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Is online learning for you?

You now have the option of taking courses in one of three ways:  in a traditional, face-to-face classroom; in a web-enhanced class using Brightspace (previously called Springboard); or as an totally online course.  The flexibility of online learning is empowering, but be sure to consider the unique aspects of this type of learning.  The questions below can help you determine if online learning is for you.

Everyone learns differently. Some students need the face-to-face interaction of a traditional classroom, while other students work well if they have the time to sit down independently and work through a problem.

Think back to projects you have engaged in. What was your role?

  • Did you sit back passively, or actively take charge of the learning?
  • Do you work well with others?
  •  If assigned a role outside of your comfort level by your assigned group, are you flexible with adapting to that role for the betterment of your group?
  • Are you good at setting deadlines for completion of projects and meeting those deadlines?
  • When confused by an assignment do you seek out a teacher or professor for clarification?
  • Do you read all educational material when it is handed out because you know it’s important?

If you answered yes to most, or all, of these questions then you have the characteristics of a successful, self-directed learner. If not, distance learning still could be for you. Most research on distance learning states that effort and desire to learn can allow a student to be successful in distance learning, even if he does not currently display these innovative characteristics. Being a self-directed learner is just one piece to the puzzle.

Take the VARK Questionnaire to determine how you might learn best. Then, use this information to help you decide if online learning may be right for you.

Even the best students will not succeed in the online environment if they don't have the necessary tools. Rest assured, you don't need to be a computer wizard to succeed. Read the computer hardware and software requirements to determine if you have the necessary tools to be successful.

Because online course listings change every semester, the best place to see if a course is offered online is in My Akron.

The University of Akron uses the Desire2Learn platform for its online learning classes. Our branded version of that software is called Brightspace. If you are unsure if you have the vocabulary or skills necessary to take an online class, browse through the Brightspace documentation and see if you understand the mechanics of how you will communicate with your classmates and instructor. This information and the Atomic Learning tutorials in My Akron will also show you how you will turn in assignments and take quizzes. This website should address some of your concerns and questions as you contemplate taking an online course. If you have additional questions, please contact the instructor of the course.

Available Online Programs

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Offering more programs via alternative methods (e.g., fully online, through distance education classrooms, and through blended means) better meets the needs of today's students.