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Distance Learning FAQ

When are distance learning courses offered?

How do I register for distance learning courses?

What is the cost for distance learning courses?

Do distance learning courses transfer to another college?

How and when do I get started in my online course?

Can I go at my own pace?

How do online classes compare to on-campus classes?

Will I ever have to come to campus for my online course?

Are online courses easier than face-to-face courses?

What are the computer requirements for an online course?

Where do I get books for my online, ICN or Hybrid class?

Will my instructor be in my ICN classroom?

What if the course I want isn’t offered in an ICN location near me?

How is testing done in an ICN classroom?

What’s the difference between a hybrid and an online course?

How much computer knowledge will I need for a hybrid course?

How often will I have to come to campus for my hybrid course?

 

When are distance learning courses offered?

All year! Online, hybrid and ICN course offerings are scheduled within Northeast Iowa Community College’s regular fall, winterim, spring and summer semesters, and they abide by the College’s regular academic calendar. You may view the academic calendar on the College's calendar of events.

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How do I register for distance learning courses?

Registration for online, hybrid and ICN courses is completed in the same way as other college credit courses at NICC, and the same tuition and fees apply. Students may apply online, or in person at an NICC Center (Cresco, Dubuque, Oelwein or Waukon) or on campus (Calmar or Peosta).

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What is the cost for distance learning courses?

Tuition for online, hybrid and ICN courses is the same as for all other college credit courses at NICC; students enrolled in online courses are eligible for financial aid.

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Do distance learning courses transfer to another college?

Yes. Credit transfers for online, hybrid and ICN courses from NICC to other colleges or universities are treated in the same manner as all other traditional on-campus courses. Transferability of any college course, regardless of the delivery method, rests with the institution to which it is being transferred. Students should contact a counselor at that institution or an NICC advisor for assistance.

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How and when do I get started in my online course?

All online courses at NICC have start and end dates that match the regular semester calendar.

Students should log in to their course on or before the first day of class and familiarize themselves with the tools in the online classroom. Each online course includes a welcome page and links to the syllabus, materials and schedule that will familiarize students with the content and structure of the course.

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Can I go at my own pace?

Yes and no. While students can “attend class” any time, day or night, by simply logging into the course, the assignments, discussions and tests will have due dates by which they need to be completed. Much of the coursework, such as reading assignments, essays and projects, can be done offline. Although students will be logging in several times a week to participate in discussion boards or listen to lectures, students can work at their own pace within the schedule of assignments and due dates.

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How do online classes compare to on-campus classes?

The course objectives, goals and expectations in an online course are the same as its on-campus counterpart, and the lessons, assignments and tasks are similar. However, in online classrooms these activities are done from a distance, in electronic environments, rather than in classrooms on campus. For example, class discussions are conducted through electronic forums, lectures are either posted and read or recorded and listened to, and tests are taken and submitted electronically.

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Will I ever have to come to campus for my online course?

No. All online course work can be successfully accomplished in the online classroom. Hybrid courses require face-to-face testing, on-campus lab work and instruction.

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Are online courses easier than face-to-face courses?

No. In fact, online courses can present additional challenges that students wouldn’t normally experience in a campus classroom:

  • Technology: Students should be comfortable with computers. Knowing how to use the Internet will save time and energy.

  • Reading: Students should be strong readers. There is often more reading in an online class because the instructor and classmates communicate through writing.

  • Motivation: Students should be self-motivated. The flexible structure of an online course means students will have to organize their time wisely and take responsibility for getting help, turning in assignments on time and communicating with the instructor.

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What are the computer requirements for an online course?

Students will need access to a computer with an Internet connection and a word processor (preferably Microsoft Word). It is highly recommended that students have two or more web browsers installed on their computer (commonly used web browsers include Internet Explorer, Mozilla/Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari). Other recommended software includes Windows Media Player 11, Adobe Acrobat® Reader 9, Flash Player 10 and Java 6 or higher. To properly use all features of Xpress, students will be required to allow pop-ups. An informational chart entitled Computer Technology Required for Success in Online and Hybrid Courses is available in the College catalog.

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Where do I get books for my online, ICN or Hybrid class?

Students may purchase books online or at the campus bookstore. Different instructors use different books for different courses. The specific materials and texts required will be indicated on a student’s course syllabus which is posted in the online classroom. The bookstore can also tell students what textbook the instructor is using for the course.

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Will my instructor be in my ICN classroom?

ICN instructors conduct class from one ICN classroom known as the origination site. If a student is attending an ICN class at the origination site, the instructor will physically be in that student’s classroom. If a student’s ICN classroom is a receiving site, then the students will see the instructor (as well as other receiving site classrooms) on the TV screen in the front of the room. Occasionally some instructors will change origination sites during the semester.

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What if the course I want isn’t offered in an ICN location near me?

There are 45 ICN sites in the region NICC serves. If the course you want is not offered at your chosen location, check the ICN Map to find the next nearest location for that particular course. If you need help, contact the Distance Learning office.

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How is testing done in an ICN classroom?

Instructors will give students specific instructions regarding testing for class. If students test in class, there is generally a person at the ICN site to monitor the test session and to send the tests to the instructor on campus. Some ICN instructors use online testing for exams and assessments.

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What’s the difference between a hybrid and an online course?

Hybrid can be defined as an offspring of two different varieties. In education, it’s the combination of a face-to-face classroom and online instruction. The advantage is that students get the interactive learning experience of a conventional classroom, with their instructor and peers, blended with the more flexible, technological structure of an online course. Students interested in having the immediacy of real-time response and the independence of an electronic learning environment should consider hybrid course offerings.

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How much computer knowledge will I need for a hybrid course?

Because class instruction is done online through Xpress, students will need the same computer system and skills as for any online course. Any questions or trouble students are having online can be addressed in class on campus with the instructor and classmates.

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How often will I have to come to campus for my hybrid course?

Most hybrid courses meet one day a week in the classroom; some meet less often. Because hybrid courses conduct the majority of the class instruction online (51 percent or more), time in the classroom is substantially reduced from that of a traditional face-to-face course on campus.

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