Maria College has always provided convenient scheduling formats, such as evening and weekend courses, to ensure students with family and work obligations have the opportunity to take courses. The College has enhanced its scheduling options to include online courses.
Online learning lets you complete coursework at locations and times that are convenient for you. While most work is done remotely, some courses may require on-campus meetings for labs or exams. Most online courses are completed within the timeline of a regular semester.
Maria uses the Blackboard course management system to deliver courses over the Internet. Blackboard allows you to access online course materials, submit homework assignments, and communicate with the instructor and other students. For a complete list of current online courses offered click here.
Is online learning for me?
Online courses are not for everyone. This method of instruction is geared toward students who are self-motivated and enjoy using technology. To help you determine whether online learning will work for you, and to give you a better understanding of the expectations for online students, we have provided two assessments in a pdf format: the Personal Readiness Assessment and theTechnical Skills Assessment. Click on these links to download the pdf files, then fill out the answers on each assessment, print, and bring/email them to your professor or advisor if required. Keep track of your answers, because an evaluation of those answers follows the assessments. (If you are a matriculated student at the College, you should complete the assessments and go over them with your advisor before registering for an online course.)
To be a successful online learner you must be self-directed and have good time management skills. You must be a self-starter, have a desire to learn, take a personal initiative, and must be resourceful and persistent. Online learners work well alone, are not procrastinators, have good reading and comprehension skills, resist distractions, and are comfortable without the social elements of face-to-face courses in the classroom.
An online course is right for you if you can honestly answer yes to most of the following questions:
- Are you a student who has family and work obligations that sometimes affect your ability to attend face-to-face classes on campus?
- Are you a self-motivated student who can budget time well and work independently?
- Do you enjoy using technology to learn and are you comfortable using a computer?
- Did you take the Personal Readiness and Technical Skills assessments and are you confident about your readiness and abilities?
- If you are a matriculated student, did you talk to your advisor about whether an online course is right for you?
MORE ON BLACKBOARD
- Course documents/materials
- Course syllabus
- Discussion boards
- Student rosters/email addresses
- Link to Maria College library
To log on to Blackboard follow the steps below:
*If you are a matriculated student, you already have a username and password for Web Services. You will use the same ones for logging on to Blackboard. If you are a new student, you will receive a username and password after you register for your course(s). Access “Personal Information” to change your password and verify student information, especially your email address. Without a valid email address, you will be unable to receive or send email through Blackboard.
Online versus face-to-face learning
An online course is comparable to the same course taught face-to-face. The same number of credits is earned and the credits are transferrable. However, before you register for an online course, you should be aware of some basic differences between online and face-to-face courses.
An online course is set up in units (a.k.a. modules) to be completed week by week. The assignments (whether homework or assessments, such as tests or quizzes) are generally due by the end of the week, and the instructor will usually deactivate each week’s materials on the due date, making them no longer accessible. Therefore, it is important to work at an appropriate pace so you don’t fall behind.
Some students think online courses are as much work as face-to-face courses, and some say it actually takes additional time to do the work. You must be sure that you have allocated at least as much time to complete the online coursework as you would have spent in the classroom, plus time for homework.
Most assignments/homework, tests and quizzes are done online. Some of these are automatically graded, with the grade posted immediately. In other cases, you type your answers/responses into a word processing program, and they are graded by the instructor. The instructor then posts your grades online. In either case, the time and date of submission are automatically recorded.
Discussion is an important part of both face-to-face courses and online courses; however, online discussions are carried out through the “Discussion Board” feature of Blackboard, which is similar to a bulletin board. It is a record of all the postings from everyone in the course. You are expected to share your own thoughts and ideas and also to respond to other students’ postings. Also, to communicate with your instructor, make comments and ask questions as you would in a face-to-face class, you post to the Discussion Board and use the email feature that is built into Blackboard.
Maria Online Learning FAQs
How can I access the online Course Schedule?
How do I register for an online course?
How much does it cost to take an online course?
Can I receive financial aid for online courses?
Where do I get help using Blackboard for an online course?
Are academic and student resources available to me as an online student?
You can connect to Web Services to view your semester grades, schedule, degree audit and billing statements. (For specific grades on assignments, tests, and quizzes, log on to Blackboard). In addition, all of the off-campus library resources can be accessed through the Maria College website or by clicking on a tab within Blackboard.
What type of computer hardware and software are needed to take an online course?
Platform: Windows XP, or Vista; MacOS 9 or MacOS X or higher
Hardware: 256 MB of RAM, 1 G of free disk space
Software: Microsoft™ Word 2003 (XP) or higher, PowerPoint, and Adobe™ Reader™
Browser: Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, or Netscape 7.2 or higher
Audio and Video Player: Apple™ Quicktime™ 6.0 or higher and FlashPlayer
Modem: 56 K or other Internet connection
You are responsible for ensuring that you have the required hardware and software to provide easy access to the online elements of the course.
What academic skills are essential for an online course?
What computer skills are essential for taking an online course?
- Basic Blackboard
- Windows: to manage files
- Microsoft™ Word: to create, open, print, and save documents
- PowerPoint: for viewing presentations
- Email: for reading and writing emails, and sending attachments (zip files)
- World Wide Web access techniques
How can I brush up on my computer skills before I take an online course?
How is an online course the same as a face-to-face course?
Do I need a textbook for an online course?
Do I need to come to campus to complete any requirements for an online course?
Can I complete some of my work for an online course on campus?
Is there wireless access on campus that will allow me to access online courses?
Once your laptop detects MariaNet, you will be prompted to enter a password to gain access to the network. The password is merciful, all in lowercase letters. Maria provides these wireless access points as a service to its faculty and students, and in so doing, provides a wireless connection to the Internet. You should always take the necessary steps to protect your own computer with your own virus protection software, spam filtering, and anti-phishing software. Please be cautious and use good computer judgment when connected to any network.