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University of South Dakota

USD Online and Off-Campus Education



Online Learning Readiness Check


How do online courses work at USD?

Our online courses are designed to bring the convenience of anytime/anywhere learning to students all across the globe.  They are meant to as closely represent the face-to-face experience as the technology and modality allows, while doing so in an asynchronous, yet structured manner.  To achieve this, many courses utilize the following:

  • Live/recorded lectures
  • Weekly office hours
  • Interactive technologies
  • Video and audio content
  • Interactive discussions and group activities

That said, here are a few misconceptions about online courses that we want to immediately address:

  • USD's online courses are NOT self-paced courses.  In most cases, you will be working off of a week-to-week schedule and must complete activities by the end of the week.  Failure to do so will likely result in losing points.  The convenience of our online courses is that you do not need to be at a specific location at a specific time to take them.  Please refer to your course's syllabus for details.
  • USD's online courses are NOT easier than face-to-face courses.  Instructors are expected to provide the same level of academic rigor in their online courses as they would in their face-to-face courses.  In fact, many online courses have the exact same assessments used in the face-to-face version of the course, they may just be facilitated in a different manner.
  • You will NOT spend less time taking online courses at USD.  The South Dakota Board of Regents--which oversees all of the public higher education institutions in the state of South Dakota--defines a credit hour as one hour of in-class activities and two hours of out-of-class activities, regardless of modality.  So, if you are taking a three-credit-hour course, you should expect to commit at least nine hours per week to the course.

Each online course at USD goes through a rigorous quality assurance review process prior to being offered.  Each course is checked against over thirty specific standards originally developed by an organization called Quality Matters, "a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses and online components."

So, are you ready to take an online course?  Click "Continue" to find out...

Continue ONLY when finished. You will be unable to return or change your answers.