Questions and Answers About Taking Online Classes

What is an online course?
IVCC online classes are regular, college-level courses delivered to you over the Internet. Students interact with the instructor and other students using a variety of communications tool, including email, chat, discussion boards, and other World Wide Web technologies.

Will I work at my own pace?
That depends on the instructor. As you read through course descriptions or outlines, look for the words synchronous or asynchronous. Most courses follow a schedule, with assignments due at specific deadlines throughout the semester. Much of the work can be completed at times convenient to you (asynchronous). Occasionally you may meet with the class online as a group at a specific time (synchronous).

How much time will I have to spend on the course?
Most classes are structured around the traditional schedule. Fall courses run from August to December. Spring courses start in January and end in May. And summer courses begin in May or June and wrap up in August. A traditional three-semester-hour course meets three hours each week, and students can expect to spend 3-6 hours per week on homework. In an online class, you should combine those hours, and anticipate spending 6-10 hours on your coursework.


Difference Between Traditional and Online Courses
 Traditional Course
 Classroom meeting 3 hours
 Homework 3-6 hours
 Total 6-9 hours
 Online Course at least 6-10 hours per week

Is an online course easier than a regular course?
That’s a matter of opinion. Most students agree that online courses are challenging. The content of the class is the same as a regular class. You are not tied down to a traditional schedule, which can be a good or bad thing. If you are a busy person (and who isn’t), it is often easier to complete course work at your convenience. But it also requires self-discipline.

Do I need special equipment or skills to take an online course?
You will need access to a computer and the Internet. If you do not have access to the Internet, you may use computers in the IVCC Computer Resource Center, located in Computer Resource Center, to complete coursework. You might also contact your public library about the availability of computers for this purpose.

You will need an e-mail address, which the staff in the Computer Resource Center can help you obtain if you don’t already have one.

Most courses require that you have word processing software, preferably Word. You may also be required to have course specific software. For instance, if you are taking an accounting class, you will need spreadsheet software.

You will be most successful in an online course if you are

· Self-motivated
· Able to dedicate time to your coursework
· Comfortable communicating in writing
· Enjoy reading
· Not intimidated by computers, email, or other communications technologies
· Adaptable

To learn more about succeeding in online courses, visit the OASIS online student assessment page at www.ilcco.net/oasis.

Are online courses transferable?
IVCC online credit courses are comparable to the traditional classroom courses, and are required to meet state educational standards. You should contact your counselor at 815-224-0360 to verify that the course you are interested in applies to your degree and transfers to the institution of your choice.

Do I buy a textbook?
Generally courses have a textbook. You can purchase textbooks for IVCC courses at the IVCC bookstore or online at www.ivcc.edu/bookstore.

When can I get started with the course? How do I know when to begin?
Links to course information is provided on the IVCC Online Classes page (www.ivcc.edu/online-courses/). You may be able to visit a course page prior to the start of the semester and begin doing some background reading. Most courses follow the typical school calendar. So you shouldn’t expect your instructor to be ready to begin the class before the first day of the semester, as printed in the Schedule of Classes (www.ivcc.edu/schedules). You should email your instructor within the week prior to the start of class.

How do I contact my instructor?
Email is the communication mode of choice. Instructors can also be phoned during their office hours. If you haven’t heard from your instructor by the first day of classes, you should contact the instructor. Contact information is available on the IVCC Online Classes page (www.ivcc.edu/online-courses/). If you have difficulty contacting an instructor, call the Learning Technologies office at 815-224-0451 or email Emily_Vescogni@ivcc.edu.

How do I get library materials?
A wide array of library materials are available online through the library Web site (www.ivcc.edu/library/). Contact the library for passwords and authorization codes. You are also encouraged to make occasional trips to campus to use the library. Books ordered from other libraries through the interlibrary loan system are delivered to the IVCC Jacobs Library. A student ID is required for all library transactions.

How do I take tests?
That depends on the Instructor. Some instructors use online tests. Others assign different types of assessments, such as group projects or portfolios.

If your instructor chooses to require a pen-and-paper exam, you will need to have it proctored. A proctor monitors your exam in a controlled environment. You may contact the Assessment Center at 815-224-0552 to set up an appointment to have a test proctored. Your instructor will need to deliver the test to the Assessment Center prior to that date. The Assessment Center will mail the test to the instructor.

Is technical help available?
Yes. If you need assistance with communications tools or software issues, contact the staff at the Student Help Desk at 815-224-0318. Visit their Web site (www.ivcc.edu/studenthelpdesk) for information about orientation sessions. If you are having trouble with your computer, you will need to contact the manufacturer or the store where you bought it. If you are having trouble with your Internet connection, you should contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP).


Illinois Valley Community College is no longer able to enroll out-of-state students in online courses due to a 2010 regulation stemming from the Higher Education Opportunity Act.  The regulation requires that IVCC be licensed in the home states of all students residing outside of Illinois.  The College exists to serve the residents of our district and will channel all resources toward that purpose. 

Learning Technologies
Illinois Valley Community College
815 N. Orlando Smith Ave.
Oglesby, IL 61348
Phone (815) 224-0451
Fax (815) 224-0445