Orientation for Online Learners
Frequently Asked Questions
- Generally speaking, how do online classes work?
- The majority of WKU web-based classes are delivered through Blackboard. Once you register for your course and the semester begins, you will be able to login to Blackboard and view all of your course materials. When you login, you will see links to the Discussion Board, Course Information, Assignments, Grades and more depending on how the instructor chose to design the course. If you're unfamiliar with Blackboard we recommend that you review the Blackboard tutorial to help get you started.
- How much time do online courses require?
- College course rule of thumb: three hours of online time = nine hours of offline work per week. Online courses take at least the same amount of time as face-to-face classes. The convenience of being able to choose when you spend those hours is the best part, but time is still a factor!
- How do I find online course listings so I can sign up?
- To register for courses, check your schedule, see your grades or transcript, etc. log in to TopNet. Click on "Student Services" and select the option you want. You will need your WKU ID number and PIN to log in to TopNet. If you are unsure about your WKU ID number, PIN, or how to set up your TopNet account visit the TopNet FAQ. Log-in help is also available on the TopNet log-in page.
- When can I start a web-based course?
- Web based courses are delivered in two ways: semester-based web (WKU Online) and on demand (WKU On Demand). WKU Online courses follow the same start and end dates as face-to-face classes, allowing 10 starting points during the academic year. These include: Winter Term, Spring (first and second bi-term), Summer (5 starting points) and Fall (first and second bi-term). Registration dates and most up-to-date start/end dates are availble in the Academic Calendar. On Demand web courses can be started any day of the year, finished in as little as 7 weeks or you may take up to nine months to complete the course.
- Can I withdraw from a web-based course?
- Yes, you may withdraw from a web-based course. Check the Academic Calendar for deadlines for registering and dropping courses.Please remember, if you are using financial aid to cover educational expenses, your award was based on your enrollment status (full-time/half-time). Dropping below this status could effect future financial aid eligibility.
- Do I have to be admitted to WKU to take web-based courses?
- Yes, you must be admitted to WKU prior to enrolling in any university course, except those offered through WKU On Demand. For admission criteria visit www.wku.edu/admissions. After admission, you may register for courses using TopNet . Registration for on demand courses is handled by WKU On Demand.
- Is it possible to complete a degree completely online?
- Yes. WKU now offers more than 80 fully online degree and certificate programs, including associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees. Follow the "Online Degrees" link on the top menu of this page for the most up-to-date information.
- Which master's degrees are available completely online?
- WKU has a great selection of online graduate degrees and certificates. The most up to date information can be found at http://www.wku.edu/online/online-programs.php
- Is there a time limit for degree completion?
- Courses to be used as part of a Masters, Certificate, or Specialist program should be no older than six years at the time of graduation. Courses older than six years may be counted toward program requirements if approved by the program director, college Dean, and the Dean of the Graduate School. Students should check with their advisors to determine whether they are eligible to seek approval for an exception to the course currency policy.
- Can I transfer previously earned graduate credits to my WKU master's program?
- A maximum of twelve (12) semester hours of graduate credit earned at other institutions
or programs at WKU may be accepted toward meeting course requirements for the graduate
program with advisor approval.
The following requirements must be met:
• Credit(s) must have been earned at an accredited graduate institution
• Course work to be transferred must be properly designated as having been taken for graduate credit
• The grade point average must be at least 3.0 (4.0 scale) on all graduate course work appearing on the transcript before specific courses can be transferred. Additionally, the courses to be transferred must carry a grade of B or better
• Credits must have been earned within the six-year time limit for degree completion (or the student must file for an exception to the course currency policy, which is subject to approval)
• Any course(s) to be transferred must be appropriate for degree completion and approved by the program advisor
• At least 12 hours in the major area must be taken at WKU
- Where can I find graduate policies and procedures?
- The Graduate Catalog contains information regarding curriculum, policies, and procedures for graduate students. The catalog can be accessed at www.wku.edu/graduate.
- Do I have to take a comprehensive exam to receive my degree?
- All graduate degree programs require that either a written or an oral examination be satisfactorily completed, or that an approved capstone course be successfully completed. Contact your academic department for details.
- Am I required to submit a Program of Study?
- Yes. A Program of Study is your individualized plan of study, detailing all courses required by the academic program for degree completion. You will work with your advisor to complete this form and submit it to the Graduate School for approval. The Program of Study form can be downloaded at www.wku.edu/graduate/documents and must be submitted prior to the completion of 12 credit hours.
- Where can I find more information?
- The Graduate School is the primary source for information regarding required forms and graduate policies. Visit their website at www.wku.edu/graduate or view their FAQ page.
- Will financial aid cover the cost of courses?
- Yes, WKU's web-based courses are financial aid eligible. Your award amount is based on several factors, and may or may not cover the entire cost of the term. On demand courses are subject to completion restrictions - federal financial aid requires that the course be completed within the term of enrollment. Additional information can be found at www.wku.edu/online/financial-aid.php or by contacting the Office of Financial Assistance at (270) 745-2755 or visit them online.
- How do I apply for financial aid?
- Your first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Even if you doubt your eligibility, apply. Approximately 90% of those who apply qualify for some form of aid. A step-by-step guide through the application process can be found at https://www.wku.edu/financialaid/applyfa.php. You can also visit www.wku.edu/online/financial-aid.php for more information on how to get started.
- How much does it cost?
- Tuition and fee information is available here. If you are not admitted to WKU and wish to take a class through WKU On Demand, payment is required upon registration. If you are a WKU student, The Office of the Bursar will bill you for the courses you wish to take. For a complete overview of tuition rates and how they are calculated, as well as current per credit hour rates, visit http://www.wku.edu/online/tuition.php
- What are the different types of tuition payment options available?
- Tuition payment options can be found at the Office of the Bursar website.
- Do I need advisement?
- Yes, you should check with your academic advisor about the course you wish to enroll in.
- Why do I need advisement?
- To make sure that the course you wish to enroll in will fit in your degree program and that you meet the prerequisites for the course.
- How do I get advised?
- Contact the departmental office where your major is located to have an advisor assigned. If your major is undeclared you may visit Academic Advising or call (270) 745-5065.
- Which courses are required for my major?
- Course requirements for all majors are located in WKU's undergraduate and graduate catalogs. These can be found at www.wku.edu/registrar. However, you should still work with your advisor to make sure that the course you wish to enroll in meets graduation requirements and professional/personal goals. Your advisor will also help keep you on track by identifying ways to reduce overall number of hours required (for example, maybe one of your major courses can also be used to meet a colonnade requirement), and monitoring progress toward overall university requirements that fall outside your degree program.
- What do I have to do if I have an Orientation Hold (TOP Hold) and I'm a distance learner?
- If you are a degree-seeking distance learner, you are eligible to complete the Distance Learning Topper Orientation Program (DL TOP) and you are not required to come to campus. Once you complete DL TOP, your TOP hold will be lifted and you will be assigned an advisor.
- Do distance learners have access to university resources/services?
- Yes, as a WKU student you have access to a variety of services designed to help you succeed at a distance, including WKU Library resources, Online Tutoring, Academic Advising, Career Services, Testing, and much more. These services can be accessed through the Student Resource Portal at www.wku.edu/online/srp
- Where do I get my textbooks?
- Textbooks for web courses are available at the WKU Store. You may order online at www.wkustore.com or by calling (270) 745-2466 or 800-444-5155.
- Where can I take my examinations?
- Some instructors require that examinations for web-based courses be taken at a proctored site. This can be a college, university, community college or even a local library. For information and help in setting up a proctored exam or finding other testing locations visit the DELO Testing Center.
- How do I use the Library?
- You can go to the Library website and search the Local Catalog or Remote Libraries and databases. To look for your patron information you will use your WKU ID Number and your password (It’s your email password). through the Student Resource Portal at www.wku.edu/online/srp
- How do I access Blackboard, myWKU and my student email account?
- Details for initial access to your WKU accounts can be found at http://www.wku.edu/online/orientation-ug/account.php
- How do I get my WKU ID number and PIN to use with TopNet? (TopNet contains student information, course registration, transcripts, financial aid notification, etc.)
- Your WKU ID number was assigned to you as soon as you applied to WKU. To look up your
WKU ID number go to the TopNet log in page and click on "wku ID lookup" link. This will allow you to find out
what your ID number is. Write this down! It will be used for nearly all transactions
on campus instead of social security numbers.
The first time you log in to TopNet you will use your WKU ID number and your PIN will be the last 6 digits of your social security number. You will immediately be asked to establish a new PIN number. It will need to be 6 digits. Be sure to pick something you will remember. If you need additional help setting up your TopNet account, you can call the IT Dept. Helpdesk at (270) 745-7000.
Now that you have set up your TopNet and Webmail accounts, you may want to log in to Blackboard using your Webmail log in and password to start familiarizing yourself with the Blackboard learning environment.
- Why do I need a WKU email account?
- Most communication with instructors, advisors and other staff will be delivered to your WKU student email account. It's important to check your email at least 4 days each week. If you have another primary email you use, you may consider forwarding your student email to your primary account for ease of access.
- What type of software do I need to take online classes?
- Internet access via cable, broadband, or DSL is recommended. These options provide access to courses much faster and will allow for smoother viewing of videos if your instructor uses them in your course.
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,