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Is Online Learning for You?

BEFORE you register for a Butler Online course, take a few minutes to take this self-assessment. As you answer the questions listed below, carefully consider the factors associated with each choice.

1. Having face-to-face interaction with my instructors and fellow students is:

a. ) not particularly important to me.
b. ) somewhat important to me.
c. ) very important to me

By its very nature, online learning is education that occurs via methods other than face-to-face interaction. This does not mean that online classes have little or no interaction.   As a matter of fact, many Butler Online classes are even more interactive than classes that meet on campus! Through email, discussion groups and chat features, courses provide ample opportunity for students to interact with their instructors and other students. But if face-to-face interaction is important to you, consider taking a blended course.

2. I would classify myself as someone who:

a. ) is good at prioritizing tasks and often gets things done ahead of time without being reminded by my instructor.
b. ) is sometimes poor at prioritizing, needs to be reminded of assignments once in a while, and often does assignments at the last minute.
c. ) is poor at prioritizing and sometimes forgets to complete assignments if I’m not reminded about them frequently.

If you answered (a) then you are a very good candidate for a Butler Online class. Because you won’t be sitting in a classroom on a regular basis and won’t have your instructor or classmates nearby to remind you of assignments, you must be fairly self-directed and conscientious about completing assignments to succeed.

3. Classroom discussion is:

a. ) rarely helpful to me
b. ) sometimes helpful to me.
c. ) almost always helpful to me.

There is no wrong answer to this question because online learning can work for you no matter what your answer. Discussion can take place in a variety of ways. It can be discussion that occurs by email with your instructor or fellow students, or through the topics in the discussion tool, a virtual chat conversation, or even through a phone call. If you prefer some face to face interaction, consider taking a blended course.

4. When it comes to assessing my own progress, I:

a. ) feel as if I can keep tabs on my progress, even without immediate or frequent feedback from my instructor.
b. ) prefer to receive regular feedback from my instructor, but don’t mind if I can’t get that feedback immediately after turning in a test or assignment.
c. ) need feedback from my instructor immediately and often.

If you answered (a) or (b) to this question, a Butler Online course will probably be fine for you. If you answered (c), however, you may be dissatisfied with the amount of feedback you receive. Because of the distance, and sometimes, time, separating you from your instructor, it can be difficult for instructors to provide feedback quickly and frequently. Of course, the amount of feedback you receive ultimately depends on your instructor’s personal style (just as it does in any kind of class. )

5. Considering my personal and professional schedule, the minimum amount of time I have to work on a typical 3-credit online course is:

a). 8-16 hours per week
b). 5-7 hours per week
c). 1-4 hours per week

Many people who have never taken a purely online course before mistakenly assume that it will take less time than a traditional on-campus class. This is certainly NOT true. An online course is just as demanding as another course. The only “time savings” you can expect is the time you would have otherwise spent commuting to and from the class. On the other hand, an online course makes it easier to choose WHEN you spend your available time doing coursework. With most online courses, it doesn’t matter whether you do your coursework at 2 a.m. or 6 p.m. ; it is entirely up to you.

Your answer depends on a number of considerations. For example, a course taken during the summer term will require more concentrated time than one taken during the longer spring or fall terms. If you answered (a) or (b) (depending upon the course) you probably have the time necessary to complete an online course. If your answer is (c) you don’t have time to take an online course right now. Remember, a 4-credit course would require even more time.

Some points for you to consider:

  • Online learning coursework can be neglected because of personal or family circumstances, unless there are compelling reasons for completing a course.
  • Some students prefer the independence of online learning; others find it uncomfortable.
  • Online learning courses give you greater freedom to schedule your work, but they also require more self-discipline.
  • Some people learn best by face-to-face interaction with other students, but courses online courses do not afford much opportunity for this type of interaction.
  • Online leaming courses require you to work from written directions, without face-to-face explanations by the instructor.
  • Online courses require at least as much time as attending classes and completing assignments for on-campus courses.
  • Online courses use technology for teaching and communication. You must be comfortable with basic computertechnology and file management.
  • Text-based materials are the primary source of directions, information and communication in many online learning courses.
  • Some online courses require occasional trips to campus for orientation and
Send inquiries to:
Meg McGranaghan
Director of Instructional Technology
Butler Community College
El Dorado, KS 67042
316.322.3345 megmcg@butlercc.edu
This page was last updated
May 8, 2008