What are online courses?

Online courses are those in which students and instructors are not in the same physical space at the same time; instead, they interact online (via the Internet) and students do not have to come to the campus to attend class. If you have a PC and a reliable Internet connection, you will be able to interact with your instructor and other students to complete the activities and objectives of the course at any time and from any place. Many students who have taken online courses in the past mention that they love the flexibility that online courses offer them.

What coursework is required in an online class?

There are usually weekly readings/lectures, assignments, projects and/or journals, discussion boards and live chat sessions throughout the term. Each of these is worth a certain percentage of your final grade. There are weekly deadlines for your work that will be posted in your course site.

What are discussion boards and chat sessions?

Discussion boards are located in an area within the course site where students can read a weekly topic of discussion and post their comments to the course site. They can read other classmates’ and instructor’s comments as well and respond to their postings. This style of communication is considered asynchronous, meaning that you can interact with others in the class but all of you aren’t communicating in the same space at the same time. On the other hand, chat sessions are opportunities to meet with your class at the same place and time (synchronous communication) and are also an important part of the online course. For one-hour each week, the instructor and students may meet in a “live” chat room within the course site and discuss assignments, debate over discussion topics and use this time as a question & answer session.

Is the quality of an online course the same as an on-campus course?

Absolutely! All online classes meet the same course objectives as their in-seat counterparts, and online courses are subject to the same departmental guidelines as in-seat classes. Most of our online instructors also teach in-seat classes, so they often require both online and in-seat students to complete the same assignments.

Are online courses easier than traditional, on-campus courses?

Absolutely not! Unfortunately, some students often have the misperception that online courses will be easier than on-campus courses, and this is simply not true. While in an online course you have greater flexibility in terms of when you complete your coursework, the amount and nature of that coursework will be comparable to that assigned in an on-campus course. Additionally, the amount of reading and writing online students are required to do is quite extensive. Remember, one of the biggest challenges faced by online students is managing their time, so it is important that you are able to manage your time wisely and maintain self-motivation. Also COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY! Students need to remember to stay in constant contact with his/her instructor during the term. The instructor won’t know what the student is thinking if the student doesn't stay in communication with him/her.

How much time do I have to complete an online course?

Terms for online classes run parallel to terms for on-campus classes. Like on-campus classes, online classes have a specific start date and end date, and you are required to complete all assigned coursework during the specified time. In most cases, your instructor will have deadlines set throughout the term for assignments and course work, so you are encouraged to complete the work throughout the five week term, rather than all at the beginning or all at the end. Because online classes require frequent interaction with your classmates, it would be impossible to complete the entire class early.

What is the difference between online and correspondence courses?

While correspondence courses sometimes involve Internet use, online courses offer daily interaction with your instructor and classmates via email, discussion boards and live chat sessions. Correspondence courses are designed to complete & mail in coursework and in most cases do not offer the opportunity to communicate in real time with your instructor and classmates.