Courses & Credits
- Are online courses harder than traditional courses?While the learning and delivery methods are different, the course content offered in an online course is the same. Depending on the course type, you might focus more on reading and writing rather than listening and observing. Keep in mind that online courses are college-level courses which offer a different way of learning. These courses require self-discipline and motivation. Some students enjoy the flexibility of online courses and the experience of independent learning. Online courses require focus, discipline and determination, but the benefits of successfully taking and completing courses online are great.
- How much time will I spend on my course?Blackboard courses are equivalent to those taught on campus so you can expect to spend at least as much time as you would if you took the class in a traditional classroom setting. You can also expect to do a significant amount of reading and writing, depending on the course.
- How will I communicate with my instructor?You will use your Marshall University email to send the instructor an email to their address, or by using the Course Messages tool in your course. The Course Messages tool only sends within the course itself. The instructor should clarify which method they want you to use.
- What times do my online classes meet?If a course is listed in the course schedule as “ONLINE CLASS-NO LIVE MEETINGS” this class will be 100% fully online. There are no scheduled meeting times.
When you login is up to you, but we advise that you keep in mind your course due dates and deadlines for assignments and exams in your course as listed in your syllabus and in your course assignments. Since you do all of your course work and discussion activities at your own pace (again keeping in mind deadlines for assignments/exams), in a course delivered 100% over the Internet, and with no live meetings, you have a lot of flexibility as to “when” you actually do your work. However, you should expect to login daily and check for updates.
- Will I have to take tests?You will have as many options for graded activity as you do in the classroom. This can be done through Exams, Quizzes, Discussions, Assignments, and a variety of other tools. The instructor will tell you in the course Syllabus how you will be graded.
- When can I register for online courses?Online classes are offered Fall, Spring and Summer each school year. Please note that registration for an upcoming semester begins far in advance of that semester. Online classes generally fill up quickly, so it is best to be aware of when you can register. Please check the Registration Timetable.
- Do online courses follow a particular format?Yes. At Marshall University, online courses are offered through the online learning management system Blackboard Learn 9.1, which may be referred to as MUOnLine. Tools within Blackboard include course email, online discussions, grading, assignment submission, assessments–and more.
- How long do online courses last?The same as face-to-face courses: 16 or 8 weeks.
- Do online courses carry the same number of credit hours as the same courses offered on campus?Yes. These courses carry the same number of credit hours as sections of the same/equivalent courses delivered in the traditional classroom..
- Do online classes have prerequisites?Course prerequisites will be stated in the course syllabus and in the university catalog. All students (transient students excepted), must meet all course prerequisites before they can register for a distance education course.
Resources & Services
- Can I access books and resources from the library without coming to campus?Yes. Distance education students can access online databases, web-based digital collections, and other library resources from anywhere, both on and off-campus, by using their MUID number. The libraries’ online catalog and more than 90 databases provide citation-level searching and full-text articles, and are accessible from the Library web site.
If the Marshall University Libraries do not own a specific book, students and faculty can request them through a free service called E-Z Borrow. This service enables students and faculty to search 70 academic libraries in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey simultaneously. Requested book usually arrive at the Drinko Library within 3-5 business days. In addition, students and faculty can request books or articles through the web-based Information Delivery Service (IDS), which is available 24 hours a day. Most articles are delivered electronically without charge. There is a per-page copying charge for articles that must be delivered as photocopies. Books from other libraries are usually delivered without any fee except in cases where the user elects to mail back the book and must pay mailing costs.
Students who are completely off-campus should check out Off-Campus Library Services.
- Am I eligible to receive financial aid?Distance education students are eligible to apply for financial aid in the same way as students enrolled in traditional classes. The Office of Student Financial Assistance website has all the necessary information. Please note that non-degree students are not eligible for financial aid.
Computer & Software Requirements
- Do I need to know a lot about computers to take an online course?Distance education courses are accessible to people with a wide range of experience using computers. At a minimum, you will need reliable Internet access (dial-up is not recommended). You should be comfortable sending email and using the Internet. For example, during the course of your studies online, you may be required to post messages to a discussion board, and to prepare assignments and upload them to the course.
- What computer requirements do I need to take an online course?Please visit the MU IT Recommended Hardware webpage for specific information.