Academic FAQ

How do the classes work?

Each course is divided into weekly modules. Each week you will complete an online instruction unit, reading assignment, participate in the forum discussion, and either write a paper or work on an individual or group project. You must complete all assignments during the assigned week, before the class moves on to the next module.

How does the asynchronous forum work?

Each week, your class will include a series of discussion questions in an online forum. Unlike a scheduled online chat, the asynchronous design of JIU courses allows you to post your thoughts at a time convenient for you. You must participate during the week and comment on responses from your classmates. Your faculty member will guide the class discussion.

Do I have to log in at certain times or a specific number of times each week?

No, you may log in any time you like, and as many or as few times each week as you find necessary to complete your assignments within the time allotted for the module.

Does JIU use learning teams in each class?

Specific learning teams are not assigned in JIU degree programs. While you will complete some assignments as group projects, those groups will change with each class. This provides you with the opportunity to work with an international group of classmates, each bringing their unique backgrounds to your educational experience.

Can I just take one class?

Yes, you’re welcome to take a single course or series of courses via an Individual Course Program enrollment. As JIU is a regionally accredited institution, the courses you take here are easily transferred to other accredited universities and the courses credits you earn may be applied toward a degree program at any time. 

How much time will I spend each week on my class?

Each course requires a manageable workload for students and faculty so that students have enough time to demonstrate competencies and faculty members have enough time to assess students’ competencies.  Successful students report that they spend the range of hours studying per week listed below.  (Note: JIU employs a competency-based learning model, so the time that it takes to demonstrate competency will vary from one student to the next.)

  • Undergraduate:
    • 100-200 Courses: 6-9 Hours Per Week
    • 300-400 Courses: 9-12 Hours Per Week
  • Masters:
    • 500-600 Courses: 12-15 Hours Per Week
  • Doctorate:
    • 700-800 Courses: 16-19 Hours Per Week
    • Doctoral Mentoring Courses: 6-9 Hours Per Week

These numbers includes all the time for each module, including completing course reading assignments, doing research and working on that week’s project.

How does JIU define a week of instructional time?

JIU defines a week of instructional time as a consecutive seven-day period, Sunday through Saturday, in which at least one day of regularly scheduled instruction, examination or study for final examinations occurs. JIU courses are offered exclusively online in instructor-facilitated, eight-week formats. Courses begin the first Sunday of each month, twelve months a year (except doctorate program which enrolls students 6 times a year, with courses then beginning every month). Orientation, counseling, vacation or homework is excluded when calculating the number of weeks of instructional time.

How does JIU define a term (semester)?

JIU uses the semester standard which is equivalent to 30 clock hours of instruction per 3 credit course to determine the amount of financial aid earned by students.  The semester standard also identifies that the full-time equivalent for undergraduate programs are 12 credit hours in a 16-week period.  JIU combines two 8-week course periods into one 16-week term.  Undergraduate students attending at a full-time status would take 6 credits (2 classes) in each 8-week course period. Terms for all graduate programs are also 16 weeks in length and contain two consecutive 8-week course periods.

For more information on JIU Policies and Procedures, click here for the Student Handbook.

I already have my degree. Why should I take a certificate program?

A certificate will expand your knowledge about a specific topic. Maybe you want to learn the latest about the field you’re in, or perhaps you want to study something entirely different. A certificate program gives you the opportunity to focus on one area without having to take a series of unrelated courses.

What if I want to get my degree later? Will the certificate program classes count?

All courses within the certificate programs can be applied toward a JIU degree at any time.

How long will it take for me to complete my certificate?

The length of your participation depends on the certificate you choose. Each course in the certificate program typically is eight weeks long.

How will JIU Student Success Data add value to my degree?

  • The report is aligned to best practices as described by multiple professional and educational organizations, thus ensuring that you will develop real-world skills valued by practicing professionals.  You will be prepared for life-long professional success.
  • You will have the ability to track progress in specific competencies across your entire degree.  You will know what skill areas present opportunities for growth, thus preparing you to be effective and efficient as a professional – ready to create value for your employer. 
  • At graduation, you will be one step ahead of the competition with more than just a degree – you will have a complete package that truly displays your hard work, dedication and performance.

In each course, you are given more than just a letter grade.  Your ability to meet course objectives on a basic, developing, proficient or advanced scale, along with your performance in 19 unique workplace competency areas, will be assessed in each class.  Your resulting Student Success Data will give you a more well-rounded view of what you have learned in your class – identifying areas you have excelled in and areas that might need additional attention.