Online programs are a convenient option, but not for everyone
What do students like most about online programs?
The overwhelming majority agree that convenience makes online programs attractive. The ability to study at a time and place of their choosing, to fit school into busy and changing personal schedules – these are the reasons people study online.
An online program lets you study at TCC no matter where you are in the country – or the world. That makes it particularly attractive to military members and their families, who often move a lot.
If you are right here in Hampton Roads, online courses can save commuting time and expense, and allow you to spend more time with your family – for example, you can do your course work after the kids are in bed.
Online courses sometimes allow students to learn at their own pace. Also, students who wouldn’t usually participate in a regular classroom setting may be quite vocal in an online chat or discussion group.
… and cons
But online programs also can present challenges. Students who have taken online courses often miss the personal interaction with classmates and the immediate feedback from instructors that comes with traditional courses.
And don’t enroll in an online class thinking it’s going to be easy. An online course may require more time than a traditional class.
Much more individual responsibility is placed on students who take courses online. And because much of the course content is text-based, online courses may not be the best option for students who are still developing their college-level reading skills.
But if you are self-motivated and have a good understanding of computers, you should do just fine.
Here are a few questions that may help you decide whether an online program such as those offered at TCC would be a good option for you.
Should you choose an online program at TCC?
1. Feeling that I am part of a physical classroom setting is:
a. not necessary.
b. somewhat important.
c. very important.
2. I generally:
a. get things done ahead of time.
b. need reminders, but get things done on time.
c. put things off until the last minute.
3. I prefer to communicate:
a. in writing.
b. in person, but I’m comfortable expressing myself in writing.
c. in person, face-to-face. I do not like to write.
4. I would classify myself as:
a. a good reader, able to understand most text material without help.
b. an average reader. Sometimes I need help understanding the material.
c. a slow reader. I often need help understanding text material.
5. I think face-to-face classroom discussion:
a. is helpful, but discussion via email is equally engaging.
b. is sometimes helpful.
c. is vital.
6. I generally prefer to:
a. figure out instructions myself.
b. try to follow instructions on my own, then ask for help as needed.
c. have instructions explained or demonstrated to me.
7. When faced with new technology such as gadgets and computer software I usually:
a. look forward to learning new skills.
b. feel some apprehension, but try it anyway.
c. avoid working with new technology.
8. Taking into account my professional and personal schedule, I have:
a. more time for an online course than an on-campus one since I don’t have to commute.
b. about the same amount of time for an online course as an on-campus class.
c. even less time for an online course than an on-campus course.
9. If I have to go to campus to take exams or complete work I:
a. would have difficulty going to campus at any time.
b. will need to make an evening or weekend appointment.
c. can make arrangements to do so almost anytime.
Three points for each “a” answer.
Two points for each “b” answer.
One point for each “c” answer.
21 or more points: An online program would probably be a good fit for you.
15 to 20 points: An online course could work for you, but you should be prepared to make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits to succeed. A hybrid course may be a good first step.
14 or fewer points: An online course is probably not the best way for you to learn right now. Your chance for success would be better if you enrolled in a traditional on-campus course.