Accelerated online courses are “condensed” courses that are shorter in length than regular semester long courses. Accelerated courses in the Bachelor’s Programs are 8 and 12 weeks long. Typically, you will enroll in two courses during the first 8 weeks and two courses in the second eight weeks for the fall and spring terms. In the summer term, your online courses will be 12 weeks in length. There are no upper division online courses offered in the two 6 week sessions during the summer (Summer A and Summer B).
It is important to note that the amount of coursework covered in accelerated courses is the same as that found in the semester long courses. Since accelerated courses contain the same learning outcomes and the same amount of coursework as the semester courses, that means that students expected to complete the same amount of coursework in half the time.
If you take accelerated courses five times a year, you’ve equaled a typical year of courses taken in a traditional year (10 courses), while only having to concentrate on two courses at a time.
Before enrolling in accelerated courses, take a moment to consider whether this type of online education is appropriate for you. To help you decide if accelerated online degree programs are right for you, we have compiled a checklist of advice and warnings gathered from online students and research.
Consider these factors:
- Become oriented with Blackboard – MDC’s learning platform. Please consider enrolling in the Virtual College online orientation. This will ensure that you spend less time trying to figure out the environment, and more time concentrating on learning your course content. The Virtual College offers a no fee, no credit online orientation for all new students.
- Get your textbooks. There's no need to wait for the first day of class to get your textbook and start reading. Many online courses rely heavily on reading assignments and the amount of reading you are expected to do can mount up quickly.
- You have to make some sacrifice. The pace of an accelerated course is intense. You have a short time in which you must get your assignments done. Therefore, you may need to reduce time spent with friends and family, watching television, or participating in other regular activities. Remember, you are making a sacrifice so that you can get the most out the learning experience. More importantly, you are making a sacrifice in order to secure a better future. The sacrifice is temporary.
- Stay Current! If you don’t have the structure of showing up to class at a specific time, in a specific location it can be difficult to keep up with course work. If you are prone to procrastination an online course will be a challenge for you. Do what you can to keep up with reading and assignments. Review your calendar frequently to make sure you are working toward exams and major projects and papers in advance of their due dates. It is ultimately your responsibility to stay current with the course and ready to move forward. Exercise self-discipline and be self-motivated.
- Check in with the course site every day. Your instructor or the course syllabus may only require that you check in once per week for course participation, or that checking in three times during the week is advised. Check in every day. A daily check-in should include checking course announcements and browsing the latest discussion boards for new posts.
- Maintain a weekly checklist. And mark things off as they are completed. You may find a checklist or a weekly “to-do” list within each week’s lesson or unit in some courses. If so, print it out and keep it close for quick reference. Include assignments as well as other tasks associated with being a student in the course.
- Ask questions as they come up. Don't wait. Consider all of the resources available to you that might be able to answer your question, whatever it might be. Your instructor will be a great source of information, as well as your classmates. Look for "course questions" discussion area in your course set up for students to ask and answer each other’s questions. Who else can help you? Try the help desk, librarian, your academic advisor and career counselor. Check the list of available resources provided in the “help & support” area of your course. If you are still not sure whom to ask, start with your instructor, who may be able to point you in the right direction.
- Preview the upcoming unit. Check to see when each unit is available. You may be able to see the entire course within the course site from the first day, or the course may be scheduled so that each unit is released at the beginning of the week. Take a quick look to make sure you are aware of upcoming assignments and activities.
- Review your degree plan. Check-in with your larger plan and see where you are and what you've accomplished so far. It can be very motivating to acknowledge milestones, such as finishing that first course, hitting the halfway point, and preparing for the last course in your program.
- Prep for the next course. If you have a break in between terms, this is an ideal time to get ready for the next course. The cycle continues.