Policies and tips for AMBS online courses
Online courses at AMBS allow students to fit course work to their schedule and to take classes from the comfort of their homes. However, online courses are not for everyone. First, they require certain equipment, such as a modem, and a certain level of computer competence. Second, they call for a high level of initiative and self-discipline on the part of the student.
- An email account is necessary for communication with the professor, other students, and for submitting written work. Students will submit some work as an attachment to an e-mail message. Students must ask their current internet service provider if they have the ability to send and receive such attachments.
- Online courses require the use of a Web browser to access course materials, such as syllabi, content, and some readings. Browsers should support viewing .gif and .jpg images, displaying frames, and filling out forms on Web pages.
- Students need a word processing program to prepare written course work. The supported standard at AMBS is Microsoft Word for Windows. Students who are not using Microsoft Word should determine how to convert their files to Word format or to Rich Text Format (.rtf). This usually can be done easily from within any word processor, using the "Save As" option under the File menu.
- Online courses require the exercise of basic computer skills. Although issues directly related to carrying out course-related tasks are supported by AMBS technical support, AMBS cannot assume responsibility for basic technical support for students. As time allows, tech support may be able to teach how to attach files to e-mail messages or how to convert non-Word documents to Word or Rich Text Format. Support time is limited and students cannot assume that they will receive support for general computer issues.
- Adobe PDF format may be used to distribute some files. The free Adobe Acrobat reader can be obtained from Adobe's site.
Besides the technical requirements, there are also personal requirements. Because of the flexibility online courses may allow, they place more responsibility on the student for meeting the requirements and accomplishing the goals of the course.
- Students must be realistic about what they actually can accomplish and must commit adequate time to do the course work. Students should expect to spend three hours of work per week for each hour of course credit. A normal three-hour class will require approximately eight hours each week plus two and one-half hours for "class time." Realistically, students will need to devote two or three free afternoons per week or several free evenings to course work.
- Students must have the discipline to keep working on the course in order to finish the work within the allotted time. Students sometimes find it hard to get started. It is best to jump right in and do one's best. It is also important to keep momentum. It is always harder to catch up than to work at a steady, even pace. While courses vary in the pace and pacing they require, problems should be reported to the professor. Completion rates are lower for online courses than for on-campus courses. Regardless of the course's pace, students must be able to meet the deadlines established in the course syllabus.
- Online students are responsible for purchasing their textbooks via special order. They may be special-ordered from the seminary bookstore, from a local bookstore, or through a website service, such as Amazon.com.
Online students are strongly encouraged to use the resources of the AMBS library. Detailed information may be found on the AMBS library website. Students may request materials from the library collection. They will have access to online indexes and full-text databases paid for by the library. AMBS library policies may be found on the library website. Please contact the library staff if you have any questions.