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Q. How do online courses differ from face-to-face classes?
A. The main differences are the manner in which the course is delivered and the primary interaction between the student and the instructor. But online courses are equivalent in content and academic rigor to those in a traditional classroom.

Q. How do online courses work?
A. Online courses are available on the computer, via email, the internet, or CD. When a course is delivered solely by the internet, the student accesses all course materials via a user name and password provided by the instructor and completes research and assignments independently.

Q, Who should take an online course?
A. Motivated, self-directed, mature students with busy schedules tend to be most successful in online classes. However, any student who requires the convenience and flexibility of an online course should consider the option. In all cases, Reading and Writing skills are recommended for prospective students. See Essential Skills for Online Learners.

Q, Can I talk with the instructor before registering for an online course?
That depends upon the instructor. Often, academic advisors and student advocates can answer your questions or forward specific inquiries to an instructor on your behalf. Also, you can send email to OnlineEd@rcc.mass.edu with additional questions.

Q. Are these classes transferable to other colleges?
A. Online courses enjoy the same transferability as those offered by the provider institution in a traditional classroom environment. As with all courses, students must consult with the transfer institution.

Q. What computer skills do I need to take a web class?
A. You must have basic computer skills, such as sending and receiving e-mail, word processing, cutting and pasting within documents, toggling between applications and using e-mail attachments. For specialized courses, other skills may be required. These requirements will be listed under "Special Considerations" in the course description. See Essential Skills for Online Learners.

Q. What kind of computer do I need?
A. Students should have (or have access to) a computer which runs Windows 98 or above, access to the Internet via 56k connection or better, an e-mail account and access to a printer. Students also need Netscape or Internet Explorer 4.0 or greater. Courses are compatible with both Macintosh and personal computers. Hardware requirements in excess of those listed above will be detailed in the course description under "Special Considerations" when appropriate.

Q. What if I need to talk with my instructor?
A. Once enrolled, students may contact instructors via e-mail. In some courses, instructors hold regular live chat sessions, post electronic office hours and list telephone numbers where they can be reached. Early reports from online students suggest they have as much, if not more, access to instructors in an online course than in the traditional classroom setting.

Q. How much time each week do I need to spend on my course?
A. That depends on the course and your abilities. In general, you should plan on spending at least six to ten hours per week, per course. Some courses may require more.

Q. What if my course has a lab component?
A. Courses with lab requirements are considered "Special Consideration" classes and may be handled in a variety of ways including (but not limited to):

  • Issuing students a lab packet that allows students to perform labs at home, individually;
  • Issuing compact disks or videotapes with step-by-step instructions for completing lab work;
  • "Special Consideration" requirements will be noted in the course description for these classes.

Q. What if I can't finish my course on time?
A. Most instructors understand that problems arise that may prevent students from completing their work in a timely fashion. If effort has been expended and significant progress achieved, in-progress (IP) grades may be available. However, the instructor is the sole arbiter concerning the completion of work in his or her course.

Q. What courses are being offered online?
A. Online courses for each semester are listed on the home page of the Online Education website. Also, in the catalog, for-credit online courses have a D1 in their Course name (i.e. BUS 321 D1) and non-credit courses are listed under Online Courses.

Q. How much does an online learning course cost?
A. Tuition for online courses is the same as traditional face-to-face courses.

Q. How do I get to my online course?
A. On the Online Education menu, click on "IntraLearn Login", then enter your username and password. Select your course and get started.

Q. How do I get my course username and password?
A. If the course is through the internet, your instructor will send you your username and password for the course.  If you do not hear from your instructor in the first week of classes, email your instructor directly using the course email address.

Q. I've emailed my instructor, but I haven't received a response!
A. Try emailing your instructor again. If you continue to get no response within a week, please send an email to OnlineEd@rcc.mass.edu and cc: the instructor.