About the Quality of South Central Online Courses
Are these courses accredited?
Yes. South Central College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission - all programs and degrees are accredited.
Can I mix online courses with face-to-face courses toward a degree, certificate, and diploma?
Yes you can! All courses offered through South Central Online may be applied toward a degree or certificate, once a student is accepted to that program of study
Do grades count in online courses?
Yes. Grades earned for South Central Online courses are recorded and become part of your official college transcript.
Does an actual teacher teach the course?
Yes. All courses are taught by South Central College faculty and staff, many of whom have also designed or played an integral role in designing the courses they teach.
How many South Central Online courses may I apply toward a degree or certificate?
All online credits may apply toward a degree or certificate at South Central College.
Can I transfer South Central Online courses to other schools?
As with traditional, face-to-face courses, the receiving institution will determine the transferability of credits. Check with the school to which you are transferring about how they accept South Central College credits.
For example, if you are considering a transfer from South Central College to Minnesota State University at Mankato, only the registrar's office at MSU-Mankato can offer you accurate advice on transferring credits. The same would happen with any other institution, even those outside the state of Minnesota.
What is an online or blended course, exactly?
Online and blended courses offer some or all of the course content in a virtual format. This might include written material, recorded lectures, PowerPoints, an online textbook, and other learning materials. You might also be required to read an actual book or set of books. Content is typically organized into "modules" that correspond to different topics, chapters or weeks in a semester. For each module, you will read and/or watch material and engage in a variety of activities that are meant to mirror a classroom experience as much as possible.
The activities you might engage in could include virtual discussions, quizzes, video conferencing, virtual chats, individual or group projects, and written or oral assignments.
Online and blended courses can be managed in one of four ways.
- Completely Online Synchronous - All course content and all interactions are done online. No on-campus classes, meetings or exams are required. However, the instructor can require you to be present during specific days and times to participate in video chats, take an online exams, etc. Your instructor should make these requirements clear at the beginning of the semester.
- Completely Online Asynchronous - All course content and all interactions are done online. There are no required on-campus classes, meetings or exams and you will not be required to be present for any activities during specific days and times. You will likely have beginning and end dates for most or all of your required work, but you will be able to do your work at any time during the specific time frame.
- Mostly Online - This means that 75% or more of the course content and interactions are done online but some things will be done on-campus. Your instructor should make these requirements clear at the beginning of the semester.
- Blended - Between 25-75% of your course content and interactions are done online and the rest will be done on-campus. The schedule of on-campus meetings should be clear when you registered for the course.
There are other course types, but these are the ones that refer to online and blended courses. It is important that you know which type of course you enrolled in because some of them require regular virtual meetings and/or on-campus meetings.
How can I search and read reviews for courses across the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system?
Through Minnesota Online, you can search and review thousands of online and non-credit courses, and over 150 degree, certificate, and diploma programs available from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. The Minnesota State system includes 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities. Depending on the program, you may use many courses offered through Minnesota Online as part of your South Central College degree, diploma, or certificate. Always consult with your program advisor about program requirements and transfer guidelines.
Why does South Central College offer online degrees and courses?
South Central College recognizes the benefits of lifelong learning for career advancement, career change, or personal fulfillment. South Central College also recognizes that our traditional, face-to-face classes offered at the North Mankato and Faribault campuses do not fit into everyone's life. South Central Online offers South Central College students more flexibility and accessibility to our courses to fit your busy lifestyle.
About South Central Online Learner Responsibilities
Online learning may demand more from both faculty and students than you might guess. Information provided in this section may help you to adjust your self-expectations.
What are the time requirements?
A good estimate or time commitment is 3 hours per credit per week for a standard sixteen-week semester. This estimate is built around the typical average student. Several factors may shorten or lengthen this variable for you.
Some students think distance education is a short-cut to easy grades and a diploma or degree. On the contrary, distance learning may require an even greater time investment than an equivalent on-campus learning experience. In addition, most online students continue full-time or significant involvement in jobs or family life. If you do not set up and stick to your schedule, you may quickly find yourself too far behind to successfully complete your class.
Will I ever need to be on campus?
South Central College uses a Learning Management System (LMS) called D2L Brightspace. Course login is accessible on the Internet at https://southcentral.learn.minnstate.edu. Most of your work will be guided through this system.
Your instructor may require that you attend one or two on-campus meetings. This should be noted in the course description when you register.
South Central College's distance learners are always welcome on campus. Labs and library resources are open for your use as scheduled.
Can I do my online coursework whenever I want?
Yes and no. Your online instructors will provide you with a course schedule with deadlines to complete work. You can typically do your work anytime during a designated period, but you must complete your work by within the specified timeline.
Our college is committed to flexible distance learning options allowing students to access and do course work when they are free to do it. Individual instructors may offer opportunities for group sessions and virtual office hours that allow synchronous conversation in a facilitated chat or message center exchange.
Some online courses have more specific attendance requirements that you should be aware of when you register.
How do I get advice on which courses to take?
Academic advising at South Central College provides individual academic advising conferences, ensures successful completion of program requirements, and promotes student development through the discussion of abilities and appropriate personal/occupational choices.
Students meet with an advisor each semester while attending South Central College as a requirement to pre-register or register. The advisor is a resource, available for exploring life, vocational and educational goals and growth, and aiding in academic planning and course selection related to the student's program goal. Full-time faculty assist students throughout the semester, as well as during registration.
A permanent faculty advisor is assigned when a student declares a major. Students who have not declared a major may be advised by faculty in a department corresponding to their general interests.
While the advisor is a guide and resource person, the final responsibility for meeting major program requirements rests with the student. Guidelines are available in the current student handbook.
How do I meet with my instructor for office hours?
On each course syllabus, your instructor will provide his/her e-mail address and phone/voice-mail number. You are free to contact your instructor or any other member of the college faculty at any time. The college provides access to a college-wide directory if you need to contact any of our staff.
Most South Central Online instructors will announce online office hours or a substitute process for contacting them with questions. Check with your individual instructor as procedures will vary.
Are there group projects? How do we work together?
Some instructors will require group work in online courses. You are encouraged to make use of current technologies to interact with your faculty and fellow students. Interactions are by email, discussions, or chats within the D2L Brightspace tool.
How am I graded by my instructor?
Online instructors use many of the same methods to grade as they do in traditional face-to-face courses, including quizzes and tests, written papers, oral presentations, and group projects. The only significant difference is HOW this work is submitted by the student. Your instructors will provide instructions on how to do this.
Please note that some instructors hold proctored tests (either online or on campus) or use other testing software to ensure testing integrity. Again, your instructor will explain this at the beginning of the semester.
About South Central Online Learning Resources
What about textbooks?
Your instructors will let you know what textbooks and other supplies you need for your courses before the start of semester through the online Course Memo. You can buy textbooks -- new or used -- and have them delivered to your house through the South Central College Bookstore.
What about South Central College library access?
See the South Central College Library Services and Resources section of this site.