Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Armstrong’s online and blended programs are included below. For questions that may not be addressed with the FAQs, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What is the difference between an online and blended program?
Armstrong offers both online and blended programs. Students enrolled in online programs typically do not come to campus unless a program has a specific requirement that may be related to licensing or accreditation. Students enrolled in blended programs are required to come to campus for a percentage of the courses but the amount of time on campus is dependent upon each courses within the program.
Armstrong’s definitions for online and blended programs provide more details about these educational formats.
Online programs include all fully online courses. A “fully online” course typically has 100% of all instructional delivery of class sessions provided via the internet or through the use of one or more technologies. In some courses, depending upon the program, a course may have 96% to 100% instructional delivery online with some limited, required face-to-face instructional delivery or engagement but this would be for a required orientation, exam, etc. relating to licensing or accreditation requirements. Armstrong clearly identifies which courses require any type of face-to-face engagement.
Blended programs include partially online courses but may also include some fully online courses. “Partially online courses” have 51% to 95% of instructional delivery of class sessions provided via the internet or through the use of one or more technologies. Therefore, students are required to campus or an approved site for some face-to-face instructional. Armstrong also offers fully online certificate programs. A full listing of Armstrong’s online and blended programs is available online (put link here to marketing site).
- Are Armstrong’s online and blended programs accredited?
- Is Armstrong State University authorized to offer online programs across the United States?
Armstrong is authorized to offer online programs in many states. Authorization is currently pending in additional states as Armstrong continues to research and respond to the requirements for each state. For information regarding state authorization, please contact Marsha Miller in the Center for Teaching & Learning by email at Marsha.Miller@armstrong.edu or 912.344.3354.
- Is the quality of an online and blended program the same as an on-campus program?
The courses taught through Armstrong’s online and blended programs are the same high quality courses taught on Armstrong’s on-campus programs. The primary difference is the delivery format of the courses. Armstrong’s courses are developed and taught by world-class faculty who are committed to academic excellence, rigor, and scholarship of teaching and learning. When students graduate from one of Armstrong’s online and blended programs, there is nothing on the transcript identifying a program as being online or blended. Graduates from online and blended programs receive the same diploma as on-campus students and they are invited to participate in Armstrong’s commencement.
- How do I know if online or blended learning is for me?
We encourage all potential students to complete the student readiness assessment that measures how prepared you are for online and blended learning. The assessment will identify your strengths as well as areas that you may need to develop so you can successfully enroll and complete a degree or certificate program.
- Is someone available to talk to when I have questions?
Online students will be assigned an academic advisor who will be available to answer questions via phone, email, or Wimba conversations. They will provide answers when possible, but they will also know how to direct you to key contacts on campus who can address concerns about technology, financial aid, and more.
- What are the minimal technical requirements for students enrolling in Armstrong’s online and blended programs?
The technical requirements for Armstrong’s online and blended programs are provided below.
- Operating System: A Windows operating system is recommended. Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7; Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
- Processor: 1 GHz recommended
- Memory: 512 MB of RAM recommended
- Disk Space: 1 GB free disk space is required for software installation
- Internet: Students must have regular access to the internet to connect to courses offered through Armstrong’s online and blended programs
- Internet Browsers: Firefox 3.6, Internet Explorer 7or 8, or Safari 5 recommended
- Compatibility Check: If you have already downloaded and installed the recommended internet browser, use this link to run a compatibility check.
- Modem: Cable or DSL recommended
- Plug-ins: The following plug-ins are required for online and blended programs: Adobe Reader, Java, QuickTime Player, RealOne Player, and Windows Media Player. Note: These plug-ins are available free of charge from the sites
- Software: Microsoft Office 2007 or later is required
- Anti-Virus Software: Anti-virus software strongly recommended
- Sound Card, Microphone, and Speakers: A working sound card, speakers, and microphone required
- Monitor: A minimum 800 x 600 resolution required; 1024 x 768 resolution recommended
- Disk Drive: A CD-Rom drive required
- Printer: Access to graphics-capable printer
It is recommended that all students configure their computer prior to beginning their courses. check the configurations of your computer here.
- What if I've never worked with Desire2Learn as a Learning Management System (LMS) or Blackboard Collaborate for webcasting?
There are a number of excellent tutorials available online for both Desire2Learn and Blackboard Collaborate. The Office of Online & Blended Learning provides links to some of the best of these tutorials at the following link.
- How does online work in terms of “coming to class” for online and blended programs?
Students enrolled in online and blended programs can access their courses through Armstrong’s Learning Management System (LMS), Desire2Learn. The LMS, which is accessible through the internet, provides students with 24/7 access to course content, discussion boards, webcasting, gradebook, and more. Online programs typically do not require students to come to campus so student-to-student and faculty-student engagement occurs through the LMS also known as an eClassroom.
Students enrolled in blended programs are actively engaged in both the eClassroom and on campus. Assignments for online and blended programs are submitted through the LMS. In some online programs, students may have exams in which a proctor is required. This information will be in your course syllabus so you can work with Armstrong’s Office of Testing Services to secure a proctor near you.
- Once accepted into an online or blended program, what can I do to make sure I am ready as a new student?
Armstrong offers a “live” Online Student Orientation and an Online First Year Experience for students enrolled in online and blended programs. Students are encouraged to attend the Online Student Orientation and to attend the various events offered monthly through the Online First Year Experience. The Online Orientation, hosted through Collaborate, personally introduces students enrolled in online and blended programs to key student support specialists across campus, including the Lane Library, Writing Center, Offices of Disability Services, Financial Aid, Career Services, and Student Affairs. The Online First Year Experience, hosted through Collaborate and live steaming, provides monthly online events focusing on different topics related to student success.
- Is there financial aid assistance available?
Yes. For more information on the types of aid available and how to apply for them, please visit Financial Aid for Online Students.
- How much will the HOPE or Zell Miller Scholarship pay?
HOPE Scholarship may be applied towards the standard tuition charges using the Georgia Student Finance Commission's (GSFC) determined factor rate. Your HOPE Award Amount is prorated based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled and the factor rate. To review the HOPE Award Amounts, review GSFC's Award Amount Chart (PDF). HOPE will not cover any student fees, book allowances, nor will HOPE pay for any institutional charges such as lab fees or full e-tuition.
Zell Miller Scholarship may be applied towards the standard tuition charges using the Georgia Student Finance Commission's (GSFC) determined factor rate. Your Zell Award Amount is prorated based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled and the factor rate. To review the Zell Award AmountsGSFC's Award Amount Chart (PDF). Zell will not cover any student fees, book allowances, nor will Zell pay for any institutional charges such as lab fees or full e-tuition.
For more information, please visit the HOPE & Zell Miller Scholarship page.
- Is there federal funding for online and blended programs?
Yes, federal and state funding is available for qualified students. You may review potential federal student aid programs at www.studentaid.ed.gov. If you are interested in Federal Financial Aid, such as Pell Grant and Stafford Loans, you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year you plan to attend Armstrong. The FAFSA will allow the Office of Financial Aid to evaluate financial aid eligibility. If you would like to consider potential state funding, please visit www.gacollege411.org.
- What is verification of attendance?
Federal regulations require that you must ATTEND the classes for which aid is awarded. Verification of attendance is the process of having your professor indicate whether or not you have been in attendance. If you are NOT verified in attendance by faculty, your aid may be reduced or cancelled. You should be aware that your registration for classes that begin in the later part of the term also may result in a delay of your financial aid disbursement as attendance cannot be verified until the classes begin. Verification of attendance usually takes place in the first two weeks of the class period and disbursement of aid happens in the third week.
- How will I be engaged if I am not coming to campus?
Armstrong provides innovative opportunities for students to become engaged in the eClassroom and through co-curricular activities hosted both online and on campus. While online courses are typically asynchronous (not real-time), faculty teaching online courses often offer synchronous (real-time) sessions for students to connect through Collaborate (a webcasting application). Collaborate enables students to use features such as Talk, Video, Chat, Sceenshare, etc. Armstrong eClassrooms also have an eCafe where students are able to connect synchronously through Collaborate to engage in real-time discussions or attend “live” events with guest speakers, panel presentations, student organizations, etc. Blended programs engage students in both the eClassroom and the traditional classroom on campus. Armstrong also provides students with opportunities to connect through Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
- Is online learning really anytime, anywhere?
Armstrong recognizes that students have many responsibilities to balance in their busy lives. Armstrong also recognizes that online students may be living “anywhere” in the United States or in the world which is why the majority of online courses are designed as asynchronous. The concept of “anytime” means that students have the opportunity to study and complete weekly course work when it best fits into their schedules. However, students are required to submit assignments, complete readings, and take quizzes or exams by the respective due dates listed in the course syllabus. Therefore, time management is very important for keeping up with course work and for working on group assignments.
- What kind of technology do students need for online and blended programs?
We try to make our courses as easy as possible to access technically while still maintaining a quality online experience. (View the basic technical requirements.) You should also review any additional requirements that your program area may have.
- How does graduation work if you are in an online or blended program?
All students who are graduating are invited to attend Armstrong’s graduation ceremony hosted in the May and in December. Information pertaining to cap and gown will be sent out by email and available through an online link. Celebratory events are held throughout the day and a special reception is held for online students since this may be the first time they have come to campus.
Note: upon completion of degree requirements, your degree, along with academic honors, will be posted on your academic transcript. Diplomas for all graduates are mailed approximately 4-6 weeks after commencement.
- How can I become involved as a “Pirate” in Armstrong’s alumni association when I graduate?
You become an official “Pirate” as soon as you are accepted and enroll in one of Armstrong’s programs. As a student, you will be invited to attend events both online and on campus. Many of these events will provide opportunities for you to connect with classmates and Armstrong alumni. When you graduate from Armstrong, the alumni association will reach out to welcome you as a lifetime Pirate and provide you with information on the many benefits available to alumni. With alumni living around the United States and the world, you will also have the opportunity to connect with fellow Pirates through annual events.