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Got Questions

The Basics

What does an online course look like?

Online college classes occur in our learning management system (LMS). LSC-Online uses Brightspace by D2L for our LMS. Each instructor develops their own online course in the LMS, and this is where you will find all your needed course information, instructional materials, and assignments. Just like a face-to-face class, most online classes are structured by weeks, and students are expected to log in at the start of the week to determine the assignments. Check assignment due dates carefully and do not expect to complete an entire week in one day.

Are online classes different from face-to-face classes (as in classes held on campus)?

The essentials of college learning are the same in both online and face-to-face classes. Instructor expectations, assignments, time-frames, and many other aspects are the same. There are some differences, however. Rather than discussions held in the classrooms online classes use discussion forums and students post/write their thoughts. Quizzes are often taken online (though we are seeing this more and more in face-to-face classes as well). Some classes may require exams to be taken in person at any Lone Star College assessment center while others may allow exams to be taken at home. Students taking online classes need to be self-directed, proactive, and motivated. While an instructor may provide deadlines, it is up to the student to meet those deadlines.

Does Lone Star College-Tomball have hybrid classes?  What are the differences?

We do offer hybrid day and evening classes. Hybrid classes typically mean students come to campus one day a week for a face-to-face class and the rest of the work is completed online.

How do I determine if online classes are right for me?

Through Lone Star College System, you may take the Smarter Measure assessment. Please visit http://lonestar.readi.info/assessmentpublic.login. The login is LSCSstudent and the password is lonestar. Once you have the results of your assessment, you can discuss them with your academic advisor and decide if online courses are right for you.

I heard online courses are easier than face-to-face classes. Is that true?

No! The expectations and outcomes are identical. While you have the flexibility to work at your own pace and at your own time, online classes actually require more self-discipline.

Wait, so I can work whenever I want?

Yes and no. Yes, you can work at 2 am or 2pm if you want. However, each instructor determines their own due dates and time; pay close attention to deadlines. Typically, you still submit work weekly just like a face-to-face class.

How to Get Started

How do I enroll for an online course?

You register for an online course as you do for any credit course. To begin, visit http://www.lonestar.edu/class-search.htm to search for classes. If you are looking for 100% online classes, choose click on Advanced Search and choose Online from the Mode of Instruction dropdown menu. If you are a new student, visit the admission website: http://www.lonestar.edu/admissions.htm. If you are a current student, you can register through your myLoneStar homepage or contact an advisor.

How much does an online class cost?

Online classes cost the same as face-to-face classes.

Is advising available online?

Yes. Fully online students have access to online advisors?  If you are taking a face-to-face class, you can visit an advisor on campus. You will find all the contact information here: http://www.lonestar.edu/advising.htm.

I have registered for an online class. What happens next?

On the first day of classes, log-in to your online classes through LSC-Online: https://d2l.lonestar.edu/login/. Make sure you complete the online orientation before classes.

What do I do if I have questions about an online class before it starts?

Contact the professor directly through email or contact an advisor.

Do I need to purchase a textbook for an online class?

Just like face-to-face classes, each class has different textbook requirements. You can find textbooks for your classes by searching the bookstore website. You will need to know your class and section number (ENGL 1301 Section 3001). The bookstore website has all the information to help you find your books: http://www.lonestar.edu/bookstore.htm

Before Class Begins

What do I need to do before the class?

Insure all fees are paid. If book is required, have the book. If you need lab packs or other class items have them ready. Log in to class on the first day of your semester to see what the faculty has planned.

How do I access my online class?

All classes are available through Brightspace after 12 midnight the day the class opens. However, many professors may not have the class open at midnight; many open the class during the morning on the first day.

May I begin my online class early?

It may be possible to begin readings and preparation prior to the first day of class. Please work with your professor to see if this is an option for your class.

Is the first day flexible since it is an online class?

We highly recommend that students log in to D2L on day one to determine any week 1 requirements. If you are unable to start on the first day of class, contact the instructor and let them know. Remember, being an online student means proactively contacting your instructor; do not wait until the instructor notices you have not yet logged in and emails you. You should email first!

During Class

How do I interact with my classmates and instructor?

All Lone Star College students are provided with a my.lonestar.edu email address. In addition, you will be provided with a specific D2L email address within your online class. You can use the email tool right in D2L to contact both your instructor and your classmates. Some instructors may also set-up a “class chat” discussion forum where you can post and answer questions as a class.

How much time should I spend in my online class?

For a 3-credit course on campus, a student would be in class for about 3 hours. An expectation of 6-8 hours of work outside of class is not unexpected. Therefore, an online class can be expected to take 9-12 hours each week.

What do I need to do to be successful?

Success in an online class is no different than in a face-to-face class. Instructors have high expectations for their students. Complete your assignments on time, ask questions, participate in discussions, and pay attention to deadlines. Don’t forget to take advantage of tutoring options available to you as a Lone Star College student. Online tutoring is available for online students. Learn how you can access it.

Can I do my work at 2:00 a.m. every day or is there is a specific time I am supposed to be online?

You can probably work at 2:00 a.m. every day. Some instructors may hold office hours or study sessions online at specific times, but those will be posted well in advance. As online instructors, we are aware of our students’ schedules and try to be as accommodating as we can.

Do online courses have a final exam, just like regular on-campus courses?

Final exams are determined by individual instructors. Information regarding exams should be in the syllabus and communicated early so you can make plans to take an exam on campus if needed.

How will I be graded?

The criteria for grading will be established by the faculty and outlined on the class syllabus.

Does the Academic Integrity Policy apply to online courses?

Yes.

Will I feel like I have classmates?

Online students often comment they are surprised at the community formed during a semester. Frequent postings to discussion boards, use of “class chats,” if available, and even group projects help student form connections.

What types of support are available for online students?

Lone Star College provides tech support, financial aid, counseling, advising, student services, learning center with tutors, faculty members, and staff working in every department in the school, from registration to the library, if you need help.

Can I Take Part in Student Activities?

Yes, you are a Lone Star College student and your registration includes Student Fees. Feel free to participate when you can.

How do I get a library card?

LSC-Online students unable to visit any LSCS campus may request a library card (no photo) that allows access to all library services by filling out the online Library Card Request form.

Technical Information

What kind of computer/internet access do I need?

Brightspace will run on any computer or tablet or phone that runs an internet browser though the Chrome browser is the most effective. Having access to a computer is best as some items don’t run as well on the mobile version. You need a high speed access; you don’t need the fastest speed if cost is an issue. Please don’t assume your data minutes will be enough. You should use your devices on a Wi-Fi system. If you do not have access to those resources, you can still take online courses by using a computer in the library of any Lone Star College Campus or your local public library.

What computer skills do I need to take an online course?

You need to be able to manage Word documents, PowerPoints, pdfs and, potentially, spreadsheets. Because you are taking an online class, professors assume you have basic computer knowledge. Lone Star College System also has Microsoft Office 365 available free to all students. Please click here for more information: https://products.office.com/en-us/student?ms.officeurl=getoffice365

What learning management system (LMS) is used to deliver my online class?

The LMS is Brightspace also known as D2L.

What do I do if I need technical assistance?

You can call the Lone Star College Service Desk at 832-813-6600. Let them know your problem and they can direct you. You can also contact them at http://www.lonestar.edu/ots.htm

Can I use a program other than Microsoft Word to submit my work?

That depends on the faculty but any word document program that produces, .docx, .doc or, .rtf can be used. A word of caution with documents sent from phones some of these cannot be opened. Contact your faculty for any questions.

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