Student FAQ

What is an Online Course?

A course offered online has the same educational objectives as a course taught in more traditional ways: to help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities appropriate to a specific course and body of knowledge. However, the means by which these objectives are accomplished differ in some obvious ways from the approaches used in a traditional classroom setting. You will be contacted prior to the semester or soon after you register with your log-in information. DMACC Helpdesk and Distance Learning only supports the Blackboard and my.dmacc software. If your instructor uses a publisher's site in their class, you will need to contact your instructor if you have questions or difficulties. Do not wait until the semester has gotten under way and then try to figure out how to get into the course. If you have not received log-in information or your instructor has not contacted you with publisher information, please contact the DMACC helpdesk for information on Blackboard courses at 515-965-7300.

Am I ready for an online course?

Students taking Online Courses should know how to:

  1. Assess your own technical abilities
  2. Obtain ready access to a computer and the Internet
  3. Perform basic computer and Internet browsing functions
  4. Communicate efficiently and effectively in writing, text, chat, voice and voicemail
  5. Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines
  6. Direct your own learning
  7. Work independently
  8. Develop and use an alternate plan if your primary point of access to the online course fails.

What are my responsibilities for an online course?

As an online student it is your responsibility to do the following:

  • Access your course on a regular basis -- preferably two or three times per week
  • Read the syllabus and determine due dates and test dates and put them on your calendar. The instructor may use a calendar within the course that you can also utilize.
  • Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Use appropriate online communications etiquette and follow the instructor's guidelines for discussions and e-mails
  • Develop and use an alternate plan if your primary point of access to the online course fails -- in other words what will you do if your computer crashes. It is your responsibility to keep up with your course work even under theses circumstances. If your car broke down, you would not quit going to class, but would find an alternative method to get to campus. The same theory applies to your online course.
  • If life intervenes, make sure you contact your instructor to make arrangements.

How long do I have to complete my online course?

The majority of DMACC's online courses go the entire term. This is 15 weeks for fall and spring terms and 10 weeks for the summer term. However, there are some courses that start later and finish earlier. Be sure to check the DMACC course schedule for those specially scheduled courses. Most instructors have due dates throughout the semester, however there are some courses where assignments, tests, etc. are not due until the end of the semester or term. Do not wait until the end to work on your course. As stated in your student responsibilities, it is up to you to manage your time wisely in your online course. It is also up to the instructor to allow students to work ahead. Contact your instructor in regard to his or her policy.

Do I ever need to show up on campus to take an online course?

DMACC's policy states that an online student cannot be required to come to campus for any online courses. However, an instructor can require you to have a proctor for tests. DMACC has testing centers that can be used for these proctored tests or if you are too far away from one of our campuses, you are welcome to find your own proctor and have them fill out the paperwork required by the instructor in order to get the password to access the tests. Web blended courses or those that have a WB in the section code will have a face-to-face component.

Do students get the same information/content in an online class that another student will get in an on-campus class?

Yes, all DMACC online courses must meet the same competencies as their face-to-face (F2F) counterparts and the rigor must be sufficient so that the required learning does take place. However, how you do activities in your online courses will differ from how you might do activities in a F2F class. All online courses will transfer in the same way as their F2F counterparts. In your transcript, they will not be identified as online courses.

When Do I Start My Online Course?

In most cases, Online Courses are NOT self-paced. The courses begin at the start of the term and end at the end of the term. Therefore, students should not wait to register for these courses the first week of classes as it may take up to three days to get you into the system and send you your log-in information. Students should be aware that they need to get into the system the first day or two of classes and then continue to access the course two or three times a week for the entire semester.

When is it right for me to take an online class?

If you need help with choosing classes, determining what order to take classes, determining how classes transfer or anything else in the area, you can connect directly to the Advising WebSite. They will attempt to answer all your questions.

What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?

Online tutoring is available through SMARTHINKING. Learn more about SMARTHINKING. On-campus peer tutoring is also available; contact the Ankeny tutoring office at (515) 965-7004 for information about the location nearest you.

Faculty members in the Academic Achievement Center on each campus provide free homework help on a drop-in basis. Some centers also offer free study skills, writing, and math workshops. Find the AAC hours and subject areas in which assistance is available at the campus nearest you.

How are online courses graded?

As with other college courses, grading criteria is determined for each online course by the instructor. The instructor will provide you with information about grading standards, the exams and projects on which you will be graded, and the percent that each will contribute to your final grade on the syllabi. You should feel free to discuss any questions about your grade with your instructor.

DMACC Library Access

Online students have several resources from the DMACC library available to them.