth: Online classes are easier than face-to-face instruction?

Taking an online class offers the opportunity for flexibility, a more comfortable learning environment, and greater ability to concentrate on a particular subject. Though taking online classes is not always easier, be confident that you can succeed by asking yourself the following:


Access: Do you have an updated computer at home with reliable access to the internet and a printer?

Computer Ease:

  • Can you email, type, create, save, and work with files easily?
  • Do you know how to send an attachment and copy and paste a file?
  • Are you familiar with using an Internet browser (i.e., Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.?)
  • Can you download software, such as tools needed for creating bibliographies and note taking?

Availability: Are you able to come to campus periodically if required for the class by the instructor?

Time Management:

Planning: Do you manage your time well, and finish assignments early by using a calendar and planner?

  • Are you able to check in daily, setting aside a block of time without interruption to complete your assignments?

Self-paced: Can you work well by yourself with minimal access to an instructor or classmates?

Learning Style:

Consider taking a learning style inventory with the University Center for Academic Excellence.

  • Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, Kinesthetic?


  • How do you learn best? Written material, verbal instructions, or visual presentations.
  • Do you like to read and have good reading comprehension?
  • Can you conduct research on different topics?

Can you write well with minimal feedback?

If you answered no to any of the Technical questions, and struggled to answer the Time Management and Learning Style questions, you may want to consider against choosing an online version of a course. Try a hybrid section instead to test the waters!