Online Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In our programs, many courses are 50-75% online, while some are 100% online. It is expected that students will 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?

An online course is one where the learning and student participation take place using the Internet. At Mercy College we use a course tool called ELEOS. (This is the Greek word for spirit of mercy.) ELEOS will contain course documents, assignments and other information your teacher will make available.

Web-Assisted – Course that uses on-line teaching/learning strategies for more than 50% of the scheduled class times. These courses meet face-to-face less than 50% of the scheduled class dates.

Web-Based – Course that uses online teaching/learning strategies 100% of the scheduled class times. There is no face-to-face contact scheduled with students.

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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 vary by course, instructor, and student. A general guideline for face-to-face classes is that a three-credit course typically requires three hours of class plus at least six hours of additional work each week for a total of nine hours. Online class requirements would be similar. 

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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. It is important to 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 is attendance taken?
Teachers know you are working on a course through your participation in the course activities and use of the course documents.  Some teachers have their courses set to record how many times each student logs onto the course; others do not.

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How will I take tests online?
Online testing varies according to the purpose for testing, student learning outcomes, and faculty preference. You may be asked to locate a proctor in your area. A proctor is a qualified individual who monitors a student during the entire test session and  instructors will provide directions and criteria.  Another testing option, used by some faculty, is for timed online tests. Specific information about testing  methods will be provided by your instructor during the course orientation.

What is the purpose of Turnitin?
The purpose of Turnitin software at MCHS is to encourage academic integrity by assisting students and faculty to check written work and prevent improper use of citations and resource content. The software service allows a written work to be checked against internet content, several databases, and previously submitted work. Turnitin will provide an Originality Report that identifies what, if any portion of the work is matched to other sources. In addition, Turnitin software may be used by some faculty in the grading process. Your faculty will inform you how to use the tool if they are using it for grading purposes.

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How do I communicate with my teacher?
Students can communicate with their teachers through the course email, ELEOS discussions, and online chat sessions. Faculty may also be available for office appointments and by phone.

How do I communicate with other students in the course?
Students communicate with each other through 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?
Many teachers recognize that for some subjects students learn more when they discuss and share ideas and viewpoints with other students. Some teachers will even set up team areas on the ELEOS course site so students can work together on projects. In online courses students don't merely interact with a computer but with the information they are learning and with their ELEOS learning community.

What learning methods should I expect in an online course?
Students experience a variety of teaching and learning methods that may include, online discussions with classmates and faculty, written papers, reflective journals, live chat sessions, group work that may require online activities with classmates, and other methods.

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What library resources are available for online courses?
In the E-LEOS Student Course there is a Library tab that provides links for full text books and articles. There is a Reference question email option, and many teachers have the library post articles and other documents in Electronic Reserves.

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. The learning experience is coordinated and facilitated by Mercy College faculty and 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.

Some teachers may require additional skills or may provide the instructions for required skills. It is important to be able to follow written directions instead of face-to-face instructions.

What computer requirements are needed for an online course?
All computers at Mercy College have the requirements for ELEOS online courses.

For home computers: 

  • Operating system no older than five years
  • Internet connection (high speed recommended as dial-up may be too slow to efficiently load some course components)
  • Web browser (Microsoft Internet Explorer 8)
  • Word processing (Microsoft Word preferred)
  • Audio capability
  • CD-ROM/DVD drive for software
  • Some faculty may require a Web camera.

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Quick Info

Links to determine your readiness for online learning: