A: Absolutely not. In fact, some students find them to be more rigorous. Because they are often “asynchronous” (meaning, you log on at your convenience), they require a good deal of discipline. To learn more about what makes an online course comparable to a traditional or “brick and mortar” course, click here.
Q: What equipment do I need in order to take a fully online course?
A: In order to participate fully and effectively in an online course, students should have a reliable broadband connection (Cable Model, DSL, Satellite). Students should have a relatively new operating system (Windows XP or newer; Mac OSX, etc.) and employ a compatible browser such as Windows Explorer or Firefox. Courses use Blackboard Learn (Version 9). For a list of compatible systems and browser types, visit Blackboard.
Q: What kind of technology do you have access to?
A: You will need a reliable broadband internet connection (while theoretically feasible, a dialup connection will prove very frustrating and may make access to some tools – particularly video – nearly impossible). You will also need a computer with sufficient processing speed to handle streaming video clips. Blackboard, our Learning Management System, recommends thatyou have up-to-date browser software (such as the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari) and a recent computer operating system (Mac OSX, Windows XP/Vista/7/8, etc.).
Q: When do online classes meet?
A: Online classes don’t tend to meet at a specific time (although some will occasionally schedule live online chats), however, they do tend to have deadlines that must be met. There is also an expectation that students will spend a significant amount of time reading, doing exercises, and engaging in discussions. For most only classes, logging-in once right before a deadline will not be a good allocation of your time. Instead, logging-in consistently over many days will be required. Expect to spend as much time as you would preparing for a class in a traditional classroom, it not more.
Q: Where can I study?
A: Studying at home works well for some, and not for others. If your computer is near your TV, or if you will have lots of distractions in your learning environment, you might want to think about relocating your computer or scheduling some quiet time when you know these distractions won’t be present. At the same time, while you might consider logging-on to your class in the library or a public computer lab, those locations may not always be available to you, and may offer a different set of distractions. Even the WiFi hotspot at McDonalds or Starbucks might present their own unique distractions. Think about your environment and what will work best for you.
Q: Do I have access to the same student services as a regular Truman student on the Truman campus?
A: The offices of Truman State University are available to help you with your questions. The IT Services Help Desk stands ready to assist with technical issues associated with your online course. The Institute for Academic Outreach can help you troubleshoot difficulties with applications and registration. Student Accounts can assist students with problems related to bill payment or tuition reimbursement arrangements. All students enrolled in Truman online courses have access to the Truman network, and with it, the same learning tools and library resources that regularly matriculated Truman students can access via the Internet.