MBA - Online Courses - FAQs


Download as PDF


What course management software do you use at Wayne State College?
The course management software used at Wayne State College is called Sakai.  Sakai is an open source, web-based software system. The Sakai software includes many of the features common to course management systems, including document distribution, a grade book, discussion, live chat, assignment uploads, and online testing.
When is the chat tool used?
Online chat provides an opportunity for faculty and students to communicate with one another in synchronous (at-the-same-time) discussions.  Faculty may schedule formal chats with their students to cover specific topics and/or to solicit the participation of invited guests which may include renowned experts in their fields.  Students may also use online chat to form study groups or to gather informally.  Chat will be available for students, but may or may not be use based upon the nature of the course and its planned activities.
What kinds of things will I be expected to do in an online course?
Online courses are much like classroom courses in that students will be expected to complete reading from textbooks and or electronic materials, write papers, conduct research, take exams and quizzes, make presentations, and complete individual and group projects.  Some instructors will also provide lecture material in written or PowerPoint format, and may even offer online video materials.  Students will participate in class discussion through the discussion board and complete all group work online.
How much time per day should a student expect to spend on the course and how often is it expected students will log into the course? 
For a three credit hour course, you will spend a minimum of six to nine hours a week working on course work.  Some of the time will be spent online and other time will be spent reading, writing and problem solving offline.  Actual study time will depend on the student's prior background, training, experience, talents, type of text or exercise, etc.  It is important for students to visit class often.  Students may want to check daily to see if the instructor has put up a new announcement or if there is anything new in the discussion area.  Generally, students are not expected to be on the course site constantly for long, extended periods of time, but occasionally examinations or other course activities may require student presence for extended periods of time.
What is the best way to contact the instructor?
Students will be able to contact the instructor via email and phone.  Each instructor has posted office hours and checks e-mail and voice mail messages at reasonable intervals during the normal Monday through Friday work week.
How do I get technical help?
If you need assistance, contact your instructor or the WSC Help Desk at 375-7107, e-mail
Are there any particular software packages needed that go above and beyond the standard software?
The standard software is Microsoft Office.  Microsoft Office includes Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Multimedia software such as Media Player, QuickTime or RealPlayer and a pdf. file reader software such as Adobe Acrobat Reader may also be necessary.  Faculty may require the use of special software that is bundled with the textbook or the purchase of additional software. 
How do I obtain the textbook?
Books can be ordered by calling (402) 375-4010 or online at  On the website, by selecting the appropriate term, books for a particular class can be viewed.  The bookstore accepts checks and all major credit cards.  Please allow one week for receipt of textbooks after placing the order.
What types of files are acceptable to turn in for assignments?
The file format will be determined by the instructor and the software used.  Sakai will allow the instructor to set acceptable formats.  File formats associated with Microsoft Office are the primary formats accepted. Using Star Office and Open Office file formats are prohibited.
If students upload images or presentations including images, should they be resized and/or compressed?
If you are creating a presentation using images taken with a digital camera, they can be quite large. Usually this should not cause problems, as the Sakai upload limit is 200mb. However, if you are creating a lengthy presentation with multiple images, it is recommended that the images be compressed. This can be done easily with Microsoft Office Picture Manager (open your image file in Picture Manager, pull down the Picture menu, select Compress, select Compress for: Web pages, and click OK) or other image editing software.
What happens if a student is suspected of plagiarism?
Students are expected to exhibit high ethical standards.  Any instances of dishonesty, cheating, plagiarism, acquainting others with examination materials prior to make-up exams or similar behavior will be subject to any and all Wayne State College Policies governing such matters and the decisions of the course instructor in the absence of an applicable policy.  Common practice regarding plagiarism has included a failing grade for the assignment.
What is the expected turnaround time for instructor responses?
The expected turnaround time is dependent upon the focus of the communication.  Typical email messages will be responded to within one business working day.  Returns of assignment and tests may take longer.  Saturdays and Sundays are not considered business working days.
Will I get feedback from the instructor on my performance on assignment, quizzes, test, etc.? 
The Sakai course management software provides the student with a grade book and assignment tools that will aid them in evaluating their performance in the course.  All assignments turned in through the assignment tool can include feedback from the instructor on the student’s performance. Once the students grade is made available the student can access the graded assignment via the assignment tool, reopen the assignment and read any feedback provide by the instructor.  Whenever possible, instructors are encouraged to use a grading rubric and provide comments.
How do I contact other students in the class?
The message tool in Sakai will allow you to email each student and/or the instructor.
Are there any netiquette rules for the forum or chat tool?

Yes.  How student communicate with each other is very important in an online course.  The Netiquette rule described below must be followed to provide a supportive, positive and constructive learning environment.


All Students are expected to:

  • Show respect for the instructor and for other students in the class.
  • Respect the privacy of the instructor and other students.
  • Express differences of opinion in a polite and rational way. Use of offensive, threatening, harassing or hostile language or a confrontational tone is never acceptable.
  • Maintain an environment of constructive criticism when commenting on the work of other students.
  • Avoid bringing up irrelevant topics when involved in group discussions or other collaborative activities.
  • Use mainly lower case in posts or messages with proper capitalization rules.
  • Post only positive or constructive messages.  Email your instructor if you have questions or are experiencing frustrations.

A good way to avoid problems is to compose your postings off-line and reread them before sending them.  Something written in haste may not say what you really think after the heat of the moment has passed.

Are there grading rubrics available so students know exactly how they are graded?
Faculty are encouraged to use grading rubrics whenever possible.  Please contact the instructor about the availability of rubrics for the assignments in the course. 
Which internet browser is best to use?
Sakai works best with Mozilla Firefox. Sakai will work with Internet Explorer. Safari is not recommended, but if you must use it, be sure to use the latest version.
Are there any guidelines to consider when participating in discussion forums?

Yes.  Participation in discussion forums is critical for maximizing the online learning experience.  Students become a part of an online community which interacts, through discussion, to enhance and support the professional development of the group.  Part of the assessment criteria for an online course includes assessing the quality and quantity of the participation in discussion forums.


Some characteristics considered to be part of excellent discussion contributions are outlined below.  Faculty will consider these characteristics when assessing the quality and level of student participation.

  • Submit the initial post(s) early in the session and subsequent responses to the posts of other learners at timely intervals within the duration of the session.  Keep in mind the goal is to have a dynamic discussion that last throughout the entire session.
  • Posts and responses should be thorough and thoughtful.  Just posting an “I agree” or “Good ideas” will not be considered adequate.  Support statements with examples, experiences, or references.  Students are, however, encouraged to be brief, keeping each post or response to one or two short paragraphs.  Keep in mind that fellow learners will be reading and responding to the post.
  • Make certain that all posts and responses address the question, problem, or situation as presented for discussion.  This does not mean you should not extend the topic, but do not stray from the topic.
  • Discussions occur when there is dialogue.  Build upon the posts and responses of other learners to create discussion threads.  Make sure to revisit the discussion forum and respond (if necessary) to what other learners have posted to initial responses.
  • When relevant, add to the discussion by including prior knowledge, work experiences, references, Web sites, resources, etc. (giving credit when appropriate).
  • Contributions to the discussions (posts and responses) should be complete and free of grammatical or structural errors.


The following is a typical grading rubric used for student discussion participation:

Discussion Participation Rubric





Quantity and Timeliness

Does not submit at least one post early in the session and/or does not  respond to other learners at various times during the session

Submits at least one thoughtful post early in the session and at least one response to other learners at various times during the session

Submits two or more thoughtful posts early in the session and more than two responses to other learners at various times during the session

Demonstrates knowledge and understanding of content and applicability to professional practice

Posts and responses show little evidence of knowledge and understanding of course content and applicability to professional practice

Posts and responses show evidence of knowledge and understanding of course content and applicability to professional practice

Posts and responses show evidence of knowledge and understanding of course content and applicability to professional practice and include resources that extend the learning of the community

Generates learning within the community

Posts do not attempt to elicit responses and reflections from other learners and/or responses do not build upon the ideas of other learners to take the discussion deeper

Posts attempt to elicit responses and reflections from other learners and responses build upon the ideas of other learners to take the discussion deeper

Posts elicit responses and reflections from other learners and responses build upon and integrate multiple views from other  learners to take the discussion deeper

Clarity, Netiquette and Grammar/Spelling

Posts long unorganized, unclear or rude contents that may contain multiple netiquette, grammar and/or spelling errors

Communicates in a generally clear, friendly, courteous and helpful manner with some netiquette, grammar and/or spelling errors

Contributes with clear, concise comments formatted in an easy to read style that is free of netiquette, grammar and/or spelling errors

Is there a required writing style for research papers?
Students writing research papers should follow the style guidance of the American Psychological Association (APA).  A simplified set of guidelines are available here.
What happens if an assignment is late?
It is the student’s responsibility to meet class deadlines.  Tardiness in the online environment is essentially the same as for a face-to-face class.  The instructor sets deadlines and penalties for late assignments, if they allow late assignments.
Are due dates/times calculated using the instructor’s or the student’s time zone?
The time zone where the course is based, instructor’s time zone, is used.
Are the course tests and quizzes open book?
Most exams and quizzes are “open book” as the focus is on the application of concepts rather than the memorization of facts.  Exams might be timed or they may be in the form of essay or a project due in a longer period of time.  Exams may, however, be proctored as determined by the instructor.
Do I have to pass each test and quiz to complete the course?
As a general rule course grades are based on the overall student performance in the course. A failing score on test or quiz is merely used as an element of the overall course grade.  The overall course grade must be a “C” or above to be used in the program and the student must maintain and 3.0/4.0 grade point average to maintain eligibility for graduation.
What if I can't get the quiz and test to load?

As soon as possible contact your instructor and provide him/her with the information necessary. Most instructors are understanding when technical difficulties occur as long as a timely effort is made to notify the instructor and to correct the situation.  See “How do I get technical help?”

Can I use different computers to access the course material?
Yes.  Accessing the course is not depended upon the use of the same computer.  However, a restrictive firewall at your place of work could prevent access.  Check with your employer.
Does the type of computer (iPad, notebook, etc.) make a difference in my ability to access the course?
Sakai will work with iPads, but with limitations. You will be able to access and read most files your instructor might post in a site, take tests, and enter text, such as in messages and assignments. But you will not be able to attach files. Again, the latest version of Safari is recommended.
Does connecting to the course through a wireless network cause any problems?
As long as you have a reliable wireless signal, you should not have problems. An unreliable signal can result in problems. If, for example, you are taking a test in Sakai and your wireless signal is lost, even momentarily, your test likely will be submitted incomplete.
Can I start an online course before the beginning of the semester? Can I finish an online course later than the end of the regular semester? 
No.  Online courses begin the first day of each semester.  However, students will have access to the course a few days before classes start; use this time to become familiar with the course web site.  Unless otherwise stated, you must complete all course requirements for an online course by the end of the semester.
Can I work at my own pace or do I need to follow a class schedule?
Online courses are not self-paced courses.  Students follow a syllabus, turn in assignments and projects and take exams and quizzes on dates scheduled for the course by the instructor.
Will I get a chance to evaluate the course instructor?
Yes. However, not every course will be evaluated each semester.
If I have a question or complaint about the instructor, who do I contact?
You should first communicate to the instructor directly. If you have unresolved issues with the instructor you should feel free to contact the MBA Coordinator for grievance procedures.
Will I ever need to be online at a certain time? 
Online MBA courses are asynchronous so you will not have to be online at the same time as your instructor or classmates.
Are the MBA online courses difficult?
The level of difficulty will depend on the student’s background and their comfort with the technology.  Online courses are equal in difficulty to their face-to-face-course equivalents.  Students need good reading comprehension, good computer skill and self-discipline to be successful.
Can I use a program other than Microsoft Office and Word to submit my work?
Students must have access to Microsoft Office and Word to complete writing and other assignments.  Instructors do not have to accept student work that is not completed in Microsoft Office or Word. Some instructors may require that files be converted to and submitted in pdf. format.
Do students have to work in groups?
It is common for instructors to require that students work in online groups.
How do I use the library?
Library resources are available to online students. Start at the WSC Library page.  Several online databases are available so students can search and access articles and reference books at no charge. Hard-copy books are also available and can be shipped to the student.  Phone numbers and email address of librarians to assist with research are also provided.  Some instructors included library as a topic in the forum tool.  This forum is monitored by one of the campus librarians.
I’ve heard that online courses are like correspondence courses and are easier than on-campus courses.  Is that true?
No. The course content of an online class usually is identical to that of a face-to-face class on the same topic.  Some people think the course is even more demanding that a regular face-to-face class because student have to have good reading comprehension, good computer skills, and self-discipline.  When surveyed, students responded that an online course is just as much work as an on-campus course and that it may even take more time to do the actual coursework.  However, they also responded that the convenience of working at home and on their own scheduled was well worth the extra effort.
How will I receive notification if my instructor has to be absent from the course site for extended periods of time due to illness, conference attendance, or other causes?
Please check the announcement section of the course home page for relevant information that affects the delivery of the course.  It is also possible for the instructor to send an email thorough the Sakai message notifying students of their absence.
How long do I need to hang on to my electronic or paper copies of submitted assignments for a course after submitting them?
Once the student has received the course grade and does not have any questions or concerns the materials maybe destroyed.
Will I ever have to come to campus?
Other than the opportunity to attend graduation, students will not be required to come to campus.
Will extra credit opportunities be available?
The student’s grade will be determined by the student’s performance on the tests, quizzes, projects and other activities stated in the syllabus.  Instructors seldom offer extra credit opportunities.
Will I be able to attend graduation? 
All graduate students are invited to attend ceremonies held during December and May.  As the date nears, students will be provided with graduation information.



Wayne State College
Our focus is your future
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Watch us on Youtube
Linked IN