4 Character Traits You Should to Succeed in Online Classes

Online courses are different than face-to-face courses.  It is more than the joke that you can attend class in your pajamas.   People who will do well in online course are those who are self-motivated and do not need reminders to stay on task.

I teach online English credit courses for a couple of community colleges, and I can tell, even without ever meeting a student, who will actually complete my course successfully during the first week of class.  What traits should you have before you attempt an online course?

You need to be organized.  I do not mean that you have to be a neat freak or have an immaculate house.  You need to be the type who keeps track of deadlines.  Do you keep track of what you need to do and when and meet those deadlines you set and that others set for you?  Does your method of keeping track of what is due whether you use a smart phone, tablet, computer or a paper calendar work for you?

You need to be an independent learner.  Online courses often require reading and activities that are solitary.  Can you sit down and take the time to learn something new without the benefit of someone in the same room showing you how to do it?  Are you willing to teach yourself and use the instructor as a resource rather than the primary source for delivering content?

You need to be motivated.  You make think that this trait overlaps with being organized, but it does not.  Being motivated means having the desire and fortitude to complete a task.  Many people are able to start a new project, but how many people are able to complete it successfully without the regular reminders they get in a classroom from an instructor.  The feedback from an online class is different than that in a face-to-face class.  You need to find it enough to motivate you to keep pace with the online course.

You need to be responsible.  This trait actually is necessary for any course whether online or face-to-face.  Students need to take responsibility for themselves, and if an assignment is missed, acknowledge it, try their best to make it up (if possible), and move on to the next task regardless of the outcome of that missed assignment.  Students need to take responsibility for their actions or inaction and take the consequences whether it is reward for keeping up the course and passing or a failing grade for not doing the required work.

Online learning is not for everyone, and it is okay if it is not for you.  Take the time to look critically at yourself and acknowledge the traits you have and whether they will work for you online or in a face-to-face course.