About On Line Courses They are harder than the equivalent classroom-based courses: You do not get the face-to-face interaction with other students and your professor. No regular class meeting times mean a need for greater self-discipline. Everything you do for an on line class is written. Courses available at SPSU follow a semester schedule; some may be slightly different from the SPSU calendar.
On Line Options eCore courses WebBSIT On line versions of SPSU courses Half-Web courses
eCore Offered by a consortium of USG universities. Staffed by faculty from several universities. Covers most of the required core curriculum courses. You must complete an on line orientation to register for eCore: http://ecore.usg.edu/reg/spsu http://ecore.usg.edu/reg/spsu You will receive registration instructions by email.
WebBSIT A fully on line bachelor of science program in information technology. Offered and staffed by faculty from a consortium of USG universities. These courses have different course numbers (starting with WBIT ) from the regular SPSU courses. Some WebBSIT courses can be substituted for equivalent SPSU courses; see your advisor for approval before registering.
On Line Versions of SPSU Courses Many SPSU courses are offered on line as well as in the classroom. Credit is equivalent to the classroom based course with the same course number. You can recognize on line courses by section numbers in the 900 series.
Half Web Courses These courses have regular on-campus classes, but meet for only half the number of hours as classroom based courses. The remainder of the instruction is on line. You gain the advantages of a regular class meeting, but with half the trips to campus. But, many of the difficulties of on line classes remain.
Delivery Mechanism Blackboard Vista is the University System of Georgia standard for on line courses. So, most (perhaps all) of your on line courses will use Vista. Many classroom based courses (such as this one) also use Vista for submission of homework, supplementary material, etc.
Finances Most distance courses are more expensive that corresponding classroom based courses. Often, a financial aid arrangement will cover the difference. (But, as always, you must check with the Financial Aid office to be sure.)
Equipment You will need a computer with a modern browser, and… A relatively fast Internet connection. You may need sound equipment, depending upon the course.
Technical Support Distance students will need to be fairly self-sufficient concerning technical support. Generally, your professors will not be able to provide technical support. That is especially true for your home equipment. Technical support is available; options vary depending upon the program.
Synchronous Classes Most distance classes are asynchronous, that is, you can set your own schedule as long as you meet the deadlines. Some classes have synchronous components; all students are expected to be on line at specific times. It is important to know whether your proposed course has a synchronous component. Your professor or program office can tell you.
Proctored Exams Most on line courses require one or more proctored exams. A proctored exam is one you take in person and in a supervised setting, on a specific day. Proctored exams may be computer-based or pen-and-paper. You will generally be allowed to arrange for your own proctor, saving a trip to campus.
Arranging for a Proctor Some programs (like WebBSIT) require you to arrange for your own proctor. Programs will have a list of approved proctors. Often there is a fee, over and above tuition, for the proctors services. $25 is typical. Sometimes your professor may arrange to proctor an exam session; there should be no fee in that case. At SPSU, the ATTIC can arrange to proctor exams. Whether there is a fee depends on the program. Ask!
Library and Other Resources The SPSU Library provides resources for distance learners: http://www.spsu.edu/library/Dl/dlguide.html http://www.spsu.edu/library/Dl/dlguide.html Your SPSU ID will give you access to other USG libraries, and possibly to others. You should make library arrangements in advance, not when you have an assignment due the next day!
About Registration (This pertains to regular classes, too.) On line course bulletin: https://banweb.spsu.edu/pls/PROD/schedule_temp.main https://banweb.spsu.edu/pls/PROD/schedule_temp.main Phase I registration starts earliest. You may be assigned a specific time (time ticket) when you may register. Check BANNER. You will use your Plan of Study and the course schedule in BANNER to select classes. Revise your Plan of Study (if necessary) when you have registered for spring classes.
Time Tickets You may not be able to register immediately at the start of Phase I registration. Instead, you will get a time ticket that tells when registration opens for you. You can discover your assigned time by looking in BANNER on the same screens where one registers, and selecting registration status, where holds and other useful information are also visible.
More On Time Tickets Time tickets are assigned according to the number of credit hours earned at SPSU. (Transfer hours do not count.) More hours means an earlier time ticket. The rationale is to allow people who are closing in on graduation to get the classes they need to graduate. Honors students register early (beneficial!)