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The Successful eStudent: A Student's Guide to Success in Online Education (Part 1)

Updated on February 11, 2014

Page Outline

Is Online Education Right For You?

  • Do You Understand the Commitment?
  • Is Online Education Easier?
  • Do Not Underestimate the Cost
  • Are You Tech-Savvy?
  • Do You Like To Work Independently?
  • Are You Persistent?
  • Do You Need Convenience and an Adjustable Schedule?
  • Are You Comfortable Asking For Help?
  • Are You Comfortable Working Primarily with a Text(or eText)-Based Medium?


Online school, like traditional school, is not for everyone. So, for who is online education a good option? For who is it best to study online as opposed to attending the traditional college? If you do decide online education is the best way to get your degree, then what tools will you need? How will you stay organized, motivated, and successful? This book answers these questions, as well as many other questions you may have about how to be successful as an online student. After reading this book, you will be well equipped with all you will need to attend an online university and be successful.

For whom was this book written? Anyone with questions about online education will find the information in this book helpful. The concepts discussed in this book apply not just to college students, but all online students. It is a great resource for a current online student who feels like he or she is not getting the most out of online education. Perhaps you are a teacher or parent who wants to motivate students to be more diligent in their studies, or your student(s) is falling behind in class and you want to help them get back on track. You could be a graduating high school student and want to know if you should continue your education online. This book is a great resource for a multitude of people.

Is Online School Right For You?

Online school is not the best option for every student. To follow are things to consider while deciding the best method to continue your education. These are not rules; nor are they a checklist. You do not need to possess every characteristic discussed. You should, however, ask yourself how closely the picture below represents you.

The Successful eStudent


The successful online student understands the amount of hard work required to learn online and is committed to putting in that work. Online education is very different than traditional education. However, the difference in difficulty of the courses and the commitment involved is minimal to none. If anything, online courses are more of a challenge. Online education is hard work. It relies much more on self-accountability and diligence. Instructors are not standing in front of the class asking questions for which you must have studied the night before. You loose the motivation and stimulation you get from classmates and study groups. You must be able to set aside study time, and actually use it to study. And you must be able to do this alone. The external stimuli so many require to be productive may no longer be an available resource – in taking classes online, you forfeit such luxuries.


Have You Taken Classes Online?

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As stated above, online education is not easier than onsite, in-person education. The courses must meet the same requirements as in-person courses as will as teach the same content. The courses teach in different ways, but they teach the same material. The idea of online school being easier than traditional school is a myth.


Online education used to be much less expensive than traditional education. This, however, is no longer the case. Universities offering online learning do not lower the cost of their courses simply because the student is not using the university's physical facilities. While it is true that online students are not paying for bus fares or gas for their cars, they are paying for high-speed Internet, desks, chairs, and better computers with better software. Education is more than a major expense, whether online or on-campus.


To be successful going to school online, you must be more than comfortable with technology. You will be spending your entire education on the computer. You will need to know how to use the computer in such a way as to get the most out of it. Your education becomes much easier when you enjoy using the computer. If you get frustrated easily with technology or do not enjoy experimenting and trying to use computers in unconventional ways, then online education is not for you.


The successful online student enjoys independence. You must be self-motivated as to work productively with no external stimuli. You must like to work independently. You education is not done with an instructor and other students surrounding you and helping you through the journey. You are alone. If isolation makes you uncomfortable, or you are not self-motivated, you should rethink getting your method of education.


You need to be persistent and proactive. If you run into any problems, you must solve the problem immediately. If that means asking for help, then ask for help. But if you run into a problem and are not persistent a disaster is sure to happen. The class will not wait for you to get everything together. You will be working in a new environment and will run into difficulties that you have never encountered before. You need to be a persistent problem-solver.


Is convenience and an adjustable schedule what you are looking for? Online education is very flexible. In general, you can do what you want to do when you want to do it. You have to assigned time to be in class. You can set your own schedule, and if something comes up, you can change your schedule. In this sense, online education is much more convenient. If you need flexibility, online education is the way to go.


The successful student has no problem asking for help. As stated above, you will run into problems in this unfamiliar environment. You must be willing to ask for help, and it is best to be comfortable doing so. Furthermore, you must be able to acknowledge that you need help. If you try to do everything on our own, you are in for a surprise. Online education has many more difficulties that you must overcome when compared to online education. You will become a better problem-solver, but you must be able to ask for help when you need it.


You will not have an instructor lecturing you. Most of your information will come from the wide array of text-based mediums available. Although you can access your information in different ways, it will almost always be in some way, text-based. You need to be comfortable with reading... reading a lot. Although some schools offer alternative media (such as video lectures), they are to help you understand the text better, not to replace the text. If you do not enjoy reading, or learning in this manner, online education is not for you.


Online education is not for everyone, and there are many factors that go into deciding what style of education is best for you. Hopefully the tips previously listed can help you make you decision.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series!


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