School of Professional Development

SPD Online

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it take to be an online student?

Online learning requires a unique combination of skills to succeed academically:

1. An online student must be willing to commit a minimum of 10 to 15 hours a week to each online class. Students taking an SPD Online course are required to log on and post on at least three separate days per week (but most log in daily). In addition to required course readings and assignments, a student needs to budget time to read and respond to the postings of their classmates.

2. Online students must feel comfortable expressing themselves in writing, as classes consist solely of the written word. Students respond to questions posed by the instructor, as well as other students, through postings which are written; they submit homework assignments, papers and exams that are written; they chat with each other in "lounge" areas, making connections and exchanging ideas.

3. An online student must be extremely motivated and disciplined. Students must seek out information on the SPD website as to start and end dates of a classes and how to register, add/drop or withdraw from a course. Students must seek assistance from SPD Online if they are feeling overwhelmed or having technical difficulties -- they cannot wait even a few days as that is time lost not learning. Technical and administrative assistance is available on the course site and via email or telephone.

4. Online students must be comfortable with their computers. They must have knowledge of word processing software and email, know how to download a program from the web and install it, and in some courses, know how to upload items from the PC to the web or have other technical expertise. Course descriptions will note if students are required to have a high-level of computer ability. Please see Technical Requirements for detailed information.

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What are the technical requirements?

The following list details a minimum recommended computer set-up:

    • PC with Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8, or Macintosh with OS 10.4 or newer
    • Latest version of Chrome, Firefox or Explorer; Mac users may use Chrome, Firefox or Safari. (A complete list of supported browsers and operating systems can be found on the Blackboard website )
    • 2 GB RAM
    • Cable modem or DSLis recommeded; a 56.6 Kbps modem will work
    • Internet Service Provider
    • Printer
    • Word processing software (Microsoft Word, Pages, etc.)
    • Speakers (either internal or external) or headphones
    • Ability to download and install free software applications and plug-ins (note: you must have administrator access to install applications and plug-ins)

The SPD Online office is available to provide technical support with issues relating to the course software and user accounts only. If you are having problems with your home computer or Internet Service Provider, you are responsible for finding a solution.

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When do classes begin?

  • Fall 2016 courses begin on August 29 (but courses are available at least one week prior)

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How do I ENROLL?

If you are currently a matriculated SPD student or have submitted a non-matriculated graduate student application, you can register for SPD Online courses as you would any face-to-face course (through the SOLAR System). There are no special forms or permission required. As these courses are in high demand, early registration is recommended.

Please note that because the workload is condensed into 10 weeks for SPD Online courses, there are recommended limits as to the number of online courses a student may take per semester. They are as follows:

• New SPD Online students are encouraged to enroll in only one online course per term
• Returning SPD Online students are encouraged to limit their enrollment to two courses per term


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How do I USE THE automatic waitlist?

If an online course is closed, students have the option of placing themselves on a waitlist for the course (if there is space available). Students who enroll in the waitlist will automatically be enrolled in the course as new vacancies arise and their accounts will be charged accordingly. In the event that a waitlist reaches capacity, SPD will consider opening an additional section of the course. In this instance, waitlisted students would be automatically enrolled into the new section.

Students who are enrolled from the waitlist will receive an email from SOLAR to their Stony Brook email account. They can also check on their waitlist status at any time by logging into SOLAR.

For instructions and policy information, please be sure to read the guidelines for using the waitlist (on the SOLAR website) before you enroll.

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I’ve already registered. Now what do I do?

About one week day prior to the start of class, your courses will be available in Blackboard. Students should log into Blackboard and review the course information. »Instructions for logging into Blackboard.

Once you log on to the web address, you’ll see your course(s) as well as a link to the "SPD Online Support " Be sure to visit this "course," as it contains all the information you need to get started, as well as specific academic policies and procedures for SPD Online students that differ somewhat from those that apply to face-to-face students.

New students are encouraged to participate in our online learning orientation webinar, which is offered before the start of each term.

Also, be sure to start checking your Stony Brook email account, which you can access with your NetID.

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hOW DO I ACCESs library materials?

The library subscribes to 60,000 journals, which are accessible to all students via the library's website. Distance learning students who live more than 50 miles from campus may also request to have hard copy material shipped by mail. Please check out our School of Professional Development Library Guide for online resources specific to our programs and the Library's Distance Learning webpage for details on having items sent to you.

Where do I go if I have more questions?

You can email the SPD Online office or call 631.632.9484.

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Last modified on 6/23/16.
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