Preparing for Online Learning
Before you decide to take an online course, you will need to determine if you have the necessary skills and equipment to be a successful online learner. Also, online degree completion candidates should have taken prerequisite courses before applying for admission. This page will help you determine if you are ready to enroll in an online program.
How an Online Course Works
Online courses allow you to complete your coursework anywhere and at any time of the day. They are not, however, self-paced. Courses have start and end dates, and your instructor will set the pace for your learning by requiring specific deadlines for all coursework. Our online courses are delivered through a program called Moodle. You can access course content, participate in online discussions, submit assignments, etc., online through Moodle. We recommend that you read the Moodle Student Guide to familiarize yourself with this program.
Hardware and Software Requirements
To take an online course, you will need regular access to a computer for extended amounts of time. You will also need a reliable high-speed Internet connection so you can participate in discussion forums, access course content, submit assignments, and check your student email account regularly. For more details, see Technology Requirements.
Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Successful Online Learner?
Learning online is quite different from learning in a traditional college classroom. Before deciding to enroll in a distance course, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I self-motivated, self-disciplined and able to meet deadlines without outside supervision?
- Will I be able to devote at least 10 hours per week looking over course materials and completing assignments? (Some courses may require more or less time.)
- Will I have regular access to a reliable computer with a high-speed Internet connection for extended amounts of time?
- Am I comfortable creating documents and performing other tasks on the computer?
- Do I know how to send and receive email messages, attach files, and browse for information online?
- Am I an independent learner with good reading skills and study habits?
If you answered "yes" to the above questions, you are a good candidate for online learning. If you answered "no" to one or more questions, online learning may be challenging for you. Please contact us or the instructor for advice on preparing for your online course.
If you are in an online degree completion program, you must complete the prerequisite courses for your major and many of your general education courses prior to applying for admission. To find out what courses are required for each program, visit our Programs and Degrees page and click on the link for your program of interest. Additional information on degree requirements can be found on the University Catalog page.
You can review our current transfer equivalency information to assist you in locating articulated (matching) courses between SOU and many community colleges. You may also contact your program coordinator to have your transcripts reviewed.
Some prerequisites may be met through the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). Refer to the SOU Testing Services: CLEP page for a list of CLEP credits accepted by Southern Oregon University.
Note: If you are an admitted student, you will be required to meet with your major advisor to develop your advising plan prior to registering for classes. You do NOT have to come to campus for this meeting. Program coordinators can put students in touch with their major advisors.