Distance Learning FAQ
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 email to the course instructor and can contact their fellow students. Students have the convenience of receiving instructor feedback via email. 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 online courses accredited? Yes, all of our online programs and courses are accredited just like on-campus courses.
Are online courses approved for Veterans Administration (VA) participants? Yes, all online programs and courses are VA-approved. The Financial Aid Office can provide you with additional VA information and resources.
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? This varies by course. Online courses start and end at the same time as regular courses. It is a better online experience if students in a course work through the material at a similar pace. Some courses require you to complete modules and assignments by certain dates. 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 email 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. If you have the ability to be on-campus, you can stop by your campus academic support center. For ECC, this is The Hub; at MCC, it’s the Student Success Center (SSC). For students at the Grinnell campus, be sure to speak to a Student Success Specialist to see what resources are available.
How many online courses can I take in a semester? The College 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. Students who live in on-campus housing must comply with the Residence Hall Policy Manual requirement which stipulates that at least one of their College courses must be in-class.
What computer equipment do I need? A computer that’s three years old or newer with a non-dial-up internet connection is recommended (see Computers, Internet Connections & Browsers for more details). Most 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 email, upload assignments and take tests online, 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 Blackboard Learn 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? In most cases, no. (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 MCC/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 is charged for all internet/online courses. Tuition is the same as for credit classes.
Are online courses open to international students? Yes! Check out the International Students page for steps to admission and to help get you started.
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 MCC College Bookstore.
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.