FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ONLINE LEARNING

 

I've never taken an online course before. How does it work?
What is a hybrid course?
Is online learning right for me?
What are the advantages of taking an online course?
How much time will I have to devote to an online course?
What technical skills do I need to succeed with online learning?
What hardware and software skills do I need for an online course?
How can I get my textbook and other necessary coures materials?
How do I register for an online course?
Once I'm registered, what do I do next?
Are Rivier's online courses synchronous or asynchronous?
What if I need technical assistance?
What do I do if I can't access my course?
What courses are offered online?

 


I've never taken an online course before.
How does it work?

A course taught online makes use of the Internet and the Canvas learning management system, however, students and faculty do not meet on campus. All of the communication between the students and the instructor takes place online. You can, at any time, receive instruction, compose and submit assignments, ask questions of the instructor and other students, discuss issues and actively participate in the class from your home, your office, or wherever the nearest computer lab is available.

During the course term, your instructor will have live online office hours each week to provide student assistance with questions, course issues, etc. These office hours are optional for students, but your instructors will be available should you need them. 

Depending on the faculty member and the discipline, courses may also incorporate other web-based materials, textbooks, application software, simulations, and even learning activities outside of the Internet like experiments, observations, or other projects.

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What is a hybrid course?Hybrid courses meet on campus each week or only several times during the academic term. The day and time of your course is listed on the schedule. Unless otherwise specified, you class will meet on campus each week at the specified time. In addition to face-to-face instruction, your hybrid course will utilize the Canvas learning system for completing course assignments and communicating outside of the classroom.

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Is online learning right for me?If you are a self-disciplined individual with good time-management skills and basic computer skills, you should be able to successfully learn online. As with all modes of instruction, a large portion of the responsibility for learning outcomes depends on the effort the learner puts into the required course activities. Rivier’s online courses are designed to meet the needs of mature professionals who lead busy lives attending college while balancing work, family, and other activities. In an online course, the instructor is a facilitator of learning, not a giver of information. Students are much more active in the learning process.

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What are the advantages of taking an online course?Rivier’s online courses maintain the same high quality as our face-to-face courses. The primary advantage is the convenience of not having to be physically present on campus each week. This can save you both travel time and money. You can complete your work from home, your office, or if you are traveling for your company, from any hotel or conference center that has internet access. You can even participate if you are on vacation. Anywhere you have a computer and internet access you have your classroom.

Online learning provides the opportunity to learn within a flexible environment and is beneficial to the mature independent learner who has personal and career goals, is motivated, and knows what s/he wants from their college experience.

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How much time will I have to devote to an online course?Online courses generally require as much time and effort as face to face (f2f) courses. Some time will be spent communicating through email, chats via discussions boards, and live chats during optional office hours with your instructor and online lecture notes. Online students experience constant interaction with their classmates and instructors. The first few weeks may require more of your time however, as you become more familiar with Rivier’s online environment, and as you increase your technical skills and knowledge you should quickly adapt to this new format of learning. Your instructor will expect at least the same level of homework (6 to 10 hours per week) as in a traditional class. However, many of the activities may be completed online.

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What technical skills do I need to succeed with online learning?You do not have to be a computer expert; however, you must have basic computer skills. If you have used a Web browser, word processor, and email, then you probably have sufficient knowledge of and familiarity with computers to take an online course.

Your willingness to try new technologies is an important personal trait for your success in an online course. It is, however, equally important to remember that hundreds of thousands of people have successfully taken online courses.

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What hardware and software do I need for an online course?It is important that you have both the hardware and software necessary to participate in an online course. Here are the basic hardware and software requirements necessary for you to be able to access the Rivier University online courses:

PC Users: Windows 2000, XP Professional, XP Home or higher, Internet access (broadband recommended), Internet Explorer 5.5 (SP2) or higher. (Netscape 7.0 or higher or Mozilla Firefox can also be used, however, IE is recommended to ensure full compatibility.)

Macintosh Users: OS 10.1 or higher, Internet access (broadband recommended), Netscape 7.0 or higher, Safari 1.2 or higher, Mozilla 1.5 or higher 

Internet Connection: All users should have a connection speed of 56K or higher (broadband recommended)

Java must be enabled and the most recent version of Java must be installed.  

You will receive a Rivier University email account and will be required to use it for all correspondence with classmates and your instructor.

Pop-Up Blockers: Pop-up blockers should be temporarily disabled in order to use all features of the course, such as chat, discussion and attaching files.

Some courses have additional software requirements. Please check with your instructor to find out about additional software requirements.

Prior to beginning an online course, students should know how to log onto the internet, use their web browser, send and receive email, and send and receive file attachments. It is recommended that you obtain broadband access because dial up service may not be fast enough to provide a satisfying learning experience. Students should also become familiar with Rivier’s Learning Management System (Canvas). Go to https://rivier.instructure.com/login to login to Canvas. Note: www is not included in this address. A link on this page will direct you to a variety of Canvas training resources.

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How can I get my textbook and other necessary course materials?
Textbooks may be ordered online from the Rivier University Bookstore. Of course, you may visit the University Bookstore in person to purchase your textbook if you prefer. In most cases the necessary handouts are provided by the instructor and are posted on the Canvas Learning Management System.

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How do I register for an online course?
Registration for online courses offered at Rivier is currently being handled directly by fax or in-person registration.

It is recommended that students register for classes early since online courses are often very popular and may fill up quickly. To verify the availability of an online course; contact Claudia Zent, Academic Outreach Advisor at (603) 897-8235, or czent@rivier.edu

To register for classes, please print the standard registration form below. Online registration is not available at this time. If you register by mail, be sure to include all of the requested information, sign the form, and send payment.

  • Visit http://www.rivier.edu/registrar to browse our course schedules and to download a registration form. Online and hybrid courses are designated in the last column of the schedule.
  • Mail in your completed registration form to: Office of the Registrar, 420 South Main Street, Nashua, NH 03060
  • You may also fax in your registration to the Office of the Registrar at: (603) 897-8811
  • Payment arrangements are made with the Business Office. Visit http://www.rivier.edu/businessoffice for information on payment plans or contact the Business Office at (603) 897-8214, for details about deferred payment options. To be considered an officially registered student, payment arrangements must be made by the start date of the class.

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Once I'm registered, what do I do next?For complete instructions to get started with your onine or hybrid course, click here.

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Are Rivier's online courses synchronous or asynchronous?Currently, Rivier online courses utilize an asynchronous method of instruction, which means that students can sign on to their courses at any time of the day or night. Courses are scheduled according to semesters and terms within a semester. This means that there is a definite start and end date for each course. (In addition, students have the option of making use of synchronous (live chats) with the professor one hour each week. The time and day of the week will be set by the professor. This feature provides students with an opportunity to communicate with both the professor and other classmates.)

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What if I need technical assistance?Help is available. To answer technical questions you may contact Rivier University IT Support at (603) 897-8469 or by email to ITSupport@rivier.edu. Technical Support will be offered 24-hours a day, 7-days a week beginning in January. Check back in January for additional information.

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What do I do if I can't access my course?Students experiencing difficulties with the password request or login process, with finding access to their courses or sending assignments, or other technical support issues may contact Rivier University IT Support at (603) 897-8469 or by email to ITSupport@rivier.edu

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What courses are offered at Rivier online?
For a complete schedule of Rivier courses, visit: http://www.rivier.edu/registrar. All online and hybrid courses are identified on the full schedule, in the last column.

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