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Is An Internet Class Right For You

While education has been available via the internet from the beginning in recent years most mainstream educational institutions have really embraced the web as an educational medium. Sooner or later high school and college students are faced with the question of whether or not to take an internet class. In fact, a good number of mainstream, accredited institutions even offer entire degree programs online.

While the internet can be a wonderful educational tool and taking classes online can be very convenient, it is important to note that taking an internet course is not for everyone. I have taken internet classes and in recent years taught about 50 students every semester via the internet (for a mainstream, accredited university) so I have a pretty good idea what to look for in a successful internet student. How do you know whether or not an internet course is right for you? You have to consider three basic issues that can dramatically impact your success in an online course: * Technology--Skills, knowledge, and available equipment * Learning Style * Student behavior Your knowledge of basic internet technology and the equipment you have to use for your studies are important factors in your success. Consider these areas: * Consistent internet access * Access to reliable, functional computer * Copy-and-paste or cut-and-paste from one source to another * Understand use of search engines * Email account with ability to send and receive attachments * Ability to forward and reply to emails * Knowledge of appropriate email etiquette * Post messages to a discussion board * Post messages with attachments to a discussion board * Visit sites by use of hyperlink or URL * Move forward and backward through sites * Download files from the Web Most internet instructors do not consider it their job to guide you through these areas. They expect that you already have a working knowledge of using the internet and ready to get to work on the course assignments and materials. While technological skills can be easily learned, there are other issues that affect student success in internet classes and one of those is learning style.

How do you learn best? If you aren't sure you might want to visit: http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.

asp?p=questionnaire Are you a visual learner that learns best by sight? Then an internet course should be suited for you. Are you an auditory learner that learns best by hearing? Then an internet course may not be suited to you (unless the instructor offers a number of recorded lectures). Are you a text learner that learns best by reading and/or writing? Then an internet course is probably ideally suited for you. Are you a kinaesthetic learner that learns best by using sensation or performing a task? Then an internet course might work for you. An internet course simply does not work well for some learning styles. However it is ideally suited for people who learn best by reading and writing.

It is also important to remember that learning style is only one part of the equation. The final element to help you determine whether or not an internet course is right for you is your own student behavior and attitude? What is your primary reason for taking an internet course? If it is convenience or scheduling then you are taking an internet course for the right reason but if you perceive that it will be an "easy" class with a lighter work load then you might be in for a surprise! You should also consider your own work style and ethic. Are you self-disciplined and able to set and keep your goals and tasks? Then an internet course is ideally suited for you, but if you require regular reminders to keep up-to-date with your course work then you might want to consider a different type of class. An internet course requires you to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes responsibility. The online process takes real commitment and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process.

Staying up with the class and completing all work on time is vital. Once a student gets behind, it is almost impossible to catch up. Once you have fully considered all three critical areas: technology, learning style, and student behavior, then you should be ready to determine if you are ready to take an internet class. Many students find that they love taking classes on the internet and in fact seem to be more successful in an internet class. However some students discover that they struggle in an internet class and that their grades suffer as well. It is important to make an educated decision before enrolling so your academic record does not suffer from a hasty decision.


By: Deanna Mascle

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