Is Online Learning Right For Me?
Are you self-motivated to complete assignments?
To be successful as an online student, you will need to stay on top of your assignments. Once you fall behind in a seven-week course, it will be difficult to recover and makeup assignments. You may not have classmates or the instructor reminding you to start an assignment early or even when the due date is. If you have questions about an assignment, you should proactively reach out to the instructor with the question.
Can you manage your time effectively?
Eastern University online courses are not self-paced. You will be expected to participate 3-5 times a week either responding to discussion board threads, submitting assignments or taking quizzes. The instructors will expect timely completion of your assignments. You will have the flexibility as to when you do your classwork within a given week, but it is recommended that you put dedicated time in your schedule each week for coursework.
Do you have reliable internet access?
Many online courses will require you to watch videos, participate in live lecture sessions, and take quizzes. These interactive components will not work quite as well if your internet connection is slow or frequently needs to buffer in order to load a piece of content. You also will most likely need to actively participate in the course 3-5 times a week.
Do you have a basic level of experience with Microsoft Office software including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint?
Most instructors will expect you to be able to use a word processor to type up papers and PowerPoint to make presentations. Excel comes in handy in statistics and business courses. If you do not have a copy of this software, you do not need to purchase it. You can access the basic programs through your Eastern Gmail account.
Can you do basic internet searches and navigate a web page?
Basic internet skills are essential to your success in an online course. Many times instructors may ask you to look up an article or the basic information of a specific topic online. Understanding how to do basic searches leads to the ability to do more advanced searches through the Library databases for scholarly articles which you will need for supporting your arguments in papers.
Do you know how to check email?
One of the primary ways Eastern and the instructor will communicate with you will be through your Eastern Gmail Account. In order to be successful, you will need to check this email often for important updates and communication.
Are you comfortable solving minor computer problems?
You should expect that at times the technology will not work seamlessly. It is important that you will be able to stay calm in situations where there may be minor technical glitches and be proactive in trying to solve the problems first on your own before reaching out to the instructor or technical support at Eastern.
Do you have good communication skills and enjoy expressing your ideas in writing?
Online courses demand that you participate and contribute to the conversation. You cannot simply watch the lectures and read the material. The most prominent way you will participate will be through discussion board posts. The way you communicate with your instructor and classmates will also most likely be through written communication such as email and chat. Most likely your writing skills will improve as you get more comfortable with this mode of communication, but it is a good idea to seek help early if you are weak in this area.
How well can you block out distractions?
The tendency to become distracted is much higher in an online course. If you are planning on doing your online coursework at home, make sure those around you such as family members or roommates understand and respect your commitment to your coursework. Let them know not to interrupt if you are participating in a live lecture. Try not to multi-task when you are working on your course. If the phone rings or you get a text message, reply only if it is urgent. Your coursework needs your full attention.
Do you enjoy working independently?
While there may be opportunities to work with others in your class; the bulk of your assignments will be independent work. Entirely online courses will not include any face-to-face contact with others in your course. Blended courses will involve some face to face contact with those in your class and your instructor.
"I believe that online education is transforming the way students learn, and that Eastern is at the forefront of the movement. The thing I have enjoyed most thus far in my online classes is the ease in which I am able to communicate with my professors and fellow classmates. Through our weekly discussions and group projects, I have gained valuable insights from my classmates, and actually feel much more 'connected' than in any traditional class I have ever taken."
- Brent Linkstrom, Online MBA Student