What to Expect
Online and blended courses at St. Edward's University have the same academic requirements as traditional, classroom-delivered courses, but are often more challenging because of the different learning environment. Students who are good candidates for online or blended classes are self-motivated and good managers of their time. They must also have unrestricted access to computers and software that meet the minimum technical requirements for online learning.
Each course will have a syllabus which outlines the assignments, requirements and the grading criteria for the class. Before signing up for an online or blended class, you should contact your advisor for more information. You may also email the instructor and request a sample syllabus for the course that you are considering. Note that the final syllabus may be different, but the sample gives you a good idea of what will be expected in this course.
Online/blended classes ARE NOT completely self-paced or correspondence courses. Assignments are due weekly, based on the schedule in the syllabus, and many instructors do not accept late submissions. Just like the classroom, you can't "make-up" a week's discussion, and you will lose points if you don't participate over the course of the prescribed time frame.
Most online or blended classes involve weekly participation in online group discussions. While similar to a classroom discussion, these discussions are sometimes much more demanding because there is a lot of reading involved, and written participation is mandatory on a weekly basis. Instructors expect substantive input from students, not simply agreement with someone else’s comments. Most online/blended classes do not include instructor lectures. Students are responsible for their own learning, and instructors serve as coaches, providing resources, feedback and guidance to individual students and teams.
Communication in online and blended courses is very different from communication in face-to-face classes. There is much less, if any, synchronous conversation between students and faculty, and between students in a class. This communication environment takes some getting used to, and effort is required to develop proficiency in the use of online discussion tools.