Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a collection of frequently asked questions regarding online learning at KSU.
About Online Learning
What is the difference between an online courses and a hybrid course?
Online courses at KSU are 95% or more distance education courses. Online learners may live in diverse areas and time zones, though occasionally a faculty member may request a campus visit for orientation or testing. A proctored exam alternative is made available for students at a geographic distance of 50 miles or more from campus. It is the student's responsibility to obtain proctor approval from the instructor prior to scheduling a proctored examination.
Hybrid courses at KSU are 50% on-campus classroom based courses, and 50% distance education. Hybrid courses replace one on-campus classroom meeting per week with distance education pedagogy and technologies. Students can expect out of class activities that are conducted via the Learning Management System. These may include discussion activities, virtual team meetings, wiki and blog activities, and self-guided assessments and evaluations.
E-learning includes all forms of electronically supported teaching and learning. The term is often used to reference both out of classroom and in-classroom educational experiences using technology. Most courses at KSU are e-learning courses and use the D2L Brightspace system. Course notes, assignments, projects, evaluations and grades may be posted on web pages using this learning management system. Face-to-face courses may also be e-learning courses. Online Learning includes all forms of e-learning, but is predominantly delivered to distance learners.
What is the difference between 100% online and 95% online?
100% online courses are those courses that do not require any on campus visits or proctored exams.
95% online courses will have one on-campus requirement, typically an orientation or exam. A proctored exam alternative is made available for students at a geographic distance of 50 miles or more from campus. It is the student's responsibility to obtain proctor approval from the instructor prior to scheduling a proctored examination.
What is eCore?
eCore - short for electronic core-curriculum - allows University System of Georgia (USG) students the opportunity to complete undergraduate, general educational requirements online through accredited colleges and universities. Each course is consistent in both design and accessibility standards and taught by professors hand selected from USG institutions.
eCore offers courses in english, mathematics, science, history, and the social sciences. The core curriculum primarily consists of courses required during the first two years of college for a given degree. Not all core curriculum classes are available via eCore.
What is the amount of time needed for one online course?
An online student can expect to spend at least as much time in an online course as they would in a face-to-face course, and sometimes more.
To give you a point of reference, for a 3-credit hour online course in a typical 16-week session, a student should expect to spend approximately 6-9 hours per week engaged in class work. In the summer semester, with the compressed 8-week schedule, the time dedicated per course will significantly increase.
The notion that online courses are easier is not true. They are more convenient, but still require the same dedication and attention as a face-to-face course.
What are the benefits of online learning?
Distance learning provides considerable freedom, allowing students to often choose when and where they'll participate in class activities.
- Save time and money spent commuting to a campus
- Continue working at your current job while you are taking classes
- Attend your class from anywhere as long as you have a high-speed internet connection
- Learn at your own pace and study at your convenience
- Learning new technologies
- Interact on equal footing
But students will have the same kinds of deadlines and structured responsibilities of a face-to-face class. In other words, flexibility must be balanced by responsibility. Like a face-to-face course, online courses require assignments be completed by due dates, your attendance (via logins to your course), involvement in online discussions, and sometimes group collaboration. Most students enjoy the active learning that online classes involve.
What are the challenges of online learning?
Distance learning is not easier than traditional classroom learning. While the benefits are many, students that enroll in an online course because they believe it is easier, soon learn differently. Self-motivation and discipline are required to succeed in distance learning courses. For many, distance learning offers access to education not previously available. It also provides a solution to flexibility needs, work and travel responsibilities, and family challenges.
A successful experience in distance learning requires a basic familiarity with technology. Resources are available for students through University Information Technology Services for those interested in distance learning, but in need of a technology refresher. It is also strongly recommended that students have ready access to a computer or laptop with a high-speed Internet access, such as DSL or cable broadband. Online courses will require students to download and access course materials.
Distance learning success depends on preparation, motivation, dedication, and planning. If you are interested in completing an online degree or registering for an online course, please take the Online Student Readiness Assessment. The results will provide you with some helpful suggestions on how to best prepare yourself for a successful distance learning experience.
What equipment and technology will I need to be successful at online learning?
Online learners will need a computer, internet access, basic software (such as Microsoft Office Suite, Windows Media Player, Quicktime movie player, anti-virus protection and a compatible browser), and auxiliary equipment (such as a webcam and microphone headset for video-based communication). Of course, technology needs will vary by course. But this list applies to the majority of courses.
- Computer: Distance Learners will need reliable access to a desktop or laptop computer that has adequate memory and processing capabilities for large file downloads, video players, and synchronous meeting applications.
- Auxiliary Equipment: The Distance Learning Center also strongly recommends a WebCam and Headset for video-based communication. Many newer laptop or monitor set-ups are pre-equipped. These items may be required by faculty on a course-by-course basis.
- Internet Access: Online courses at KSU use the web to deliver courses at a distance. So, to learn in an online course smoothly, you need a high-speed Internet connection (such as DSL, Broadband, etc). This is especially important to the distance learning experience.
- Software: While this will vary by course, you will need a recent version of the Microsoft Office Suite. Access to MS Word, MS PowerPoint, and MS Excel are expected and necessary for viewing course material or completing assignments. Additional requirements include anti-virus protection, Windows Media Player, QuickTime movie player, and a compatible browser. Visit UITS Training for additional information on software training, compatibility and available downloads.
Applying, Transfer Credits, Prior Learning Assessment
How do I apply?
The application process and requirements are the same regardless whether students will be online learners or on-campus, and includes completing the online application, submitting all required documentation, and paying the application fee.
Students should contact either the Office of Undergraduate Admissions or the Office of Graduate Admissions for more information regarding the admissions process, standards and requirements, and for any questions or concerns regarding university admissions.
Additionally, online students are held to the same application and document deadlines that are ontlined in the Academic Calendars that are provided by the Office of the Registrar.
Will my credits transfer?
If you are interested in learning about how credits transfer from another institution, please visit the Office of the Registrar's Transfer Evaluation Services.
Transfer evaluations are based on several criteria, and are performed by the Office of the Registrar during the admissions process. Begin by reviewing the Transfer Articulation from your institution to equivalent courses at Kennesaw State University using the Course Transfer Search Engine.
The Distance Learning Center does not perform unofficial transcript evalautions for students.
How do I get credit for my CLEP tests, AP courses, prior work experience, or other learning (Prior Learning Assessment)?
The Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) refers to Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) as the process of earning college credit for college-level learning acquired from other sources, such as work experience, professional training, military training, or open source learning from the web.
The PLA process at KSU is a tool used to assess and evaluate prior learning to assist students in advancement of their graduation plan. PLA is available to all students fully admitted to KSU. Prior learning can be assessed in several ways:
- Portfolio-based Assessment - Evaluations of student portfolios developed with help from an advisor.
- Advanced Placement (AP) exams - A series of tests developed by the College Board initially for AP High School courses, including 34 exams in 19 subject areas.
- College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams - Tests of college material offered by the College Board.
- DSST exams - over 30 exams provide an effective method for evidencing prior learning. DSST fund the exams for active-duty military and their spouses however DSST tests are not just for those in the military. For more information, please visit the DSST website.
- Challenge Exams - tests developed by a KSU college or department to verify learning achievement.
A student may receive a total of 30 semester hours of credit by CLEP, AP, IB, and Institutional examination. A maximum of 24 semester hours may be awarded for International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.
KSU awards credit for the Advanced Placement Program (AP) tests administered by the College Entrance Examination Board. Students should contact the College Board to request electronic submission of official AP scores to KSU. Credit is not awarded based upon high school or college transcripts. Please visit the Transfer Services page for more information on course equivalents.
All examination credits count as credit earned (with a grade of "K") toward graduation in terms of hours earned and course credit earned. Credits earned by exam do not apply toward institutional graduation residency requirements and are not calculated in the adjusted grade point average (AGPA).
How do I register for online classes?
Students wishing to take online courses will register for those courses through Owl Express in the same manner as on-campus courses. Students will be assigned a Registration Time Ticket from the Office of the Registrar based on their current student status.
Online courses in Owl Express are identified with a ‘W’ preceding the section number; for example ENGL 1101/W01. Students can search for online courses through the Owl Express Class Schedule Search. To limit the search to online courses, select 'Online' under Instructional Method.
When searching for courses, please remember that course schedules for semesters are not released until shortly before registration opens for that semester. Additionally, course schedules are not the same from semester to semester, and courses may not be available based on a past schedule.
How do I know which courses I should take?
Online students have access to the same advising options as on-campus students, and should utilize those resources when determining their schedules each semester.
For undergraduate students, advising is available through the advising offices in the academic college that programs are housed in. Graduate students are assigned an Academic Program Coordinator for advising needs. The Distance Learning Center does not provide advising services.
How many courses can I register for each semester?
As online programs follow the same semester scheduling as on-campus programs, online students are bound by the same registration guidelines as on-campus students.
From the Undergraduate Catalog, Full Time & Maximum Course Load is as follows:
- Full Time Course Load - For undergraduate students, twelve (12) semester hours is a full-time load in determining such things as veteran status, financial aid, and insurance eligibility. However, the usual load for a full-time undergraduate student is at least 15 semester credit hours in both fall and spring semesters. Since summer term is approximately half the length of these semesters and the workload, therefore, twice as heavy, KSU strongly recommends that students not attempt more than 12 hours of credit during that term. Since 12 hours during the summer may be difficult due to the short length of time, 9 hours may be more reasonable but does not count as a full-time load. For graduate students, 9 semester hours is considered full-time.
- Maximum Course Load - During the Fall and Spring semesters, a student may register for up to 18 hours. The Registrar may approve up to 21 hours for students with an institutional GPA of 3.5 or higher. Course loads above 21 hours must also have a recommendation from the student's department chair.
- During the Summer term, a student may register for up to 13 hours. The Registrar may approve up to 15 hours for students with an institutional GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- Students not in good academic standing will be limited to 13 hours during any term. Course loads above 13 hours must have a recommendation from an academic advisor or department chair that is made to the Registrar.
All the classes I need are full! What do I do?
Online classes do not have unlimited availability of seats, so registering as early as possible is important for online students. We strongly recommend students review the Academic Calendar for the semester they are registering for to determine early registration times, and to review their Owl Express account to determine their Registration Time Ticket.
There are several options; however, if the classes a student needs are already full:
- If the class is a general education requirement and there is an accepted eCore equivalent, a student can register for the eCore version of the course. For more information about eCore, please visit the KSU eCore website.
- Students have the option of waitlisting many courses through Owl Express. Information about waitlisting can be found here (Waitlisting is listed under the Registration drop-down).
- Students can wait until the Drop/Add period to see if seats become available, and register for the course then.
I am an on-campus student. Can I register for online courses?
Yes, students can combine on-campus and online courses based on their needs and preferences.
Some programs are cohort-based online programs that specify separate admission requirements and processes. These programs do not open registration to all KSU students. Existing KSU students can search for available online courses through the KSU Online Course Search Tool or through Owl Express.
Registration preference for online courses is given to students that are designated online learners.
Paying for Your Education
What is the cost of the online courses?
Online courses at Kennesaw State University are charged e-tuition, which is the same regardless of a student's residency status. The e-tuition rates apply whether or not you have enrolled in the Web Learners Program, and apply to all online courses.
- Undergraduate online courses have an e-tuition rate of $277.33 per credit hour ($831.99 for a 3-credit hour course).
- Graduate online courses are charged an e-tuition rate of $408 per credit hour ($1,224 for a 3-credit hour course).
Fees for online students are reduced. Online students pay only the Institutional and Technology fees, while all Student Services and Parking Permit Fees are waived. Additionally, students taking fully online semesters and not living on campus are exempt from the mandatory meal plans.
Are books and materials included?
No. Books, materials, supplies, technology, course-specific fees, and any other costs are the responsibility of the student.
Can I use financial aid for online classes?
Yes! Online students have access to the same financial aid opportunities as on-campus students, including using the HOPE Scholarship, other scholarships, grants, loans, and work study opportunities.
How is my e-tuition applied?
The e-tuition helps to ensure the high quality of online courses and programs.
The e-tuition is allocated to the CIO's office for technology support, the Distance Learning Center for campus support, and the colleges for the strategic support of their distance learning initiatives. With the help of the e-tuition, the Distance Learning Center was established in the fall of 2010 to provide centralized leadership, support and resources to the university, colleges, faculty and students in the growth, administration, creation, and enhancement of high quality distance learning activities. The e-tuition supports this mission through investment in technology infrastructure, instructional technology resources and student support resources (DLC helpdesk, ITS student helpdesk, training and virtual labs for web learners).
Developing and maintaining high-quality online programs and making sure these are equivalent to our on-campus programs requires substantial resources. KSU subscribes to the Quality Matters (QM) program; a faculty-centered, peer review process that certifies the quality of online courses. The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) also partners with QM to train and certify faculty in the development and teaching of online courses. Each online course is peer-reviewed by a team of three faculty members and certified prior to being offered. This process ensures that the online courses offered at KSU are based in national standards of best practices and instructional design principles.
Since the fall of 2010, e-tuition was also used to create and maintain the DLC web-presence, student online readiness tools, and a new registration system to list Hybrid and Fully online courses clearly. E-tuition funding has also enabled KSU to purchase a closed captioning system for course videos to ensure ADA compliance, which offers online course access to students who are hearing impaired. Inter-departmental collaborations are also working to increase the number of mobile web applications on campus.
In the Distance Learning Center, online students have a strong advocate. Students enrolled as Web Learners or taking only online classes have all of the student services fees waived; paying only the technology and institutional fees. Yet those students with geographic accessibility, wishing to utilize campus resources, may do so by paying the fee associated with the service. Web Learners are an integral and valued part of the campus community.
What is the "classroom" like?
KSU uses Desire2Learn (D2L) Brightspace as the learning management software (LMS) for our online courses. While using an LMS for all online courses can help students know how to navigate their courses, all courses and instructors are different.
A short course tour video highlighting D2L and showing what the course experience in a sample course is like can be found by clicking here.
How long are KSU online classes?
KSU Online courses follow the same semester scheduling as our on-campus programs. There are three primary semesters available: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Fall and Spring semesters are approximately 16 weeks long, and Summer is approximately 8 weeks long.
Will I have to come to campus?
If a student enrolls in an online class that is designated as 100% online, there should not be any on campus requirement.
If a student enrolls in an online class that is designated as 95% online, there is typically one on-campus requirement per semester. That requirement could be an orientation or an exam. Students that are located more than 50 miles from campus can request to be allowed to take the exam by proctored exam at their location, but it is the student's responsibility to arrange for that option with their instructor, as well as pay any associated costs with scheduling and taking the exam.
Will I have to be online at a specific time?
No, but please read below.
Some online courses have synchronous online sessions where the online students can interact with classroom-based students in real-time, and these sessions are typically arranged during evening courses. While these sessions are not required for online student, it is strongly encouraged that online students attend if able. The synchronous online sessions are recorded and posted to the courses' D2L page for review by those students unable to attend.
Can I participate in graduation?Absolutely! Online students are encouraged to participate in all graduation activities. For more information about graduation, please click here.
Will my diploma or transcripts show I completed the program online?No. Online students at Kennesaw State University are completing and earning the same degree as their on-campus counterparts and are awarded the same degree. There is no mention of online learning on either the diploma or transcript issued.
Service and Support
I am an online student. How do I obtain my KSU ID card?
Due to University Policy, students enrolled in online degree programs may obtain a KSU ID only by visiting Card Services on campus; KSU ID’s cannot be mailed. ID verification with a government issue ID is required by an authorized employee of Kennesaw State University before the KSU ID can be issued.
How do I get started with D2L Brightspace?
KSU access to D2L Brightspace (D2L) for both faculty and students can be found by clicking here. (Use your KSU NetID and password to log in).
Students will gain access to their D2L courses on the first day of each term.
If a student registers during late registration/drop-add, it may take up to 48 hours to gain access to the course. Students are encouraged to contact their faculty member if they join a class during late registration. The faculty member may be able to assist in gaining immediate access to the course.
To become familiar with D2L Brightspace, visit How it Works for a D2L course tour and Student Resources for D2L Brightspace and Technology Support.
If I need help with something, is help available?
Absolutely! Online students have access to the same assistance as on-campus students, and information about some of the resources available are listed below:
If you are unable to find what you are looking for, please feel free to contact us, and we will help you get the information you need.