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Online Learning Resource Center

Online and Hybrid Course Questions

Why is ICCI starting online courses?

The International College is instituting online classes as a response to our primarily adult working population who indicated it needed more flexibility in learning to be successful. The College applied to our International Accrediting  body, The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) for permission to conduct online classes. Click here to learn more about ICCI’s International Accrediting Body. That permission was granted in May 2015; selected online courses will be starting in the Summer Quarter 2015 in July.

What is an online course?

Online courses are conducted over the Internet and typically do not have any meetings in a designated physical space. Course materials are typically available online at a dedicated website called Populi.  Click here to log into Populi. Class activities and instructor/student communications, are typically conducted by email or on the course website.

What is a hybrid course?

A hybrid course is a course where as much as 50% of the course can be taught online. The remaining part of the course must be conducted face-to-face. Typically all hybrid courses that are on the schedule for Monday and Wednesdays meet Mondays only. All hybrid courses that are on the schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays meet Tuesdays only.

How do I keep in touch with my teacher in online and hybrid courses?

In a hybrid course, you will actually see your instructor once a week at least. In an online course, there is a good chance you will never meet your teacher face-to-face, however, you and your instructor will communicate regularly through email, discussion, periodic telephone conversation and other means that are now available, therefore getting to know each other through technology.

What computer skills do I need to take an online course? Do I need to be a computer expert?

No. Successful online students need to be able to perform the following tasks comfortably:

  • Send and receive e-mails
  • Send and open e-mail attachments (Word files)
  • Use Microsoft Word
  • Manage files in Word
  • Function in online library databases
  • Perform basic research on the Internet
  • Be able to use a browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape
  • How to use a discussion board in Populi
  • How to do basic downloads from the Internet
  • How to attach files.

You may also need to know, or learn:

  • How to follow instructions for updating your browser,
  • How to download and install special plug-ins, and
  • How to zip and unzip files.

How much does an online course cost?

Currently, the cost of an online course is the same as an on-campus course.

Is an online or hybrid course easier than an on-campus course?

It depends on how you learn.  You can expect to succeed in an online course if you put in as much study time as you do in any of your successful on-campus courses; maintain good time management habits, and be familiar with technology. However, research shows that students who take online courses have to be very disciplined—making sure that they are doing the required work during the week.

But how is an online or hybrid class different from traditional face-to-face courses?

You will do more reading than you would in a traditional class room. You’ll spend a lot of time writing. One very important thing to understand is you may not get immediate responses to your questions all the time. Because instructors may not be able to get right back to you, especially if you are up at 2:00 in the morning or some weekends, it is important to build a relationship with students in the same course who may be able to help answer questions. Get to know other students – they will be an excellent resource for you.

Would I have to be online at a certain time for an online class?

You may have to meet at a certain time for online discussions, but this is not typical. Most of the work will be done on your own time according to your schedule – this gives you flexibility and the responsibility to stay on task. To aid in securing the academic integrity of the course, it is possible your final exams will be held in person at the end of the quarter for courses that have final exams.

So I don’t have to have to access my class at the same time everyday?

No. Most students should expect to access an online class between five  and seven times a week in order to keep up with class discussions, student questions and assignments. Unlike traditional courses, few, if any, online classes require students to access the class at a designated time of day.

For a hybrid course, how often would I come to class?

Typically, a hybrid course would meet only once-a-week. The other time in the class in that week would be handled online. Some other hybrid models would require at least a couple of weeks of class meetings at the start of the quarter and the remaining portions of the class online for the quarter.

What kind of technology would I need for an online course?

You will need your ICCI email account, a reliable internet connection, and access to a computer. Your instructor may require additional materials or software. Access to Skype or Google Hangouts may be helpful to you as collaborate with your classmates as well.

What course management system does ICCI use?

ICCI uses the Populi course management system. You will need to logon to Populi to access course materials and assignments. Your professor will provide specific details.  Click here to log into Populi.

How do I know whether online courses are right for me?

Many students find that online study provides valuable flexibility to fit courses into their busy schedule of work and family obligations.  You might find this aspect of online study ideal for your needs, too. However, you must be self-motivated and disciplined.  Online learning is not for everyone. We know from research that students who are independent learners, highly motivated, disciplined, and good time managers perform well in an online course. You’ll have to commit to a schedule of coursework just as you would for on-campus classes, but on your own initiative rather than on a fixed class schedule.  Click here to take this quick survey to see if online classes are right for you.

Specifically how much time should I expect to devote to an online/hybrid class each week?

Your reading, audio, video and supplemental materials will take you about 5 hours a week to consume.

You will have online labs to complete in the course each week that may take up to two hours to complete.

You will have assignments due for the course each week that may take you up to 10 hours to complete.

There will be an opportunity each week for online and hybrid students to have a weekly online chat with the instructor. This is not required, but if you need specific questions answered you should budget an hour each week for this.

Of course, you will have to also study each week, which is not the same thing as completing assignments and readings. The time devoted to this will depend on your study practices, but generally you should allot two hours a week for studying

This amounts to on average 15-20 hours a week you will need at a minimum to be successful in an online or hybrid course.

Isn’t that a lot more time than face to face courses?

Actually no. Students should be planning to spend on average 15-20 hours a week per course in face-to-face courses too.

Who can take an online/hybrid course?

Any student can take an online or hybrid course. All students will have to complete a brief online orientation that you can do in a few minutes. Also, The Cayman Islands Educational Council has approved Government Scholarship students to take online and hybrid classes.

How do I enroll for an online course?

You register for an online course as you do for any face-to face course.

How do I drop a course?

You can drop an online course as you would any other course.

When does class begin?

The course begins at the start of the Summer Quarter.  Your instructor will send you an email to begin class proceedings once you are properly registered.

Does the ICCI academic honest policy apply to online courses?

Yes.  Any act of deliberate deceit in the fulfillment of a student’s obligations to the academic community is a violation. Having others complete your work and plagiarism are strictly against college rules.

Will another college accept credits from an ICCI online course?

Your course will appear on your transcript (course record) exactly the same as if you had taken it in class, with no indication whether or not it was online. If you are interested in transferring ICCI course credit to another institution, you will need to adhere to that college’s transfer credit approval policy. Check with that institution for specific information on transfer credit and applicability of coursework toward a degree program elsewhere.

Can I work at my own pace? Are there deadlines?

Online courses are demanding. They are not self-paced or self-study, and should not be viewed as easier than classroom courses. They are actively led by an instructor, and there are deadlines. Normally, a quarter course will consist of a series of weekly modules. In each module you will be expected to read the textbook and other materials, read or watch faculty lectures online, submit your answers to questions, complete other exercises or assignments, and participate in online discussions. (In online discussions, you will read short notes posted by other students and post your own responses.) You will probably have to log on to Populi about five to seven times per week to complete your work. Most classes will require that your work is submitted by Sunday each week at 11:59 p.m. Cayman time. Discussion questions may be due each Wednesday by 11:59 p.m. Cayman time.

So, do I have to sign on at a particular time or place?

All fully online courses are asynchronous, which means that you can sign on at any time of the day or night wherever you have Internet access. You will need to plan your schedule based on the instructor’s course expectations. You will be granted access to your course between the starting and ending dates of the course.

What is the attendance policy for an online course?

Attendance in an online course is defined as an active post or submission within the course each week including discussions, written assignments and tests. This standard will be used to determine all attendance issues, including but not limited to, never having attended reports, last date of attendance, and involuntary withdrawal from a course due to lack of attendance.

Is technical help available throughout the course?

If you need help getting into your course, sending assignments or with other technical issues, contact any member of ICCI staff:

Monday – Thursday 2:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Friday  9:00a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

We are working on contacts for weekend online help.

When I look at the ICCI course schedule, how do I know which course is face-to-face, online or hybrid?

On the official ICCI schedule, face-to-face courses are noted as “resident” courses. Courses that are “hybrid” are designated as such. Completely “online” courses are listed that was as well.

But my instructor has been using Populi since last year. Wasn’t I already taking an online class?

No. When your face-to-face class meets each Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, an instructor may use Populi  in order to give you additional resources in the course that you can access in Populi as part of the course. This is called “technology assisted learning.”  This is not the same thing as taking an online or hybrid course. Courses that designated as face-to-face or resident courses, must week both days each week for the entire quarter. A face-to face course cannot be turned into an online or hybrid class if it has not been first approved by the Dean and Registrar. Conducting a designated face-to-face class as a hybrid class is a violation of ACICS accreditation criteria.

Are there final exams in hybrid and online courses?

Yes, all hybrid and online courses will have a final exam administered by the College and will need to be taken by the College. For those students who are in an online class only and are living outside of Grand Cayman, students are able to go to a proctoring center to take the exam. However, the proctoring center must be pre approved by the College. Arrangements must be made by Week 8. Again this option is only for online students ( not hybrid) who are not living on Grand Cayman.

Is ICCI getting rid of face-to-face courses?

Certainly not. We believe that students benefit from multiple modes of learning. So we will still maintain a large number of courses that meet face-to-face. However, these courses were created at the urging of working students who wanted a more flexible way to earn their degrees while working at the same time.

Are there questions that are not answered here?  Send us an email at [email protected] and we will post the question and answers!