questions to consider before choosing online education.
can you manage time effectively?
One of the benefits of online education is that it is flexible. But with flexibility comes less structure. To be successful at online learning, you will need to manage your time well. If you're not so good at managing your time now, see this as an opportunity to get really good at it really fast. You'll have to.
are you comfortable communicating in writing?
Most of your communication with instructors, your advisor and fellow students will be by email and on discussion boards. If you're comfortable with doing a lot of writing, then online education is a good choice.
do you prefer to take time to respond thoughtfully to issues?
If you're someone who likes to think and reflect before responding as part of a class discussion, then online education may be the right choice for you. Unlike bricks and mortar classes where there is often a pop-corning of fast discussion, the online learning environment gives you plenty of time to think before composing a thoughtful comment or response.
do you have an up-to-date computer system?
UMass Amherst uses a state-of-the-art online course delivery system balled Blackboard Learn for its online and blended courses. To use Blackboard Learn you will need a computer robust enough to run a current operating system and browser as well as high speed internet. You will also need a recent version of Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Word. You will not be able to use the iPad or other mobile device for your online classes. Learn more about recommended computer requirements for being a UMass Amherst student (Mac requirements; Windows requirements), as well as what kind of basic operating system and web browser you'll need to take online and blended classes.
are you open to using new technology?
Most online courses use commonplace technologies such as email and discussion boards. Some courses will use newer technologies such as Podcasting. Do not allow a fear of technology to scare you away. 24/7 support is available for all UMass UWW students taking online and blended courses. Our oldest online student is 83. If she can do it, you can do it.
do you believe online education will be easy?
There is a myth that online education is easier than classroom learning. Online education through UMass Amherst is rigorous and intellectually challenging. It's also very accessible and surprisingly personal. If you want, you can take an online course to test the waters before you apply to UMass UWW. Any one can register for an online course through UMass Amherst Continuing and Professional Education. Not sure what course to take? Contact us. We can hep.