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Online Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In our programs, courses may be up to 100% online. Students are expected be able to communicate with the instructor and peers via email and transfer documents between themselves and faculty through electronic attachments.

What is an online course?

In an online course, students interact with their instructor and classmates by using the Internet. Students at Mercy College will typically use a course tool called ELEOS to find the course materials, assignments and other information that teachers make available. The course catalog indicates which courses most heavily utilize online learning by classifying them as web-assisted or web-based:

  • Web-Based courses use online teaching and learning strategies during 100% of the scheduled class times. These courses have no face-to-face contact scheduled between instructors and students. All interactions with the instructor occur at a distance. 
  • Web-Assisted courses use on-line teaching and learning strategies for over 50% of scheduled face-to-face class times of the scheduled class times. Students can still expect to meet with the instructor face-to-face during scheduled class times, but these meetings would be fewer than half of the scheduled class dates.

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Is an online course easier than one that meets regularly in a classroom?

No, online courses are just as rigorous as courses that meet in a classroom. In fact, for many online courses you will be more actively engaged in the course materials than you would be in a traditional classroom setting.

What time commitment is required?

Time commitments are similar to face-to-face courses. The time requirements vary by course, instructor, and student. A general guideline for didactic classes states that each credit hour involves three hours of student work per week. In a face-to face-class this would be about one hour in-class and two hours outside class each week. Thus, a student could expect to spend about nine hours total per week for each three-credit course.   

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Can I complete the online course at my own pace?

Most teachers will have weekly assignments with due dates throughout the course. To ensure that you have the most current information, check your ELEOS course site several times each week for announcements, new assignments, etc. Some teachers make all the course materials available from the first day of the course. Other teachers will add content to the course throughout the semester.

How do teachers take attendance?

Your participation in course activities notifies teachers that you are attending your online class. 

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How will I take tests for my online course?

Online testing varies according to the purpose for testing, student learning outcomes, and faculty preference. Your instructor will describe the testing  methods used during the course. There are several ways a student may take tests for an online course. Some faculty use timed online tests. Other instructors may use proctored exams. For proctored exams, instructors will provide directions and will ask you to locate a proctor in your area. A proctor is a qualified individual who monitors a student during the entire test session. 

What is Turnitin?

Turnitin is plagiarism analysis software which Mercy College instructors use to encourage academic integrity by preventing submissions with improperly cited content. The software service checks written works against Internet content, several databases, and previously submitted work. Turnitin will provide an Originality Report that identifies what, if any, portion of the work matches other sources. Some faculty may also use the Turnitin software to provide grades or feedback. Your faculty will inform you how to use the tool.

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How do I communicate with my teacher?

Students can communicate with their teachers through their Mercy student email, ELEOS discussions, and online chat sessions. Faculty may also be available for office appointments and by phone. Your instructors will also indicate how to best contact them.

How do I communicate with other students in the course?

Students communicate with each other through Mercy student email, ELEOS discussions, and online chat sessions.  Some teachers will ask students to "introduce themselves" to their classmates early in the course.

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Do I work completely on my own?

Your instructor will explain the expectations for individual versus group work. Some instructors design their courses so students can learn by discussing ideas and viewpoints with other students. The teachers may set up team areas on the ELEOS course site so students can work together on projects. Students in online courses do have opportunities to interact with others within the ELEOS learning community.

What learning methods should I expect in an online course?

Instructors may utilize a variety of teaching approaches and learning tools including, but not limited to, video lectures, online discussions, written papers, reflective journals, live chat sessions, group work, and quizzes.

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What library resources are available for online courses?

In the ELEOS LOR (Learning Object Repository) the Mercy College Library has posted a variety of resources for students. Visit the Mercy College Library LOR once you are logged into ELEOS and look through the items available.

What is a preceptorship?

Some health care programs require students to work with health care professionals who are recognized as clinical experts. These preceptors volunteer to teach, supervise, and evaluate students in a health care setting that is different from the one in which the student is currently employed. Mercy College faculty coordinate and facilitate this learning experience; though, the experience usually takes place in the student's own community.

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What minimum computer skills are needed to be successful in an online course?

You should know how to:

  • Turn a computer on and off.
  • Access the Internet.
  • Type a document on a word processor (Microsoft Word preferred).
  • Locate and save a file or document on a computer.
  • Send email with an attachment.
  • Download plug-in software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Follow written directions

Some teachers may require additional skills or may provide the instructions for required skills.

What computer requirements are needed for an online course?

All computers at Mercy College have the requirements for ELEOS online courses. For your personal devices, we recommend you perform a system check to ensure your computer contains the supported system and software requirements. Your instructors may also have specific technology requirements for their courses.

  • Operating system no older than five years
  • Internet connection (high speed recommended)
  • Current web browser
  • Word processing (Microsoft Word preferred)
  • Audio capability
  • CD-ROM/DVD drive for software
  • Some faculty may require a Web camera

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