Is Online Learning for You?

While online learning is a great option, it may not be the right option for everyone.  Learning online will not save you time in the learning environment, it simply changes where you are learning.  You can expect to spend the same amount of time and energy in an online course as you would in a traditional face-to-face course. You will also spend the same amount of time and energy working on class assignments, research, and homework than if you were in a face-to-face course.  A general rule of thumb is that you will spend 2-3 hours on homework for every credit hour and one hour of online time for every credit hour. For a three credit course this translates to about 10-12 hours of time for each course each week – give or take.

The difference is that your time spent in your class and studying is a bit more flexible and can be fit into your schedule more easily than if you had to be in class on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.   However, online classes do save you time and money on travel, which is a big advantage.

Students who learn in an online setting must be self-disciplined, organized, and have good time management skills to be successful. There is also can be a large amount of reading in an online environment so having good reading skills will be a benefit.  Typing and technology skills are a plus as well.

In addition to the drive and determination, good time management skills, and good reading skills, you will need reliable access to the internet and a reliable computer. Some courses may require a web camera and headset with microphone for the synchronous meetings. Both are fairly inexpensive and can be purchased online or at an electronics retailer.
You will also need the Microsoft Office Suite of products. Specialized courses may require additional software but are usually listed within course material requirements.  As a student at UM, you are eligible for a copy of these products.  To learn more visit the Microsoft Office information page.
You can check your computer capability with Blackboard here.

We have developed a brief questionnaire to help you self-assess your readiness for online learning. Items included are considered necessary to succeed in online learning. After you complete the questionnaire, written feedback will be provided to inform and help guide your preparation for online learning, if needed. DLI offers many podcast and illustrated step-by-step tutorials to help you be successful as an online student. These resources will always be available to you as you move through the program.

For each item, you will see three choices. Please choose the statement that best describes you. Select the link below to access the questionnaire:

Readiness