Q&A: Do I Have to be Technologically Savvy to Take Online Classes?

Answer: It's rarely a bad idea for someone to take college classes and further their education. Online classes do require you to have some basic knowledge and understanding of the Internet. You need to know how to utilize the Internet to access your course, and you should use the correct browser. (The browser is what you use to get to websites on the Internet, e.g. Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, etc.)

You also have to know how to log in to your class and navigate your online classroom. Students are strongly encouraged to read the course syllabus, assignment instructions and all class announcements posted by the instructor. Also, spend time looking around the classroom so you know how to submit assignments, send messages, post responses and questions, and understand how the classroom is setup.

A huge part of being an online student is submitting assignments. You need to know where to submit assignments and submit them as required. Most assignments are submitted in text, for example, in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. After completing your work, make sure to save it. Next, you upload the assignment. Typically, you go to the course's dropbox, select "browse", find your saved assignment and click. You can see your document near the "browse" button. If there is an "upload" button, click this last. For further assistance, there should be a "help" button available.

In addition, you should know how to receive (read) and send emails. Many colleges and universities use email as their main mode of communication, including announcements and newsletters. College/university staff is likely to communicate by email. If you and the instructor are communicating about a personal concern, your instructor will most likely email you.

To be an online student, you don't have to know every inch of a computer. If you make sure to get the major functions down, you can concentrate more on your classes and less on being "online."

Dr. Beverley BrowningDr. Beverly A. Browning (Dr. Bev) has been a higher education adjunct faculty member for over 25 years. She has taught in the classroom and online for multiple colleges and universities including Spring Arbor College, Baker College of Flint, Mott Community College, and Rio Salado College. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, Spring Arbor College and Mott Community College. She is currently an online instructor for ed2go.com (Cengage Learning). In addition to founding and directing the Grant Writing Training Foundation, Dr. Bev is also Vice President of Grants Professional Services for eCivis, Inc. She is the author over over 37 grant-related publications and a frequent keynote speaker and workshop presenter for national and regional conferences. Dr. Bev is a product of lifelong learning and an advocate for online teaching and learning!