Is online learning for you? Are you the type of person who will benefit from education via cyberspace? Answer the following questions to determine how successful an online student you may be.

Does your distance from our main campus or extension campuses prohibit you from taking classes there?
The primary reason we provide online education is to enable students who live far away from our campuses to be able to take SWBTS courses. If you live locally we highly encourage you to take our traditional classes that meet in classrooms.

Are you a self-motivator?
Online courses require more self-discipline from students than traditional courses do. Most online assignments have a window of one week in which to complete them. The online student must be self-disciplined enough to spend the right amount of time daily or every couple of days to get the job done.

Students who tend to procrastinate or turn in assignments late in a regular classroom do not do well in online education. Other students who find online classes a difficult challenge are high maintenance students, students who expect to have the material spoon fed to them, and students who normally have difficulty in following instructions.

Are you computer competent?
Mouse, modem, ISP, browser, e-mail, anti-virus software, and downloads are the indispensable tools of the distance learning student. Navigating web pages, attaching files to an e-mail, and viewing files in programs such as Word for Windows, PowerPoint, and Adobe Acrobat are common experiences in an online class.

Do you tend to be an introvert?
Although this qualification is not as crucial as the other ones listed, introverts tend to do better in online education than extroverts. Extroverts prefer the face time with the professor and other students in a traditional classroom. Introverts enjoy their quality time alone at the computer.

Of course, online class assignments such as threaded discussion questions help meet the needs for both extroverts and introverts. For the extrovert it allows helpful interaction and discussion with other students and the professor. For the introvert it allows time to think about and compose one’s answer prior to posting it, and it is not as confrontational as a live discussion in a regular classroom.

Are you comfortable communicating through the keyboard?
Virtually all communication from the student in online education is through one’s fingers: typing away on the computer keyboard. The online student must be comfortable communicating this way. Although writing does not need to be an online student’s passion in life, he or she ought to be comfortable with written communication.

Do you have enough time for the course?
Online education has the same minimum expectation for students as a traditional course for time both inside and outside of the classroom. Expect to spend at least two additional hours for each hour of a traditional class. So, a student in a traditional class that meets two hours per week will spend at least an additional four hours per week studying and doing assignments, for a total of six hours per week minimum. A three-hour class requires a minimum total of nine hours per week. Online classes take about the same amount of time, but it is all outside of the classroom. So, expect a three-hour online course to take an average of nine hours of time per week.

Do you have the proper equipment for online education?
You must have daily access to a computer with a good Internet connection to take an online class. Visit here for the exact requirements. Most classes have at least one video or audio file that you will need to be able to download.  

Ideally a good candidate for online classes answers “Yes” to each of the above questions. However, not all of the above qualifications are deal breakers. For instance, extroverts can survive and thrive in an online class, and computer novices can find a friend to help them get computer competent.

The above descriptions are simply guidelines rather than rigid rules. Ultimately, the individual student must decide if Southwestern Online is a good fit for him or her.

For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions, or email at