Frequently Asked Questions
What is South Central Online?
South Central College courses and programs offered in an online, web-based format fall under the name South Central Online.
South Central College students experienced their first access to totally online courses in Fall 2001 and the college continues to develop courses for a number program areas.
Faculty (our subject matter experts) develop course content using an instructional design process that is truly learner-centered. While online learning includes a variety of approaches, typical online coursework will include readings (online or text-based), learning activities, multimedia presentations, online chats/discussions (synchronous & asynchronous), online group collaboration and performance-based assessment. The primary difference between an online course and finding resources while attending a face-to-face class is that your learning is guided to specific areas in a sequence that you may not otherwise identify on your own.
About the Quality of South Central Online Courses
Are these courses accredited?
Yes. South Central College is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools - all programs and degrees are accredited.
Can I mix online courses with face-to-face courses toward a degree, certificate and diploma?
All courses offered though South Central Online may be applied toward a degree or certificate, once a student is accepted to that program of study. So you can combine online courses with face-to-face courses toward your educational goal.
Do grades count?
Yes. Grades earned for South Central Online courses are recorded and become part of your official college transcript.
Does an actual teacher teach the course?
Yes. All courses are taught by South Central College faculty and staff, many of whom have also designed or played an integral role in designing the courses they teach.
Can I complete an entire degree or certificate on-line?
Yes. South Central College offers degrees in five programs that may be completed entirely online: Administrative Assistant, Client Relations Specialist, Business Software, and Web Programming.
How many South Central Online courses may I apply toward a degree or certificate?
All online credits may apply toward a degree or certificate at South Central College.
Can I transfer South Central Online courses to other schools?
As with traditional, face-to-face courses, the receiving institution will determine transferability of credits. Check with the school to which you are transferring about how they accept South Central College credits.
For example, if you are considering a transfer from South Central College to Minnesota State University at Mankato, only the registrar's office at MSU-Mankato can offer you accurate advice on transferring credits. The same would happen with any other institution, even those outside the state of Minnesota.
What is Minnesota Online?
Through Minnesota Online, you can search and review thousands of online and non-credit courses, and over 150 degree, certificate, and diploma programs available from the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) system. The MnSCU system includes 25 two-year colleges and seven state universities. Depending on the program, you may use many courses offered through Minnesota Online as part of your South Central College degree, diploma or certificate. Always consult with your program advisor about program requirements and transfer guidelines.
Why does South Central College offer online degrees and courses?
South Central College recognizes the benefits of lifelong learning, for career advancement, career change or personal fulfillment. South Central College also recognizes that our traditional, face-to-face classes offered at the North Mankato and Faribault campuses do not fit into everyone's life. South Central Online offers South Central College students more flexibility and accessibility to our courses to fit your busy lifestyle.
Financing South Central Online Courses
What is the Cost of South Central Online courses?
Tuition for South Central Online web courses is $211.80 per credit per semester, effective Fall 2015 through Summer 2016. This includes all fees. Tuition and Fees
How do I pay?
If you have been admitted to a South Central College degree program, you can simply pay your tuition online or by return mail to the South Central College Bookstore.
If you are taking a South Central Online course but not seeking a degree, you need to pay tuition at the time of registration. Non-degree students can obtain further information about payment and registration at South Central College's Visiting Students page.
Is financial aid available?
Please contact a financial aid professional at South Central College's Financial Aid office if you are interested in financial aid.
About South Central Online Learner Responsibilities
While online learning may demand more from both faculty and students than does on-campus learning, it can be very rewarding. Some of the information provided in this section may help you to adjust your self-expectations.
Courses at South Central College average 50 hours of student investment per credit. This estimate is built around the typical average student. Several factors may shorten or lengthen this variable for you. The time required and time investment in learning is a major factor for online learners. Often students interpret online learning as freedom from a schedule--many students think distance education is a short-cut to easy grades and a diploma or degree. On the contrary, distance learning may require an even greater time investment than an equivalent on-campus learning experience.
For example, in lieu of travel time to and from campus and the time required for many faculty-student classroom contact hours per week, the online learning student must set up and maintain a strict schedule to access their course via computer, read, study, do library research, write (and think) on one's own and participate in online discussions. In addition, most online students continue full-time or significant involvement in jobs or family life. If you do not set up and stick to your schedule, you may quickly find yourself too far behind to successfully complete your class.
Will I ever need to be on campus?
South Central College uses an online instructional management system (IMS) called D2L Brightspace. Course login is accessible on the Internet at https://southcentral.ims.mnscu.edu and most of your work will be guided through this system.
South Central College's distance learners are always welcome on campus. You are free to take on-campus classes if you wish (on-campus students may find it to their advantage to take an online course during their time with the college). Labs and library resources are open for your use as scheduled.
Our college is committed to asynchronous distance learning, allowing students to access and do course work when they are free to do it. Individual instructors may offer opportunities for group sessions and virtual office hours that allow synchronous conversation in a facilitated chat or message center exchange. Some courses may require you to attend class in person, check the course details for more information.
How do I get advice on which courses to take?
Academic advising at South Central College provides individual academic advising conferences, ensures successful completion of program requirements, and promotes student development through the discussion of abilities and appropriate personal/occupational choices.
Students meet with an advisor each semester while attending South Central College as a requirement to pre-register or register. The advisor is a resource, available for exploring life, vocational and educational goals and growth, and aiding in academic planning and course selection related to the student's program goal. Full-time faculty assist students throughout the semester, as well as during registration.
A permanent faculty advisor is assigned when a student declares a major. Students who have not declared a major may be advised by faculty in a department corresponding to their general interests.
While the advisor is a guide and resource person, final responsibility for meeting major program requirements rests with the student. Guidelines are available in the current student handbook.
How do I meet with my instructor for office hours?
On each course syllabus, your instructor will provide his/her e-mail address, the college's FAX phone number as well as a phone/voice-mail number. You are free to contact your instructor or any other member of the college faculty at any time. The college provides access to a college wide directory if you need to contact any of our staff.
Most South Central Online instructors will announce virtual office hours or a substitute process for contacting them with questions. Check with your individual instructor as procedures will vary.
Are there group projects? How do we work together?
The real question is "How do I actually learn at a distance?"
We encourage you to make use of current technologies to interact with your faculty and fellow students. No drive time is expected! Basically, all interactions are by e-mail, discussions or virtual chats within the D2L Brightspace tool. Instructors will collect assignments and some evaluations/quizzes in digital format through an online submission process in D2L Brightspace.
Specific group assignments may involve pre-arranging a specific time for telephone or online messaging meetings for your team. This can be arranged with the help of your instructor.
How am I assessed by my instructor and is it secure?
How can an online student be evaluated? How can you take quizzes, hand in papers, etc., from home?
While it appears at first glance that being evaluated by distance via the computer is not possible, D2L Brightspace and its resources allow the instructor to use a variety of assessment tasks. Each instructor will provide specific information to you after your course has started.
A learner may be asked to submit a written assignment digitally or save a screen print for the instructor's reference. Students will access projects, surveys, and exams online and complete the work electronically. Many are timed exams. For some exams, a proctor may be required. On the other hand, your instructor may use more case studies and papers in the evaluation process. Any requests are easily sent to your instructor as secure attached files. Some are graded at the time of submission and you receive immediate feedbackothers will provide delayed comments. It is possible that alternatives such as mail or facsimile will be acceptable in specific cases.
About South Central Online Learning Resources
What about textbooks?
Your instructors will let you know what textbooks and other supplies you need for your courses before the start of semester through the online Course Memo. You can buy textbooks -- new or used -- and have them delivered to your house through the South Central College Bookstore.
What about South Central College library access?
See the South Central College Library Services and Resources section of this site.
About Skills and Tools for South Central Online
What tools do I need to take South Central Online courses?
Basic technology required for an online course includes a computer, Internet access and browser software. General configuration suggestions are provided in the Technical Skills and Computer Requirements section of this site. In addition it is helpful to have a word processing package to write papers and other documents (you can find some free word processing programs on the Plug-ins and Utilities section of this web site). Some courses do require access to specific software applications (such as Desktop Publishing or Computerized Accounting). For those courses, the instructor will inform students of those needs.
In the Technical Information and Resources we have also provided information on general plug-ins required for most online courses.
What if I have technical problems?
All online learners have access to both orientation and technical assistance. In addition to specific course questions that you would direct to your instructor, we have people who will assist you with D2L Brightspace login questions through the Helpdesk@southcentral.edu email account and if you encounter technical difficulties with D2L Brightspace you can consult the MnSCU D2L Brightspace Support Services
(https://servicedesk.mnscu.edu/CherwellPortal/MNSO) for assistance.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and your computer/hardware vendor should be contacted if you have problems connecting to the Internet or using your hardware. Specific numbers and procedures are listed in the Technical Information and Resources section of this site.