Student Opinions on How to Succeed in Online Courses

At the end of the Fall 2002 semester, Alamo Northwest Vista College instructors asked the following question of the students in their online courses:

What skills did you need to succeed in this internet class?

Following are some of their responses. The specific skills they mentioned are bolded so you can see them easily, but we didn't change any punctuation or capitalization. These are their exact words.

“The skills I needed to succeed in this internet course were discipline and structure. I had to pace myself and remember to log on and keep myself abreast daily so I didn't lag behind.”

“Definitely discipline. You need the discipline to make sure you read your assignment and do your homework on time. Also, time management. Especially if you have other commitments such as family or another class. Finally, I think the ability to ask for help.”

“By far the most needed skill with this class was SELF-DISCIPLINE!!!! A student must have the motivation and abilities to set a schedule and follow it. Without this kind of self-motivation a student would have a difficult time succeeding in an internet class.”

“In my opinion, a fairly reasonable [reading] comprehension level and writing skills are extremely helpful, as well as, an ability to express one's opinions and respond to the ideas of other classmates.”

“I think the skills most needed to succeed in an internet class are good study habits and the ability to manage your time. A fast reliable internet service is also very helpful in getting assignments completed in a timely fashion. Probably the most important skill is being self-motivated!

“The first and foremost skill needed is discipline. In an internet class there is no one there to make sure you do what you need to do. In fact, if you never log on you won't even know what's going on. It takes a lot of discipline to sit down log on, review the work needed and then get it turned in by the deadline. It is not a blow off class by any means. I think you also need some basic computer skills to do well in the class. If someone is not that immersed in computer usage they'll be less likely to be actively involved in the class and its assignments. I think it will become a sort of discouragement and frustration.”

“Perhaps this seems like an obvious answer, but convenient internet access is definitely important in being successful in this class. I found that a fast connection is particularly helpful when procrastinators such myself frantically try to submit assignments before the given deadline. Of course generally, procrastination would definitely inhibit success in this class. Skills in time management and self discipline would definitely help to facilitate success because everything needs to be essentially done on your own. However, perhaps a skill that was not so well emphasized in regards to taking internet classes was the ability to write. With the majority of your grade based upon essays [in this class], it is necessary to be able to convey your thoughts and understanding through words.”

“I think to succeed in any internet based class you have to be self motivated. It is also a benefit to have some experience in computers... It is most important to be able to find help or ask for it when needed as the computer does not always talk back.”

“To succeed in an internet class, you must possess foremost, time management skills. Focus and enthusiasm help as well. It helps to be able to get work done early, as well.”

“In order to be successful while taking an internet course one must be highly disciplined and able to stay on task. It is also helpful to be a self starter not one who tends to put things off.”

“I think that some of the skills that a person needs for this course are to know how to operate a computer at least the basics, be able to work alone and turn things in with out being told when due dates are, follow written directions and perhaps the most important thing would be to have access to a computer.”

“The skills that are needed to complete an internet class are: you need to be very disciplined with your time, you can't be a procrastinator and find yourself getting A's in an internet class. You also need to be able to teach yourself, you are learning on your own. There is a chapter given to read and you get questions to answer about that chapter, and then in your own words you need to be able to write about it. This can be hard for students who need lots of interaction in a normal classroom environment. For those types of students I wouldn't recommend internet courses to. For me I like internet courses because I am able to teach myself and move ahead if needed and am not held up by others (like in a normal classroom).”

“The skills that one most needs to succeed in this course are patience, self-discipline, and time management. The student needs patience because there is a lot of material to go through in the book and when writing a paper, the right elements must be included to prove one's point. Patience is needed to allow the brain to soak up all the info and then bring it back in our own words. Self-discipline is needed because any Internet course can go out of control if the right amount of time is not dedicated to the material that is required. We are basically on our own out here. Time management is also important because there is a lot of reading and writing to do and if time is not managed correctly the amount of work will seem overwhelming.”

“I would say that you definitely want to be interested in the class. The reason I say this is you don’t have a teacher to lecture you; it’s up to you if the material gets reviewed. Another very important part of internet classes is you must set a certain day to do the work that way you don’t just forget about. I would also add that you would need self discipline, like an internal monitor to say no, I shouldn’t go out and party tonight, because I have my internet class to complete. I would say that if you are missing one of these it will become a burden instead of a joy to be learning something new.”

“I think the skills or attributes needed to succeed in this internet class were: patience (for those of us who don't have cable or DSL modems), being able to remember this is still a class, and last, most of all being able to read and understand the text without being able to ask as many questions as you could normally listen to or participate in, in an actual classroom.”

“I think that a person should have a commitment in order to be able to handle any internet class. Definitely discipline and hard work pays off in any internet class. You would also have to be dedicated to setting goals, managing your time and following directions. You needed time to access the internet and the skills you needed would probably be reading and making yourself read. More people have to go to a class every so many days to listen and take notes and then they are more motivated to read.”

“I feel that the skills I needed to complete this internet class were the ability to read and self discipline.”

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