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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The following responses to frequently asked questions address many of the concerns students have about distance learning at NMJC. If you need additional assistance, please contact:

Charles Adams – Distance Learning Canvas Administrator (for additional information)
New Mexico Junior College
1 Thunderbird Circle
Hobbs, NM 88240
575.492.2647
CAdams@nmjc.edu

Distance Learning

Online Learning

Canvas by Instructure

Where can I find additional help with…?

Distance Learning

What is distance learning?

Distance learning, specifically online courses and degrees, supports increased access to educational opportunities through technology. Distance education provides the opportunity for students to learn at a physical distance from an instructor, classroom, and campus. Online learning is an environment that relies upon the Internet as the primary delivery mode of communication and presentation. Online education is an option for students who prefer to learn in their own environment by accessing lessons and interaction with faculty and fellow students via technology.

An online learner is a student who assumes greater responsibility for his/her learning. This assumption of greater responsibility creates an opportunity for a substantive educational experience and may increase the potential for faculty-student engagement. In an online environment, student and faculty alike hold a joint responsibility for initiating engagement and creating a positive relationship that contributes to meaningful learning outcomes.

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Is distance learning for me?

Many students find distance learning a challenging and rewarding educational experience. However, distance learning is not for everyone. Depending on their learning styles and work habits, some students may need the face-to-face contact of a traditional class.

While not conclusive, the following questions can be used as an indicator to determine if distance learning is for you:

  • Do I have a computer that fits the requirements and consider myself computer literate?
  • Am I self-motivated?
  • Do I work well independently? (I don't need frequent prodding.)
  • Do I manage my time wisely without a lot of procrastination?
  • Will I communicate frequently with my instructor by course mail, discussion board, or e-mail?
  • Can I establish a regular weekly schedule for class work and assignments?
  • Do I have enough time to take an online course? (Online courses require the same amount of time as a face-to-face course.)
  • Am I willing to work with other students on group projects?
  • Am I goal-oriented?
  • Am I voluntarily seeking higher education?
  • Am I serious about completing college coursework?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then you may be ready for a distance learning course.

NMJC's Distance Education Success page provides specific links with additional information.

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Are NMJC's distance learning courses accredited?

New Mexico Junior College is fully accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees and certificates which include online courses and degrees.

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Online Learning

Does online delivery provide the same quality of education as traditional face-to-face delivery?

The results of numerous studies indicate there is no significant difference in the performance of online learners when compared to in-class learners. In fact, the differences that do exist suggest that online learners perform better in some areas.

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How much time is required to take an online course?

The time required to take an online course will depend on the specific nature of the course. However, it is best to assume that during the standard 16-week semester, an online course will require 9 hours or more per week, much like regular face-to-face courses. Also, during a half-term course or summer semester, when the semester may be compressed into 8 weeks, the time required for the course each week can increase significantly.

Students must endeavor to manage their time well when they are studying, as well as meeting all other life commitments.

A good, free course in Time Management is available from Mind Tools.

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Can I earn an entire degree as a distance student?

Yes. NMJC is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to offer online courses, degrees, and certificates. The NMJC Board is authorized by the State of New Mexico to confer the Associate of Arts (AA), Associate of Science (AS), and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees. However, courses are not labeled by mode of delivery and thus degrees are not designated as online even though a student may never physically be on the NMJC campus. The best rule of thumb is to always check with an NMJC counselor for current information regarding online courses and degree availability.

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Will I still need textbooks?

Yes. For most courses, you will still need a textbook. The coursework over the Internet directs your readings and offers an opportunity to discuss them. You are likely to have readings assigned in your textbook, in books or periodicals (many of which are available online through the Pannell Library), and on the Internet.

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What is the attendance policy in an online course?

It is expected that a student regularly log into class at least three times weekly and check course mail and announcements to ensure he/she has not missed any changes/updates. Students are expected to complete assignments, discussions, quizzes/tests, projects, and other course activities before deadlines expire.

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Can I discuss course details with the instructor before registering for a course?

Yes, you can contact the instructor via email at your convenience.

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What are the technical requirements?

NMJC has adopted Canvas course management software as the official delivery system for online courses. Students in online courses must have access to computers and software that meet certain minimum technical specifications to use Canvas.

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Why take an online course?

Online courses provide flexible scheduling and the convenience of not having to travel to campus. This can be ideal for those who must travel frequently for work, those with family responsibilities, or those who cannot travel physically to campus due to transportation and scheduling difficulties.

As a distant student, you will have many advantages in that you will be able to take courses at a place (and possibly a time) that are convenient for you. You will also have the opportunity to interact with a variety of students from a wide geographic area, and will have access to a greater number of resources and experts than you might in a traditional classroom setting. Finally, you may find that you are able to have greater control over the learning process.

Most students find that the convenience of flexible scheduling and not having to drive to school are the main benefits of distance education. Online students often find that they spend more time communicating with faculty and other students than they would in a traditional class. Experience in distance education may also be helpful if you're planning to work at a company that uses online or other forms of distance training.

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What are the drawbacks of taking an online course?

Online courses require participants to take a much more active role in the learning process. The distance nature of the courses means that students must be prepared to take on greater responsibility than those engaged in traditional learning. You will need to discipline yourself to stay actively involved with the course, and may find that you spend an even greater amount of time reading and preparing for this course than you do in a traditional course. Also, since you may not see the instructor face-to-face, you will need to communicate with him or her regularly through course mail.

Although you can work on most assignments any time of the day, distance education courses actually require more planning than traditional courses. Furthermore, research has shown that although students who complete a distance education course learn as much as (sometimes more than) students in traditional classes, the drop-out rate for distance learners tends to be higher, perhaps because some students need face-to-face motivation.

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What are the testing requirements?

Assessment for an online course of study will vary from course to course and it will be helpful to visit the course description page for any specific requirements. Although this does not apply to all courses, you may be required to come to campus for proctored tests during the semester. Some courses have proctored midterms and finals, in addition to online quizzes.

If you are out of the area and require testing or placement tests, the instructor will work with you to arrange proctored examinations near you, at a college or university, if possible. Any proctoring fees will be at your expense. Procedures for Proctored Test

For additional information about the course you want to enroll in, you can contact the instructor via email at your convenience.

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What do I do if I have technical difficulties?

First, and foremost, don't panic! If you are having difficulty connecting to your course or if your computer is out of service, there are usually class related activities that you can complete while you are waiting to resolve the concern. It may also be a good idea to contact your professor, by phone, to inform him or her about your trouble. Technical support is available through NMJC by contacting Charles Adams. Also, Instructure offers guided help specific to Canvas related concerns.

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Canvas by Instructure

What is Canvas?

Canvas is software that allows your instructor to organize online course content and manage assignments, quizzes, and grades. NMJC has adopted Canvas as the official delivery system for all online courses. Therefore, the sooner you become comfortable with Canvas commands and features, the more you will enjoy the class.

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What is the best way to learn how to use Canvas?

First, set your browser up to work best with Canvas by going to the Canvas Instructions page and following the guidellines shown for all browser types. Then to learn about Canvas, go through the short orientation shown on the Canvas Instructions page.

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What is a Chat Room?

A chat room allows individuals to type and view messages in real-time (as opposed to viewing messages at a later time in e-mail or on a bulletin board). If more than a few users are chatting at the same time, messages tend to scroll by very rapidly. For this reason, chat rooms are best used for lively, but general discussions, with spontaneous responses. The Canvas interface utilizes a private chat room, restricted to class members, alleviating problems associated with some Internet chat rooms.

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What is a Discussion?

A Discussion allows users to post messages to which other users can respond at any time. Discussions normally thread the discussions (organize them by topic) so that replies to a message are included under that message. Unlike chat rooms, Discussions do not require an immediate response, allowing for more thoughtful answers.

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How do I get my login ID and password for Canvas?

Your Canvas login ID and password is the same as your T-BirdWeb Portal credentials. Your student ID is your Canvas ID and your password initially is your six digit date of birth. When you change your password in the T-BirdWeb Portal, that password will become your Canvas password. If you need additional information, contact Charles Adams.

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Additional Help

Where can I find additional help with e-mail?

Emailreplies.com is a comprehensive resource for email etiquette.

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Where can I find additional help with my word processing skills?

Online word processing tutorials, covering a variety of different applications, are provided by the Faculty of Education of the University of Alberta.

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Where can I find additional help with copying and pasting procedures?

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Where can I find additional help with APA writing guidelines?

The American Psychological Association (APA) provides assistance with their online APA resource.

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Where can I find additional help with Internet Explorer?

ZD Net's Help & How-To provides an in-depth reference for Internet Explorer.

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Where can I find additional help with Netscape?

ZD Net's Help & How-To provides an in-depth reference for Netscape Browsers.

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