Frequently Asked Questions - General
The brief answer is that the University wants to achieve an imperative in its strategic plan that states it will "offer distance learning to select markets and assure high quality." Those select markets include individuals seeking online graduate programs and the adult learner with some college and no degree or a high school credential and no college that want a pathway to earn their degree. These market segments represent an untapped pool of qualified potential students for the University to attract and serve. The distance and electronic program development task force, under the leadership of Paula Broussard, is presently working on a program strategy for the University.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette places great emphasis on the consistency, continuity, and integrity of its learning environments. All electronic academic courses at the University are considered equivalent to traditional courses, are taught by regular and approved adjunct faculty, and adhere to all the same standards, prerequisites, and requirements as traditional sections of identical courses. Equivalency means the “totality of learning experiences for each learner should cover the same area, even if individual experiences might be quite different” (Simonson, 2007). Regardless of the delivery format, LEARNING is the primary aim with achievement of stated course and program learning outcomes as the primary assessment measure.
Students taking hybrid or online courses are expected to learn material and achieve the same course learning outcomes as a face-to-face / traditionally delivered course. The instructional methods and student learning activities may vary greatly from the face-to-face version of a course and its hybrid or online version. Student taking hybrid and online courses at UL Lafayette must be self-disciplined, organized, and make a serious time commitment. Hybrid and online courses at the University are not easier than face-to-face courses. In many cases and based on national research studies, these courses require more time.
Students planning to take an online or hybrid course should have ready access to a personal computer and software appropriate to his or her field of study. Students can meet this expectation by purchasing or leasing a computer, sharing a computer with family or roommates, or using a UL Lafayette student computer lab.
All UL Lafayette students should expect to use a personal computer in many university activities, including coursework, accessing library information, registering for classes, and e-mail.
Specific hardware and software requirements vary by department and course, so check with your instructor. At a minimum, you will need the following:
- Consistent access to a computer
- Dependable and High Speed Internet access
- Web browser
- Word processing software
No. Online learning is becoming a more established part of the American college and university strategies for delivering postsecondary education instruction through courses and full degree programs. Enrollment trend reports, produced annually by the Sloan Consortium, show no future decrease in the number of online courses and programs being offered. To suggest it is a trend would indicate it is not here to stay, but online learning is a “game changer” for many public, not-for-profit, and for-profit colleges and universities.