Most online courses run on a semester-based schedule, have set start and end dates and specific due dates for assignments, and include several to many of the following components:

  •  Original course content and media authored by a Penn State faculty member
  • Timed items such as quizzes and examsLibrary articles and/or databases
  • Real-time interaction tools such as chats, Adobe Connect, and/or Elluminate Live!
  • One or more textbooks (print-based and/or e-texts) and related media elements provided by a publisher
  • Third-party copyrighted materials hosted under Fair Use  and TEACH Act provisions
  • Specialized software or plug-ins
  • Links to third-party materials and media hosted on external Web sites
  • Learning management system (LMS) tools
  • Additional systems and tools such as wikis, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Students generally participate in both individual and group activities and assessments. They may take timed quizzes and exams, and some exams may require the oversight of a proctor.  Students may participate in asynchronous and real-time communications that involve small and/or large groups.  They may do research and write papers, and prepare group projects and presentations. Students may create original content including media, and provide peer review and commentary on others’ work. They may be asked to fill out surveys or evaluations in various Penn State (or other) systems.




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