Frequently Asked Questions

How much time should I expect to spend per week on my online course?

It is a common misconception that online courses take less time per week than face-to-face courses. Actually, online courses often require a substantial time commitment. Although the amount of time required for an online course varies, it is generally expected that 3-credit courses will require at least 18–20 hours of course-related work per week. 

 You should expect the following:

  • The amount of homework required in an online course will be roughly the same as that assigned in a face-to-face course.
  • Most online courses will ask that you spend time participating in discussions with the instructor and other learners. These discussions will play a central role in your learning experience.
  • You may be asked to play an active role in group or team activities. This will involve coordinating and working with several other learners who may be dispersed across different regions.
  • You should plan on logging into your online course frequently each week. Just once or twice is not enough.

Can I take the course at my own pace?

There are no required dates/times for logging in for live content, but most online courses will require that learners adhere to a course schedule for readings, assignments and discussions with other learners. Course material is organized in a sequential manner and you should follow the course schedule, navigating through each module in order. It will be important for your success to adhere to this schedule, so you can contribute to discussions and group projects in meaningful ways. Your presence in the course will only be apparent if you participate!

Do I need to come to campus for anything?

No, you should not need to come to campus.

Do I need books for an online education course?

Instructors generally require students to use textbooks for their online classes, though most of the time textbooks are available digitally.

How will I communicate with the instructor during the course?

Most instructors can be contacted through course email and may answer questions in the discussion forum. To better communicate with you, some instructors may even create a Questions and Answers topic in the discussion forum. Your instructor will advise you about the preferred method of communication in the syllabus/course outline. Some instructors will give you an outside email address or telephone contact to use in case of emergencies.

How will I turn in assignments and receive grades?

Your instructor will let you know how to turn in assignments and receive grades in the syllabus/course outline. Typically, you will use Brightspace to submit your assignments.

Your instructor's policy for late work will appear in the syllabus; this should also outline the timeframe you can expect work to be graded or receive an email response from your instructor. 

In some courses, your grades for individual assignments will be accessible on Brightspace. Your final grade will be recorded on your official academic transcript, accessible through BUBrain.