Is an online degree the same as a traditional face-to-face degree? Are online classes easier? Read below to learn about some of the myths surrounding distance education.

I can work at my own pace to submit assignments.
Although most of the learning will be asynchronous (not live), you will be required to log in and submit assignments weekly or bi-weekly on specific dates throughout the course.

I am on my own when I take an online course.
We want you to succeed! As an online student at Cabarrus College, you will receive the same excellent support services that our on-campus students enjoy including access to expert faculty, technical assistance, digital and on-site library resources, admissions staff and the registrar, financial aid and student counselors, and computer labs. You also must participate in either a one-time online or on-campus orientation to learn valuable information about the school and program expectations.

I will miss out on personal communication and interaction with students and faculty.
Our faculty is passionate about online education and student-centered learning. Courses are designed with an emphasis on opportunities for communication with your peers and instructors via discussion boards, e-mail, live chat, or telephone. You also may choose to participate in a "cyber coffee shop" to chat and socialize in addition to the more formal discussion arena. Each faculty member maintains posted office hours as listed in the syllabus, and you will be assigned to an academic advisor.

I must be a computer whiz to succeed in an online course.
Computer expertise is not needed to be successful in online courses. Basic understanding of computers and software programs are suggested for students who take online courses which include typing proficiency, logging into a web site, creating and saving a file, using Microsoft Word, and attaching files to an e-mail. Take our online assessment to gauge your readiness.

Although the first couple of weeks in an online program require some adjustment, most students adapt quickly and truly enjoy online learning.

I will be taught how to use a computer.
Our online students are expected to know how to use a computer and will not be taught how to use hardware or software. At orientation, we will introduce you to our Virtual Campus, online bookstore, digital library, technical support staff, online registration and grading services. One week before an online course is scheduled to begin, you will receive a log in, password, and instructions for exploring and becoming familiar with the online classroom so you are ready for the first day of class.

If you think you need to brush up on your computer skills prior to taking an online course, consider taking a basic introduction to computers course such as our CAS 190 Computer Applications Technology.

Technical problems are acceptable excuses to submit assignments late.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your computer hardware, software, and internet connection are in working order. We know that glitches occur, and when they do, we encourage you to find alternate access to a computer at a library, our computer labs, or a friend's or relative's house.

I can submit all my work at one time.
Online students are required to complete learning activities and submit assignments by specific due dates and times throughout the course. These due dates will be posted in your syllabus and course calendar. Remember that consistent procrastination can decrease the likelihood of your success in an online course, so log in four days or more each week. To help you gauge your progress in the course, you will receive regular faculty feedback, and both a midterm and final grade.

I will be constantly glued to my computer.
Time management is critical to a successful online experience. You can expect to spend on average 2-3 hours per course credit each week completing the learning activities. For a 3 credit hour course, that means you should spend at a minimum 6-9 hours per week on the course. Reading the syllabus and planning your time in order to distribute the workload over the course duration will help you maintain a balance. View tips on how to be successful online.

The quality of online education is less than that of a traditional face-to-face classroom.
Online courses hold the same academic rigor as their face-to-face counterparts. Our faculty is highly qualified and experienced in both academic higher learning and their professional areas of expertise. Faculty members at Cabarrus College meet the same hiring requirements and are capable to teach either online or in traditional classroom environments. Our online academic program curriculum and learning objectives are equivalent to those of our traditional classrooms and it is only the method in which the course content is delivered that differs.

Completed online courses will not transfer or be recognized by another educational institution.
Online courses are subject to similar standards as face-to-face courses when considered for transfer. Each college registrar will determine which courses they are willing to accept. Students typically are not excluded from transferring credits based on the fact the course was delivered online, and our academic transcripts do not distinguish between courses taken online or face-to-face. Students who complete academic programs at Cabarrus College are eligible to apply for baccalaureate, masters, or doctoral level education depending on the desired institution admission requirements.

Employers will not accept online degrees.
Employers are looking for graduates from accredited schools, and online degrees from accredited schools are accepted by employers. View our accreditation information. The degree you earn in an online program meets all of the requirements of a traditional college program and your transcript and diploma are identical to those earned by students in our on-campus programs.

Online courses are easy.
Online courses are not inherently easier than traditional classroom courses and require that you be self-directed, motivated, and organized. We suggest that you schedule times on your weekly calendar for logging into the course, preferably four days or more to check for updates and communications from your instructor and peers. We also encourage you to spend at a minimum 2-3 hours per week for each credit hour to complete the course readings and assignments.

Online courses do not involve group work.
Faculty may opt to include group work in an online course. You will be able to complete these group projects online without face-to-face meetings. Our online classroom permits students to be assigned to small groups in which they can communicate, create, and submit assignments. Working together and learning from each other is an important part of higher education.

Online courses do not require tests.
Online evaluation methods vary by course and instructor. Faculty may opt to include computerized tests, similar to ones taken in traditional classrooms. The tests are usually timed and may be comprised of short answer, essay, or multiple choice questions. Some instructors may ask you to locate a proctor for exams, and will provide you with instructions regarding who is eligible to proctor, timelines, and required forms.

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