They need to decide what kind of learner they are. If they can work successfully on their own, then go for it!
The only real warning I would give is that you make sure you can learn on your own. You can ask for help, but it is much easier if you can get things done on your own. Also, I would remind anyone that you need to make sure you read everything the professor gives you on the web page. If you miss something, the teacher won't necessarily point it out to you, so you need to make sure you read it all, so you don't miss anything.
I would tell them to make sure they are up to the challenge of taking an online course, meaning to find out everything that is required of them. Also for the person to be familiar with computers and the latest things that can be done on computer. Finally, for the person to be able to handle working independently of an instructor.
All I can say is that any student considering taking an online course needs to be aware of the difference in work load between an online course and being in an actual classroom setting. Also, they need to know that no two online classes are alike as far as the workload.
Students that I have talked to think that online course are easier than actual class but, they really are not. Time is very important. You have to spend hours doing all the reading all of the chapters and your lesson plans that your teacher is giving. So in this time you have to add in the class hours that you would have been in the actual class and the hours you would have spent on homework. So if its a 3 credit course each week you would have to have the 3 hours of class time and at least 6 hours at the minimum for homework. So, this means you have to set aside 9 hours a week to your online class. Also you are self teaching the online class. If need assistance in understanding material you should you should take it in class. You also need the computer skills such as typing and navigating on your computer for an online class. This is what I would tell a student to consider if they were thinking of taking an online class.
Several of my friends have actually asked me what I think of online courses and I have always highly recommended them. I warn them that overall it definitely involves more work than a class that actually meets on campus. Students contemplating online classes must also be very motivated, since there isn't an instructor reminding them every class of when things are due.
Some advice I would give is if you don't work well by yourself then an online class is not for you. You also have to have a computer at home with Internet access. There is no point in taking an online class if you are going to be accessing it from school everyday. The point of an online class to me is so that you can work from home.
I would tell someone wanted to take an online course to really be honest with themselves about how they learn and how motivated they are. If you learn best by hearing the information in lectures, or through interactive demonstrations, then online courses might not be for you. I've also learned that the instructor really sets the tone for the course. Having a teacher who is approachable and available is important.
If you have not taken an online class before take time and do your research, analyze yourself and make sure that it is for you. If you are not self motivated or have problems getting started then it will be difficult getting adjusted. If you are an adult returning to the higher learning environment then taking an online class is a good way to get back into the swing of things.
I would say to make sure you are computer literate. You have to have a working knowledge of the computer to make a go at this. I would also say that you have to be self motivated. It could be easy to slack or fall behind in an online course, because you really don't have anyone to answer to. At least not face to face.
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