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?
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. So you can combine online courses with face-to-face courses toward your educational goal.
Do grades count?
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.
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?
Courses at South Central College average 50 hours of student investment per credit (about 3 hours 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.
For example, in lieu of travel time to and from campus and the time required for many faculty-student classroom contact hours per week, the online learning student must set up and maintain a strict schedule to access their course via computer, read, study, do library research, write (and think) on one's own and participate in online discussions. 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 an instructional management system (IMS) 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.
South Central College's distance learners are always welcome on campus. You are free to take on-campus classes if you wish (on-campus students may find it to their advantage to take an online course during their time with the college). Labs and library resources are open for your use as scheduled.
Our college is committed to asynchronous distance learning, 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 courses may require you to attend class in person, check the course details for more information.
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. Instructors will collect assignments and some evaluations/quizzes in digital format through an online submission process in D2L Brightspace.
How am I graded by my instructor?
D2L Brightspace and its resources allow the instructor to use a variety of assessment tasks. Each instructor will provide specific information to you after your course has started.
A learner may be asked to submit a written assignment or save a screen print for the instructor's reference. Students will access projects, surveys, and exams online and complete the work electronically. Many are timed exams. For some exams, a proctor may be required. On the other hand, your instructor may use more case studies and papers in the evaluation process. Any requests are easily sent to your instructor as secure attached files. Some are graded at the time of submission and you receive immediate feedback—others will provide delayed comments. It is possible that alternatives such as mail or facsimile will be acceptable in specific cases.