I've never taken an online course before. How does it work?
Our online programs and courses are developed and offered completely through the Internet in an asynchronous format using Blackboard. This asynchronous format means you can access the course seven days a week, 24 hours a day, including holidays.
Some courses have online "lectures" (in text format) within the course site, but discussion and interactivity in the form of student-to-student and instructor-to-students are key components of all our online courses. Much of this interactivity is accomplished using an asynchronous threaded discussion tool within the course. Some assignments have been designed for students to work in groups.
What courses do you offer online?
For a complete list of our online courses and programs, see our Course Offerings.
Do I ever have to come to campus if I take an online course?
Individual courses and certificates are taught completely online. If there is a residential component, it will be clearly stated in the course/certificate information allowing you to make a decision about this program prior to registering.
How do I register for an online course?
To register for a credit course, you first must complete a Non-degree Seeking Student Enrollment Form. Once submitted and approved, you will be instructed to go to MyUM to register for your selected class.
How do I know that an online course is for me?
If you are comfortable working independently, have good organizational skills, and are self-motivated, you may find online learning to be a rewarding and satisfying experience. Online learning is not for everyone and we encourage you to take the Online Readiness Assessment which will help you understand what to consider in deciding if online is for you.
Online learning is not easier, as some may think. The standard rule of thumb is 3 hours of homework for every hour of class time. The same applies for online – the difference is you can work at your convenience. With today's scheduling crunches, traffic headaches, and multi-tasking, many people are finding that online programs help them meet their goals. We hope it works for you!
What is the advantage to taking an online course?
Many of our students cite convenience as the greatest advantage to taking an online course. Whether you are juggling career, family, and academic obligations, or just want to add an extra course to your current course schedule, an online course provides the flexibility to fulfill course requirements as your schedule permits.
Online learning also provides greater opportunities for students to interact with each other and the instructor through the course. The format and interactivity of our online courses reinforce our philosophy that learning is enhanced when participants are engaged in an active learning environment. There is a common misconception that online learning is similar to self-study or a correspondence course. Our online courses do not follow the self-study model, but are instead developed to engage the learner with the instructor, other students, and the content.
Do I need any special equipment or software to access an online course?
You will need access to a computer with an Internet connection. The course platform is Blackboard and operates within your browser, i.e. one of the supported versions of Netscape or Internet Explorer (see link below). You will need to make sure that your browser is properly configured to work in Blackboard. If your computer and browser settings do not meet these specifications, you may run into technical problems during the course-- especially, if you have pop-up blocking utilities active on your computer.
Some courses require additional software. For example, Microsoft Word is required in some courses to complete certain assignments. You may also need to download and install certain plug-ins or other free software (Adobe Acrobat, for example). We will include a link for you to download directly in the course.
Do I need special technical skills to access an online course?
We recommend that students taking an online course have a strong comfort level using a computer and navigating the Internet. Common skills when taking an online course include using email, attaching files, and downloading files from the Internet. You will also need to make sure that your computer is properly configured before beginning your course. Even if you don't have online experience, you may still want to consider taking an online course.
Do online courses follow a calendar?
Most of the start and end dates for our online courses follow the University of Miami Academic Calendar. In addition, a specific course calendar has been developed for each online course. That calendar guides you in staying on track with the course requirements, allowing you to complete the course on schedule. You do not need to be online at a particular date and time, although there are due dates for assignments and exams (when appropriate) throughout the semester. It is important to log into your course as soon as it begins to start your readings and assignments.
Is there an instructor in an online course?
Definitely, yes. Faculty members teaching online are the same faculty teaching on campus. Instructors are an important component in our online courses and they continue to teach, mentor, advise, and interact with students just as they would in a classroom on campus. This communication is facilitated by a variety of tools including threaded discussions and email within the course.
Are textbooks required for an online course?
Usually, yes. Most of our online courses require a text and/or supplemental readings, just as a face-to-face course would. We encourage you to purchase your texts prior to the start of the course so that you can begin your reading assignments on time. You can purchase textbooks from a bookstore in your area, through an online bookstore on the Internet, or from the University of Miami bookstore.
Can I transfer credit for an online course to another institution? Does my transcript indicate the course was an online course?
The credit courses we offer online are fully accredited and give the same credit as a course taken on campus. You will need to contact your school advisor to discuss transfer credits.
Non-credit courses do not offer academic credit. Some might offer CEUs (continuing education units) that you may choose to earn or not. Continuing education units are often required for many professions. If the certificate program you select has the option for CEUs, complete directions will be provided on how to earn CEUs.
Our transcripts do not distinguish between face-to-face and online courses.
Who can take an online course?
You must be a University of Miami student in order to take an online class.
What kind of support is available to me as an online learner?
We offer a variety of support services to students in our online courses including academic and technical support.
Academic support: If you have questions directly related to the course content, you should contact the instructor directly through the course.
Advising: Counselors are available to students in both credit seeking and non-credit seeking courses.
Please consult the program faculty advisor for specific advice related to your program.
I just registered for an online course. How do I access it?
Log into the UM Blackboard system. The log in box is clearly denoted on the right navigation bar. The first time you log in, you will be given instructions on how to set up an account. Once you are in the system, your course will be listed for you.