Frequently Asked Questions
School of Continuing and Professional Studies
- What kind of equipment do I need to take a Chatham distance learning course?
- Are these programs accredited?
- How much time will this take each week?
- How many credits can I take each semester?
- What happens if I can't complete a course?
- Is there technical support available? How do I access it?
- What is the Student Success Center?
- I am new to this. How do I figure out how to learn in an online setting?
- How do I know which classes to take? Am I doing this the right way?
- What technology accounts do I receive as a Chatham distance learning student?
- Will I have access to the library as a distance student? How can I use the library?
- Do distance learning students have access to career development services?
- Will I be able to work toward a distance learning degree despite my disability?
- What is a typical online class like?
- Do I have to come on campus at all?
- Where do I get my books? How much do they cost?
- How do I add or drop a course after I've already registered?
- When will classes be listed for the upcoming semester? Where can I find the list?
- Can I use the Chatham campus facilities as an online student? May I get an ID?
Access to a computer (PC or Mac) and the Internet is required for all Chatham distance learning courses. The general minimum requirements are:
- Internet access: We recommend a minimum modem connection speed of 56kbps or better.
- Web browser: Some course components will only be available via the course website. You will need a web browser to view them. We recommend Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari
- Portable Document Files (PDFs): Some course documents may be presented in a PDF format. To open these documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or other pdf document reader. (Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
- Word Processing: You will need a word processing package that can save files in Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007, rich text format (.rtf), or a compatible format.
Are these programs accredited?
The University is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Each of the Nursing programs (RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Master of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
How much time will this take each week?
The number of credits for each course is related to the amount of study required each week. A seven-week 3-credit course requires about 3 to 6 hours of online study per week for 7 weeks, plus time for reading and completing assignments. However, the decision when, where, and how to fit that study into your schedule is made at your discretion.
How many credits can I take each semester?
You may register for a maximum of 12 credits per semester, or 4 courses. However, it is advised to take 6 credits per semester, or 2 courses, if you are employed full-time. It is mandatory for first-semester students to enroll for a maximum of 6 credits per semester, or 2 courses.
What happens if I can't complete a course?
There are a number of options. With the instructor's written permission you may request a grade of Incomplete ("I"). With an Incomplete you will be required to finish and submit the coursework so that a grade may be assigned within four calendar weeks from the end of the course.
You may also choose to withdraw from a course and receive the grade of "W" on your records. With a Withdrawal you are not immediately responsible for completing the coursework but must retake the course in order for it to be applied to your degree.
Is there technical support available? How do I access it?
When working with any form of technology, like our online course software Moodle, it is important to realize that you may occasionally encounter some type of technical trouble. If you are having technical problems accessing or using Moodle, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk immediately by phone or email. The Help Desk is available Mondays - Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. They may be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 412-365-1112.
*Note*: We do not provide technical support for your personal computer or internet connection.
What is the Student Success Center?
The Student Success Center is where you will find helpful information about student services through the Chatham College for Continuing and Professional Studies and other Chatham University resources and opportunities. This is where current students find timely reminders for University deadlines, resources for becoming an effective distance student, and updates about SCPS policy. Students also have the opportunity to post questions for the Success Center or fellow students to answer about programs, technology, or other available resources.
I am new to this. How do I figure out how to learn in an online setting?
One of the great things about Chatham is that you will never have to teach yourself or "wing it" when it comes to participating in your online education. Every new Chatham SCPS student has a week-long Student Orientation before classes officially start.
Orientation gives all new students the opportunity to meet one another and to participate in "assignments" to become comfortable with their online environment. You will learn how the online classroom works, what it means to learn asynchronously, how to access and submit assignments, how to track class success, and how to access many various student services. After orientation, each of our students are prepared to begin their academic courses.
How do I know which classes to take? Am I doing this the right way?
Upon your acceptance into your Chatham SCPS program you receive a list of program requirements, course descriptions, and prerequisites. Although these resources are an excellent guide by which to complete your program satisfactorily, personal assistance is also available. Many questions about scheduling, direction, and efficiency may be addressed by your assigned academic student advisors.
Upon enrollment in any program, you are assigned to the applicable student advisor for that program. Other advisors are also available through the Student Success Center in the SCPS Office and will be able to assist you. Most advisors are available by phone and email during the business week, Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Set up a phone appointment to map out your next semester's classes or email a quick question to your advisor. Most questions can be addressed within 24 hours.
What technology accounts do I receive as a Chatham distance learning student?
A student username is created for you after you register for your first classes. This username is applied to your Chatham email account, your Campus Vue Portal account, and your myChatham account.
Email: Your Chatham University email account is your firstname.lastname@example.org. You can access your email from any computer that has Internet. We encourage our students to use their Chatham email accounts for classes and strongly recommend that they check it at least once every day for updates during the semester.
Campus Vue Portal: The Portal is a new web-based program for Chatham University and is tied to the campus-wide student information system. The purpose of the Portal is to allow students access to their student information including their student accounts and financial aid information. All returning students register themselves for classes through the Campus Vue Portal.
myChatham: This site is dedicated to Chatham University student affairs. It is home to all necessary student forms, the campus directory, and a student news and events calendar; here you can find course schedules, grades, and unofficial transcripts. It is also where you remotely connect into the Jennie King Mellon Library's catalogs, databases, and journal archives. myChatham also displays access links to Webmail and the Portal.
Will I have access to the library as a distance student? How can I use the library?
Yes, as a distance student you will have access to many of the resources and services that the library has to offer. The Jennie King Mellon Library is located on the Chatham University campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are many online tools available for our students to access from anywhere in the world. Some of the many useful tools which can be accessed through the JKM library website are Research How To's, Help Me videos, full text e-journals, and an Ask a Reference Question site in which you can access a Chatham librarian via email and instant messenger when you need help. There are also Subject Guides located here: http://jkmlibrary.pbwiki.com You may also refer to the Student Manual for more details including contact information.
Do distance learning students have access to career development services?
Yes, SCPS students have some career resources available online, and the SCPS office is working to expand our offerings in the future. These resources are accessed through the PACE Center, or Programs for Academic Advising, Career Development, and Educational Enrichment. The University's PACE Center offers students a comprehensive approach to academic and career planning as well as an academic support network designed to maximize each students' academic success at Chatham.
Will I be able to work toward a distance learning degree despite my disability?
Chatham University is committed to providing an environment that ensures that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of her/his disability. Students with disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), who need special academic accommodations should notify the director of PACE as soon as possible. The PACE staff will work with the student and their course instructors to coordinate and monitor the provision of reasonable academic accommodations.
What is a typical online class like?
Most of the distance learning courses offered through SCPS at Chatham University are intensive, 7-week long classes. Two 7-week sessions are offered back-to-back during the spring and fall semesters and summer semesters. Interactive class discussions are held asynchronously via a discussion board forum, where students may post responses to readings, course ideas, and each other. As with many on-ground courses, assignments and papers are submitted electronically by uploading them to the online classroom. Although few courses set examinations, these are also accessed and taken through the online classroom. Grades and instructor feedback are available continuously through the class's grade book and final grades are accessed on myChatham. Instructors often hold office hours in which phone calls or emails from students may be immediately addressed.
Do I have to come on campus at all?
Although a few of the programs we offer require a short residency on campus, most of our programs do not. By not requiring students to come to campus, our distance learning programs impose very little interruption to your daily life; you may travel, work full-time, change jobs, or move and still be able to maintain access to your online courses. At this time the Professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy, Doctorate of Nursing Practice, Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and Infant Mental Health programs, have short residency requirements. Residencies vary for those program on the Eden Hall Farm Campus of Chatham University.
Where do I get my books? How much do they cost?
Chatham University has an online bookstore, available at www.chatham.bkstr.com. Course booklists are usually published about a month before classes begin. To access the lists you may click the links for textbooks and enter your course, term, and section information. The average cost of books per class is $100.
How do I add or drop a course after I've already registered?
To drop a course, add another course, or switch between courses after your registration has been submitted, you may contact your student services advisor in the SCPS by phone or by email. They will send you an Add/Drop Request Form upon which you note the courses you wish to add or drop. You then return the form to the SCPS office by email or by fax.
The first week of classes, Monday - Friday, is designated as the Add/Drop Period. Within this period, you may add or drop courses without any financial obligations. That Friday at 2:00 p.m. EST is the deadline for Add/Drop Request Forms to be processed. After the Add/Drop Period expires, students are financially responsible for any further courses from which they withdraw.
When will classes be listed for the upcoming semester? Where can I find the list?
Class schedules are typically available two months before the semester begins. You may find the class lists on the SCPS website under "Course Schedule" and use the dropdown menu to select your desired term. If you have questions about which courses to take and how to arrange your schedule, please contact your student advisor in your academic program or in the SCPS office.
Can I use the Chatham campus facilities as an online student? May I get an ID?
Yes, any local or visiting online distance learning student may utilize the extensive campus facilities on the beautiful Chatham University grounds. In order to access the library or the athletic center, however, you must present your Chatham University student ID. You may acquire the ID at Student Affairs, which is operational during normal business hours Monday - Friday and is located in the Carriage House, prepared with your student ID number. We are sorry that we cannot yet make Chatham University IDs available through the mail to non-local or non-visiting students as we are working through authentication concerns.