Computer Skills Required to become a Distance Learner

So you’re deciding take an online course. You have several concerns on whether or not you’re capable enough to take the online course. Let me reassure you that if you know the computer basics, you can be a distance learner. Here’s a few skills that you should have before registering:

1) Web browsing: Probably the first skill you need is this one in order to register for the class. Additionally, many online courses may require you to go online to a specific website to do research for a paper.

a) Forums: Within web browsing, you’ll need to access student forums which is a table of discussions of questions, answers, and debates for people in the class. The forums typically are used outside of class time. Its pretty clear cut. Either pick a topic or create one and reply to a specific subject you disagree with or have questions about.

2) Chat program: The professor of the course may hold chat sessions for class time which will require you to use a chat program. Rest your weary mind, these chat programs are downloaded through the web browser as a java script. You don’t need to go out of the way to download a program, everything is already provided for you. Within the chat program you may be able to chat with fellow online classmates and the professor as well.

3) Email: Outlook express or Thunderbird are physical email programs which you may use. While it isn’t necessary its good to have experience with the programs. Most people today use free online email such as hotmail or gmail. If you don’t have an email address perhaps its time that you get one.

4) Wordprocessing: One of the most necessary programs you need to have when submitting your paper. The most popular program is Microsoft Word. It can not only check you spell but also correct a majority of your grammar. You need this program to write papers.

5) Optional web cam: Some courses today are extremely technologically advanced. You may actually see a streaming video of your professor lecturing. While most online courses don’t do this some might. And of these rare courses, it may be prudent to get a webcam so you get that web conference feel. Webcams are typically plug-in play devices, so all you need is a usb port and it will be up and running.

Now that you’ve realized you have the skills to do distance learning there are things that you need to do before you register:

1) Make sure you register for an accredited college course. This means that the course you’re taking is recognized nationally and the credit will be accepted by other colleges in case you decided to pursue a degree or an additional one.

2) Online courses typically don’t require you to be there. So while its extremely convenient for some of you with a busy work schedule, others may be lazy and utterly do no work. I know several people who expected an online course to be a breeze but ended up failing. That’s because they did nothing. Don’t fall into the trap of expecting a joke of a class.