Is an Online Class Right for You?


Take this 10-question self-assessment* and see.


Ask yourself: “How well would Distance Learning courses fit my circumstances and lifestyle?”  Circle an answer for each question and score as directed below.  Answer honestly – no one will see this but you!


1.     My need to take this course now is:


a.      High – I need it immediately for a specific goal.

b.     Moderate – I could take it on campus later or substitute another course.

c.     Low – it could be postponed.


2.     Feeling that I am part of a class is:


a.      Not particularly necessary to me.

b.     Somewhat important to me.

c.     Very important to me.


3.     I would classify myself as someone who:


a.      Often gets things done ahead of time.

b.     Needs reminding to get things done on time.

c.     Puts things off until the last minute or doesn’t complete them.


4.     Classroom discussion is:


a.      Rarely helpful to me.

b.     Sometimes helpful to me.

c.     Almost always helpful to me.


5.     When an instructor hands out directions for an assignment, I prefer:


a.      Figuring out the instructions for myself.

b.     Trying to follow the directions on my own, then asking for help as needed.

c.     Having the instructions explained to me.


6.     I need faculty comments on my assignments:


a.      Within a few weeks, so I can review what I did.

b.     Within a few days, or I forget what I did.

c.     Right away, or I get very frustrated.


7.     Considering my professional and personal schedule, the amount of time I have to work on a Distance Learning course is:


a.      More than enough for an on campus course.

b.     The same as for a class on campus.

c.     Less than for a class on campus.


8.     Coming to campus on a regular schedule is:


a.      Extremely difficult for me – I have commitments (work, family, or personal) during times when classes are offered.

b.     A little difficult, but I can rearrange my priorities to allow for regular attendance on campus.

c.     Easy for me.


9.     As a reader, I would classify myself as:


a.      Good – I usually understand the text without help.

b.     Average – I sometimes need help to understand the text.

c.     Slower than average.


10. When I need help understanding the subject:


a.      I am comfortable approaching an instructor to ask for clarification.

b.     I am uncomfortable approaching an instructor, but do it anyway.

c.     I never approach an instructor to admit I don’t understand something.





Add 3 points for each “a” that you circled, 2 for each “b,” and 1 for each “c.”  If you scored 20 or over, a distance learning course is a real possibility for you.  If you scored between 11 and 20, distance learning courses may work for you, but you many need to make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits to succeed.  If you scored 10 or less, distance learning may not currently be the best alternative for you; talk to your counselor.



(*Adapted from “Are Telecourses For Me?” and printed in the PBS-Adult Learning Service The Agenda, Spring 1994, this self-assessment was developed by Northern Virginia Community College Extended Learning Institute.  It also appears on the web site of De Anza College.  Cited from Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace by Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt, Jossey-Bass, 1999.)