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Is Online Learning for Me?

UCD Online courses are offered online through an e-learning environment such as Blackboard. If you have access to a computer and a broadband connection you are essentially set up to study online. You are expected to have basic computer skills that will enable you to navigate your e-learning environment, understand how to access module materials, submit assignments and communicate effectively with peers and academics relating to your studies. For more information about the minimum technical requirements and capabilities expected of UCD Online students please visit the technical specifications webpage.

It is important to understand whether online learning is for you or if face-to-face lectures better suit your academic needs. Whether studying at UCD campus or through UCD Online, earning an accredited qualification requires dedicated effort and time on behalf of a student. To help you decide whether online learning is for you we ask that you reflect on the following questions:

Are you an independent learner, motivated and self-disciplined?

An independent learner will be able to successfully complete an online course despite the lack of face to face contact with academics and supports. An online course is not harder than a course delivered on campus. However, online learning is different to face-to-face learning as there are fewer time restrictions and you do not have the luxury of meeting academics and classmates face-to-face on a regular basis. Online students need to be confident in their ability to learn alone. While e-learning technologies can replace a lot of the face-to-face interactions that are lost when learning moves online, you need to be aware that online learners are responsible for developing their own study plan, staying motivated throughout their independent studies and need to be capable of searching for solutions to their own questions. While there is a support network in place for every course, a response to a query or request for support will not likely be instantaneous as in face-to-face communication. Independent learners will seek to answer their own questions while looking to their academic support network for reassurance, confirmation of their findings or alternative solutions.

Are you comfortable with computers?

Naturally online learners need to have a minimum level of competency when it comes to computers. E-learning technologies are web-based and while you are not expected to be a computer whizz, you need to be comfortable with accessing the internet, navigating a computer and navigating and interacting with websites.

Do you have time to dedicate to your studies?

Having a busy work and private life is a huge motivator for studying online but it is important to figure out if you have time left to dedicate to your studies. For a full time course, studying online does not mean studying less. Try to identify times in each week that you will be able to commit to your studies. A study routine that fits your own lifestyle will help to keep you motivated. If you are concerned you cannot find enough weekly time to dedicate to studying online you should consider studying from Module to Masters. This choice will allow you to study fewer modules at a time in order to earn your qualification. This pathway to a UCD qualification does not cost any more than studying full time through UCD Online.

Are you a good communicator?

UCD Online courses are delivered in English and in most cases, your communication with academics and peers, as well as course work will require typed English. You don’t need to be Shakespeare or have a high WPM to be suited to online learning. You do however need to be able to communicate your thoughts and questions and to be able to comprehend the messages of others in written form.