Distance education is an effective and flexible alternative for students who are prevented from attending on-campus classes due to personal or work commitments and/or distance from campus. The MPH program requires synchronous distance education, in which students videoconference into the live course in real time.
Distance learning is not easier than on-campus learning; students should be prepared to spend as much or possibly more time on a distance learning course. While the difficulty level of courses taken on-line or on-campus is the same, the benefit of distance education is the possibility of receiving high quality education while attending classes from a remote location.
Distance learning classes carry the same course numbers and credits as their traditional counterparts and appear on the student's transcript just like any other course; there is no designator identifying class attendance through distance education. Credits earned through distance learning are transferable and are applicable to graduation requirements in the same manner as traditional classes.
Prerequisites and Readiness
The ability of a student to succeed in a distance education class depends on their ability to understand both the course structure and the associated technology. Informing students of what skills and technology are needed for distance education allows them the opportunity to self-evaluate their capability to succeed in the course.
At the time of admission to the program, students are required to ensure that their computers meet the minimum hardware and software requirements described below.
Minimum Hardware requirements:
- Working webcam & headset
- 4GB RAM
- 1 GB available storage space
- Single-core 1 Ghz or higher processor (dual-core 2Ghz or higher recommended)
- Broadband connection of ≥ 1 Mbps upload and 600 Kbps download:
- Connection speed can be tested at: https://broadband.nd.gov/speed-test
Minimum Software requirements:
- Windows 7 Basic (and higher) OR Macintosh OSX 10.9 (and higher)
- Microsoft Office
- Available for NDSU students for free at: https://www.ndsu.edu/its/software/software_licensing_program/
- Adobe Flash Player (newest version)
- Available at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/
- Mozilla Firefox (newest version) available at https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
- Additional course-specific software
The MPH program uses Zoom, which unifies cloud video conferencing, simple online meetings, and group messaging into one easy-to-use platform. It offers video, audio and wireless screen-sharing experience across multiple platforms. Distance students are required to videoconference in “live", and participate via video and audio in every class.
It is up to the instructor if a class session will be recorded for purposes of student viewing at a later date. In the event that a course absence is necessary, students are responsible for contacting and informing their instructors in advance of missing the class.
Policy regarding Zoom connections
MPH courses are made available via Zoom. Use of this technology requires students to take certain positive steps to ensure reliable connectivity. Failure to do so is not only unprofessional, it is distracting to your instructor and to your fellow students.
- You must download, install, and setup all required hardware and software in accordance with all Zoom requirements and helpdesk suggestions prior to the first class. More information can be found here: https://kb.ndsu.edu/zoom
- Zoom sessions open approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of each class. It is your responsibility to test your connection before each of our scheduled start times, leaving sufficient time to troubleshoot the connection with helpdesk personnel, if needed. Again, your instructor cannot assist you in making the connection. Contact the helpdesk directly.
- Connection “issues” are NOT considered justified reasons for tardiness or absenteeism. In cases of a late connection or failed connection, the student is considered tardy or absent, respectively. As such, penalties described in the syllabus will be imposed. The only exception to this policy is when the IT staff notifies the instructor of a problem on ‘our end.’ Note: this rarely happens.
- Drops during the class are very disruptive and, similarly, nearly always result from students failing to follow the IT guidelines. (By using Wi-Fi instead of wired connections, for example). After 3 drops or a prolonged absence of 15 minutes or more, you are asked to NOT reconnect. You will be considered absent unless the drop(s) occurred in the last 30 minutes of class (for a 3-hour session).