Online Course FAQ


Table of Contents

  1. What is the purpose of this FAQ?
  2. What does it mean that this course is "online"?
  3. What are the advantages and disadvantages to you of the course being online?
  4. What do I do after I enroll before class begins? 
  5. What will be done in place of the lecture?
  6. How do I learn of assignments, tests and other class news?
  7. How do I turn in assignments?
  8. What if my assignment is late?
  9. How will tests be handled?
  10. What equipment do I need to access the course?
  11. Can I use the CSIT lab as an online student?
  12. Does the INS recognize online class "attendance" as meeting the 12 hour per week requirement of a F-1 visa?
  13. What if I still have questions?

What is the purpose of this FAQ?

To answer questions regarding the differences because a class is taught online rather than traditionally. Please see my Class FAQ for information that applies to all my classes, online as well as traditional. Including there are answers to questions such as how you enroll and what to do if you are on the waiting list.

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What is does it mean that this course is "online"?

Traditional education usually requires the teacher and student to be in the same place at the same time, such as for a lecture or a lab. By contrast, you will access this course via the Internet at the time of day you choose. However, the information covered by the course and the assignments and tests (yes, there are assignments and tests) are the same as for a traditional course. In other words, the difference between traditional and online education is the delivery of the course, not its substance.  

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What are the advantages and disadvantages to you of the course being online?

The main advantage is the course is more accessible. Your work, family or other responsibilities may make it difficult or impossible for you to come to the college. You may live or work a long way from the college, or have a disability which makes travel more difficult.

One disadvantage is the absence of interaction between us while I am presenting information. Believe it or not, some students use lectures to ask questions rather than to catch ZZZZs. I also ask questions. I do not view a lecture as a one way process of my talking and you listening. Perhaps it's my law school education, but I prefer the Socratic method of teaching by asking questions. 

While we won't have "real time" contact during lecture, we will have frequent contact. Please see the Class FAQ's "How do I contact you?"  Additionally, the class' website will have a  bulletin board in which you will interact not only with me but also with your classmates.

Another disadvantage of online education is it requires greater self-discipline. With a traditional course, you need to come to the college once a week, and you will face my fearsome glare if you have not turned in your assignment on time. By contrast, with online education the adage "out of sight, out of mind" may apply, and there is the temptation to let your coursework slide. I will keep track of your progress and warn you if you are falling behind, but the prime responsibility will be yours.

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What do I do after I enroll?

  1. Access the class' ETUDES NG website. See the ETUDES Access instructions for how to do so.

  2. Obtain the book, unless you already have it from another class. The book is described on the syllabus on the class' ETUDES NG website.

  3. Obtain the software required for the class if you don't already have it. The software and how to obtain it (free) also is described on the ion the syllabus on the class' ETUDES NG website.

  4. Read this FAQ, the Class FAQ and the Assignment submission instructions.

  5. Visit the class' ETUDES NG website frequently for further announcements. 

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What will be done in place of the lecture?

I will post material on the class' ETUDES NG website under Modules The postings will not repeat material in the book. That would be a waste of my time to write and your time to read. Rather, the postings will supplement book material where needed and discuss how different concepts relate to each other and to the assignment.    

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How will I learn of assignments, tests and other class news?

It is your responsibility to visit the class' ETUDES NG website frequently to learn of assignments and other class news. I will post assignments and other news on this website. My plan is to have one assignment every two weeks. Don't count on me e-mailing you to tell you of an assignment., test or other important news.      

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How do I turn in my assignments?

The same way the students in my traditional class do, via the class' ETUDES NG website. This question, as well as the question of what is covered in my Class FAQ under this same question.

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What if my assignment is late?

This is covered in my Class FAQ under this same question. Additionally, turning in your assignment late greatly increases the risk that you will fall behind. In an online class, you don't come to class for a lecture, so your assignments are your primary contact with the class.   

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How will tests be handled?

There will be final and likely a midterm as well. My plan is not to test online (frankly because of the risk of cheating). Rather, you will go to a testing location to take the test. There will be specified locations at the college. However, if you are located far from the college, I will agree to alternative locations (such as another college's testing center) though you will have to do the legwork of identifying the location and obtaining their agreement to host the test. The final will be during the regularly scheduled finals week for the semester, so telling me you have a vacation scheduled during that week will not be an excuse. I will give plenty of notice of the testing day and time so you have time to clear the date with your boss, arrange for babysitters, etc. However, if you have conflicting test time from another scheduled class, I will work with you on alternatives, provided you give me reasonable advance notice.

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What equipment do I need to access the course?

Basically all you need is to be able to access the Internet and send and receive email. 

However, I would recommend (strongly) that you be able to access the Internet and send and receive email from your home (as opposed to work, the public library, etc.) since it is likely that you will be accessing the course and performing your coursework from your home. 

I also would recommend that your Internet connection be fast and reliable. "Fast" is a relative term. I would suggest at least a 56K modem. As for your ISP being reliable, constantly receiving busy signals or "our server is temporarily down" messages is not a good sign.

I also would recommend that you have a computer with sufficient hard drive space, processor (at least Pentium II) and memory (at least 256 MB, 512 MB or more better). You will have access to the computers in our program's lab at the college during open lab hours. However, open lab time is limited, and demand for the computers far outstrips supply. Therefore, count on doing your coursework on your own computer. 

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Can I use the CSIT lab as an online student?

Yes. Any student taking a CSIT class can use the CSIT lab. However, classes with scheduled lab time have priority, so check with the instructor in the lab regarding availability. If that instructor is me, I'll get you a seat if at all possible.    

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Does the INS recognize online class "attendance" as meeting the 12 hour per week attendance requirement of a F-1 visa?

I am not sure. Previously I was advised that the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) required foreign full-time students here on a F-1 Visa to attend class a minimum of 12 hours per week and that online courses may not be used to meet this minimum attendance requirement. However, this information may be inaccurate or out of date. Bottom line: check with your advisor.

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What if I still have questions?

Email us at the one of the email addresses given in the Class FAQ's "How do I contact you?"

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