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UT Austin Professor Kevin Dalby Answers If Online Learning is Ideal for You

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Online learning is rising in popularity, not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As Dr. Kevin Dalby explains, online learning has many advantages and some potential downfalls.

While online learning may work for some people, it may not be the best option for everyone. You must ask yourself if online learning is right for you before investing time and money into online courses.

Here are some things everyone should consider before signing up for an online learning platform.

Are You Disciplined?

All educational classes take discipline, focus, and determination to complete, but this is especially true for online learning. Much of online learning is self-driven, forcing you to motivate yourself to follow through on your studies.

You’ll also need to make sure you can stay focused while learning online. It’s easy to get distracted by other things available in the room, such as other family members, television, and smartphones.

Are You Flexible?

One of the biggest benefits of online learning is the flexible schedule it provides students. Most courses can be taken after regular hours or on your schedule.

Some people need the structure that in-person learning provides, though. Even if it’s night school, in-person learning requires students to show up for a class with a set start and end time on certain days of the week.

Online learning might be a good fit if you work well with flexibility. If you need a more defined structure, then it might not.

Are You Comfortable Interacting Online?

Many workers experienced first-hand during the pandemic, person-to-person interactions can indeed happen online. While it may not be as personal as work in an office setting, there are still many ways to stay connected and communicate over the internet.

The same is true for learning. If you’re the type of person that can adapt to an entirely virtual environment and still thrive, then online learning will be a great fit. However, some people need that person-to-person interaction to happen in a physical setting rather than a virtual one.

Are You Confident with Technology?

This may seem obvious, but it’s essential. To get the most out of online learning, you’ll need to have at least a decent grasp of modern technology. Not only will you need an updated computer or mobile device with a stable internet connection, but you may also need to access certain cloud-based programs to complete your studies.

Dr. Kevin Dalby says it’s vital that you navigate the technology that fuels how the lectures are posted and viewed, how you submit and manage your assignments, how you collaborate with other students, and how you connect with your professors.

It’s OK if some of the programs your online school uses are new to you. While none of it requires prior experience to succeed, you should be confident in working with technology so that you can navigate through unfamiliar programs.

About Kevin Dalby

Dr. Kevin Dalby is a professor of chemical biology and medicinal chemistry, currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he is examining the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teaching and motivating students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.