People who sign up for online courses might be motivated to choose this way of learning instead of coming to a classroom because they have ‘heard’ that it’s easier, or they think that learning online means less work and is less time consuming.
These are all myths.
Online learning is not easier. If done well, it’s the same amount of academic challenge as you would experience in a traditional classroom and will take as much time as you would spend in a traditional class.
There are still due dates, weekly assignments, readings, online discussions, sometimes group projects, sometimes exams, papers… you get the idea. It’s not the type of environment where you will get an assignment, do it when you want, turn it in, get a grade, and go on about your normal life.
Learning online requires really good time management skills. You need to have a computer and internet access readily available. Instructors, just like in a traditional classroom, will vary their approaches to online course content and assignments, but most of them (at least those we train and certify) will have high expectations for you to be logging in to the course several times a week to participate actively with the class.
Here are some links that can help you understand the personality traits of the most successful online students:
Illinois Online Network: What Makes a Successful Online Student?