Student Readiness for Online Learning
Students enter courses with a variety of experiences related to learning and a range of knowledge about the subject matter. Consider the wide range of needs of the student audience when deciding what course format might work best. Ask:
- Will students already have experience learning online?
- Are there other online classes in the program?
- Will students have to exhibit proficiency in online learning skills in order to advance professionally in the field?
Loyola Online describes three different course formats:
- Online: Courses that are 100% online and conducted via the Internet.
- Hybrid: Courses that are at least 75% online and primarily conducted via the Internet.
- Blended: Courses that have between 30 to 75% of class materials delivered online.
In addition to whether a department offers courses in any of these formats, other considerations include students’ technology and computer skills, students’ time management skills, and support services available to students.
What kinds of technology and computer skills do the students have?
Consider students’ technology skills. What equipment and programs will students need to be adept at to do individual and group work online? At LUC, Information Technology and Research Services (ITRS) offers a robust array of technology support services for students.
What kinds of time management skills do students have?
Time management, discipline, and motivation play a key role in students’ success in online courses. Unlike face-to-face courses where the course meets at a set time each week, online courses may not have a set meeting time. Students need to take the initiative not just to log into the course but also to carve out significant time to work on the course.
What services are available to support online students?
Access to the appropriate support services can prevent students from dropping out of online courses. A list of academic and technical support services is a crucial feature of well-designed online courses. Refer students to the Writing Center, Center for Tutoring and Academic Excellence, Student Accessibility Center, or ITRS when they need assistance.
What other resources can instructors use to determine if students are ready to learn online?
For a more detailed assessment of readiness for online learning, review the Online Readiness Questionnaire by Pennsylvania State University.
- Alzuru, M. & Marquart, M. (2015). Online Students Develop Marketable Professional Skills. Retrieved from Educause Review.
- Friedman, J. (2016). Develop Self-Motivation Skills Before Starting Online Courses. Retrieved from US News & World Report.
- Morrison, D. (2014). Are You Ready To Learn Online?. Retrieved from Online Learning Insights.