About Online Learning


How Does Online Learning at Maranatha Work?

Unlike old-fashioned correspondence courses, our online classes have established deadlines similar to residential courses that keep you moving through the material. On the other hand, you don't have to be online at a specific time of day, so you can schedule your assignments to get done when you want prior to their due date.

What Is Online Learning Like?

To facilitate discussion and student learning, you will regularly post (write short articles or responses generally under 300 words) to discussion boards or forums, allowing you to interact with each other and the teacher on a topic. Reading assignments, quizzes/tests, and papers are also standard expectations.

Most courses supplement the material with short video lectures or lecture notes, and some have optional or flexibly scheduled synchronous sessions.

Will I Be Good At This Class?

Our online courses, designed to keep you motivated and move through classes, are taught in 8-week, 12-week, and 16-week sessions. Although you can frequently work ahead on assignments, regular deadlines (similar to a class structure) help you to stay focused on the current discussion and keep you moving through the content as a group and not an individual.

Online learning is designed to give you more opportunities to be engaged in the content and to interact, so you’ll be doing lots of reading, writing, and critical thinking. If you enjoy this kind of learning, you’ll do well in an online course.

How many classes should I take?

We always advise students to start with just one class in their first session. Adjusting to the style and pace of online learning, navigating our learning management system, and getting in the groove of college classes are all reasons to follow that advice! Students who start in more than once class have proven to be far less likely to succeed in those classes. Once you've completed that first class, you are welcome to decide how much you can handle at one time (1-3 classes is normal), up to 18 credits.

Since our classes have the same amount of content in half the time as a campus-based class, you should only be enrolled in about half as many classes at one time as you plan to complete in a semester.

How Much Technical Knowledge Do I Need?

Not too much. If you can work in and understand a basic email program, you can understand our learning management system. Most instructors require you to write papers in Microsoft Word.

How much time will I spend each week on a course?

In an 8-week class, an average student will spend 6 hours per credit (3 hours per credit in a 16-week course). That is an average based on the standard definition of a credit, so some students will take a little more or even significantly less time.

What Kind of Computer Stuff Will I Need?

You will need access to a good internet connection, preferably high speed (cable or DSL). You’ll need to make sure that you have the free Adobe Flash player installed. Our learning management software works best with:

  • Internet Explorer 9 or later
  • Firefox 22 or higher for Windows
  • Safari 5 for Mac
  • Safari 5 for Windows
  • Google Chrome

Opera for Mac or Windows is not recommended at this time as it has not been tested for compatibility.

If you have questions about technology requirements or would like recommendations, please contact the IT Support Desk at (920) 206-2322 or support@mbu.edu.

You may use a PC (Windows XP) or Mac (10.3 or higher). (Basically, if your computer is less than three years old, you’ll probably be fine.) Webcams and webcam software are optional for most classes. You are encouraged to have the latest version of virus protection software installed (i.e. MacAfee Virus Protection, OneCare).

The most recent version of Microsoft Office is highly recommended (and may be required for some classes); you can either access a free version while you are an MBU student or buy a student version at a very discounted rate.

Some courses might suggest some additional software or hardware (i.e. a math class), but check the course webpage for additional details related to the course. If a course uses synchronous sessions, you might have some additional technology requirements.