Graduate Student FAQs

In what format are the courses offered?
How do the courses "work"?  Are they like indepenedent studies?
Will I ever have to come to campus?
Do I have to be teaching to take the courses?
Do I have to be an elementary teacher to take the courses?
Do I have to live in Indiana to take the courses?
Do I have to be online at certain times?
Is all of the work individual, or is there group work in the course?
All of the courses are "Full".  How do I get on the waiting list for a course?
Can I see the syllabus before the course begins?
What hardware and software do I need to successfully participate in the course activities?
What computer skills do I need to successfully participate in the courses?
Does it matter if I have a PC or a Mac computer?
How will I turn in my assignments in the Internet courses?
How will I interact with and get feedback from the instructor?
How can I learn about the instructors?
How do I find out what textbooks I need?
What is the schedule of course offerings?
When do the courses begin and end?
How can I check my grades?
How much work will there be?
How can I use the Ball State Library in my Internet courses?
How can I begin taking classes?
Where can I get information about licensure?
What is the Department's policy on academic dishonesty?
What are the Department's standards for oral and written English?
What should I do if I have questions that are not on this FAQ page?

In what format are the courses offered?
All of the graduate courses offered through the Department of Elementary Education with EDRDG and EDEL prefixes in the Master's of Education are offered exclusively as Internet courses. There are no face-to-face meetings for any of the courses.

How do the courses "work"? Are they like independent studies?
No. Most courses are organized in modules or lessons that last 7-14 days each. You are required to participate in discussions and submit assignments during each module or lesson. All instructors use Blackboard to manage their courses.

Will I ever have to come to campus?
No. You may apply to the Graduate School, order your books, pay your tuition, submit all assignments, and participate in class discussions online. You will never have to drive to campus for any reason, except to attend your own graduation! Your instructors will have office hours at least once per week. They appreciate meeting you in person, so please stop by if you find yourself in Teachers College.

Do I have to be teaching to take the courses?
Some courses require access to children or classroom for teaching or observation assignments. Please review the course descriptions before you register for course.

Do I have to be an elementary teacher to take the courses?
You do not need to be an elementary teacher to take any of the courses, but all courses, except EDRDG 620, have an elementary school focus.

Do I have to live in Indiana to take courses?
While instructors use academic standards in their courses, students may use those that apply to their teaching and learning location. We have students enrolled in our courses who live in other states and countries.

Do I have to be online at certain times?
This will vary from course to course, but most courses allow students to work on the modules or lessons as their own personal schedule permits. If a "live" chat is required, this will be done through Blackboard, and the instructor will notify students well ahead of the chat. If this is a concern for you, you should contact the instructor before registering for the course.

Is all of the work individual, or is there group work in the courses?
Most courses have learning activities that are designed to be completed individually, as well as others that promote collaboration among students.

All of the courses are "Full". How do I get on the waiting list for a course?
Contact the School of Extended Education to get on the waiting list for a course.

Can I see the syllabus before the course begins?
Most instructors will post the syllabus on the Blackboard site when the course begins. You may contact individual instructors about the possibility of viewing a syllabus before the course begins.

What hardware and software do I need to successfully participate in the course activities?
You will need a computer with a fast Internet connection. To limit your frustration, we strongly suggest you have a broadband Internet connection. You will need the latest version of a browser, the latest version of Adobe Reader, and the low-cost version of Microsoft Office. You can get this through the Campus Agreement between Ball State and Microsoft. We recommend that you have an Internet-connected computer at your home rather than relying only on a workplace computer.

What computer skills do I need to successfully participate in the courses?
You need to have basic computer skills, such as knowing how to download files, attach documents, search the Internet, use e-mail, and use word processing software. You do not need to be an expert computer user to succeed in our program. You can learn as you go, and Ball State has an excellent Help Desk.

Does it matter if I have a PC or a Mac computer?
Either platform is fine.

How will I turn in my assignments in the Internet courses?
You will submit your assignments electronically through Blackboard.

How will I interact with and get feedback from the instructor?
Most interaction will be through the discussion board and announcements
in Blackboard, as well as through e-mail. Some additional feedback tools used by instructors include the Web Gradebook and rGrade. The Department has high standards for the individual attention given to students by its instructors.

How can I learn about the instructors?
Each instructor has an introduction on her/his Blackboard site. You will get to know your instructor through the many communication opportunities you will have throughout each course.

How do I find out what textbooks I need?
The textbooks are listed next to the course on the Division of Online and Distance Education web site. Click on the current semester and then Elementary Education.

What is the schedule of course offerings?
Our graduate enrollment is rapidly growing, and our schedule of course offerings changes frequently. We also add new courses throughout the year. The School of Extended Education always has the most current information about course offerings on its web site. If you need to know when a course might be offered again, please contact Harold Roberts.

When do the courses begin and end?
Most courses follow the regular Ball State calendar. They begin on the first day of the semester and extend through the end of Finals Week. If there is any deviation from this, it is described in the course description.

How can I check my grades?
Your instructor will tell you how to check your grades. One or more of these programs will be used: Blackboard Gradebook, Web Gradebook, and rGrade.

How much work will there be?
During the Fall and Spring Semesters, you should plan on spending approximately 6-9 hours per week per three-credit-hour course. You may have more work during some weeks and less work during others. During the Summer Semester, which is one-third shorter, but contains the same amount of content and learning activities, you should plan to spend 9-12 hours per three-credit-hour course per week. For a five week Summer course, you should plan to spend 18-24 hours per three-credit-hour course per week. Use this as a guideline for determining how many courses to take each semester.

How can I use the Ball State Library in my Internet courses?
The library is very helpful to distance education students. The library has a web page specifically for these students.

How can I begin taking classes?
All candidates for the Master's of Education in Elementary Education must first be admitted to the Graduate School before being admitted to the MAE program. After you are admitted to the graduate school, you may register for courses through Extended Education. After students are admitted to the program, the Department will send a welcome letter with a Graduate Student Requirements form that is to be signed and returned. After the form is returned, students will receive information about the Focus Area they have selected as well as other information about how to register for the courses.

Where can I get information about licensure?
The Office of Teacher Education Services handles all questions you might have about licensure.

What is the Department's policy on academic dishonesty?
The Department adheres to this policy.

What are the Department's standards for oral and written English?
The use of standard oral and written English is expected for all presentations and all written work. Points will be deducted for incorrect sentence structure, spelling, punctuation, and/or non-standard use of English in written work. Written papers should follow the style of the American Psychological Association.

What should I do if I have questions that are not on this FAQ page?
You may contact Linda Martin if you have additional questions.

Department of Elementary Education
Teachers College (TC), Room 305
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-8560
Fax: 765-285-8793