Ready for Distance Education?

Facts To Consider About Distance Education.

If you are considering taking an online or hybrid course, you need to be ready for the different style of learning that takes place through distance education. The requirements and time commitments for distance education courses are no less than that of any face-to-face course.  Distance education is a flexible alternative that makes earning college credit possible for students who have difficulty attending on-campus courses. 

The following are some common myths and facts about courses offered through distance education that you should consider:

  • Myth: Distance education courses are easier than face-to-face courses.
    • Fact: Online or hybrid courses may be more difficult for some students because it requires commitment and responsibility.
  • Myth: Online courses at Southern Union are self-paced.
    • Fact: Students are required to complete assigned course work by the due dates indicated within the course.
  • Myth: Online and hybrid courses require no particular skills or knowledge of a computer.
    • Fact: You need to know basic computer skills for using the tools for online course work and communication. 
  • Myth: A smartphone or tablet is sufficient to complete any online coursework.
    • Fact: You will need a computer (not a smartphone or table) that meets the basic technical requirements and reliable internet access.  Some computer programs used in online coursework are not supported on mobile devices and may not work correctly.
  • Myth: Online students who do not have time to read the assignments and work online independently can just email questions to the instructor.
    • Fact: Instructors are available to answer occassional questions but cannot "teach" online students individually. Online students must be able to work independently without the benefit of face-to-face interaction with an instructor or peers.
  • Myth: Online coursework can be completed in less time than that required of face-to-face courses.
    • Fact: You must be willing and able to commit your time – approximately 5-7 hours of work and study time per week, per course.
  • Myth:  Online or hybrid courses do not require reading skills.
    • Fact: Reading and comprehension (aside from motivation) are the most important skills required of an online student. Online coursework requires the student thoroughly read and follow directions for completing course requirements.

Do you feel you are ready for an online course? Take this Online Readiness Assessment that will indicate how ready you may be at this time to be successful in an online course.

Online Readiness Assessment Used by Permission: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  © 2010 The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


*Online Readiness Assessment by Vicki Williams and The Pennsylvania State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at