UMKC | Before you start

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Am I ready for an online course?

Take this short survey to see if you’re ready for online learning:

Online readiness survey

Stress management

In order to avoid the stress that occurs when you have tests, papers and presentations due during the same period of time, it is important to plan ahead and do as much work as you can in advance. Busy time periods can be made less stressful if you prioritize the work that needs to be done and get adequate rest. Don’t wait until 5 minutes before an assignment is due on Canvas to turn it in! Invariably, everyone else in your class will be doing that same thing and this may mean that your paper will get counted as being turned in late.

Online participation

Pay attention to due dates and participation guidelines for your online course. Get involved with online discussions, email and chat. Participation in your online course is one of the primary ways that your instructor knows you and how you are doing in the course.

Learning style

It is important to feel comfortable reading course content online as well as to feel comfortable with the technologies used to deliver the course content. If you are unable to play a video required in the course, for example, you will need to access technical support to get help. If an instructor requires that you access a variety of course materials, it is probably very important that you do so! If all else fails, use a computer on campus or in the Library to access required course content.

Time management

Students are successful in online courses when they organize time effectively. If you see all of the work that is due during the same time periods, you can begin to plan when and how you are going to get all of it done in time without having to do it all at the last minute. Break all of the big assignments down into manageable parts. Another extremely important facet of time management is to avoid distractions. Turn off your phone and your instant messaging software while you are studying or writing. Take a short break every hour or so and catch up with people, but then turn the electronics off again when you need to get back to work. Becoming an effective manager of your time and effort will help you in all the aspects of your life and will be increasingly important when you begin your career. Increasing your time management skills will result in stress reduction and increased productivity.

Communication tips

Communication in the online course is crucial to your academic success. Login frequently to see if there are any new postings from your instructor or your classmates. If you have questions about the course, don’t wait, ask them! When you email your instructor or another student in the course, include the class and section number, communicate in a respectful manner with appropriate language and make sure to check your spelling. Online course communications can be more formal than than the kind of communication you have with your friends. Make sure to follow the example that your instructor provides.

As a participant in online discussions, make sure that you read posts carefully before you compose your response. The written word can be easily misconstrued, so make sure to provide enough detail in your response so that the meaning of your statement can be easily understood. Always make sure to use the spell checker before submitting your response.

Equipment and software requirements

A faster connection speed via Broadband (Cable or DSL) will result in less frustration for online students. We do not recommend relying on WiFi on a mobile device or on a cellular Internet connection (e.g., Smartphone) as your primary means of accessing your online course. You are required to have a dependable connection to the Internet, preferably a wired connection. Interruptions in internet connectivity can disrupt your testing attempt, so make sure to protect yourself from this happening.