Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Online Courses

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Online Courses

See also Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Admissions

General

  1. Do I need to be matriculated at Charter Oak State College to take a distance learning course?
  2. Do I need to own a computer to take a distance learning course?
  3. Do I need to come to campus if I take a course?
  4. How long is each semester?
  5. Am I going to have an instructor and how can I get in touch with him/her?
  6. How is testing done?
  7. How many students are in a class?
  8. How are courses graded?
    1. What kind of assignments will I do in my course?
    2. How much time will I spend working on my course each week?
  9. How do I get my course materials and how much do they cost?
  10. Who do I contact if I have questions?

Registration

  1. How do I register for a course?
  2. When are the deadlines for course registration?
  3. How will I know that my Course Registration form has been received?

Payment

  1. What is the cost to take a distance learning course?
  2. Can I pay for my course with a payment plan?
  3. What if I'm applying for Financial Aid?

Technical Issues

  1. What if I have never taken an online course and do not know how to do it?
  2. What are the computer requirements?
  3. What if I need technical support?
  4. If I am taking an online course is there a specific day or time that I have to go online?
  5. Where do I get my password for my online course?
  6. How do I log in to my BlackBoard (online) course?

Policies

  1. How do I withdraw from a course?
  2. How can I drop one course and pick up another?
  3. What if I need extra time to complete a course and need to request an extension?
  4. If I start a course but cannot complete it, do I get a refund?

Cornerstone Course

  1. What is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Course?
  2. Why is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Course required?
  3. If I already transferred in credit from another institution for ENG 101 and 102, is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Course required?
  4. How will I benefit from taking this course?
  5. How will Charter Oak State College benefit?
  6. How can I learn more about the content of the IDS 101, Cornerstone Course?

1. Do I need to be matriculated (enrolled) at Charter Oak State College to take a distance learning course?
No, anyone can take a course at Charter Oak State College. If you are taking a course to transfer to another institution, you should check with that institution to make sure that the course fits into your program of study. For information about matriculating (enrolling) at Charter Oak, please visit How to Apply.

2. Do I need to own a computer to take a distance learning course?
You need reliable access to a computer if you want to take an online course.

3. Do I need to come to campus if I take a course?
For online courses, you do not have to ever physically visit Charter Oak State College. Courses can be conveniently completed via computer with Internet access.

4. How long is each semester?
Two full semesters in the Fall and Spring run for 17 weeks with courses available in 15-week or accelerated 5-week and 8-week timeframes. The College also offers its accelerated online courses during two 8 week terms in the summer's 12-week semester.

5. Am I going to have an instructor and how can I get in touch with him/her?
Yes, all courses have instructors who are available by telephone or e-mail to answer questions about the course. Their e-mail addresses can be found in the course descriptions, which can be accessed by visiting the Course Search page, searching for the course, and then clicking on the resulting link.

6. How is testing done?
Accelerated courses and some online full-term courses have examinations built into their courses or have a final paper or project instead of a final examination.

7. How many students are in a class?
Class size varies from 6 - 40 students. Charter Oak's faculty to student ratio is 8:1.

8. How are courses graded?
Charter Oak State College has an Institutional Grading Policy for all courses.

8a. What kind of assignments will I do in my course?
Courses typically require students to complete reading and writing assignments, participate in group discussions, complete quizzes and tests, and complete summary projects or research papers. Many of the courses utilize a team approach in which students may be assigned to complete a "group project." Most courses are three or four semester credits. Check your course syllabus for more information about the required assignments.

8b. How much time will I spend working on my course each week?
Any three-credit course requires approximately 135 hours of computer and study time, regardless of the length of the course. Three-credit courses that run in eight or five weeks require the same amount of work as 15-week courses, only condensed into a shorter time frame. Therefore plan your study time accordingly.

9. How do I get my course materials and how much do they cost?
The College has arranged with MBS Direct to inventory the required materials for most courses. Visit the Bookstore.

10. Whom do I contact if I have questions?
Contact the Registrar at (860) 515-3702 or registrar@charteroak.edu

11. How do I register for a course?
Registration is easy, and can be completed through the Course Search page. For detailed information on registering, please see How to Register.

12. When are the deadlines for course registration?
Course registration ends the Wednesday at 4:00 PM, EST, prior to the start of courses. In general it is best to register early to ensure your place in the course.

13. How will I know that my Course Registration form has been received?
When you register online using the ACORN student portal, your registration/schedule information will be displayed while you are logged in. Your courses will have a status of 'Preregistered' on your schedule until payment information has been confirmed. Once payment has been confirmed, your course status will change to 'Current'. Charter Oak no longer sends out confirmation emails to students after they register for courses; students will be able to view their schedule information in the student portal.

14. What is the cost to take a course?
Courses are charged based on a per credit rate. Please see the Tuition & Fees page for more information. Non-credit courses have their own special rates which can be found on that course's "Course Information" page, which can be accessed by visiting the Course Search, searching for the course in question, and clicking on the Course Number & Title.

15. Can I pay for my course with a payment plan?
Yes. Courses can be paid through an interest-free Payment Plan for a small fee. Please visit the Payment Plan page for more information.

16. What if I'm applying for Financial Aid?
Information about Charter Oak's financial aid program is available at Financial Aid. Financial Aid students will register online in the ACORN student portal once their Financial Aid award has been confirmed.

17. What if I have never taken an online course and do not know how to do it?
All online students are required to view Charter Oak's online course tutorials and student orientation prior to enrollment during the IDS 099 Orientation. It can also be viewed at any time in the ACORN portal. This demonstration will show students the basics of how to navigate the course software. Students should have some general computer knowledge before starting a course. Our learning partner, the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC), provides helpful resources for students new to online learning, including a list of top 10 considerations for taking an online course, a short readiness questionairre, and a simple course on "Basic Online Skills."

18. What are the computer requirements?
As of December 1, 2010, Charter Oak's online courses take place in an online system called Blackboard Learn (Blackboard version 9.1). View the general computer requirements for using Blackboard 9. Be sure to scroll down to see the requirements for Blackboard 9.

In addition to meeting the computer requirements, students should possess general computer knowledge before starting a course. To see the minimum requirements for computer skills and knowledge, explore the CTDLC's course, "Basic Online Skills." These skills will also be explored in the pre-enrollment online IDS 099 Orientation.

19. What if I need technical support?
Technical Support is provided to the college community by the CTDLC and is available seven days a week at our Help Desk. For critical issues requiring immediate assistance, please call (860) 515-3710, or toll-free outside of the Hartford, CT area at (866) 462-8352 (1-866-GO CTDLC). You can also search the Knowledge Base, create a ticket to report a problem or ask a question, and chat live with online support when available.

20. If I am taking an online course, is there a specific day or time that I have to go online?
Our online courses are "asynchronous," which means students can log in to their course any time during the week to do course work. However, students will have weekly assignments that must be completed on time. For example, all online courses include a "threaded discussion," to which students post contributions during the week. Some courses include weekly team assignments that may require students to "meet" online at a specific time agreed to by the team members (synchronously).

21. Where do I get my password for my online course?
Your Blackboard user name and password are the same as your ACORN and Charter Oak email logins.

22. How do I log in to my online course in Blackboard?
Go to http://bb.charteroak.edu/. Type in the username (your Charter Oak Email address) and password assigned to you. Click on the course title in the "My Courses" list at the right side of the screen, and away you go! If you need help logging in, contact Technical Support (see answer #19 above for contact information). Courses become visible to enrolled students in Blackboard four (4) calendar days before the course begins.

23. How do I withdraw from a course?
Fill out the online Withdrawal Form on ACORN.

24. How can I drop one course and pick up another?
If you want to substitute a course for which you have registered, you may do so until the end of the second day of the course (11:59, PM, EXT) by using the ADD/DROP feature in ACORN. It is not possible to add a course after the registration period ends. The withdrawal policy goes into effect after day 2 of the course.

25. What if I need extra time to complete a course and need to request an extension?
Extensions may be granted only under special circumstances. The mentor's responsibility during a student's extension is limited to correcting assignments and exams. To request a short extension, the student should:

  1. Contact the mentor and receive permission to apply for an extension before the course ends.
  2. Complete the Request for Incomplete Grade (PDF) form before the course ends and email it to registrar@charteroak.edu.
26. If I start a course but cannot complete it, do I get a refund?
You may receive a tuition refund depending on when you withdraw from the course. Payment plan and College fees are non-refundable. For complete information, see the Academic Calendar.


Cornerstone Course

27. What is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Seminar?
The Cornerstone course is a degree requirement and one of the "first" courses newly matriculated COSC students will pursue. This course will provide you with an in-depth understanding of the nature of the COSC degree and keys to success in an online program.

28. Why is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Seminar required?
The Cornerstone course will help all COSC students understand expectations around written communication and critical thinking in college-level online courses. As such, IDS 101 will help prepare you for success in the writing-based online environment along with your academic planning.

29. If I already transferred in credit from another institution for ENG 101 and 102, is the IDS 101, Cornerstone Seminar required?
Yes, in fact, ENG101 is a prerequisite for IDS 101.  The IDS 101 Cornerstone course will refresh students who have been away from the college classroom for some time with written communications and critical thinking skills.

30. How will I benefit from taking this course?
You will benefit from the cornerstone course by:

  • Gaining an in-depth understanding of the COSC degree and the keys to success in an online course;
  • Meeting the general education requirement for Information Literacy;
  • Sharpening your skills as a writer, critical thinker and problem solver - all of which are necessary skills in the online learning environment;
  • Strengthening your skills in searching, researching, and evaluating sources, and incorporating these sources into your contributions to the classroom; and
  • Enhancing your ability to be an engaged, self-sufficient, and self-motivated learner.

31. How will Charter Oak State College benefit?
As an institution of higher learning, COSC will benefit in the following ways from requiring newly matriculated students take this course by acquainting students with the resources available to them and helping to ensure that they are ready and equipped to learn in the online environment.

32. How can I learn more about the content of the IDS 101, Cornerstone Course?
To learn more about the Cornerstone course requirement, view the IDS 101 Cornerstone Course syllabus.