The Catholic University of America

Frequently Asked Questions

 

About Distance Learning

Q1 What is online learning?
Q2 How can a distance learning (DL) course enhance learning?
Q3 What DL courses does CUA offer?
Q4 What is CUA’s DL policy?
Q5 What are the standards for distance learning courses?

Preparing to Take an online Course

Q6 Who can take an online course?
Q7 When are online courses taught?
Q8 What computer skills do I need to take a DL course?
Q9 How can I learn to use Blackboard or another course management system?

Considering Technical Requirements

Q10 What type of computer do I need to participate in a DL class?
Q11 What kind of Internet browser should I use?
Q12 What software will I need?
Q13 Do I need a high-speed Internet connection?
Q14 Where can I get technical support?

Accessing Resources

Q15 Are there any online tutoring services?
Q16 What if I have a disability?
Q17 How can I access library resources?
Q18 How will I know what textbooks and materials I need?
Q19 How can I purchase textbooks?
Q20 How can I access other course materials?
Q21 Will I need local access to special facilities (e.g., a video-conferencing room or a proctored testing center)?

Scheduling a DL Course

Q22 How will I know that a course is completely online?
Q23 Can I still receive advising?
Q24 How will I register for an online course?
Q25 How can my instructor contact me before the course begins?
Q26 When will my course start?
Q27 Will my course run on a fixed schedule or can I work at my own pace?

Taking a DL Course

Q28 How can I access my DL course?
Q29 Do I ever have to come to the CUA campus to teach my DL course?

 

About Distance Learning

Q1 What is online learning?

A. An online course is a class in which 80% or more of the activity is done online. Technology Services supported online instruction is generally asynchronous, which means that participants access materials on their schedule at any time of the day.

A blended or hybrid course is a course where online activity replaces 30%-80% of required face to face meetings. Both online courses and blended courses are considered distance learning.

Q2 How can a distance learning course enhance learning?

A. Distance learning courses leverage the power of the Internet to promote many advantages and educational opportunities. Some of these include multisensory and active learning, experiential learning, accessibility for non-traditional students, student-centered learning, collaborative learning and accessibility to a wide variety of learning tools and content. Studies show that students who have taken online courses often show improved performance in face to face classes

Q3 What DL courses does CUA offer?

A.  Please see our online schedule here.

Q4 What is CUA’s DL policy?

A. Click here to read the regarding DL faculty rights, responsibilities, and workload.

Q5 What are the standards for distance learning courses?

A. The standards for CUA are currently being finalized by the Distance Education Commitee.

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Preparing to Take an online Course

Q6 Who can take an online course?

A. Any student with room in their schedule may be eligible for an online class, unless otherwise restricted by their department. Always check with your advisor before enrolling in any course.

Q7 When are online courses taught?

A. CUA courses are taught during the Fall, Spring and during Summer sessions.

Q8 What computer skills do I need to take a DL course?

A. Distance Learning courses are conducted in the online environment through Blackboard. While there are no technical requirements for participation, you should be comfortable with Internet navigation and word-processing applications such as Microsoft Word.

Your professor may require a variety of activites through Blackboard. Training is provided by Instructional Technology. Please email all requests for training to techsupport@cua.edu.

Q9 How can I learn to use Blackboard or another course management system?

A. If you find yourself struggling, Instructional technology provides one-on-one trainings upon request and open availability.  Please email techsupport@cua.edu to set up a training session.

 

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Considering Technical Requirements

Q10 What type of computer do I need to participate in a DL class?

A. Blackboard is designed to work cross-platform, so it's okay to use a Mac computer.

You must have an operational computer running a modern Operating System, and high speed internet.

Microsoft Windows XP, Windows 7 or 8

    •   Intel Pentium 4 2.33 GHz or faster CPU and at least 4 GB RAM is recommended
    •   Up-to-date version of Adobe Flash Player
    •   Up-to-date version of Microsoft Windows Media Player
    •   An up-to-date web browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome)

Mac OS/X

   •   Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, 10.6 Snow Leopard or 10.7 Lion
   •   Intel Core Duo 1.33 Ghz or faster CPU and at least one 4 GB RAM is recommended
   •   Up-to-date version of Adobe Flash Player (or, VLC can also play Adobe Flash FLV/F4V files)
   •   One of the following media players:
            ♦   VideoLAN VLC media player
            ♦   Flip4Mac Windows Media Components for QuickTime

Note that the faster your system is, the better it will perform, especially when the use of multimedia is involved

Q11 What kind of Internet browser should I use?

A. We recommend using the most up to date version of Mozilla's Firefox or Google Chrome.

Q12 What software will I need?

A. You will need Microsoft Office or at least Microsoft Word. Otherwise, the necessary software depends upon the files your instructor includes on the course site. If you're advised that a course requires any special software you will need to obtain that software during the first couple weeks of class unless otherwise stated by your instructor.

If you have an older computer with Microsoft Office or at least Microsoft Word, it may have incompatibilities with newer versions or hardware and software. In these instances, you may find it necessary to either update your software or go to a computer lab to take advantage of the most recent applications.

Q13 Do I need a high-speed Internet connection?

A. Yes. Whenever possible, use the campus network or invest in a high-speed connection (e.g., DSL or cable) from home.

Q14 Where can I get technical support?

  • Technology Services Website 
  • Call the Service Desk at (202) 319-4357 (help)
  • Email techsupport@cua.edu
  • Walk in at 117 Leahy Hall Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm
  • Enter a support ticket to request help online at techsupport@cua.edu

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Accessing Resources

Q15 Are there any online tutoring services?

A. Unfortunately, CUA does not currently offer online tutoring services. However, we do have an array of resources and videos at computing.cua.edu/training/

Q16 What if I have a disability?

A. CUA provides Special Student Services for students with a disability. Students who need special services must be registered with CUA's Office of Dissability Support Services.  Please contact DSS to find out more.

Q17 How can I access library resources?

A. The CUA Library has a a wide array of support systems, including an online chat with the librarian, subject matter librarians, and online tutorials.  Please see more info about Mullen Library here. 

Q18 How will I know what textbooks and materials I need?

A.  All required materials should be listed on the class syllabus and posted in Blackboard.  Blackboard also has a Textbook tool that will allow instructors to search a specific text book and post all details in the course.

Q19 How can I purchase textbooks?

A. Students can purchase course textbooks by visiting the CUA Online Bookstore.

Q20 How can I access other course materials?

A. You can access all course materials through your Blackboard course unless otherwise stated by your instructor.  These materials may include:

  1. Written materials inside the course site, including links to web-based sources.
  2. Materials available online through e-Reserves.
  3. CDs or DVDs that contain supplementary resources.
  4. DVD’s, CD’s or VHS tapes converted and hosted by our Video Production office.

Q21 Will I need local access to special facilities (e.g., a video-conferencing room or a proctored testing center)?

A. That's up to your individual instructor. The instructor will inform you if any special access is required.

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Scheduling a DL Course

Q22 How will I know if a course is completely online?

A. The class should listed as "online" instead of a room number or TBA in the location fields for Cardinal Station.
An exact day and time may appear if an instructor requires a designated time to meet in the chatroom.

Q23 Can I still receive advising?

A. Yes. If you cannot come to CUA to receive face-to-face advising, you can receive it over the telephone or via e-mail. You should contact their school or college’s Office of Student Services to obtain your advisor’s contact information.

Q24 How I register for an online course?

A. Registering for a DL class is the same as registering for a face-to-face class: Students will register online via Cardinal Station. Registration information can be found here http://enrollmentservices.cua.edu/Registration-and-Records/Registration.cfm.

Q25 How can my professor contact me before the course begins?

A. When students register for classes, they are added to Blackboard. Instructors can automatically email students through Blackboard. 

Q26 When will my course start?

A. Normally, your online course(s) will follow the same Academic Calendar as on-campus courses.

Q27 Will my course run on a fixed schedule or can I work at my own pace?

A. This depends on your instructor. Because most online courses follow the Academic Calendar, they normally run on a fixed schedule. This means it is up to the instructor to set deadlines for turning in assignments and taking online tests. In addition, if a class has a listed time on the course schedule, the instructor may require students to hold simultaneous online discussions ("live chats") at specified times.

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Taking a DL Course

Q28 How can I access my DL course?

A. Most online courses at CUA are conducted via Blackboard. To access your courses on the web, go to bb.cua.edu and log in to the Blackboard system with your username and password. Locate your particular course in the Courses box. For instructions on how to use Blackboard, please visit the our Blackboard resources for students.

Q29 Do I ever have to come to the CUA campus for my DL course?

A. This depends on your instructor.They may decide to administer quizzes online and proctor the final exam on campus.

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Distance Learning for Faculty

Distance Learning or online courses allow you to teach a class anywhere, anytime. They are ideal for faculty who need to work from home or travel for research and conferences. Online courses are also beneficial for reaching a wider audience of students.

On this page, you will find information to prepare you for the unique online environment.