Self Assessment Survey

Is taking an online class a good fit for you?

Learning through an online class requires different skills than learning in a face-to-face class. It's important to know what you're getting into and to understand the kind of commitment that's necessary for success in online learning. You can get a good idea of your readiness for online learning by filling out the following assessment.

This assessment is for informational purposes only and is not required for enrollment. For additional help figuring out whether an online class is a worthwhile option for you, consult with your academic advisor.

Instructions: For each row in the table below, click the radio button that best describes you. When you are finished, read the guidelines for interpreting the score.


Self Assessment Survey
Answers that indicate an online course is a good choice.   Weight   Answers that indicate an online class may not be a good choice at this time.
I am comfortable and proficient at creating, saving, locating, and opening different types of files on a computer. 1 I am not comfortable or proficient working with files on a computer.
I have reliable access to a high-speed Internet connection (DSL, cable, dorm, etc) 2 I have regular access only to a dial-up modem for Internet access.
I know how to check my official email account and I can access it regularly to check for new messages. 1 I have never checked my official email account.
I have access to a webcam and microphone for simple multimedia participation. 2 I do not have a webcam and microphone, or I will need to borrow those things.
I have no problem retaining information if I read it. 2 I retain information better if I hear it spoken directly to me.
I am comfortable using online discussion forums. 1 I have never really posted messages to an online forum before.
I am usually able to stay on task and avoid distractions (texting, Facebook) while studying. 3 I get distracted easily while studying and need a lot of time to accomplish my work.
I am very good at planning and managing my time so that my work is on time and complete. 4 I am ok with time management but have had to ask professors for extensions in the past.
Setting aside a regular 5-8 hours per week to devote to an online class is possible for me. 3 It's hard for me to predict when I'll be able to do the online work. Besides, I thought you could do the work whenever you wanted...right?
I have little or no trouble expressing myself in writing using formal grammar and spelling. 3 I have found using formal grammar and spelling to be a challenge in expressing myself.
I am comfortable learning through individual reading and study. 3 I usually need direct explanation by an instructor and face-to-face interaction with peers to feel comfortable learning material.
I can learn from a variety of formats (lectures, videos, podcasts, online discussion/conferencing). 2 My learning style usually requires a structured lecture at its core.
I know how to login to Blackboard and I am familiar with using the most common tools. 1 I have little or no experience accessing and using Blackboard.
I have my own relatively new computer (2-3 years old) onto which I can install any additional software necessary for the course. 3 My computer is 5-7 years old.
I use the computer labs on campus or someone else's to do my work.
If I can't figure out something, I am comfortable asking my classmates or the instructor for help via email, discussion board, or chat. 4 Meeting with my professor in person to ask questions is more comfortable for me.
Online is good choice ⇐
⇒ Online may not be a good choice


Interpreting the Results

A total score of 17 or higher in the right-hand column is a strong indication that you will likely face more challenges than may be desired in an online class. While online may not be the best choice at the moment, if you are still interested in being an online student, you should understand some of the challenges and what you need to do to overcome them.

Questions that are weighted "3" and "4" in the center column address crucial study skills needed for an online class. The most successful online students will have answered all of those questions in the left-hand column (regardless of what their total score happens to be) or will work to address them over the course of the semester.

Questions weighted "1" and "2" are also important for an online class, but many of the topics they address are things that don't automatically block a student's academic success in the class or can be remedied once the class begins.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This material is based on original content by Glenn Pillsbury at Stanislaus State, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at