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Module One - What are Online Courses Really Like?

How do I know if online classes are for me?

Below you will find some questions to ask yourself before taking an online class.

Do I have the minimum skills necessary to take an online class?

While you don't need to be a computer genius to take online classes, you do need basic computer skills.

You need to know how to:

  • Get your password and log onto your class before the semester begins
  • Turn your computer on and off
  • Log on to the Internet
  • Send email
  • Word process(type, cut, paste, copy, name, save, rename, etc.)
  • Attach files
  • Download information from the Internet
  • Browse the Web
  • Ask questions of your instructor or call the SLN Student Help Desk with technical questions when you don't understand something

It is absolutely necessary to have a minimum working knowledge of computers and a word processing program to be successful in an online class. These are easy skills to learn but not at the same time that you begin to take your online class.

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Do I have consistent access to a computer and the Internet?

  • Do I have my own computer (preferable) or I will I have to rely on someone/someplace else for computer and Internet access? (View minimum computer requirements)
  • Is this person/place reliable so that I can complete my assignments when I want to and in a timely fashion?
  • Do I have a back-up plan in case my computer isn't working?

Having your own computer and Internet access is the best solution, however there are other, less flexible ways to take online courses as well. The MCC campus has many computers with Internet access that students can use during the normal hours of operation. Public libraries usually have access, but many will not let you use their computers for extended periods of time or bring in your own disk from home. Kinko's has computers that you can use for a fee. These would all be great back-up plans in case your computer breaks down, but should not be relied on totally.

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What kind of student am I?

Taking an online course requires a that a student be disciplined and self-motivated. You must take the initiative to complete assignments and discussions within the specified time frame without instructor prodding. Your grade may depend on your active participation. In addition, you are responsible for following the syllabus and knowing when assignments are due. And, you are responsible for asking questions. Your instructor cannot see that "puzzled look" on your face; therefore, it is your responsibility to contact him/her to get your questions answered.

Think back to some of your on-campus courses and assignments. Do you tend to do complete work on time or before the due date or do you procrastinate? Do you cram for tests? How and when do you study? Do you prefer to read a textbook, listen to a lecture, see pictures and diagrams, or identify everyday applications of theory? The answers to these and other questions are important for you to know before you take an online class. MCC's Online Readiness Checklist is a very useful tool to help you determine your success in an online environment.

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Students with a variety of learning styles can be successful in online classes and it may be helpful for you to identify your preferred style of learning. Module 2 more specifically addresses this topic. Take the Mini-Quiz to see how you're doing so far


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