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Read these Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) carefully before deciding to take a course online.



Is online learning for you?

Distance learning is NOT for everyone. To see if you have the tools for success in this virtual environment for learning, take the Is Online Education for You assessment. 

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What is distance learning?  What's different about distance education courses?

Distance learning encompasses a wide variety of techniques to bring learning opportunities to you on your time. Distance learning at WITC includes courses offered online and through Interactive Television (ITV/IPV).  

The only difference between distance education courses and other college-credit classes is the way you learn. Traditional courses require you to attend lectures or seminars at the campus. In a distance education course, you learn to interact with your teacher and fellow students via computer or via video and audio. You still must understand the concepts, read a textbook, turn in assignments, and take exams; however, most students agree that distance education courses are much more convenient because they give you more scheduling and course options.

But wait, there's more.....

Distance learning means different things to different people and organizations. In its simplest form, distance learning is the concept of a student and instructor, separated by time and distance, using technology to complete the instruction.

The United States Distance Learning Association defines distance learning as the acquisition of knowledge and skills through mediated information and instruction, encompassing all technologies and other forms of learning at a distance. The United States Distance Learning Association (http://www.usdla.org)

Distance education is planned learning that normally occurs in a different place from teaching and as a result requires special techniques of course design, special instructional techniques, special methods of communication by electronic and other technology, as well as special organizational and administrative arrangements.
Kearsley, G. and Moore, M. Distance Education: A Systems View. Washington: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1996.

Distance education is instructional delivery that does not constrain the student to be physically present in the same location as the instructor. Historically, Distance Education meant correspondence study. Today, audio, video, and computer technologies are more common delivery modes. The term "distance learning" is often interchanged with distance education. However, this is inaccurate since institutions/instructors control educational delivery while the student is responsible for learning. In other words, distance learning is the result of distance education. Another term that has experienced some recent popularity is distributed education. This term may represent the trend to utilize a mix of delivery modes for optimal instruction and learning.
Virginia Steiner, Distance Learning Resource Network

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Are online courses "real" college courses?

YES! Online courses carry the same college credits as other college courses. Best of all, online courses are fully accredited and look the same on your transcript as other college-credit classes. A college instructor grades your assignments and exams and is available should you need help. AND the college credits you earn can be applied to earning an appropriate degree. 

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What skills do I need to be successful in online courses?

  1. You must have ready access to and above-average knowledge of a personal computer, the Internet, and email. You must also have very good keyboarding skills and know how to upload and download attachments. In general, online courses are not for computer beginners.
      

  2. You must have time in your schedule every week to do the writing assignments, quizzes, and online (asynchronous) discussions. WITC's online courses are typically not self-paced.
      

  3. You must "participate" in online courses. Your grade may include assignments, weekly Discussion Board (DB) postings, and any Virtual Classroom chats your instructor may schedule as well as other course activities.
      

  4. The best way to stay informed of class requirements and assignments is to fully explore the online course's navigation buttons.
     

  5. Online course assignments are based on the textbooks assigned to each class. Books are available at the bookstore at the instructor's campus. It is important that you make sure you are purchasing the correct textbook! See Online Courses page and link to Virtual Bookstores for more information.

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What software/equipment do I need to take an online course?

As a WITC student, you may purchase Microsoft Office 2007 through the Wisconsin Integrated Software Catalog (WISC). In fact, some instructors require it.  Online programs will require additional software, see below for more information.

Recommended for online courses.

If you do not have home access to a computer, modem, etc., options include using a WITC campus computer or contacting your hometown library about access. You MUST, however, have regular access to a computer with Internet to take an online course successfully.

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What is the approved form of electronic communication?

A college-assigned student electronic mail (email) account shall be an official means of communication with students at WITC. The college expects that students will sign-in and check their college-issued email account on a frequent and consistent basis as students are responsible for all information sent to them via their college-assigned email account. This account is free of charge and currently is active as long as the student remains active. Click here for more detailed e-mail information. Any email communication you have with your online instructor will be through your college-assigned email account.

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What courses do you offer? What does (A), (B), (C), and (D) mean in the course description?

Great question! Just click on this link to see the many courses that are offered through distance learning. Online Course List  

(A), (B), (C), and (D) means that a 3- or 4-credit course has been broken down into three or four components worth one credit each. The courses must be taken sequentially. In other words, A is a pre-requisite to B. A and B are pre-requisites to C, etc.

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How much will it cost? Can I get financial aid?

Check out our Online Course List for up-to-date course registration fees.  

Yes, you can qualify for financial aid. For more information, contact WITC's Financial Aid Advisors.

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How soon can I get started? Is there a registration deadline? 

To get started, you must register and pay for your course(s). You must complete the registration process before your online password is activated. In order to start the course, you must have an activated password.

NOTE: Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis until each course has reached capacity.

Yes, there are registration deadlines. Please search the WITC Course Database for more information.

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How do I register?

For your convenience, several methods are available to register for classes.

By Web: Use WITC's Class Finder to search for classes. Once you find a course, select "click here to add this course to your registration form" text found at the top of the Course Information page.  Click either "select another course", "view selected courses" or "process your registration".
By mail: Complete and mail the registration form with your check, money order or credit card information.
By phone: Contact Student Services to enroll by phone if you use a credit card.  
By fax: Fax your completed registration form and credit card information to the campus of your choice.
In person: Visit Student Services at a campus near you.

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How do I get my textbook and other course materials?

Books may be purchased through the bookstore at the instructor's campus or through online resources. Be sure to find out from your instructor which textbook is required for the online course. Your instructor will make arrangements for you to receive handouts or other course materials.

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Can I take distance education courses and on-campus courses at the same time?

Yes! In fact, many students find that distance education courses allow them to accelerate the progress they make toward earning their degree by enrolling in a combination of distance education courses.

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Will I have the same campus privileges as other students?

Yes! All distance education students are welcome to use the college library and other campus resources.

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Will there be an advisor available to help me?

Certainly! If you are working toward a degree, you'll want to talk to an Admissions Advisor.  

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 How do I get my grades?

Upon completion of your coursework, your instructor will submit your grade(s) to our Student Information System. Your Grades will be available on MyWITC approximately one week after the end of the semester. 

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How do I get a transcript?

Grades, Transcripts: contact by email, fax, or in person. Student signature required.

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Where can I find out more information and Technical Support for using Blackboard?

TECHNICAL SUPPORT
Should you encounter problems while taking your course, please call the WITC Help Desk at 1-877.469.9482 Ext 7300.

ACADEMIC SUPPORT
If you have any questions about the content of your course, please contact your instructor using the information provided to you at the beginning of the course. Your course always includes e-mail support and may include telephone support depending on individual instructors.

We are here to help!

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