Frequently asked questions
What is "distance learning?" Distance learning is the delivery of course materials to off-campus, remote students using various technologies. Distance learning offers convenience and flexibility for students who might not otherwise be able to take those courses.
How do Internet-based distance learning courses work? All components of a course (lectures, discussions, exercises, etc.) are delivered online via the Internet. Students have access via e-mail to the course instructor and can contact their fellow students. Students have the convenience of receiving instructor feedback via e-mail. Students will be given step-by-step instructions on how to how to log in, review assignments and complete coursework from the course instructor, as each course varies in its requirements and specifics.
Are IVCCD online courses accredited? Yes, all IVCCD programs and courses are accredited just like on-campus courses.
Are IVCCD online courses VA approved? Yes, all IVCCD programs & courses are VA approved, as are all the for-credit course at IVCCD. The ECC and MCC Financial Aid offices can give you the specifics.
How do I know if online courses are for me? Not all learning styles suit all students. Those who are typically most successful at online coursework are self-motivated and comfortable using a computer. If you do not mind being physically separated from other students and find your busy schedule makes it impossible to attend a traditional classroom setting, then online learning might be just right for you.
Can I complete my online class at my own pace? To a degree. Courses start and end at the same time as regular courses. It is a better online experience if the students in a course work through the material at a similar pace. Some courses require you to complete modules and assignments by a certain date. Other courses are more flexible, depending on the instructor's requirements. You should check the syllabus of the course you are considering to determine the course assignments and requirements and work with each instructor to determine assignment deadlines.
Is the quality of IVCCD online courses the same as on-campus courses? Yes! Online courses are taught by the same course instructors who teach on campus and are comfortable with online course delivery. You will have access to e-mail and threaded discussions so that all of your questions will be answered, and discussions will flow freely at a time convenient for you.
Is tutoring available for online courses? Yes, for certain classes there are currently two options for formal tutoring:
1) If you have the ability to be on-campus, you can stop by your campus academic support center. For ECC, this is the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE); at MCC, the Student Success Center (SSC). For students at the IV Grinnell location, be sure to speak to a Student Success Specialist to see what resources are available.
2) Since 2010, Iowa Valley has utilized an online tutoring website called Smarthinking. For more information on the available subjects and how to access Smarthinking, please contact the ACE (at ECC) or SSC (for MCC and IV Grinnell students).
How many online courses can I take in a semester? IVCCD allows students to enroll in the same number of online classes as they would be allowed to enroll in if they were an on-campus student, although we would normally advise that two courses per semester via online delivery is sufficient for most people in normal situation.
What computer equipment do I need? More or less, nothing special. An average 500 Mhz Pentium with a 56k dial-up connection are sufficient at this time. More important is the availability of a reliable internet connection in a location conducive to relaxed study.
How will I receive assignments and how will I be tested in the course? After you get access to the class, you should review the information found in the syllabus section for your class. This information will explain how to get started in your class, assignment deadlines and test procedures. Some instructors ask you to receive and submit assignments by e-mail, a dropbox or another method, but each instructor has different requirements.
Are there specific deadlines that I will need to meet? Yes, there will be deadlines, just as in traditional classes. Timelines will vary according to each class. You will get access to the course on the beginning date of the class(es). See the syllabus or ANGEL course calendars/modules for your assignment due dates. Most important is to develop personal habits to ensure you complete the course material in a timely manner. Instructors do not remind you of individual assignments and due dates.
Do I ever have to come to campus to complete the program? No, never. (But of course you are always welcome.)
Will an online course appear on an official college transcript? The online course will appear as any other credit course that you take from from ECC, MCC or Iowa Valley Grinnell. There will be no notification on the transcript to show that it was taken through a distance learning delivery method.
How much do online courses cost? A Distance Learning Fee of $13 per credit hour replaces the $7 Student Fee for every credit taken as an Internet/online course. Tuition is the same as for credit classes.
How do I register? To register for a course you MUST fill out the online application form.
Where do I buy my books and software? The College bookstore; visit the Forms and Links page for the direct links.
How do I drop an online class? To drop a course you must email the appropriate Admissions Office. Contact information is on the Admissions & Financial Aid page.