Distance Education FAQs
- How can I be successful in an online class?
- I registered and paid for an online course; now what?
- What is Canvas and how do I log in to my courses?
- Is there a video I can watch to get started?
- How do I contact my online instructor?
- Do I have to come to campus for anything?
- What is Respondus Lockdown Browser?
- My course uses Turnitin for assignments. What is TurnItIn?
- My instructor mentioned Ally. What is Ally used for?
- Why should I have a mirror available for online testing?
- How much does an online course cost?
- How can I get help with homework/tutoring?
- Intellectual Property Rights and Copyright Policies
Have classes started yet for this semester? Online courses are not typically available until the published "First Day of Class" for the semester. If classes have already begun, you need to get started immediately to avoid being administratively withdrawn and/or miss assignments.
If you answered yes to the above question, the next step is to ensure that you know how to log in to your SUSCC email (Google mail) account since a working email account is required when logging into Canvas. If you have never checked your SUSCC email, click here for directions for accessing your student email. After you verify your SUSCC email address, move to the next question on how to log in to Canvas and access your online classes.
Canvas is a Learning Management System (LMS) by Instructure. It is used by many educational institutions to streamline course offerings through the web. Each institution has a specific link to the school's Canvas site. You cannot log in to SUSCC courses from a generic Canvas link or from a different school's link. You will find the link to SU's Canvas site in the yellow bar on the college website at www.suscc.edu. Canvas is used to deliver all distance education courses at Southern Union. Additionally, traditional on-campus courses at SUSCC use Canvas to supplement classroom learning.
In order to find your online coursework, you will be required to log in to Canvas. Click here for directions. Once you successfully log in, you may wish to save a shortcut to Canvas on your computer, download the app for your mobile device or simply click on the Canvas link on the SUSCC homepage. (Canvas provides an application for use on mobile devices but you should not try to complete an online course using a mobile device. Some functionality is lost when using mobile devices to access some areas of the Canvas LMS.) When you log in to Canvas, you may find that your course is not accessible before the first day of class. Instructors must publish their course before you will be able to enter the course in Canvas. If you do not see the course on your Canvas dashboard, click the Courses button and click All courses. You will see a list of all courses in which you are registered for the semester as well as an indicator letting you know if it is published.
It's important to remember to update your information and add any additional email addresses or cell phone numbers for notification purposes under the settings link inside your Canvas account. For additional security, it is recommended that you change your default password in your Canvas account upon the first login and occasionally after that. Also, Canvas recommends certain browsers be used to access the LMS for best results. Click here for details about supported browsers for use with Canvas.
Your instructor probably has a preferred method of communicating with online students. This is to help keep all of the communications threads organized. Once you are in your online course, find out how your instructor would like for you to get in touch. Directions can be found in your Canvas course and in the course syllabus located within your Canvas course. Meanwhile, you may use the directory search link below to search for their email and telephone extension.
That depends on whether you are in a hybrid course or online course. Hybrid courses will require a minimum of one on-campus meeting but may require more. Your hybrid course may simply require that your final exam be proctored on-campus or there may be weekly or several scheduled meetings. You should find the on-campus requirement in the notes with each course on the class schedule. Once your class has begun, log in to your course to see what your instructor has planned for on-campus visits. If you need to request any exceptions to the required meeting(s), you need to do so early in the semester. Exceptions are uncommon and are allowed at the discretion of the individual instructors.
Online courses do not require an on-campus meeting. The final exam will be proctored through an online proctoring service. A nonrefundable fee of $20 is charged with the tuition for each online course to cover the cost of the live-proctored final exam. It will be your responsibility to be sure you have a reliable internet connection at the location you plan to complete your course. You will be required to have a webcam and microphone for testing purposes in an online course. To find out more about the online proctoring service currently used by SUSCC, click here to go to the Technical Support Page where you will find information and directions for using ProctorU.
For security purposes, the proctor for your online test must see that there are no books, notes, etc. around your computer or another person in your surrounding area. You will be instructed to move your webcam around the room at the beginning of the test. Sometimes it is impossible to scan the room with certain webcams, especially those built in a desktop, and you may be requested to use a mirror to show the computer screen, the top of the desk or table, under the desk, or the backside or bottom of your computer to the proctor. You need to have a handheld mirror available for this process.
The Respondus LockDown Browser (RLB) is designed to prevent your computer from doing other things while you are testing online. The RLB will not allow you to print, copy, paste or navigate to another window while testing. The specialized browser will be used instead of your standard browser when testing. It will need to be installed once on your computer before your first test. (If you previously used RLB at a different school, you will be required to download the licensed version for SUSCC.) The link to install SU's version can be found under the Help link at the top right of your Canvas home page. Be sure to get this software installed and running before the deadline for your tests gets too close. Check your online course(s) for more information on testing requirements. Not all online instructors require this software but some traditional, virtual, and hybrid courses do require RLB for testing. Directions and the link required to download the SUSCC licensed version of Respondus Lockdown Browser.
Turnitin is the industry standard in online plagiarism prevention. Any work that you submit in your online course is likely to be filtered and compared to a global database of other documents and student work. Your instructor will receive a report detailing the likelihood that portions of your submission have been copied. In addition, some in-person (traditional) courses will use this tool to check student submissions.
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