Online Education FAQs

Preparing for Success

If I am new to online learning, what do I need to know in order to be successful?

To learn if you have what it takes to be a successful online learning student, take the online SmarterMeasure assessment.

Are online courses easier?

No, the course outcomes in an online course are identical to that of a face-to-face class on the same topic, but the course content is not. The workload can be more demanding than a regular face-to-face class in that you have to be a self-directed learner, stay motivated, and stay on top of your workload independently.

How many hours per week will I need to devote to my online courses?

It depends on the length, requirements, and workload of each course, as well as your own learning style. For sixteen-week courses, expect to spend 10-15 hours per week on course activities, studying, and homework. Eight-week courses are compressed, so expect to devote 20-30 hours per week. Please keep this in mind when planning your online program and considering your other time commitments.

How computer savvy do I need to be to take an online class?

You definitely need to be comfortable in front of a computer. Some basics that you will need to know are: how to use your computer, how to save a file, how to attach a file, and how to retrieve a saved file. It will be assumed that you have a working knowledge of office software components such as word processors, spreadsheets, etc. Familiarity with web browsers, web-based interactions such as email, discussion boards, listservs, and chat rooms. Experience in internet searches using a variety of search engines.

How do I Register?

Online program students
Speak with your online academic advisor or visit our registration page to register for your online courses.

Current STLCC campus-based students
Speak with your academic advisor or visit our registration page to register for your online courses.

Visiting online students
After being admitted to STLCC, speak with an online academic advisor or visit our registration page to register for your online courses.

Can I mix online courses and face-to-face classes?

Perhaps, mixing online and face-to-face courses may impact your Financial Aid. Please contact our Financial Aid office for more information.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a virtual learning environment and educational software platform that provides a web-based means for taking online classes. With Blackboard you can access your class any time or place that you have an internet connection. Your Blackboard login is your MySTLCC ID and the secure password you created when setting up your MySTLCC ID.

Will my diploma indicate that I have taken online courses?

No, your diploma will be identical to those received by students in on-site programs.

Do online courses require textbooks and where can I purchase them?

Yes, most online courses require at least one textbook. Please visit our STLCC online bookstore. After selecting your course and section number, you will be directed to the textbooks required for your course.

How do online courses work?

Availability
Courses are available on Blackboard on the scheduled class start date. You will be able to access your course 24 hours after registering. Please log in to your courses as soon as they are available to review the syllabus and first assignments.

Your Instructor
View your syllabus to find your instructor's contact information. In addition, this information is posted in your course in Blackboard.  You can email your instructor through Blackboard by clicking on the Send Email link in the Tools panel after logging into the system.

Your Course
Students are encouraged to log in several times a week to get their assignments. If you do not log in to your course within the first 2 weeks of the academic term you will be dropped from the course. The requirements for your weekly participation in each course are outlined in the course syllabus.

Assignments
Assignments, readings, and online discussions have weekly deadlines that must be met. Online courses are not self-paced or designed to be taken as independent study.

Tests
Some courses will allow you to take your exams online at home. Some courses do not give tests but require final papers, while others give open book tests with time limits, and others may be more open ended. Check the syllabus or contact your instructor if you have questions about a test.  In some online classes, your instructor may require proctored examinations. These can be taken at an STLCC campus assessment center, or testing center or library of another college or university. Check the syllabus or contact your instructor for more information about test proctoring and testing locations.

Is online right for me?

It has been shown that the most successful online students tend to share the following characteristics:

  • Self-motivation
  • Good organization and time-management skills
  • Familiar with computers and the Internet
  • Resourceful and actively seek answers and solutions to questions and problems

While online courses can be more flexible, you will need self-discipline to be successful. Consider each of the following questions:

  • Are you good at estimating and following through with how much time you need to accomplish daily activities?
  • Will online courses fit your availability because you have a lot going on in your personal life?
  • Do you feel comfortable working on a computer and have reliable access to the internet?
  • Do you prefer working alone on projects?
  • Do you enjoy reading and writing, and are you in the habit of doing both most days?

If you answered yes to all of these, online courses are right for you!

If you answered yes to most of these, think about how you can modify your habits to be successful in online courses.

If you answered no to most or all of these, speak to your advisor about which courses are right for your schedule and lifestyle.

How much time do I need to set aside for online course study?

It depends on the length, requirements, and workload of each course, as well as your own learning style. For sixteen-week courses, expect to spend 10-15 hours per week on course activities, studying, and homework. Eight-week courses are compressed, so expect to devote 20-30 hours per week. Please keep this in mind when planning your online program and considering your other time commitments.

What technology is required?

An online learning course is a class you can take without physically going into a classroom. You can participate at home or at work - a current computer with a desktop operating system and reliable access to the internet is required - whenever you like, within a set time frame. Most courses do not require that you be online at a certain time of day or night, but that you are active in the course and you meet scheduled due dates.


Contact Online Education

Stacey Y. Foster, MA

314-513-4771 sfoster@stlcc.edu
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