Student FAQ

Student FAQ

Why take an online course?

Online courses work well for students who are self-directed but may have busy schedules or limited time to attend traditional on-campus courses. To succeed in an online course, you will need regular access to a computer and reliable internet. You will also need to be prepared to dedicate the same amount of time to the course as you would an on-campus course.

What kinds of courses and degrees are available to take online?

There is a wide variety of courses that are offered online. OTC Online offers degrees and certificate programs that can be completed with all online classes. For more information on what degrees we offer, visit Online Degrees & Certificates pages on the OTC website.   To view the online course schedule visit the class schedule page and click on the OTC online course schedule link. 

What is an online course?

An online course is delivered entirely online and does not require that you attend a traditional on-campus class. An online course gives you the freedom to complete work on your own time, however you will be required to submit coursework at dates and times specified by your instructors.

What is Blackboard?

Think of Blackboard as your online classroom space. Blackboard is where you will get your lessons and homework, also you will be able to interact with other students in your course through discussion boards.  Grades are also posted on Blackboard so you can keep up with your progress. There are also other resources in Blackboard to help you to achieve your learning objectives.

Is an online course easier than a seated course?

Because you don't visit an on-campus classroom doesn't mean that an online course is easier. Students will need  to possess strong self-discipline and time-managements skills, and to be successful, you must be willing to spend as much time working in an online course as you would in an on-campus course. Course objectives and content will be the same whether you take an online or on-campus course.

What do students like about an online course?

Many students like the flexibility that online learning provides. For instance, you are able to do your coursework at a time that is convenient for you, especially if you are working or have other family or personal obligations.

What do students not like about an online course?

Some students miss the face to face interaction with instructors and other students; however, new online audio and video tools in Blackboard provide a richer online learning experience than previously possible. There are deadlines in an online class, but you are able to complete coursework at a time that is convenient for you in order to meet these deadlines. Students who are not self-motivated or lack good time-management skills can find online classes to be challenging.

How can I use the college library if I'm not on campus?

As an online student you have access to the library's databases from home. To access our databases, just log into your MyOTC portal account and click on the gray Resources tab. Here you will find a complete listing of our databases. If you need help, please contact librarian, Tracy Ponder, at 417-447-8173 or

What are the computer requirements for an online course?

The current computer requirements for an online course can be found at If you are unsure whether your computer is sufficient for an online course, please call us at 417-447-8200.

If I take an online course, do I ever have to come to campus?

OTC offers a number of extra-curricular activities for students (plays, job fairs, conferences, etc.) and we welcome you to campus any time; however, the only reason you will need to come to campus for an online course would be to take a proctored exam. If you do not live near campus, you can take your proctored exam at an approved off-campus location. We have more information available on our website for approved off-campus locations. If you are unsure of what proctoring means we have a video explaining it on our Proctored Exam Requirement Page.

What does proctoring mean?

Proctoring is a test that you will take either on campus or at an approved off-campus location. One proctored exam is required for all online courses, except for math which requires all tests to be proctored. On-campus testing services is where you will take your proctored exam. Examples of off-campus proctoring locations are colleges or universities, high schools, or public libraries. If you live in Missouri we have a document on our site that lists approved proctoring sites by county.

How can I know what materials (books, access codes, software, additional technology, etc.) I need for an online course?

Your textbook information can be found under your "AccessOTC" tab and clicking on "My Booklist."  Other materials you will need may be included with your book (such as a software access code) or your instructor will provide additional information regarding what is required for your course. If you have specific questions related to what materials are required for your classes, it is advisable to contact your instructor prior to the start of the course.

How should I manage my time with an online course?

Managing time is key in being successful in an online course. Once you get behind, it is really hard to catch up. Setting time in your schedule to just work on your course with as few distractions as possible is important.

Do I have to be in the online course at specific times or days?

You do not have to access your online course at any specific time or day; however, you will have multiple deadlines and will have to access your course multiple times a week. Occasionally Blackboard will be down for maintenance and you will not be able to access your course. You will be notified by email whenever OTC plans on conducting maintenance to Blackboard. Most of the time you will have access to your course 24/7.

What kind of assignments will I be given in an online course?

Assignments you will receive will depend on the courses your are taking. For example, Communications courses may require you to record a speech. English course may require you to submit a number of written assignments.  The course work in an online course will be similar to assignments an on-campus course. Also, may be asked to participate in a class discussion through the "Discussion Board." Online quizzes and exams may also be required in your class.

What's the difference in an online course and seated course?

Obviously the big difference between an online and a seated course is you do not have to attend a classroom for learning or assignments. Another difference is that you will be learning most of the material on your own. Don't let that discourage you though as you can always ask your fellow classmates or instructor for help. When you come to a seated course your instructor has a lesson and assignment set for that time. Online courses typically go week by week with tasks you are supposed to do on your own time within a week.

What are the most important things I can do to be successful in an online course?

One of the most important things you can do to be successful in an online course is to manage your time effectively. Try not to fall behind on your assignments and make sure to allow yourself enough time to do your assigned work. Self-discipline and motivation are also keys to success.

What resources do I have to help me if I am having trouble with my course?

There are a number of resources available if you are having trouble with a course. You should contact your instructor by e-mail. Also you can interact with your fellow classmates through the discussion board or through e-mail. You will also have a "Resources" link on your site with options depending on what course you are taking. If you are located near campus you can get help from the Tutoring and Learning Center on the Springfield or Richwood Valley campus.

How does an online public speaking course work?

With an online public speaking course you will need to have the ability to record your speeches so that they can be submitted and viewed by the instructor and/or other classmates. Your instructor will provide you with details regarding this requirement.

How do I complete work in an online course with a lab such as a Biology course?

In addition to your regular coursework which includes discussions, assignments, test and quizzes, many science courses require lab components. Each week you may participate in a lab experience which typically requires a weekly lab report or assignment. Labs can range from virtual labs, where you log into an external site and complete the assigned task or case studies, to other labs that require you to investigate your surroundings.

I need to take a math course. How do I complete my math assignments online?

Math courses have a software program outside of Blackboard where most of your work will be done. This software will be included in your textbook purchase with an access code or the instructor will  provide the code for you. This software is used for teaching you lessons and doing homework. All math exams are proctored.

How do I interact with other students in an online course?

You can interact with other students in a couple of ways. There is a "Discussion Board" link where you can ask questions or reply to other students questions or comments. The other way you can interact with them is through e-mail where you can have more one-on-one interaction as opposed to the discussion board where all classmates can view your posts.

What is a hybrid course?

A hybrid course is an online course combined with an on-campus course. Participation online and in-person would be dictated by the course and instructor.