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Most Classes Begin Jun 24
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What is a Live Online course?

Live Online courses are courses that take place over the internet in real time. Live Online courses are held on Zoom, a videoconferencing platform, at regularly scheduled times. Instructors lecture, project slides, engage students in discussion, and respond to questions just as they would in an on-campus class. Most instructors supplement these live sessions with readings, handouts, assignments, and/or online discussions, which are posted in a separate online platform called Canvas.

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Who are the instructors?

The instructors for Continuing Studies Live Online courses are the same lecturers who have taught traditional Continuing Studies courses held on the historic Stanford University campus. They are all experts in their field and experienced teachers.

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

In a typical Live Online course, students join the Zoom classroom at the scheduled class time. Instructors lecture, share slides and other resources, engage students in discussion, and respond to questions just like they would in a traditional classroom environment. Between class sessions, students complete readings and assignments, and may engage in online discussions in Canvas as assigned by the instructor. Most class sessions are two to three hours long; please check the individual course description for the schedule of class meetings.

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How long is each course?

Courses vary in length; some will correspond to the traditional ten weeks of Stanford's quarter system, while others will have fewer sessions.

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What kind of time commitment is required?

The time commitment for a Live Online course varies from course to course. In addition to the time spent in the live Zoom sessions, some courses require additional work such as readings or completing assignments that could take a few hours each week. Please review the syllabus and course description for information for a specific course.

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Will the Live Online class sessions be recorded for those who can’t attend at the regularly scheduled time?

Most Live Online class sessions will be recorded, but note that some interactive elements may not be included in the recording. If a course will not be recorded at all there will be note on the individual course description page on our website.

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What are the prerequisites for taking a course?

There are no prerequisites for Stanford Continuing Studies courses other than a healthy curiosity about the subject of the course and a willingness to participate!

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Must I be a Stanford graduate 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, and we do not sponsor visas.

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Do I need to purchase course materials?

Yes. Some courses list required or recommended texts, including ISBN numbers. 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. Other courses may require certain materials or equipment, such as art or photography courses. The list of items to purchase is provided to students in advance of the start of the course and is usually included on the syllabus.

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Are the courses graded?

Students will have three grading options. Most courses can be taken for 1) no grade, 2) a letter grade, or 3) credit/no credit. (See the course pages for any grade restrictions). Please visit the Credits & Grades page for more details about choosing the grading option that is 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 this type of 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 Transcripts page for more details on transcripts.

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What is your refund policy?

Our refund policy allows students an opportunity to try the Live Online format and decide if it is a good fit. We believe most students will discover that the Live Online format can be just as enriching and engaging as an on-campus class. However, we understand that online learning is not for everyone. Note your course’s drop deadline, and as long as you drop by that date you will be issued a full tuition refund. Please visit the Drops & Refunds page of our website.

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How do I register for a Live Online course?

All our courses use a simple online registration process. 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 that have a published enrollment limit 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 a virtual course?

You will need a computer or device with an up-to-date browser and an internet connection. More detailed system requirements can be found below.

Zoom (videoconferencing tool) Requirements:

Canvas Requirements:

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Whom should I contact if I have additional questions?

Please email continuingstudies@stanford.edu with any questions.
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