Mercy College was one of the first in New York State to venture into teaching and learning via the Internet and currently uses Blackboard as its learning management system. The College has offered online courses since 1991 with graduate and undergraduate students occupying 4,000 seats in almost 360 separate Web-based courses each semester. Mercy Online offers more than forty undergraduate and graduate degree programs entirely online, each having received the approval of the New York State Education Department and the Middle States Association, the College’s regional accrediting agency. See https://www.mercy.edu/students for a current listing of online degree programs. In addition, students may complete the General Education requirements toward all Mercy College degrees through Mercy Online.
The Idea of Online Learning
Quality learning is accessible, flexible and convenient with Internet access. Web-based courses through Mercy Online are equivalent to their on-site counterparts. Students receive the same high-quality instruction as they would in the classroom — only delivered online. Studies may be completed wherever students have broadband access to the Internet. Instructors expect regular participation and contact from online students. Online learning courses typically contain web pages of course content and require asynchronous online discussion. Faculty moderate discussions and provide questions that direct student participation in written and research assignments that are similar to those given on campus. In addition, real time chat, slide presentations, audio and video often are added to a course to enhance the learning experience. Students find that most courses use text-books, purchased through the online bookstore. Mercy Online provides a myriad of supplementary student service including online tutorials, tutoring in various subject areas, academic advising, personal counseling and career counseling.
Making the Choice
The most successful Mercy Online students are self-directed and self-motivated. They understand that taking an online course is convenient, but no less challenging or less rigorous than the same course taught in the classroom. Students must take an honest look at their past performance and determine if they have the potential to succeed in Mercy Online. Those students who are strong and self-motivated may be ready to participate in an intensive and quality learning environment.
At minimum, students enrolling in online courses must have access to a computer, and basic computer skills that include using a word processor, the Internet and email. Specific programs may require additional skills. Broadband Internet access (cable, DSL, FiOS) and recent versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox are required. Students must have their own Internet Service Provider. While not required, a sound card, web camera and speakers or headphones are recommended.
Guidelines for Online Participation
Before taking any online courses, Mercy Online students should complete an Online Student Orientation at the following link: www.mercy.edu/blackboard-orientation. For each course, students are expected to participate no less than three times each week. (For accelerated programs, students are expected to participate more frequently.) Participation includes reading course material, contributing to discussions, completing assignments, etc. Most courses require students to compose and post at least four substantive messages per week, more for accelerated programs. Some courses may have additional requirements. Failure to meet these requirements could affect the final grade for the course.
Exams and Testing
Professors have different exam, testing and grading requirements for their courses. Courses may require a visit to a Mercy College campus for proctored midterm or final exams. Non-regional students are required to identify proctors for these exams. Proctors must be approved by Mercy Online, and it is the responsibility of the student to reimburse proctors for their services. Detailed information about the exam process can be found on the Mercy Online website. For additional information about Online Learning, please contact Mercy Online at 914-674-7521 or visit our website at www.mercy.edu/mercyonline.