Inver Hills Paralegal Program

Is Online/Hybrid Right for You?

Are you ready to take an online or hybrid course?

Use the following self assessment to help you determine if you are ready to take an online course through Inver Hills Community College.
This assessment covers both technical as well as learning style considerations.

You may want to print this page so you can spend more time considering both the questions and your answers. This is strictly a self assessment  tool, so give yourself honest answers.

The Paralegal Program and the American Bar Association require that you carefully consider whether an online/web-enhanced course is right for you. Not everyone has the wherewithal, desire, skill or interest to take an online course.

At the end of the three self assessments, spend time to write up a short summary of your findings to confirm that an online/web-enhanced course is right for you. Your summary will serve as a reminder of what issues may come up as you travel through your online/web-enhanced course. Once you decide to pursue the online course, you will be asked to send your summary by email to your instructor prior to the beginning of the online course.

Technical Considerations:

Comfort Level With Computers

  • Can you run the applications you need to use on a computer? This should include any specific applications which may be required as part of this course.
  • Can you create, save and manage files on your computer?
  • Do you know how to install software on your computer if you need it?

Internet Access

  • Can you access Internet email and the World Wide Web (WWW) at least twice or three times a week?
  • If you do not have your own computer, can you get to campus to use the computer labs or arrange to use some other computer at least twice or three times a week?

Internet Skills

  • Do you currently have an email address?
  • Do you know how to send and receive email messages?
  • Do you know how to attach a file to an email message?
  • Do you know how to “paste” text from a word processor into an email message?
  • Do you know how to receive a file attachment from an incoming  email message?

Learning Style Considerations:

  1. Do you stay on task without direct supervision (or do you work best when someone is there to help keep you focused)?
  2. Can you prioritize your own workload (or do you tend to put tasks off for later)?
  3. Do you learn best from reading text and assignments (or do you learn best from spoken or visual presentations)?
  4. Do you enjoy learning new computer or technology skills (or does the thought of having to learn new computer or technology skills cause you anxiety)?
  5. Do you usually understand written instructions (or does having instructions explained make a big difference for you)?
  6. Are you planning to allocate as much time in your schedule for your online course as you would for a more “traditional’ classroom course (because the workload and time commitment will be the same!)?
  7. Are you good at assessing your own progress (or do you need instructor feedback right away)?

How to Assess Your Answers:

If you answered “No” to any of the Technical  Consideration questions above, you may want to reconsider taking a course online. At the very least, you will have some technology to learn in addition to the curriculum of the course(s) you take, and you should make extra time in your schedule accordingly. All of the skills mentioned above are used in most of our online courses. Technical support is available throughout the semester; however, in most cases you will be expected to already know how to use the Internet and the tools referenced.

In the Learning Style Consideration questions, being able to answer the questions affirmatively is a good indicator that you are well suited to the online classroom environment. If your answers lean more toward the statements or questions in parentheses (in red letters, above), then you may find the online learning environment less satisfying.

Most of our online/hybrid courses make use of group discussion boards which allow interaction between students and instructors as well as between students.   However, email based interaction can be less satisfying than face-to-face communication for some learners. The online classroom requires you to structure your own schedule,  balancing your time around the assignments/requirements of the class.

Without the need to show up in a particular place at a designated time each week, some learners find it all too easy to put work off until the last minute. Much of the material covered in a typical online class will require you to learn from reading. This may include textbooks,  Internet-based materials and written “lectures” or notes from your instructor.

This self assessment has been created to help you decide if online learning is for you. It can serve as an indicator but not as a definitive answer. If you have any questions about taking a course online/hybrid, please contact your instructor to assist you.

Take Additional Self Assessments:

Complete these additional short self assessments to see if you have the characteristics that lead to success in “online/hybrid” courses. Listed below are two different sites that help you to privately assess your own learning style and needs. Try them out!  It is fun and easy.