FAQ

Before Enrolling

What kind of computer do I need to take a distance education course?

What will I be learning in my distance education course?

What is the difference between self-directed, blended, online, and an interactive videoconference course?

How does a distance education course differ from a traditionally taught course?

How long do I have to complete my course?

How much time each week will it take to complete my course?

Once Enrolled

How do I get started?

Where can I find the ISBN for textbooks?

Who is my instructor or where can I find out who that is?

Where is my syllabus?

Who should I contact about academic advising?

What if there is bad weather?

Is Attendance Important?

What Happens if I Stop Attending?

If it becomes necessary for me to withdraw from my course, what is the policy?

Where do I turn in my homework?

How do I get my homework or tests back?

Where do I take my tests?

 


What kind of computer do I need to take a distance education course?
Students wishing to complete distance education courses successfully must have technology readily accessible to them, whether it is located at home or at a relative or friends house. It is highly recommended that for most courses a student’s Internet access be at the cable or DSL level – not dial up. Students should have their software updates installed for browser, operating system, virus scanning software, Java, and Flash.
What will I be learning in my distance education course?
Your syllabus and handbook are your road map to help you successfully complete your course. On the syllabus you will find your instructor's name, office hours, telephone number, course objectives, testing information, and other related course material. Please read over the syllabus and handbook carefully before you begin your course.
Review and fill out the To Do Checklist, then contact your instructor either in person, by phone, or by email to introduce yourself. You should contact your instructor either in person, by phone, or email during the first week of the term to introduce yourself. Ask any questions you have at that time so you get a good start.
What is the difference between self-directed, blended, online, and an interactive videoconference course?
Students taking distance education courses are usually working off campus and contact their instructors in their offices on an as-needed basis and when they are scheduled to take exams. On the other hand, students taking self-directed, blended or interactive videoconference courses have access to instructors during regularly scheduled weekly class or lab hours when students know an instructor will be available on campus to answer questions, assist with assignments, and give tests. Students taking online courses, and self-directed courses are considered distance education students because these courses deliver instruction in an alternative format as compared to traditionally taught courses. Blended courses allow students to participate in both face-to-face classroom instruction and supplemental instruction from a distance. In blended courses, students are expected to alternately attend regularly scheduled class, lab periods on campus and work independently from a distance. Courses taught in alternative formats offer students greater flexibility and access to courses; but for successful completion, these courses do require more self-discipline and self-motivation on the part of the student.
How does a distance education course differ from a traditionally taught course?
Rhodes State College distance education courses meet all of the requirements of a traditionally-taught course. Registration, financial aid, expectations of student achievement, course requirements, outcomes, grading, text, and credit earned are the same as in traditionally taught courses. The only difference between a distance delivered course and a traditionally taught course is the method of instructional delivery. (Note: Some additional course or technology fees may apply.)
How long do I have to complete my course?
You will be expected to complete your course in one term and during the term of registration. You will be expected to make sure assignments are submitted by due dates and take tests by scheduled dates. You will be tracked as you progress through the course as a measure of your "attendance" in the course.
How much time each week will it take to complete my course?
Distance education classes are not necessarily easier than traditional classes, just more flexible. You will spend the same amount of time to complete one of these alternate format classes as you would if attending a traditionally structured class. If you are taking a 5-credit course, plan on spending 12-15 hours per week studying, preparing assignments, etc. This number of hours is comparable to a traditionally-structured class where 1 hour of lecture will usually necessitate 2 hours of homework. Use the following table to determine amount of time needed to complete your classes:
Estimated Class Completion Time
Per Class Credit HourCourse MaterialHomeworkTotal Hours Per Week
1 credit class 1 hour 2 hours 3 hours
2 credit class 2 hours 4 hours 6 hours
3 credit class 3 hours 6 hours 9 hours
4 credit class 4 hours 8 hours 12 hours
5 credit class 5 hours 10 hours 15 hours


How do I get started?
Purchase your textbook(s) from the bookstore located in the Public Service Building or online. For those using financial aid vouchers, check the first date of availability in STARS. Online use of vouchers can be used on the Follett web site starting the first day vouchers are available.

The bookstore also has the option to RENT textbooks and some textbooks are available as eTexts (downloadable to a reader). Other online resources are available for students’ use, such as: amazon.com, half.com, barnesandnoble.com, or dealoz.com, alibris.com. These are just a few of the resources for used and next textbooks.

Where can I find the ISBN for textbooks?
Proceed to STARS online. Click on Class Schedule, select the term, and then enter the course subject code and number. The next screen will bring up information on the specific course you chose. Find the button called View Book Information. A separate window will open with the textbook(s) for that particular course.
Who is my instructor or where can I find out who that is?
You can find that information by logging into your STARS account and bringing up your schedule. A link to email the instructor is provided in your schedule – look for this symbol: envelope.

Instructions for logging into STARS.

Where is my syllabus?
Some courses have the syllabus on the course web site, some have an information packet or handbook which you purchase at the bookstore; other instructors prefer to mail the syllabus to the students. If you did not receive an informational letter from your instructor or if you have additional questions regarding the instructional content of your course, please contact your instructor of record. You can find that information and a link to email for the instructor in your STARS account.
Who should I contact about academic advising?
Academic advising at Rhodes State is split between professional advisors and faculty advisors. If you have less than 45 term hours or have not yet been invited into your clinical course work (Allied Health or Nursing Divisions), you are advised by the professional advisors in the Advising Office, Public Service Building, Room 148. You may contact your advisor through the Student Advising.

*If you have more than 45 credit hours OR are not a Health General Prep student, please contact the chair or coordinator of your academic major for academic advising.
What if there is bad weather?
Bad weather can affect some of the blended or interactive videoconference classes; it can also impact campus testing. Weather announcements will be posted on the Rhodes State College web site, tv and radio stations. Sign up for Rhodes Alert to get instant notification.  

Is Attendance Important?
Yes! Although distance-delivered courses offer students the option of doing most of their work off campus, attendance will be recorded in all Rhodes State College courses by tracking your progress through the course, meeting deadlines, etc. The federal government now requires that we verify the last date of your attendance if you receive financial aid. This means that you must be actively working on all courses that you are enrolled in. Since this mandate may affect your financial aid, make sure that you turn in assignments by their due dates, and contact your course instructor regularly. See your instructor if you have specific questions about this requirement.
What Happens if I Stop Attending?

Attendance is an important part of the grade you receive for all courses.  Regular attendance is needed to gain an understanding of the course’s content and to satisfactorily demonstrate required competencies.  Lack of attendance may negatively impact your grade and could result in a failure.  If you stop attending you may be administratively withdrawn from the class.  A grade of ‘WF’ (Withdraw Failing) will be issued and you may be required to repay financial aid received for the class.  Moreover, future financial aid may also be impacted by non-attendance.

If it becomes necessary for me to withdraw from my course, what is the policy?

Students who wish to withdraw from a course should discuss doing so with their academic advisor.  A drop/add form is available at the Office of Advising, PS 148. If you decide to not complete your course(s), you may withdraw from it before 5:00 p.m. on the 6th Friday of the semester.  No grade will be recorded on your official permanent records; however, you will be responsible for tuition and fees associated with the class or classes. If you decided to withdraw after the 6th Friday of the semester, you may do so up until the 11th Friday of the semester.  A grade of ‘W’ will be recorded on your official permanent record and you will be responsible for the tuition and fees associated with the class or classes.

Where do I turn in my homework?
Check the syllabus from your instructor for specific instructions on turning in assignments and homework. Generally homework may be:
  • Uploaded into an assignment drop box in the online course, or
  • Dropped off at your instructor’s office or in the Center for Distance Education, Tech Lab Room 132 (provided clear information as to student’s name, course, and instructor are written on the material).
  • Emailed or mailed via US mail. Students wishing to email or fax assignments to their instructor should seek permission to do so, as well as notify the instructor of the delivery method, prior to the due date.
How do I get my homework or tests back?
Instructors use different methods to return assignments and tests. Check with your instructor to see what method he/she is using. Some instructors return homework and tests to the Center for Distance Education so that you may pick up homework at your convenience and review tests. Other instructors may return assignments by email or regular US mail. If your instructor tells you that assignments and tests are returned to the Center, ask one of the instructors on duty in the Center for Distance Education to see your tests; they will also be happy to show you the homework return cabinet located in the Center.
Where do I take my tests?
The Testing Center is located in the Technical Education Building, Rm. 132. Testing hours are shown online, are posted outside the Center and are also included in the brochure mailed to each student who registers for a distance learning course.
  • Testing is on a walk-in basis during posted testing times.
  • Testing MUST be completed by posted closing time.
  • A Rhodes State ID is required for all testing. IDs are available from Security located in the Technical Education Building Rm. 133 or 140.

Off-campus Proctoring of Tests. If you are situated off-campus and are unable to come to campus for testing purposes due to extreme distances or time constraints, proctoring at a site closer to you may be arranged. It is the responsibility of the student requesting off-site testing to arrange with a qualified person to proctor tests. A qualified proctor will be: a member of college faculty or college administration, a local school test center, counselors or principals of a high school, a reference librarian, or military education/legal officers. It is the duty of the proctor to administer the test in a professional setting such as a classroom or office. The proctor shall verify the identity of the student taking the test by requiring the student to show proper identification in the form of a driver’s license or other legal form of identification.