Carly Shappard

What’s fascinating about online learning is that instead of going to class, the classroom comes to you. In fact, Ball State Online brings the university to you through our many support services, as well as robust academic instruction.

Online learning fits your schedule because most classes do not meet at fixed times. Students tell us our classes travel well. All you need is a high speed Internet connection—and a full battery—and you can access your classes at home, at work, or even at your kids’ soccer practice.

Frequent Contact

Our courses are created by Ball State faculty, with the assistance of instructional designers whose job is to help faculty find the right approaches and methodology to deliver their content online.

You stay in contact with your instructor and your classmates through communications technology. You'll complete regular assignments (often weekly), readings, exams, discussions, group work, and other activities.

The rigor of the courses and the expected outcomes are the same as if you were taking the courses on our main campus.

Online Learning Prowess Recognized Nationally

And just take a look at our accreditations, rankings, and national recognitions to understand how seriously Ball State takes its commitment to high-quality instruction and engagement for our online learners.

A Peek into Online Classes

But what you probably really want to know is what online classes are like. We invite you to learn more about them now.

Programs That Fit Your Schedule

Until you became an adult and earned a little life experience, you may not have realized the importance of a college degree and what it can mean for your career. Now that you’re ready to jump into a degree program—perhaps for a second time—you may have a full-time job, a full family schedule, and commitments to your community.

Online StudentHow can you possibly fit collegiate study into your busy life?

  • Nearly all of our programs are offered 100 percent online. Unless you come for graduation, you make no trips to campus.
  • You can access course content at a time that works for you as long as you finish regular assignments and meet other weekly deadlines. Learn what online classes are like.
  • No one goes online alone. Our team from student support services will go the extra mile to support you if you hit a roadblock.
  • Ball State online students are naturally busy and driven to pursue goals that improve their lives. Like those students, you can do it, too.
  • You can access the full services of the university, including library services, The Writing Center , tutoring, and technology support.

What Are Online Classes Like?

If you thought taking online classes was a lonely experience, where class content is delivered in (yawn) static PowerPoint slides, welcome to online education—Ball State-style. Our online classes are a social space where you communicate with the instructor and your classmates regularly through channels such as:

  • email
  • discussion boards
  • file sharing
  • wikis
  • blogs
  • journals
  • web page posting

And if you don’t know what those tools are now, don’t worry. That will just be part of the learning process, and you’ll get guidance along the way.

Our online faculty—the same professors who teach on the Ball State campus—receive instructional support in developing and teaching online courses. You can expect them to use the best possible practices and the latest tools in your classroom.

Time Commitment

As a general rule, expect to spend at least two to three hours a week on assignments and readings for every one credit hour you’re taking. Graduate-level courses usually require more time.

Types of Courses

Asynchronous Courses

Most of Ball State’s online classes are taught in an “asynchronous” format. In simpler words, you have regular (usually weekly) assignments and deadlines that you complete at times and places most convenient for you. Because there is no specific login time each week, you can access course content at any time around your job and family obligations.

You may also be conducting a good part of your work offline. Assignments such as reading, writing papers, and studying for tests is often done offline before you return online to submit assignments or take part in discussions.

Fixed-time Online Courses

Tyler Wilson Some courses in graduate-level business administration, educational studies, or leadership programs are taught as fixed-time, online courses.

This means the courses are taught live on our main campus in Muncie, Indiana, and are simultaneously live-streamed for you to watch online. Classes are taught on specific days at specific times, usually after 6 p.m. You are expected to view these classes as they are occurring on campus, unless your instructor indicates that you can watch recorded versions on your own time. Muncie is in the Eastern time zone.

We recommend that you understand the course delivery options within the program you choose to make sure it is a good fit for you. Your advisor can help you.

Technology You Will Need and Use

Convenient Access to a Computer

  • PC or Mac
  • high-speed Internet connection
  • preferably a wired connection instead of wireless/Wi-Fi

Recommended Connection Speed

  • at least 4 Mbps download.

Test Your Internet Speed

Recommended Web Browsers

  • Firefox
  • Chrome

Items for Online Proctored Tests

In some classes, Ball State instructors use a service called B Virtual to administer exams. You will need some special equipment, listed below, to use the service. Your instructors will let you know if they use B Virtual. Watch a video about how B Virtual works.

  • webcam with at least 640 x 480 video pixel resolution (a built-in laptop webcam is acceptable)
  • a microphone
  • speakers or earphones

Also, when taking a proctored test, you need to be at a computer in a private setting. For example, a computer in a study room or home office is acceptable, but a computer in a public place such as a library is not.

Orientation for Online Students

Ball State students studying online have constant access to a mobile-friendly orientation designed to increase your knowledge and confidence. As soon as you get your Ball State username and password, you can log into orientation and return as many times as you need.

Technology Help Desk

Staff members at Ball State’s full-service Technology HelpDesk are available to answer any questions. Students can access it by calling, chatting online, or submitting a web ticket. The HelpDesk can answer questions about:
  • software and hardware
  • setting up your computer, tablet, or mobile device
  • usernames and passwords
  • email accounts

Lynda.com

You will have access to Lynda.com web tutorials, which include refreshers on skills such as:
  • how to attach files to an email
  • how to download a video
  • how to view a PowerPoint presentation
Plus, for more advanced users, Lynda.com has more than 1,100 online training courses with:
  • using Adobe or Microsoft products
  • business skills like project management fundamentals
  • photography and video tutorials
  • web design skills
  • and much more

Through Ball State’s Technology Store, you can find free and discounted software and hardware:

  • free Microsoft Office software (including Excel, PowerPoint, and Word)
  • free antivirus software
  • discounted Adobe software
  • discounted computers – both PC and Mac

Course Delivery Methods
When choosing which method of course delivery works best for you, consider your schedule, your location, and your study habits. In addition to courses on our main campus in Muncie, Indiana, we offer a number of other delivery options.

Our brand of online education isn't the lonely glow of a laptop in the wee hours. It's the opposite: we are a vibrant community of collaborative students and faculty members driven to be connected. Like our physical campus, Ball State Online is social as well as personal—we know you and your goals of a better career. Online education gives you a way to finish an old degree or start a new one for the intellectual and career opportunities it provides.

Ball State's Online Learning Edge

  • Your online experience will connect you with instructors and classmates and provide many occasions to collaborate on assignments and participate in discussions.
  • Our online courses are the same university-level courses taught on our campus and taught by the same faculty who teach on campus in our 48 academic departments.
  • Your online classroom is a social space where you communicate regularly with the class through email, discussion boards, online chats, and other forms of communication.
  • Each year our online programs rank among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
  • Ball State is not just an online university but a residential university in Muncie with a history that spans a century. We were among the nation’s first universities to offer online-only classes in the 1990s, and we offered our first all-online degree in 1999.
  • More than 10,000 students are enrolled in one or more of our web-based courses. About half of them are online-only students, and the other half are main-campus students supplementing their schedules.
  • Your online experience will connect you with instructors and classmates and provide many occasions to collaborate on assignments and participate in discussions.
You can learn more about what online classes are like and how online classes can fit into your schedule.

At the Ball State Indianapolis Center, located downtown at Maryland and Meridian streets and just a block from Monument Circle, you can take courses for some of our graduate education programs and take advantage of professional development opportunities. The Indianapolis Center is also home to Ball State’s master of urban design program and studios.

Blended programs offer you a mix of online courses and on-site ones offered on our main campus in Muncie or at the Ball State Indianapolis Center.

If you like the scheduling flexibility of online classes but also see value in face-to-face learning, a few of our graduate programs offer you this opportunity.

Some programs, such as our master’s of business administration and our master’s in public relations, give you the option of taking all your classes online, all your classes on our main campus, or a blend of both.

Our Core Will Put You Ahead

Earning a bachelor’s degree is one way to show the world that you have a broad-based education that goes much wider than the deeper, specialized knowledge and skills you learn in your major.

Today’s employers are asking for graduates who can think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems. Ball State’s Core Curriculum is founded on these life-critical basics. Successfully completing the core means you will be equipped to transform your own life—and, perhaps, your workplace or community.

The core is a required component of all Ball State bachelor’s degrees.

How the Core is Structured

Note

The core courses in this section are available for online or main campus students. You should work with your advisor to choose the courses best for you.

Tier 1 of the Ball State Core Curriculum includes the largest number of classes. These foundational courses include subjects you will need to be well-versed in for the rest of your college courses and in life.

18 Required Credit Hours:

  • ENG 103 Rhetoric and Writing (3 credit hours)
  • ENG 104 Composing Research (3 credit hours)
  • COMM 210 Fundamentals of Public Communication (3 credit hours)
  • MATH 125 Mathematics and Its Applications (3 credit hours)
  • Or MATH 132 Brief Calculus (3 credit hours; for business administration majors
  • HIST 150 The West in the World (3 credit hours)
  • Or HIST 151 World Civilization 1 (3 credit hours) and HIST 152 – World Civilization 2 (3 credit hours)
  • FCS 135 Financial Literacy (1 credit hour)
  • PFW 160 Individualized Fitness and Wellness (2 credit hours)

You will take one course from each of the following fine arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences courses.

12 Required Credit Hours

Fine Arts (Select One Course)

  • DANC 100 Intro to Dance History (3 credit hours)
  • THEA 100 Intro to Theatre (3 credit hours)
  • AHS 100 Intro to Art (3 credit hours)
  • MUHI 100 Intro to Music (3 credit hours)
  • MUST 100 Fundamentals of Music Theory (3 credit hours)

Humanities (Select One Course)

  • ANTH 111 Anthropology, Culture, Globalization (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 201 American History, 1492-1876 (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 202 American History, 1877-Pres (3 credit hours)
  • PHIL 100 Intro to Philosophy (3 credit hours)
  • RELS 160 Intro to Religion in Culture (3 credit hours)

Natural Sciences (Select One Course)

  • ANTH 105 Introduction to Biological Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • ASTR 100 Introduction Astronomy: A Study of the Solar System and Beyond (3 credit hours)
  • BIO 100 People and the Life Sciences (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 101 Earth, Sea, and Sky: A Geographic View (3 credit hours)
  • GEOL 101 Planet Earth’s Geological Environment (3 credit hours)
  • HSC 160 Fundamentals of Human Health (3 credit hours)
  • NREM 101 Environment and Society (3 credit hours)
  • PHYC 110 General Physics 1 (4 credit hours)

Social Sciences (Select One Course)

  • ANTH 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 101 Intro to American Criminal Justice System (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 102 Intro to Criminology (3 credit hours)
  • ECON 116 Survey of Economic Ideas (3 credit hours)
  • ECON 201 Elementary Microeconomics (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 150 Global Geography (3 credit hours)
  • POLS 130 American National Government (3 credit hours)
  • PSYS 100 General Psychology (3 credit hours)
  • SOC 100 Principles of Sociology (3 credit hours)
  • SOC 224 Family and Society (3 credit hours)
  • SOC 242 Social Problems (3 credit hours)
  • SOC 260 Society and the Individual (3 credit hours)

You will take one course from each of these two categories.

6 Required Credit Hours

Fine Arts, Design, and Humanities (Select One Course)

  • CAP 200 Fundamentals of Design Thinking (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 198 Studies in Non-Western Civilizations (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 310 Introduction to the History of Business in the United States (3 credit hours)
  • HIST 370 Foundations of Asian Civilizations (3 credit hours; can also count as a writing emphasis course)
  • MMP 100 Survey of the Music Industry (3 credit hours)
  • PHIL 202 Ethics (3 credit hours; can also count as a writing emphasis course)
  • TGRA 184 Computer Applications in Graphic Arts (3 credit hours)

Natural and Social Sciences (Select One Course)

  • ANTH 231 Introduction to Native American Studies (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 311 Race, Ethnic, and Gender Issues in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • CJC 329 Decision Making and Ethics in Criminal Justice (3 credit hours)
  • ECON 202 Elementary Macroeconomics (3 credit hours)
  • FCSFC 250 Family Relations (3 credit hours)
  • GEOG 265 Introduction to Geographical Information Systems (3 credit hours)
  • GEOL 206 Oceans and Nations (3 credit hours)
  • HSC 180 Principles of Community Health (3 credit hours)
  • HSC 261 Health, Sexuality and family Life (3 credit hours)
  • SOC 328 Global and Social World (3 credit hours)
  • SOCW 325, Human Behavior and the Social Environment 2 (3 credit hours)
  • WGS 210 Intro to Women's and Gender Studies (3 credit hours)
  • WGS 220 International Women's Issues (3 credit hours)

The credit hour requirements for this will vary with your course of study and needs. Consult with your academic advisor when planning your last 30 credit hours.

All Ball State students must take a writing-intensive course. You may choose from:

3 Required Credit Hours

  • HIST 370 Foundations of Asian Civilization (3 credit hours; can also count as a Tier 2 course
  • ISOM 249 Foundations of Business Requirement (3 credit hours)
  • MUSE 265 Music Basics for the Classroom (3 credit hours)
  • PHIL 202 Ethics (3 credit hours; can also count as a Tier 2 course
  • SOCW 250 Human Behavior and the Social Environment 1 (3 credit hours)

One of the requirements of a Ball State bachelor’s degree is taking the writing proficiency exam.

You’ll take it when you are about halfway through your degree program—after you’ve earned 60 credit hours and before you’ve reached 90 credit hours.