Required Academic Competency to Succeed in Online Courses

Student Dialog - Academic Competency

Sage: Hi, Heather. I am thinking about taking an online course on World Technologies and Learning next semester.

Heather: Hey, study buddy! That's different...

Sage: The course is about examining the impact of learning technologies from email to online learning on world cultures from a socio-technical perspective. Wanna take it with me?

Heather: Sounds interesting, but I've never taken an online course before. What kind of skills are required?

Sage: Well. You need to be motivated and persistent to complete an online course successfully. For example, you may want to take an online course because you'd like a different sort of academic experience or to enhance your skills or your knowledge in certain subjects.

Heather: Would I have to attend online classes on a fixed schedule?

Sage: One of the best things about online course is its flexibility! You can access your course materials or respond to a post in a discussion forum anytime you want, based on your own schedule. Just make sure you manage your time well and submit your assignments before the deadlines since online courses take more time than you might imagine.

Heather: Great! Thanks for the advice, Sage. I'll have to think about it.


Cartoon of Sage and Heather talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

Cartoon of Sage and Heather talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

Cartoon of Sage and Heather talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

Cartoon of Sage and Heather talking. Read the dialog above the cartoon.

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Motivation and Persistence

Different people take online courses for different reasons.

Distance education requires self-discipline and persistence. Hence, setting your own goals and purposes for your learning will help you to keep motivated to learn and to hold yourself responsible for proceeding throughout the online course period.

Time Management

In order to succeed in online learning, you must devote a substantial amount of time and effort to studying and working on assignments. Expect to spend more time working on your assignments or online discussion forums for an online course than you would in a face-to-face course. An online learning environment depends heavily on text-based instruction and communication; as a result, it will take time for you to complete reading assignments and discussion posts, to create responses and reports, and to interact with your instructor and peers.


One benefit of online learning is the ability for you to set up your own studying schedule and pace. You should develop personal time management skills and a schedule to help you manage your time appropriately. By doing so you will be able to complete your tasks on time, instead of last minute rushes to meet deadlines. You should also evaluate your progress periodically.

Study Habits and Learning Styles

Study habits are essential in online learning. Although research on learning styles is inconclusive, thinking about your learning style in advance will help you to understand your online learning and studying preferences. One approach is to divide learning styles into three categories: auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. Auditory learners talk out their problems while trying to solve them. Visual learners rely on drawing diagrams or pictures of concepts to make sense of important messages during their learning process. Kinesthetic learners attempt to understand concepts by doing things physically. It is recommended that you try different learning techniques or a combination of styles under different circumstances to enhance your online learning outcome.

Learning Self-Assessment Survey

Take the Learning Style Self-Assessment survey as a way to begin thinking about ways you learn best. You may not agree with the results of the survey and that's OK! The purpose of the survey is not to define you, it's to get you to think about yourself.


Learning Style Self-Assessment Survey