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Online Handbook

Online courses are part of DMACCs Distance Learning program. Through the Distance Learning Program, you can enroll in online courses that cover a variety of diverse subjects.

In addition to the Business Administration Degree, the complete Microcomputers Certificate program is offered online and many courses from many other degrees or certificates are availalble. If you need help in determining the degree or certificate you are interested in, please contact a DMACC counselor. The counseling staff can be reached at 515-964-6246.

Representatives of Des Moines Area Community College are in the process of trying to get the complete Business Administration Degree online. In addition to courses for this program, other courses that lend themselves well to online learning have been added. Most of these other courses can lead to a certificate. If you need help in determining the degree or certificate you are interested in that relate to online learning, please contact a DMACC counselor. The counseling staff can be reached at 515-964-6246.

We congratulate you on having selected one of our online courses this semester. We believe that you will find it interesting, stimulating, and challenging.

What is an Online Course?
How do I log in to an online course?
How do I get assignments?

How do I submit assignments?
How do I contact my instructor?
When is it right for me to take an online class?
What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?
Can I obtain financial aid for online classes?
Where do I buy my books for my online class?
Can I drop an online class?
Do online credits transfer to other colleges?
What type of disability accommodations do you have for online classes?
How are courses graded?
How much does it cost to take an online course?
How do I get a tuition refund?
I still have questions - who do I contact?

What is an Online Course?
A course offered online has the same educational objectives as a course taught in more traditional ways: to help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities appropriate to a specific course and body of knowledge. However, the means by which these objectives are accomplished differ in some obvious ways from the approaches used in a traditional classroom setting.

WebCT and eCollege are the two main platforms used for our DMACC courses. You will be contacted prior to the semester or soon after you register with your log-in information. Some of the courses use publisher software and in those cases, you will be contacted directly by your instructor. Please be watching for this information so you can get into your course immediately upon the start of the semester.

Do not wait until the semester has gotten under way and then try to figure out how to get into the course. If you have not received an e-mail from eCollege, DMACC or your instructor with your log-in information, please contact the DMACC helpdesk for information on WebCT courses at 515-965-7300 or http://www.dmacc.edu/helpdesk or for eCollege courses, contact the Distance Learning Office at cealtman@dmacc.edu. Please note that if the course is not eCollege or WebCT, you will need to contact the instructor directly.

How do I log in to an online course?
If you are taking an E-College Course, your website is http://www.dmacconline.org. Your Log-In ID is usually your social security number WITH the hyphens. Your password may your birthdate without any hyphens (example: 111779 for November 17, 1979), or it could possibly be the same as your PIN depending on when you registered. If neither of these work, look for that e-mail or contact our office.

If you are taking a WebCT course, your website is http://webct.dmacc.edu. Your log-in is your first initial, middle initial, and last name.Your password is your birthdate without any hyphens (example: 011779 for January 17, 1979),

To complete the course, you may be required to attach documents either through regular e-mail or through the program. If you have no knowledge on the basics of attaching documents, cutting and pasting, etc., you may want to purchase a "How To" book prior to taking an online course. The information regarding submitting assignments, further on in this handbook, will give you specific information as to how to attach assignments to WebCT.

Your instructor may require you to engage in chat room discussion, threaded discussions, quizzes, etc. Please make sure you are aware of all requirements for the course by your instructor and reread the syllabus occasionally. I encourage you to get to know the other students taking the course with you. You are a community and other students taking the course may be able to help with questions that arise. Make sure you are aware of your instructor's e-mail policy. Please note that most e-mails are answered as soon as possible, but your instructor may not be online at the same time you are.

Every online course offered is taught by a DMACC instructor. Like a traditional classroom teacher, your instructor wants to help you whenever possible. However, because there are no regular classroom meetings, you will have to take more responsibility than you might in a traditional classroom. Your primary responsibilities involve (a) logging on to the system on a regular basis; (b) keeping up with your assignments; (c) completing threaded discussions; and (d) communicating with your instructor.

How do I get assignments?
Make it a point to stay current with your assignments. Sometimes students fall behind when they don't have to face their instructors in class several times each week. Then they become overwhelmed and discouraged by all the assignments that have piled up. Don't let that happen to you. Use self-discipline to finish what you start. You'll feel good about yourself and what you have learned.

There is a misconception that online courses are easier than face-to-face courses and especially less time consuming. Online courses actually involve both the time you would normally spend in class (3 hours a week) and one to two hours of preparation time for each class period. Normally, for a three-hour course, the student should allot 9 hours per week. During the summer when the semester condenses, the student should allot 12 hours a week for a three-hour course.

Please note that some instructors set deadlines for specific chapters/assignments and the information may not be available after a certain date. Make sure you have read the syllabus for the class and are aware of the instructor's guidelines regarding this issue.

You may find that your online course requires more writing and/or testing than a traditional class. This is partly because your contacts with your instructor are so limited. Regular written assignments provide a means by which an instructor can check a student's progress and make sure that the course is learning experience. Remember that to some degree, your assignments are a trade for time normally spent in class.

How do I submit assignments?
Click here to open a word document that gives you step-by-step instructions on how to submit an assignment in WebCT.

How do I contact my instructor?
It is important that you and your instructor remain in contact. You will be doing this basically by communicating with your instructor via e-mail, chat rooms and/or through threaded discussions in the class. If you would like to e-mail your instructor, links to the instructor's e-mail addresses and their web sites can be found at http://www.dmacc.edu/online/ or within DMACC email.

When is it right for me to take an online class?
If you need help with choosing classes, determining what order to take classes, determining how classes transfer or anything else in the area, you can connect directly to the Advising WebSite at http://www.dmacc.edu/advising/.  They will attempt to answer all your questions.

What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?
Tutoring is available for online students. The Distance Learning Web page gives a link to the tutoring office. Most tutoring will utilize the chat room, white board from the class, e-mails and phone calls. Arrangements can be made to meet in person if you live in the area.  Tutoring is also available through SMARTTHINKING.  Click here to learn more about SMARTTHINKING.

Can I obtain financial aid for online classes?
All Distance Learning courses (except those for CEUs) qualify for GI Bill payments, WIN and Vocational Rehabilitation payments, and other scholarship and benefit programs. Please note on your registration form or (in the case of telephone registration) tell the person taking your call whether you are funded by any of these programs.

Where do I buy books for my online class?
Most courses require a textbook and a study guide. Occasionally, there will be an optional reading book or audiotapes as well. Once you are registered and prior to the class starting, you should receive an e-mail from your instructor with information for the class. In addition, by connecting to the instructor's website, you may be able to access the syllabi prior to the class starting. Books may be ordered online by linking from the web page. All book orders must be processed through the Ankeny Campus Bookstore; textbooks for Distance Learning courses are not stocked at any other campus bookstore and may not be the same texts used in classroom courses.

For your convenience, books may now be ordered online . All information regarding this service can be found at our web site at https://www.bookstore.dmacc.org/. The shipping and handling charge for online orders is based on book weight. Payment may be made by Discover Card, Master Card or Visa or by personal check or money order. You may also call in your order (515-964-6682) and pay by Discover Card, Master Card or Visa, you may stop in and purchase directly, or you may mail a check or money order to the Bookstore along with your book order. When books are mailed to you, there is an additional mailing charge. Please include your ID number (usually your Social Security number) on all documents and make checks payable to DMACC. (No tax is required.)

Can I drop an online class?
Dropping an online course may be done online. Please let your instructor or the Distance Learning Office know if you are dropping a course. Please also make sure you are aware of the drop dates and the reimbursement policy. This information can be found on the DMACC web pages or by contacting the registration office.

Do online credits transfer to other colleges?
DMACC has worked out transfer agreements with other colleges and universities, and most of our credit courses are accepted for advanced standing elsewhere.

What type of disability accommodations do you have for online classes?
DMACC provides services such as sign language interpreters, adaptive equipment, alternative testing, and classroom and laboratory accommodation for students with disabilities. These services are designed to enhance the student's abilities and are based upon a student's individual needs. Contact Pam Parker for more information at pjparker@dmacc.edu or by calling Pam at 515-964-6850. 

How are online courses graded?
As with other college courses, grading criteria is determined for each online course by the instructor. The instructor will provide you with information about grading standards, the exams and projects on which you will be graded, and the percent that each will contribute to your final grade on the syllabi. You should feel free to discuss any questions about your grade with your instructor.

Incomplete Grades
The request for issuance of an "Incomplete" grade must originate from the student. This request is a student responsibility. Granting an "I" is an instructor's prerogative. Any instructor who assigns an "I" grade to a student must delineate, in writing, the requirements/guidelines for completion of the course. The "Incomplete Grade" contract must be signed by both student and instructor.

The time allowed for completion of the work on the initial "Incomplete Grade" contract may be no longer than midterm of the subsequent (immediately following) semester. In addition, once an "Incomplete Grade" contract has been submitted, the student may no longer withdraw from the class.

How much does it cost to take an online course?
Tuition is the same for online courses as regular classes at DMACC plus a $20 per credit online fee.  Click here to view current tuition rates.
All course fees are payable at the time of registration. If your tuition has not been paid by the date specified on your bill, you will automatically be dropped from the class list (purged). Some students who were not aware of this policy have done the course work only to discover at a later point in the semester that they were not registered for the class and could not receive credit. If you have any questions about your registration status, check with your instructor.

Non-resident fees are not required for online students, even those students who live outside of Iowa.

You must pay for your books and supplies before receiving them either by mail or in person.

How do I get a tuition refund?

Refund Policy
If a student drops a course before the semester begins or during the first week of the semester, the refund policy at Des Moines Area Community College provides that a student is entitled to a credit to his or her account of 100% of the cost of tuition and fees for the course. During the second week of the semester, the credit is 75% and, during the third week of the semester, the credit is 50%. After that time, there is no credit given and the student owes the full amount for tuition and fees. If a course does not run for the full semester, the deadlines will be reduced according to the shorter course time. This timeline is not dependent on when a student registers for a course. If, for example, a student registers late with an instructor's signature in the second week and drops the course the next day, that student would only be entitled to a 75% credit for tuition and fees. Students with financial aid should be aware that there is also a policy regarding the return of Title IV Program funds.

Online Courses
Online courses usually are considered to be full-semester courses. For the purpose of a refund of tuition and fees, generally the courses are considered to run from the first day of the semester until the last day of the semester regardless of the actual time you are on the computer. Therefore, the refund policy applies to these courses based on the term dates. There is an additional online fee of $20 per credit.

It is your responsibility to make sure you have checked the hardware/software requirements on our web page and know that your computer is capable of handling the course you are signed up for. For example, you must have Microsoft Office in order to complete the COMS181 or OFFC355/356 courses. Other programming courses may also require specific software.

I still have questions--who do I contact?
The information presented above is aimed at making your experiences as an online student enjoyable and productive. We have tried to cover the main issues, but every course, instructor, and student is unique. Feel free to raise any questions with your instructor or the office of Distance Learning.

PHONE NUMBERS
DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM
DES MOINES AREA COMMUNITY COLLEGE
1-800-362-2127, ext. 6422
or e-mail us at:
cealtman@dmacc.edu or
alwatts@dmacc.edu or
http://www.dmacc.edu/helpdesk

or visit www.dmacc.edu/helpdesk/

DMACC Distance Learning Secretary - 515-964-6422
Course Instructor phone number is included your their syllabi.

 

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