FAQ


FAQ

Get answers to your questions about USJ online programs.

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How long has online learning been used at the University of Saint Joseph?

USJ began delivering online courses for graduate students in 1999. USJ is a current member of the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC), which was founded in 1996 when 30 Connecticut colleges and universities agreed to work together to develop distance learning.

What online programs does USJ offer?

We offer online master’s degree programs in Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry and Nutrition. We also offer an Emerging Infectious Diseases graduate certificate program and an Integrative Genomics Certificate that can be completed entirely online. in addition, we offer a Doctor of Nursing Practice online program.

Are the online programs at USJ accredited?

All of the graduate programs at USJ are accredited by The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and The Board of Higher Education for the State of Connecticut.

Accreditation allows participation in federal and state financial aid programs, is required for acceptance and transfer of college credit, and is preferred by employers in the workplace.

How much do online credits cost?

Tuition for online programs is based on a per-credit rate. 

How long does it take to complete an online program?

A general timeline for completing a 30-credit online program is two to three years. Length of the program directly relates to the program requirements, how many classes are taken each semester, and whether transfer credits were used.

Will the diploma indicate that the course format was online?

There is no distinction made between degrees earned online or on campus on USJ transcripts or diplomas.

Can online students still participate at Commencement?

All graduates are invited to attend ceremonies held during May. Information about Commencement will be made available to all graduate students.

How are online courses delivered?

USJ subscribes to an online platform for course delivery called Blackboard. There will be a menu that offers a variety of folders, one being course information that will give the course syllabus. From this menu, students can access class lectures or notes, discussions, and assignments.

Before you take your first online course, we recommend you view the sample course administered by the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium. Once the screen appears, type "student" as the username and password to observe an online course environment typical to USJ online classes.

How do I interact with my instructor and peers?

A great strength of the USJ online learning environment is the opportunity to discuss issues and gain ideas from both the instructor and peers. All courses have a threaded discussion board forum component, a digital drop-box for submission of student assignments, an online grade book, and document sharing technologies. In addition, all instructors use email for communication.

In certain courses, the instructor may schedule time that they are available for extra help online in a feature Blackboard calls the “virtual classroom.” The instructors will usually offer several times a week when they are available during the work period to offer help.

What are the computer requirements for the Blackboard classroom?

Most current systems are compatible with the Blackboard format. Contact the Help Desk for specific requirements.

How do I receive and hand in assignments?

All assignments are available through Blackboard. Each unit’s work is clearly organized in the syllabus: all assignments, due dates, and grading criteria should be available to help you plan. You can view and print assignments, discuss them with your colleagues and ask for feedback from your instructor. The instructor may ask you to submit your assignments through a drop-box within Blackboard, through email, or through an online document integrity system called Turnitin.com

How much time should I reserve each week per course?

Typically, students spend an average of 12 hours a week working in each course. Times may vary from five to 20 hours depending on such factors as the number of course credits, pace of reading and typing, and familiarity with the subject.

When do I need to be available for class?

Since most of the classes consist of posted lectures/class notes and book work, classes can be reviewed at a time that you choose and worked on off-line.

There will be discussions that require participation weekly or bi-weekly. The discussion board feature allows much interaction, both formally and informally. Most people enter the online classroom several times a week because there may be requirements about responding to other students’ posts; however, you can complete these posts at any time before they are due.

Do classes have a specific start and end date?

Each USJ course has a designated start and end date, as online courses follow the same academic calendar as the courses offered on-campus. There is a fall and spring semester, along with a summer session.

Will I be missing the give-and-take of a conventional classroom setting?

An online course offers many advantages to the traditional classroom setting; however, it does not always substitute for the face-to-face classroom experience. Online courses are an alternative that allow you to expand your opportunities in an efficient and convenient manner. Some advantages students mention about the online classroom are:

  • Highly personal and interactive learning experience
  • Flexible study and participation time that works around your schedule 
  • There are no lectures and no “back row;” everyone participates
  • You can continue your studies while maintaining your professional and family responsibilities
  • They eliminate commuting time and hassles

How do I contact my instructor and receive feedback?

USJ faculty is available by email and phone. Most online instructors have previously taught in traditional-style classroom and have transitioned to the online format.