Shorter Admissions Questions

Shorter Admissions Questions

 

No matter where you live in the world, you can enroll in Shorter University’s online courses. You can expect the same quality education from our online courses as you can from our traditional courses because they are taught with the same rigorous curriculum as our traditional on-campus courses and by the same experienced and knowledgeable faculty.

For many students, online learning is a new and unfamiliar concept. This document is designed to answer many of your questions, giving you information on how online learning works.

How popular is online learning?
How are courses structured?
What are the benefits of online learning?
What does it take to succeed in an online class?
How is an online class delivered?
How are the classes and terms scheduled?
What are the computer system requirements for taking an online class?
Are any other computer software applications required or recommended?
How long does it take to complete an online course?

How popular is online learning?

As of fall 2007, almost 4 million students in higher education were enrolled in one or more online courses. So, of all students enrolled in higher education, 1 in 5 was taking a course online. Online learning has been growing at a rapid rate over the last few years, and this trend is predicted to continue. As you can see from these numbers, online courses are now mainstream. Many respected institutions, such as Shorter University, now offer online courses online, and these courses of study are just as respected as the traditional courses.

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How are courses structured?

Classes last 8 weeks, and each week students receive a number of assignments to complete. Typically, there are no fixed times when students need to be online; therefore, you have a good deal of flexibility in how you organize your studies day-by-day. Students do need to log-in to class several times each week to check for updates and to communicate with the professor and/or with other students.  Professors have a set “office hour” each week when they are available for chats either online or by phone. Also, a few classes may require students to log-in at a particular time during the week to participate in a group chat or discussion.

While most online courses are self-paced and allow a good deal of flexibility in how you arrange your studies, they do require you to log-in regularly and to complete assignments on time. As with any traditional course, you can’t skip several weeks of online classes and expect to succeed!

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What are the benefits of online learning?

The growing popularity of online courses is a testament to their quality, flexibility, and convenience. Here are a few of the benefits of studying online:

No classes to attend. One of the greatest benefits of studying online is that there are no physical classes to sit in. This eliminates the hassle and time spent commuting to and from class. Distance is not an issue, either, so you can study at a college in a different state or even in a different country. Also, parents don’t have to worry about finding childcare in order to attend class; you can arrange your studies around the needs of your family.

Flexible scheduling. With no classes to attend and with course materials available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you have a lot more flexibility in fitting your studies around your other commitments. You have more control over how you manage your studying schedule and a greater ability to work at your own pace.

You can study more effectively. In a traditional class, much of the information presented can be missed owing to a variety of factors such as student fatigue, distractions, time constraints, work schedules, family responsibilities, and illness. In an online class, you can study when you feel most focused. You have the ability to read and re-read class materials and discussions to ensure that you understand the subject, and if you need to ask a professor a question, he or she is available for an online chat or a phone call.

Better class discussions. Class discussions are often more interesting online because students experience fewer time constraints and more opportunities to participate. You have more time for reflection before you answer a question, and also more students get a chance to participate in the discussion.

Improved work skills. Online classes help you improve the skills you need in the 21st-century workplace. Online courses teach you to be familiar with the latest technology, to better manage your time, and to communicate effectively.

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What does it take to succeed in an online class?

Online courses are not an easy option. The workload for an online course is equivalent to that of a traditional class. To take an online course, you must be a student in good academic standing. The students most likely to succeed in online courses are those who:

  • Have access to a computer with reliable internet access.
  • Are familiar with basic computer tasks such as navigating websites, sending e-mail, and working with files.
  • Understand they will have to work as hard in an online course as they would in a traditional class.
  • Are self-starters, able to organize their time effectively without needing to be reminded to complete assignments on-time.
  • Plan ahead and don’t leave everything to the last minute.
  • Are organized, making sure they understand the course requirements ahead of time, always log into the course several times a week to check for announcements and communicate with the instructor, and conscientiously develop a schedule at the beginning of a term and stick to it.
  • Are self-disciplined, a most necessary trait because it is very easy to fall behind in an online course, and it can be difficult to make up for lost time.
  • Actively participate in online discussions.
  • Are skilled problem-solvers who also know to ask for help when they need it.

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How is an online class delivered?

Online classes are accessed using a web browser and take place in what is known as a Learning Management System. The Learning Management System that Shorter University uses is called Moodle. You can view an online demo of how Moodle works at this website:

Online Demo

In Moodle, a student can view the course materials for the class, can send messages to the professor or to other students, can take part in online discussions and chats, can take quizzes, and can easily submit assignments.

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How are the classes and terms scheduled?

Each online class lasts for 8 weeks. There are five 8-week terms a year. Two of these 8-week terms run during the fall, two during the spring, and two in the summer.

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What are the computer system requirements?

Your computer must meet these requirements or you may not be able to successfully participate in our online classes.

System Requirements Minimum Requirement Recommended
Internet Connection: 56K Cable or DSL
Windows Operating System: Windows 2000 XP or Vista
MAC Operating System Mac OS X 10.3 Mac OS X 10.5.4 or better
Computer Memory: 120 MB 256 MB
Screen Resolution: 800 x 600 1024 x 768
Browser:(Browser must be Java and JavaScript enabled, and set to show latest version of the page) IE 7.0, Firefox 2.0, Safari 1.2 IE 7.0 or 8.0, Firefox 3.5, Safari 4
Pop-up blocker Must be disabled Must be disabled
Audio Sound card and speakers or headphones for listening, microphone for speaking (if required) Same

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Are any other computer software applications required or recommended?

In addition to the system requirements listed above, we recommend that you have the following software applications installed:

  • The latest version of Microsoft Office. If you don’t have the latest version of Microsoft Office installed you can view Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files by downloading a Viewer or Converter from:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/downloads/HA010449811033.aspx

  • For Adobe PDF files, download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader at:

http://get.adobe.com or http://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/ 

  • For some interactive presentations you may need to download and install the flash plug-in for your browser at:

http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

  • Some videos may require you to install Windows Media Player, which can be downloaded for both Macs and PCs at:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/default.mspx

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How long will it take to complete a course?

The time required to complete a course will depend on the required number of credit hours you need to complete and on how many classes you can take each term. We recommend that a student take 2 courses each term. Courses are typically worth 3 credit hours each. If you take two courses each term, you will be able to complete 30 credit hours in a single year.

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