More Frequently Asked Questions about Online Courses
Does my class ever meet? For most online courses there are no class meeting times. Online courses are generally conducted “asynchronously,” which means individuals sign on at all different times during the day or night, “out of synch” with other learners, learning at their own convenient time. Participants hold discussions by posting messages and completing assignments as their personal schedules allow. Sometimes a “webinar” format is included for one or more sessions, in which case participants will need to attend at the specific time of the webinar. This type of class will include that information in the description.
How many other people be taking my class at the same time as me? Typical enrollment for an online instructor-led course is limited. Most classes are rarely larger than 20 students, with 25 being the maximum capacity.
What kind of computer hardware do I need? Any computer device, PC, Mac, mobile or tablet will work for our online learning environment, as long as it allows temporary files called “cookies” to be saved for the time you start your session to the time you log out. [click for more info and to check if your computer will work.]
What kind of internet connection and browser do I need? You’ll need a connection to the Internet that allows you to stay online for the amount of time you plan to be in your course. Your browser does not need to be completely up-to-date, but the newest browser are nearly always fine. We work hard to maintain the simplest interface possible so nearly any computer from 2005 and newer will work just fine. The ability to watch and listen to video and audio clips is very helpful for today’s enriched content, but unless audio is your normally method of “reading” text, there is normally a text-based alternative available when you encounter this type of content.
Will I need to buy and learn to use complicated software? No. All you need is a normal web browser. We provide all the software you’ll need free of charge within our system. Nothing needs to be installed, as long as your browser is configured for normal web variety. Anyone with basic computer ability to web surf and use email can be up and running in no time. We have free courses available, including an online orientation. So you can try one or more of these in advance, to assure yourself that you and your device are completely ready to go when your class begins. Try one ahead of time, so you can be sure to be comfortable navigating a common course layout before your class starts so you can focus on completely on the learning experience itself.
How much time to I get to complete a course? Most courses have a set start and end date. In between, the schedule of coursework, assignments and recommended due dates are determined by each instructor or in the case of self-paced courses, by you! The majority of our instructor-led courses last from 10 days for short ones to 4 weeks for larger-scope courses. The student has the flexibility of working on the course at any time that is convenient during those weeks.
Who will help me if I run into a technical problem? Every instructor-led course has its own Instructor who is your primary contact for everything that involves the mechanics of taking your class. There is also an online support staff member available to students and instructors who monitors activity and assists whenever needed. Most technical issues are resolved very simply. Be sure to record the exact message on the screen if you encounter an error, and report as detailed an explanation as you can of the situation where you find yourself stuck.
What if I start a class and decide it’s just not for me? For classes with enrollment fees, refund requests will be accepted on a per-person exception basis. We prefer that you enroll with a serious intent to complete the course. We recognize that life does sometimes make participation impossible, so we are flexible in moving you to another set of course dates when available. In extreme cases, a refund can be made minus the necessary processing fees.
Will I get a grade? As with all schools, grading and other outcome measurements vary by course and according to whether there were options to select when you sign up. We help member agencies work with a variety of professional institutions to offer appropriate credit options.