Distance Education - Self-Assessment

How well would a distance education course fit your circumstances and lifestyle? A successful distance learner needs certain skills, most importantly, a high degree of discipline and movtivation. The self-assessment below will give you an indication of whether or not this type of learning experience is for you.

1. My motivation for taking a distance delivered course is:

A. High – I need it immediately for my degree, job advancement or other important reason
B. Moderate – I could take it later or I can substitute another course
C. Low – It’s personal interest, it could be postponed

2. Having face-to-face interaction with my instructors and fellow students is:

A. Not particularly necessary to me.
B. Somewhat important to me.
C. Very important to me.

3. I would classify myself as someone who:

A. Often gets things done ahead of time.
B. Needs reminding to get things done on time.
C. Puts things off until the last minute.

4. Classroom discussion is:

A. Rarely helpful to me.
B. Sometimes helpful to me.
C. Almost always helpful to me.

5. When an instructor hands out directions for an assignment, I prefer:

A. Figuring out the instructions myself.
B. Trying to follow the directions on my own, then asking for help as needed.
C. Having the instructions explained to me.

6. I need faculty comments on my assignments:

A. Within a few weeks, so I can review what I did.
B. Within a few days, or I forget what I did.
C. Right away, or I get very frustrated.

7. Considering my professional and personal schedule, the amount of time I have to work on a distance education course is:

A. More than enough for campus class or a distance education course.
B. The same as for a class on campus.
C. Less than for a class on campus.

8. When I am asked to use VCRs, computers, voice mail, or other technologies new to me:

A. I look forward to learning new skills.
B. I feel apprehensive, but try it anyway.
C. I put it off and try to avoid it.

9. As a reader, I would classify myself as:

A. Good - I usually understand the text without help.
B. Average - I sometimes need help to understand the text.
C. Below average - I frequently need help understanding text.

10. If I have to go to an approved testing center to take exams or complete work:

A. I can go frequently.
B. I may miss some exam deadlines if the approved testing center is not open evenings and weekends.
C. I will have difficulty getting to the approved testing center, even in the evenings and on weekends.

11. If asked to use computers I:

A. Have access to a relatively good computer and know how to use it
B. Have access to a relatively good computer, but not too familiar with it.
C. Do not have access to a computer



  • Add 3 points for each “A”
  • 2 points for each “B”
  • 1 point for each “C”

If you scored 20 or over:

  • Distance education course is a real possibility for you.

If you scored between 11-20:

  • Distance education courses may work for you but you may need to make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits to succeed.

If you scored 10 or less:

  • Distance education courses may not currently be the best alternative for you; talk to your counselor.


The questions in the self-assessment reflect some of the facts about taking distance education courses.

  1. Distance education students sometimes can end up neglecting these courses because of personal or professional circumstances, unless they have compelling reasons for taking the course.
  2. Some students prefer the independence of distance education courses; others find it uncomfortable.
  3. Distance education courses give students greater freedom of scheduling, but they can require more self-discipline than on-campus courses.
  4. Some people learn best by interacting with other students and instructors, but distance education courses often do not provide much opportunity for this interaction.
  5. Distance education courses require you to work from written directions without face-to-face instructions.
  6. It may take over a week to get comments back by mail from your instructor.
  7. Distance education courses require at least as much time as on-campus courses, if not more.
  8. Distance education courses frequently use technology for teaching and communication.
  9. Printed materials are the primary source of directions and information for distance education courses.
  10. All distance education courses require some on-campus visits (exams). Student schedule flexibility is important.
  11. Web-based classes require the use of computers to access lecture material, obtain and hand in homework, communicate with instructor, etc. It is important that distance education students have access to a computer and know the basics of the Internet.