#10 Communicate Through Writing
Expressing yourself in writing becomes very important with most distance-education courses. Almost all course communication occurs through writing. If you are not a particularly good typist or if you don't like to write, then you might find distance education courses an uneasy fit for you.
#9 There Really IS an Instructor
Some students find it difficult to remember that there is really an instructor connected with every distance education course. Even if you don't ever meet your professor face-to-face, that person is an integral part of the course, wanting your interactions and awaiting your participation in class.
Beginning the course with a good relationship with your professor can be a very helpful way to establish a good rapport with them for the rest of the course. If you ever have the opportunity to speak with your professor in person, take advantage of it.
#8 Schedule Time to Work
Some students will put off the work in a distance course when personal or professional obligations arise. They feel that the distance course can be done "anytime" and that these other obligations are more important. It is really important to set a time aside to work on your distance course, making your class schedule a priority that cannot be deferred.
# 7 Know How to Ask For Help
Distance education learners need to know how to ask for help. In other words, distance education students should be assertive enough to send an email to the course instructor (or to another student), post a question to the class discussion board, or pick up the telephone when questions arise that must be addressed.
This includes asking for assistance with technical issues which might arise. Be familiar with the IT support available to you.
#6 Significant Amount of Written Directions
Most distance-education courses require a significant amount of written instructions. Some students find this appealing because instructions are displayed clearly. Other students find this difficult because they learn more from hearing a teacher explain directions and because they find it tedious to read so much.
Remember this is a college level course as well, if you do not have the prerequisite knowledge required for the course, this may not be the best option for you.
#5 Interactions Done in Writing
Some distance education courses require a significant amount of student-to-student interactions; however, these interactions are quite different from the ones that occur in face-to-face classes since they are usually done in writing. Some students find written interactions difficult, while others find them more rewarding than the kind of communication that occurs in a traditional classroom.
Online learning can feel isolating, especially if you are completing your degree completely online. Connecting with other online learners can foster a sense of community.
#4 Requires the Use of a Variety of Technologies
Distance education courses often require students to use a variety of technologies. All tools can be frustrating when you first learn how to use them. If technology frustrates you and you find temporary problems or inconveniences overwhelming, this might be a difficult classroom environment for you.
Check out TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE NEEDED for Online Courses to make sure you and your system are ready for the online commitment.
#3 Can Be Time-Intensive
The time allowed to complete a distance-education course is often the same as the time allowed to complete a face-to-face class (e.g., 16 weeks per semester). Because most distance education courses require a lot more reading and writing, students in distance education courses may find them to be more time-intensive to complete.
#2 Requires Self-Discipline
Freedom from appearing for face-to-face class sessions is a double-edged sword. Although this freedom is liberating, it also requires more self-discipline on the student's part than a campus-based class experience. Some students find it difficult to create their own work schedule to keep up with weekly class work.
It’s your responsibility to take the initiative to keep up with your work when enrolled in online classes. It can be easy to let assignments slide and miss due dates because of the wiggle room and flexibility that come with online courses. Be sure to read your syllabus closely as each instructor may have different expectations and rules established in submitting your course work regarding due dates and acceptance of late work..
Procrastination is a slippery slope and can affect your grade negatively. It’s important to stay organized and follow a schedule because it’s difficult to catch up once you fall behind.
#1 Must Be an Independent Worker
Online learning requires the student to be an independent worker. Some students relish this independence while others are less comfortable with it and miss the face-to-face experience.