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Courses

ONLINE COURSES FAQS and TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

 

What is an online course?

An online course is a course in which learning and student participation takes place over the Internet. Through an online platform called Canvas, students connect to an environment that includes weekly lessons and assignments, as well as discussion boards and optional video meetings so students can interact with each other and with the instructor.

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Who are the instructors?

The instructors for Continuing Studies Online Courses are often the same lecturers who teach traditional Continuing Studies courses held on the Stanford campus. They are all experts in their field and experienced teachers.

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What is a typical online course like? And how will I interact with classmates and instructors?

In a typical course, students get a series of weekly lessons that include components such as carefully selected readings, video lectures by the instructor, discussion points, and assignments. Using online discussion boards and optional video meetings, students receive feedback from the instructor, as well as have substantive discussion with their peers about the materials and themes of the course.

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How long is each course?

Online courses vary in length; some will correspond to the traditional ten weeks of Stanford's quarter system, while others will adopt a five or six-week format.

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What kind of time commitment is required?

On average, each course requires at least four to six hours a week. This includes weekly readings, completing assignments, watching video lectures, and participating in online class discussions.

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How often will the class meet online? Are there designated times to participate online?

The courses are asynchronous so you can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. However, there's one exception: Instructors schedule a video meeting at a specified time during the week.  It is not mandatory that students participate in the video sessions. However, this is a good time to ask questions and interact directly with the instructor.

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What are the prerequisites for taking a course?

There are no prerequisites for the courses currently being offered. All the courses require is a healthy curiosity about the subject of the course, and a willingness to participate in the class discussions!

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Must I be a graduate of Stanford in order to take a course?

No, these courses are open to the general public, regardless of where you live. However, students must hold a high school diploma, or the equivalent, in order to register. No special visas are necessary for international students.

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Do I need to purchase course materials?

Yes. After you register for a course, you will receive a list of the required texts, including ISBN numbers, along with links to online vendors where the texts can be purchased. Even if you already own a particular book, we ask that you ensure that you have the same edition as your classmates to facilitate page referencing, reading assignments, and discussion.

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Are the courses graded?

Students will have three grading options. The online courses can be taken for 1) a letter grade, 2) credit/no credit, or 3) no grade. Please visit the Credits & Grades page for more details about choosing the grading option that’s right for you. 

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Can I earn a degree or credit toward a degree from this course?

Stanford Continuing Studies courses can be taken for a grade and credit, but that credit cannot be applied toward a Stanford degree. It may be possible to apply that credit toward a degree program at another college or university, depending on that institution's academic policies. 

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Can I receive a proof of completion for my course?

Proof of completion can only be provided if a student takes a course for Credit or a Letter grade. Upon request, Stanford Continuing Studies can provide students with either official or unofficial transcripts listing all completed Continuing Studies courses. The first five (5) transcripts are provided free of charge. Transcript requests must be received in writing. Please see the Continuing Studies Transcripts page for more details on transcripts.

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What is your refund policy?

In order to be granted a full tuition refund, students must drop the course online or by emailing the Continuing Studies office, by 5:00 pm on the first Thursday of the course. A 50% refund is available if you drop the course by 5:00 pm on the Tuesday of week 2. The registration fee and any applicable course fees are non-refundable. You may sign into your Student Login to drop a course and receive an automatic refund. Faxes (650-725-4248) and emails are also accepted. 

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How do I register for an online course?

You can register for an online course the same way you would register for any Stanford Continuing Studies course. Visit our Registration page for full details.

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If my course does not begin for several weeks, do I need to enroll now?

No. You can enroll at any time before the course begins. However, please be aware that many Continuing Studies courses fill to capacity well before the start date, so early registration is encouraged.

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What kind of computer equipment do I need in order to take an online course?

Canvas Requirements:

Operating Systems: Windows 7 and newer, Mac OSX 10.6 and newer, Linux - chromeOS.
Browsers: You must update to the newest version of whatever browser you are using. We recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Safari, beta versions of browsers are not supported and Internet Explorer is problematic. Please make sure that your web browser has JavaScript and cookies enabled.

Zoom (video-meeting tool) requirements:
https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362023-System-Requirements-for-PC-and-Mac
 

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Who should I contact if I have additional questions?

Please email continuingstudies@stanford.edu or call (650) 725-2650 with any questions.
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