Online Readiness Assessment

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So You Want to Take an Online Course?

If you answer “yes” to all of the following questions, then online learning may be for you!


Online courses are hard work! Successful students have a passion for knowledge and a willingness to excel. These students take responsibility for their role in learning and the educational process. It will be necessary for you to be a self-starter and to complete assignments without the constant help of other students or your professor.

Lectures, assignments, projects, and most course materials are contained in your online classroom. You must have full access to a home computer in order to be successful in your course.

You must have administrative privileges to your computer, or there must be someone able and willing to allow/process downloads from safe third party software such as RealPlayer, Adobe Readers, and Flash Player. You also need to have working speakers to use some of the multimedia applications or software.

To participate in online courses you must have your own reliable Internet Service Provider.

A recent computer with Windows or Mac Operating systems and a high speed Internet connection is required. This will enable students to use Blackboard’s features successfully. Cookies, Java, ActiveX, and pop-ups all need to be enabled in your Web browser. We have determined that wireless Internet connections are less reliable than hard-wired connections when using Blackboard and will cause problems during tests.

Google Chrome is the preferred browser for accessing Blackboard.  The Blackboard browser compatibility checker checks whether Blackboard Learn supports your browser and operating system.  However, the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are certified to be fully compatible with Blackboard’s features. (However, this is not always the case.) You can also check the list of suitable browsers for Blackboard from the website below.

http://help-archives.blackboard.com/Blackboard-Learn/9.1/SP09/EN-US/NAHE/Student/Content/_about/about_browsers.htm

Software requirements vary from course to course, but typically include media players, Adobe Flash, Adobe Acrobat Reader, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Office file viewers. Many of these are free downloads available from their respective websites.

Just like on-ground students need quiet time and space to complete assignments, online students do as well.  If you cannot work on course work at home because of noise and distractions, consider other options such as a local library or coffee shop.

It is your responsibility as an online student to seek out any additional help you may need.  The instructor will not know you are struggling or have questions unless you notify them.  Online learners must feel comfortable asking questions and communicating with their instructor.

It is easy to fall behind in online courses if you are not submitting assignments early or on time.  Having good time management skills will increase the likelihood of your success in the online environment.