Online Course Readiness Checklist

Technical Requirements

1. I have access to a computer that has a current operating system.

A computer with an up-to-date operating system is the best setup for successful online learning.

2. I have access to a reliable and fast internet connection.

Reliable and high-speed internet connection is critical for accessing learning materials and downloading/uploading of materials and assignments


Takeaway: While online courses can be taken using a range of devices---from desktop and laptop computers to tablets and smartphones---the best option for success is a computer with an up-to-date operating system (software that manages the programs and functions of the computer). Slow internet access will significantly increase the time it takes you to access and complete requirements for the class, and will more likely increase frustration and stress levels.

If you don’t have access to a computer and/or reliable and fast internet access, check out the WVC Library or your local library: San Jose Public Library locations; Santa Clara County Public Library locations; City of Santa Clara Library.

Additional Technical Issues

3. I have access to headphones or speakers and a microphone to use if the class has a video conference.

Your least expensive purchase option is likely earbuds with a built-in microphone.

4. I have a backup plan if my computer fails or is not available.

Knowing what you would do if your computer fails is important planning that few think about until it becomes necessary. Explore campus resources and have a list of friends you can count on.

5. I can troubleshoot most technical problems that I encounter when using the computer.

When troubleshooting, make sure to save any work first. Knowing who to call is an important survival skill for online learning. Make sure to know the Canvas help desk number (408-741-2627). Help guides, online forums, and how to videos are excellent resources for resolving technical problems as well.

6. I know someone who can help me if I have computer problems.

Family and friends who are computer-savvy is a plus! Also take note of the resources available at West Valley College when you encounter problems with Canvas: WVC Canvas Resources; WVC Distance Education Student Resources.

6. I know someone who can help me if I have computer problems.

•Family and friends who are computer-savvy is a plus! Also take note of the resources available at West Valley College when you encounter problems with Canvas: WVC Canvas Resources; WVC Distance Education Student Resources

7. I am comfortable with using the computer (for ex., uploading/downloading/saving files).

You don’t have to be a computer genius; however, basic computer skills such as uploading/downloading/saving files are key to succeeding in online classes.

8. I have a designated space(s) that allows me to complete readings and assignments without distractions.

If you don’t have one yet, set up a space for yourself if possible. Also think of a few different places where you could work without distraction.


Takeaway: When taking an online class, you need to be able to focus on learning the course content. This means that if you spend time struggling with the computer or if you can’t find a time and place where you can work without distraction, it will be much more difficult for you to succeed in the class.

Time Management and Organization

9. I am good at setting goals and deadlines for myself.

Meeting deadlines is essential to succeeding in an online class. Being able to set goals and deadlines is critical. We recommend you set aside certain hours of the week to work on your course, for example, every Tuesday from 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM.

10. I am well-organized and keep track of due dates and appointments.

Disorganization can cause stress for any student, but this is especially true in an online environment. When enrolled in an online class, time management practices, such as using a calendar and setting reminders will help ensure your success.

11. I am willing and able to spend 8-10 hours each week on an online course (3-unit course).

Most students who succeed in an online courses actually spend more time than in a face-to-face course. Before you register for an online class, make sure you can dedicate time every week, and remember that an online class covers the same amount of materials and concepts as a face-to-face class.

12. I am willing and able to plan my work schedule and personal commitments in advance so that I can complete assignments on time.

While online courses provide flexibility, you’ll need to plan your time well. Procrastination is a common pitfall to avoid. Having a dedicated work space and time are key to ensure your success.


Takeaway: Because there are no set days/times for class meetings, online classes require the student has self-discipline in setting goals and meeting deadlines. The student must be committed to the course and and be willing to spend the time and effort to learning the material. Good time management and organizational skills are also key ingredients for online success!

Lifestyle and Individual Attributes

13. I do not quit just because things get difficult.

Online courses can be simply because of the physical separation between you and the instructor. Don’t hesitate in reaching out to the instructor for help: check the syllabus to find the most effective means of contacting your instructor; take advantage of NetTutor or the Success Center.

14. I have developed ways to solve problems that I run into.

Problem-solving is a critical skill for ensuring success. Consider creating a study group with other students; check available resources such as the WVC Library and the Success Centercess Center, as well as the many Student Services West Valley has to support you in achieving success.

15. I like to learn new things and use new skills and technologies.

We are living in an age where technological advances are occurring at supersonic speed, and this often requires us to learn new skills and adapt our approaches, including how we learn!

16. I believe online courses require as much time and effort as on-campus courses.

This is NOT true! Online courses require as much or more time than face-to-face courses and the online student must be self-disciplined and have good organizational and time-management skills.


Takeaway: While online courses do provide flexibility in terms of when you complete readings and assignments, there are specific due dates that must be met. It is therefore critical for you to be self-disciplined, self-motivated and fully committed to learning the course content. It is also likely that you will be asked to work with apps and equipment that you are not familiar with, so a willingness to learn new skills and adapt is important.

Last Updated 4/2/19