Successful online students have many of the same qualities as successful traditional students, such as drive and dedication. However, succeeding in the online classroom requires students to display the following attributes as well.
Technological savvy. Although you’ll have a great deal of technical support as online education student, you will not be able to succeed if you are not comfortable using basic technologies. You’ll need to be able to use Internet browsers, email, chat software, online discussion boards, word-processing software, and other technology in order to complete online classes. If you’re interested in online courses but are not sure of your technological skills, some colleges offer free workshop classes to enrolled students who are unfamiliar with certain technologies.
Time-management skills. Students often think that because they do not have to participate in online classes at a certain time each day, they can put off attending class until the last minute and get away with it. Online courses tend to have very strict participation requirements, so this strategy of procrastination will inevitably lead to failure. Successful online students know how to budget their time to make school a priority and participate in the virtual classroom on a regular basis.
Proactive. A passive student may be able to get by in a traditional learning setting that over-relies on the instructor’s lecture to teach the material, but not in an online class. Online education students must be much more proactive in their learning because they don’t have the professor’s lectures to use as a crutch. Fundamentally, it is up to the student to learn the material by asking the instructor questions, talking with peers, and reading assigned materials closely. When you don’t understand something, it’s important to take advantage of the resources available to you in the online classroom to master the concept.
Independence. Online classes require students to show a great deal of independence. Online students are expected to perform at the same level as traditional students, but they must do so with very little supervision and guidance. In other words, successful online students must be comfortable teaching themselves to an extent. Of course, the instructor will always be available to assist you, but the learning process begins and ends with you.
Comfortable with non-face-to-face interaction. Online education programs require students and instructors to interact without face-to-face communication. This means you will have to be well-versed in email, chat, and discussion board communication. If you value face-to-face interaction highly or are not comfortable expressing yourself through electronic communication, online courses may not be a good fit for you.