Online IAH Course Information

Throughout the year, IAH offers a variety of online IAH courses for both the first IAH course requirement (201-210) and the second IAH course requirement (211-241). Online IAH courses are offered every semester; typically, however, more sections of online IAH courses are offered during the summer semesters than in fall or spring semesters. Like all IAH courses, the online versions of specific IAH courses are expected to fulfill the goals of IAH:

Integrative Studies in Arts and Humanities at MSU seeks to assist students to become more familiar with ways of knowing in the arts and humanities and to be more knowledgeable and capable in a range of intellectual and expressive abilities. IAH courses encourage students to engage critically with their own society, history, and culture(s); they also encourage students to learn more about the history and culture of other societies. They focus on key ideas and issues in human experience; encourage appreciation of the roles of knowledge and values in shaping and understanding human behavior; emphasize the responsibilities and opportunities of democratic citizenship; highlight the value of the creative arts of literature, theater, music, and arts; and alert us to important issues that occur among peoples in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world.

Enrollment and Override Policies

Enrollment in online IAH courses is limited due to the writing-intensive online interaction between faculty and students in these courses—what happens during oral class discussion in a traditional in-class course occurs through written discussion in an online course—and are designed to insure quality teaching and learning in an online course environment.

Due to these enrollment limitations, IAH does not grant overrides for online IAH courses. Each semester, IAH receives far too many such requests to be able to accommodate every student. Most students have good reasons for needing to enroll in an online IAH course; however, it is not fair to anyone—the students or the IAH faculty and staff—for IAH to decide which student’s need for an override is more legitimate than another’s. Accordingly, enrollment in online IAH courses is on a first-come, first-served basis. Once an online IAH course is full, there will be no course overrides authorized for any reason. In addition, IAH will not authorize late adds to online courses once the free-add periods ends at the beginning of each semester.

Therefore, when planning their academic programs students should understand that enrollment in online IAH courses is highly competitive.

Common Myths About Online Courses

Often, students enrolling in an online IAH course hold a number of “myths” about online courses that can hamper their abilities to succeed in such courses. So students thinking about enrolling in an online IAH course should consider the following:

Myth: Online courses are “easier” than traditional in-class courses.

Fact: Every online IAH course is expected to achieve the same goals as traditional in-class IAH courses. So, for example, an online IAH 201 would have the same number of essay assignments, the same amount of reading, the same expectations for quality class discussion as an IAH 201 taught in a classroom.

Myth: Online courses take less time than traditional in-class courses.

Fact: Whereas an online IAH course doesn’t meet in a classroom for 4 hours per week during a regular 15-week semester, the expectations for faculty-student contact hours are the same. And the amount of out-of-class time expected in a traditional course for reading and writing assignments (i.e., “homework”) would also be expected in an online course. So an online IAH course would require at least 4 hours per week (corresponding to class time in a traditional course) plus 6-10 hours per week for “homework.” Thus, students enrolled in an online IAH course in the fall and spring semesters should expect to devote 10-15 hours per week on the course. During the 7-week summer sessions, that load doubles (just as traditional classes meet in class twice as much); so students in a summer online IAH course should expect to devote 20-30 hours per week on the course.

Myth: Online courses are self-paced by the student.

Fact: While online courses may offer more flexibility than traditional in-class courses for the students enrolled in them, online IAH courses are not entirely self-paced by the student. Instead, just as a traditional in-class course has a schedule of sequenced assignments throughout the semester that paces the student’s work in the course, so, too, an online IAH course has a schedule of sequenced assignments with fixed deadlines. In fact, some online IAH course may have more deadlines throughout the semester than traditional in-class courses since online courses lack the regular classroom meeting schedule that helps to structure traditional in-class courses. Consequently, students enrolled in online IAH course need to pay special attention to the course schedule and course announcements posted to ANGEL. Students should not expect to be able to put off working on course assignments till the end of the week (or, worse, till the end of semester).

Myth: Online classes don’t require much active student partcipation.

Fact: Students sometimes expect to play a passive role in classes, simply listening to lectures and taking tests; some students even complete courses without ever speaking in class. But the online learning environment requires much more active participation on the part of students. In online courses, students are expected to be active learners, not merely passive receptacles for the professor’s knowledge. In online courses, students cannot remain “silent” in the same way they might in a traditional, in-class courses. To the contrary, students are expected to participate actively in online discussion forums or on collaborative writing projects like wikis.

Myth: Faculty teaching online courses are available 24-7 to answer student questions and to respond to assignments.

Fact: As already mentioned, the expectations for faculty-student interaction are the same for any IAH course, whether taught in a traditional classroom setting or in an online environment. Most faculty teaching online IAH courses set aside a specific amount of time during the week to work on their courses: to prepare course materials, to respond to student email, to grade assignments, to interact with students during “office” hours (through email, D2L, or Skype and other video conferencing applications). Although online course may offer greater flexibility for students, the faculty are not always available online. So a student email sent at midnight is no more likely to be answered by the morning in an online course than it would be in a traditional in-class course. Most faculty expect to respond to student inquiries within a 24-48 hour timeframe.

Myth: The instructor is responsible for “technical support” in the course.

Fact: The faculty who teach online IAH courses are responsible for teaching the course, not for technical support. The students bear the responsibility to insure that they have the software required for accessing course materials (at minimum, a reliable web browser- Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox- a word processing program -Microsoft Word or Open Office-Acrobat Reader, and an anti-virus program). Additional software may be required for specific IAH courses (like Real Player, Flash Player, or QuickTime). Typically, faculty provide links to required software on the Desire2Learn (D2L) course site; however, the student is responsible for installing required programs. Also, most online IAH courses will require a high-speed Internet connection. Students should consult the IT Services Support for general technical support (517-432-6200) or the D2L Help Desk (517-432-6200 or 844-678-6200) for D2L technical support. Lastly, Internet connection problems or other technical issues are not nececesarily an excuse to miss a course deadline or an assignment.