Distance Education FAQs
- Can you be a successful online student?
- Do you have the technical skills required to be successful?
- Do you have access to the technology required for online learning?
- How can I be successful in an online class?
- Ready to Register?
- I registered and paid for an online course; now what?
- What is Canvas and how do I log in to my courses?
- Is there a video I can watch to get started?
- How do I contact my online instructor?
- Do I have to come to campus for anything?
- What is Respondus Lockdown Browser?
- My course uses Turnitin for assignments. What is TurnItIn?
- My instructor mentioned Ally. What is Ally used for?
- Why should I have a mirror available for online testing?
- How much does an online course cost?
- How can I get help with homework/tutoring?
- Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Policies
Can you be a successful online student?
Now that you are considering joining the hundreds of other SUSCC students who have chosen to take an online or hybrid course, you should decide whether you are ready. We want you to be successful in your college coursework but no one knows you like you do! You must have the motivation to log in to your course regularly and complete the requirements according to the schedule for that class. You also must determine if you have sufficient computer (technical) skills and access to the technology required.
If you are new to distance education classes, here are 10 Tips for Success in an Online Class.
Do you have the technical skills required to be successful?
Students who enroll in an online course are responsible for having enough computer skills to accomplish the tasks that will be expected of them. Be aware that online instructors are not responsible for teaching these skills within the course. If you do not possess sufficient technical skills, you may want to take a computer class to increase your computer knowledge before you attempt an online class.
Do you have access to the technology required for online learning?
In addition to possessing the technical skills needed to succeed, you must also have access to the required technology. Check out these technology requirements before you register for online courses so that you can be successful!
Ready to Register?
Now, if you are ready to begin, or continue, your educational journey through distance education, the steps to register for online or hybrid courses are the same as those for registering for our traditional courses. Click here to find the steps to follow for application and class registration. Through the Banner online class schedule lookup, you can limit the courses to online or hybrid to find a listing of all online courses offered at Southern Union.
After you register for classes, an account will be created in our learning management system, Canvas. That account will contain links to all of the courses you will enroll in while you are at Southern Union. When classes begin for the semester, you can access those course links to find directions and content for completing your online course. For more information about Canvas and how to log in to your Canvas account, visit the Online Services link.
I registered and paid for an online course; now what?
Have classes started yet for this semester? Online courses are not typically available until the published "First Day of Class" for the semester. If classes have already begun, you must get started immediately to avoid being administratively withdrawn and/or missing assignments.
If you answered yes to the above question, the next step is to ensure you know how to log in to your SUSCC email (Google mail) account since a working email account is required when logging into Canvas. If you have never checked your SUSCC email, click here for directions for accessing your student email. After you verify your SUSCC email address, move to the next question on how to log in to Canvas and access your online classes.
What is Canvas and how do I log in to my course(s)?
Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) by Instructure. It is used by many educational institutions to streamline course offerings through the web. Each institution has a specific link to the school's Canvas site. You cannot log in to SUSCC courses from a generic Canvas link or from a different school's link. You will find the link to SU's Canvas site in the yellow bar on the college website at www.suscc.edu. Canvas is used to deliver all distance education courses at Southern Union. Additionally, traditional on-campus courses at SUSCC use Canvas to supplement classroom learning.
To find your online coursework, you must log in to Canvas. Click here for login directions. Once you successfully log in, you may wish to save a shortcut to Canvas on your computer, download the app for your mobile device or simply click the Canvas link on the SUSCC homepage. (Canvas provides an application for mobile devices, but you should not try to complete an online course using a mobile device. Some functionality is lost when using mobile devices to access some areas of the Canvas LMS.) When you log in to Canvas, you may find that your course is not accessible before the first day of class. Instructors must publish their courses before you can enter the course in Canvas. If you do not see the course on your Canvas dashboard, click the Courses button and click All courses. You will see a list of all courses in which you are registered for the semester as well as an indicator letting you know if it is published.
It's important to remember to update your information and add any additional email addresses or cell phone numbers for notification purposes under the settings link inside your Canvas account. For additional security, it is recommended that you change your default password in your Canvas account upon the first login and occasionally after that. Also, Canvas recommends certain browsers be used to access the LMS for best results. Click here for details about supported browsers for use with Canvas.
How do I contact my online instructor?
Your instructor probably has a preferred method of communicating with online students. This is to help keep all of the communications threads organized. Once you are in your online course, find out how your instructor would like for you to get in touch. Directions can be found on your Canvas course home page, and the course syllabus located within your Canvas course. Meanwhile, you may use the directory search link below to search for their email and telephone extension.
Do I have to come on campus for anything?
That depends on whether you are in a hybrid online course or a fully online course. Hybrid online courses will require a minimum of one on-campus meeting but may require more. Your hybrid online course may simply require that your final exam be proctored on-campus or there may be weekly or several scheduled meetings. You should find the on-campus requirement in the notes with each course on the class schedule and the Canvas course once you have access to that. Once your class has begun, log in to your course to see what your instructor has planned for on-campus visits. If you need to request any exceptions to the required meeting(s), you need to do so early in the semester. Exceptions are uncommon and are allowed at the discretion of the individual instructors.
Online courses do not require an on-campus meeting. The final exam will be proctored through an online proctoring service. A nonrefundable fee of $35 is charged with the tuition for each online course to cover the cost of the live-proctored final exam. It will be your responsibility to be sure you have a reliable internet connection at the location you plan to complete your course. You will be required to have a webcam and microphone for testing purposes in an online course. To find out more about the online proctoring service currently used by SUSCC, click here to go to the Technical Support Page where you will find information and directions for using ProctorU.
My instructor told me I need to have a mirror handy when I login to take an online test. Why?
For security purposes, the proctor for your online test must see that there are no books, notes, etc., around your computer or another person in your surrounding area. You will be instructed to move your webcam around the room at the beginning of the test. Sometimes it is impossible to scan the room with certain webcams, especially those built in a desktop, and you may be requested to use a mirror to show the computer screen, the top of the desk or table, under the desk, or the backside or bottom of your computer to the proctor. You need to have a handheld mirror available for this process.
What is Respondus Lockdown Browser?
The Respondus LockDown Browser (RLB) is designed to prevent your computer from doing other things while you are testing online. The RLB will not allow you to print, copy, paste or navigate to another window while testing. The specialized browser will be used instead of your standard browser when testing. It will need to be installed once on your computer before your first test. (If you previously used RLB at a different school, you will be required to download the licensed version for SUSCC.) The link to install SU's version can be found under the Help link at the top right of your Canvas home page. Be sure to get this software installed and running before the deadline for your tests gets too close. Check your online course(s) for more information on testing requirements. Not all online instructors require this software but some traditional, virtual, and hybrid courses do require RLB for testing. Directions and the link required to download the SUSCC licensed version of Respondus Lockdown Browser.
What is TurnItIn?
Turnitin is the industry standard in online plagiarism prevention. Any work that you submit in your online course is likely to be filtered and compared to a global database of other documents and student work. Your instructor will receive a report detailing the likelihood that portions of your submission have been copied. In addition, some in-person (traditional) courses will use this tool to check student submissions.
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