Are You Ready to be an Online Student?

iStudent Blog

Published: September 24, 2018 by Priscilla Ameneyro

For many of the incoming students to the SJSU School of Information, their experience with online classes is limited or non-existent. That was certainly true for me, having never taken any online classes before. This can be a cause for concern for students wondering what the online environment will be like, if they’ll miss the face-to-face interaction or just not really knowing what to expect. The iSchool provides many resources to showcase what life is like as a virtual student and to help you adjust to the new learning environment should you decide to enroll. In this article, I’ll share some of those resources and offer some points to consider in determining whether you’re ready to earn your degree on the World Wide Web.

There are lots of perks to attending school online, like saving money. For me, I needed the flexibility to study around my work schedule; the majority of iSchool classes don’t require you to attend lectures or meetings at certain times. I’ll admit I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the experience of being an online student, I just went for it and luckily it worked out. So before you dive into researching programs and applying, take a moment to ponder the following seven items that will set you up for success as an online student. Chances are you’ve developed most of these in your undergraduate career, so you should be good to charge ahead!

You can stay on schedule
Time management skills are essential for any student, but especially for virtual students. You’ll need to be able to carve out regular time in your schedule for classwork and assignments. Planning your day, week and even month will help you stay on top of deadlines and know what’s coming down the pike.

You have the right equipment
In order to take classes and complete your assignments, you’ll need to have the right set-up at home, which includes having access to the internet, a computer or laptop that meets certain standards and a headset/microphone.

You’re an independent learner
To be successful in the online environment, you need to be a self-motivated learner. It’s up to you to watch your lectures, complete the readings and formulate your discussion posts each week, as well as work on your assignments.

You enjoy communicating virtually
You’ll get plenty of interaction with classmates and professors but it will all happen virtually, mostly in the iSchool’s learning management system, Canvas. Check out this article for a deeper look into online communication at the iSchool. If you’re more comfortable with social media than shaking hands, you’ll feel right at home.

You can stay focused
One of the hard things about working from home is that there can be a lot of distractions in the form of family or roommates, pets, dirty dishes or the urge to turn on the TV. There are lots of things you can do to stay on task though, like setting up a dedicated workstation and making sure anyone you live with knows not to bother you when you’re studying.

You’re technologically savvy
From watching your lectures to submitting assignments, everything will be done with the use of technology. If you have some basic troubleshooting skills and the willingness to learn new technologies, you shouldn’t have any problems.

You’re willing to ask for help
Starting at a new school in a new program is going to be both exciting and challenging. You’re bound to have questions during the initial adjustment period and throughout the program too, for example, you might want advice about which classes to take or need help with your graduation paperwork. Thankfully, there’s an extensive support network to help you every step of the way, from faculty advisors to the student services team and various student support groups you can join on social media.

Even if you can’t check off all seven items right now, you can build your skills as an effective online learner through practice, dedication and the support of the iSchool. Discover online learning at the iSchool here, where you can read about how all new students prepare for a successful online learning experience through a required one-unit course, INFO 203, or find out what the five benefits to the fully online model are. You can also sign-up for an open house event, which is a great way to meet the faculty and get your questions answered. Just like visiting a campus in-person, it’s a no-brainer that you should research and get a feel for an online school; so take advantage of these resources to prepare yourself for your next big adventure!

Related content:
Equipping Your Home Learning Environment for Success in the SJSU iSchool Online Graduate Program
A Day in the Life of an iSchool Student
Survive, Thrive and Feel Alive as You Learn Online at the iSchool

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