Online Learning Self Assessment
Before enrolling in an online course, you should perform an assessment of your aptitude for success in this type of learning environment. The resources below will aid you in this assessment.
Lets begin with some tips for being a successful online student:
The first three “habits of highly effective people” discussed by Steven Covey are a great place to start. The quoted text in the numbered items below comes from the following source: Covey, Steven R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®. New York: Free Press, 1989. https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php. Web. 26, July, 2013.
- Be Proactive! – “Your life doesn’t just “happen.” Whether you know it or not, it is carefully designed by you. The choices, after all, are yours. You choose happiness. You choose sadness. You choose decisiveness. You choose ambivalence. You choose success. You choose failure. You choose courage. You choose fear. Just remember that every moment, every situation, provides a new choice. And in doing so, it gives you a perfect opportunity to do things differently to produce more positive results.”
Habit 1, Being Proactive, is about taking ownership and responsibility for everything you do. When it comes to online learning, self-motivation and proactivity are essential.
- Begin with the End in Mind – “One of the best ways to incorporate Habit 2 into your life is to develop a Personal Mission Statement. It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life. You create your own destiny and secure the future you envision.”
From the first day of class you should have an idea of what you expect to get out of the it. Set goals for yourself and work hard to accomplish those goals. Consider how you learn best (learning style) and find a way to utilize that method throughout the entire course.
- Put First Things First – “This habit is where Habits 1 and 2 come together. It happens day in and day out, moment-by-moment. It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that’s not all it’s about. Habit 3 is about life management as well–your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are “first things?” First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.”
One of your first tasks in an online course should be to examine the course schedule or calendar. Find out what activities will be required and what their due dates will be. Manage your time well. Make To-Do lists, and add the due dates to your personal calendar. Focus on what needs to be accomplished first. Start with, “What is due today?” then move to, “What is due this week?” then this month, and then for the term. Be sure to check your course calendar frequently for updates and schedule changes throughout the term.
The eLearning Student Support Course is a great place for information about learning styles.
Smarter Measure is an assessment tool that is used to determine a student’s readiness for online course work. The survey asks questions on topics in the areas of how well you can use a computer; how motivated, organized, and self-directed you are; and how you prefer to learn new information. In addition, your typing and on-screen reading speed and comprehension will be measured.
In addition, take the following self-assessment to see if you understand what it takes to be a successful online student. Choose the answers that most realistically describe you.
1. Do I keep up with my reading assignments in my face-to-face courses?
Yes, I enjoy reading. I use my college textbooks almost like study guides.
No, I do not like reading at all!
NOTE: Online courses are heavily text-based besides having the usual textbook reading assignments.
2. Do I complete my assignments on time for my face-to-face courses?
Yes, I follow my teacher’s instructions for completing course assignments.
No, I try to complete my assignments by the end of the semester. I have other more important schedules to follow.
NOTE : Students who cannot meet assignment deadlines should NOT enroll. Online courses are NOT open entry/open exit. Schedules are important!
3. Is my computer equipment reliable?
Yes, my computer equipment is up-to-date, and I have a good backup plan if my computer does break down.
No, however, my mother-in-law will let me use hers when it comes back from the shop.
NOTE : Technical problems are not acceptable excuses for missing assignments or test completion dates. Having an alternative plan just in case your computer breaks down is a very good idea!
4. Do I have a reliable Internet provider?
Yes, I have internet service through a reliable provider..
No, but I will get reliable internet service before the course starts.
NOTE: A reliable and fast internet connection is essential to your success in an online course. Never wait until the last hour to complete an assignment or test, as you never know when your computer or internet access may be interrupted.
5. Do I enjoy emailing my friends and responding to my friends’ email?
Yes, my friends and I often share what is happening in our lives through email.
No, I would rather telephone my friends or meet them somewhere to talk face-to-face. I am frustrated by the wait for email.
NOTE: The primary means of communicating between an online student and an online instructor is through electronic communication including email. To be successful, the online student must be very comfortable with email, including the delays that may occur with this form of communication. MGCCC requires that students activate and use the email account provided by the college.
6. Can I afford to take an online course?
Yes, I understand that there is an extra non-refundable fee of $10 per credit hour for each course that I take. If my course is not on MGCCC book service, I may have to purchase my textbook from a source outside the College.
No, I cannot afford $30 to $40 for each online course that I take.
NOTE: Students enrolling in online courses pay the same tuition and fees as face-to-face students; however, there is an additional NON-REFUNDABLE online course fee. Textbooks that are not on MGCCC book service can be VERY expensive. One hundred dollars per course for course materials is not unusual.
7. Can I perform basic computer functions such as create, save, and manage files on a computer, navigate the Internet, download files, attach files to an email message, and save and open attached files from incoming email?
Yes, I consider myself to be proficient using a computer. I am proficient with word processing.
No, I am not a confident computer user, but I have a friend who can do these things for me.
Note: On a proctored test, only you will be allowed to complete the test. Your friend, parent, colleague or any other relation should not have access to your user ID or password. Only students registered in a specific class are to have access to the password and user ID to enter that class.
8. Do I understand that regular attendance throughout the entire term is mandatory for online courses?
Yes, I know that I probably will have to login to the course site several times every week throughout the term and complete course activities in order to be counted as having attended.
No, How can there be an attendance policy when there is no face-to-face contact between student and instructor?
NOTE: The e-learning software used to facilitate courses keeps a record of the student’s activity within the platform to include what days and time a student logs on to course site, what pages are viewed, and what activities the student completes.
9. Do I understand the College Internet Acceptable Use policy?
Yes, I understand my rights and responsibilities. I understand that by sharing my logon and password with an unauthorized individual, I may be dismissed from the course and the College (The document “Student Rights and Responsibilities” is available in the Student Handbook .)
No, I do not read stuffy documents.
Note: The College’s Internet policy applies to all students who enroll into an MGCCC Internet provided course.
10.Do I expect the assignments for online courses to be the same as the assignments for face-to-face courses?
Yes, Online course assignments may not be exactly the same as for face-to-face courses, but the assignments will be equivalent in rigor and quality.
No, I expect to save a lot of time. I will not have to attend classes, have projects, or write papers. I will never have to use the library. I plan to spend one hour per week online at the course site. I will not have to take my kids to daycare.
NOTE : The usual standard for time required for a college course, including online courses, is three hours per every one-hour of credit received. The time required for a three-hour course may be nine hours of reading and assignments and three hours on the class site per week. Expect to spend at least 12-15 hours per week per course. Just as with face-to-face courses, students may have assignments that require library use. Learning Resources can be accessed through the MGCCC home page.
11.Do I understand that online courses may be taught by an instructor from another Mississippi community college?
Yes, I understand that my course instructor may not be employed by Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and may not have an office at an MGCCC campus.
No, I expected to see my instructor.
NOTE: Online courses may be offered through any of the 15 participating Mississippi community colleges.
12.When I have a choice, do I sit in the front half of an on campus classroom?
Yes, I sit on the front row if I can, and I enjoy classroom discussion.
No , I feel more comfortable along the back wall of a classroom. I want to be able to see everything that happens, but I am there to absorb, not talk.
Note: The most successful online students frequently participate in the course through the discussion board an other course tools. Online instructors have observed that students who do not participate and interact with the instructor and other classmates tend to drop the course more frequently than students who participate in the course do. Successful online students cannot be “lurkers” who stand on the sidelines “observing” what is going on.
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions, then eLearning may be the right option for you!
If your answers differ greatly to any of these questions, you may wish to contact a counselor or your faculty advisor before registering for any eLearning course. It is very important that you have a clear understanding of the requirements for any eLearning course before registering.
The successful online student must be an independent, self-motivated learner. Online courses are not suited for the student who depends upon someone else pushing them to study and complete course activities.