Online Student FAQ

Here you’ll find answers to common questions regarding OTC online courses.

What is distance learning?

Distance learning refers to ways to hold class meetings outside of the traditional seated classroom.  Distance learning may significantly reduce the time you spend on campus.  You may hear these courses referred to as online, hybrid, blended, remote, or staggered classes. 

In the event that physical campuses and/or education centers are closed due to extreme weather, natural disasters, health-related emergencies, or other unexpected events, your seated course may transition to distance learning.

Distance learning may be achieved through email, ZOOM sessions, and Canvas course sites.  Your instructor will let you know what tools they will be using in the course and how much time you may be expected to spend on campus.

What are the differences between on-site, online, and hybrid courses?

Most OTC courses are offered in multiple modalities (on-site, online, and hybrid). While a course’s credits, objectives, academic rigor, and content are identical across modalities, the different formats allow for varying levels of flexibility designed to accommodate students’ work/family commitments.

On-site courses meet on specified days/times each week, and course-related instruction is delivered on those days/times.

Online courses, typically, do not require any in-person meetings. All course-related instruction is provided online. While most classes have assignment deadlines on a weekly basis, students are able to complete all course-related assignments/activities on days and times that work well for their schedules.

Hybrid courses typically meet on specified days/times each week or month; however, the number of required class periods is significantly lower compared to any corresponding on-site section of the course. As a result, a much larger portion of the content is delivered online. Thus, hybrid courses are a blending of the on-site and online modalities.

Am I required to participate in an online course on specific days or at specific times?

Online courses typically have assignment deadlines each week; however, there are usually no specific days/times that students are required to access the course website/materials.  This flexibility allows students to work on course-related assignments and activities on days/times that work well for their schedules.

What are the technology requirements for an online course?

A laptop or desktop that meets OTC’s minimum requirements is a necessity.  Although cell phones and tablets are useful for participating in class discussions, emails, etc., laptops/desktops are better suited for writing papers, creating presentations, and so forth.  Peripheral devices such as a webcam, printer, and headset mic are also recommended.  All other required course equipment will be listed in the syllabus for the course.

What is Canvas?

Canvas is OTC’s learning management system and serves as the online platform containing every online course’s website, course materials, discussion forums, and gradebook.  Additionally, students can request to be enrolled in a free Canvas Student Orientation Course. (Note: an OTC email account is required for enrollment.)

What is proctoring?

All online courses are required to have at least one proctored event (e.g., exam, quiz, speech, web conferencing session, etc.).  During this event, students will be required to produce a photo ID and have their identity verified prior to completing the required exam, quiz, etc.   The types of proctored events vary by course and may require students to attend an OTC facility or non-OTC location approved by Testing Services.  Please visit OTC’s proctoring website for additional information regarding proctoring and the options/resources available.

How can I be successful in an online course?

Successful students consistently demonstrate high levels of self-discipline, self-motivation, effective time management, and a willingness to participate in class discussions and ask for help when needed.  Although online courses provide flexibility as to when students complete course-related work, successful students maintain a consistent schedule (customized to their unique life commitments) that provides sufficient time to learn the material.  They participate in their online courses on a frequent (if not daily) basis and seek help with any questions as soon as possible.

What OTC resources and support services are available to help me be successful in an online course?

A student’s primary resource for help in an online course should be the student’s instructor.  OTC faculty are dedicated to providing assistance whenever possible to enable their students to succeed in the classroom.  Additionally, OTC has many resources and support services designed to meet a variety of student needs.  These services include Canvas-related support, IT support, tutoring services, counseling services, academic advising, and more.