Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences (SCNM) offers both online and hybrid courses. Our Master of Science in Nutrition degrees are 100% online.
Online learning, whether through an online course or hybrid course, are generally comprised of online elements that provide direction and feedback, and facilitate student interaction with course content, faculty, and other students.
Online courses at SCNM are conducted online via the internet, with no in-person requirements. All communication and classwork are completed through the Canvas Learning Management Platform. Each online course includes direction and feedback, and facilitates student interaction with the content, the faculty, and other students. Each course includes directed learning processes (articles, videos, images, and web links), communication (messaging, discussion forums), and assessments (exam, essay, group project) used to measure virtual students’ learning outcomes. Students and faculty stay connected via email, bulletin boards, social media, direct/text messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls.
Online courses generally require students to participate and provide feedback, offering the added opportunity to experience multiple perspectives and concepts within each course.
Hybrid courses, also known as blended courses, offer a mix of online activity and in-person requirements, which vary from course to course. Face-to-face time is scheduled along with online or out-of-class work; for SCNM’s hybrid courses, at least 50% of face-to-face class time is replaced with online or out-of-class work. Communication and classwork are enhanced with the Canvas Learning Management Platform and other online tools. Like fully online courses, the elements of hybrid courses also provide direction and feedback, and facilitate student interaction with course content, faculty, and other students, as well as including directed learning processes.
Advantages of Online Learning
- Complete courses on your own time, from anywhere with internet access.
- Ample opportunities for interaction with course materials and resources.
- Eliminate commute and associated costs.
- Increased access to quality education.
- Enhanced student learning—increased and improved student engagement, interaction, and processing time.
- Provides more opportunities to gain skills in self-directed learning, effective communication within multiple modalities, and technical areas platforms.
- Greater interaction with students and faculty from different backgrounds and professional history.
Is Online Learning Right for You?
Online education courses are a positive experience for most students. Online learning offers students greater scheduling flexibility and more independence. Many students find online learning to be a rewarding experience and the preferred learning method. The more knowledgeable you are about the online learning experience prior to enrolling, the better equipped you will be as an online learner.
We are committed to your success. We’ve provided a list of soft skills and suggestions helpful for achieving success with the online education process.
Don’t forget to check out the technology requirements page for additional criteria elements of a positive online experience.
Recommended Skills for Online Learning
The following skills are essential to your success for online course education.
Self-Motivation and Self-Discipline
With the freedom and flexibility of the online environment comes a need for great responsibility. The online process takes commitment, self-discipline and independence to meet course requirements and deadlines. Online courses do not take less time than an equivalent on-campus course—it is important to stay on top of assignments and course requirements. In the online environment, you must schedule your time so that you are able to initiate and complete assignments independently. Developing an effective schedule for completing coursework and pacing yourself will be the key to success.
Ability to Follow Deadlines
SCNM’s online courses are structured with specific due dates for assignments, tests, homework, essays, and projects. All deadlines and due dates are included in the course syllabus. Missing deadlines is one of the most common issues students face when taking online courses. Since there is no teacher at the front of the classroom reminding you to get your work done, it’s up to you to keep track of the announcements, course calendar, and syllabus. It’s best to work ahead, so that you have time to contact the instructor and receive feedback if you have questions about the material or assignment.
Strong Written Communication Skills
Strong reading comprehension skills and the ability to communicate effectively through writing is strongly recommended for online students. Most course material in the online environment will come from textbooks and lectures. In addition, online students communicate mostly through text-based tools, such as email, discussion forums, chats, and instant messaging. Online learners need to feel comfortable expressing thoughts and ideas through the written word.
On average, you will need to commit 5–15 hours per week per course. Keep in mind that online coursework is not necessarily easier than on-campus coursework. Successful students view online coursework as a convenient, not easier, way to receive their education. In fact, many students feel that online classes often require more effort, time, and commitment.
Willingness to Speak Up
Typical nonverbal communication methods instructors use to help when students are having problems (confusion, frustration, boredom, absence, etc.) are not possible in the online environment. If you are struggling through the coursework or experience technical difficulties, you must address the issue with the instructor immediately.
Ability to Think Ideas Through Before Responding
Meaningful, quality input during discussions is an essential part of most online courses. Luckily, most online courses are structured with allotted time to allow for careful consideration of responses. Online learners should be able to work in a collaborative environment by being open minded, willing to participate, and prepared to have ideas challenged.
Flexible and Adaptable
Online learning is an adventure that will expose you to many new experiences. The ability to be flexible and remain open-minded is crucial to having a positive experience.
Time management: Log-in Frequently and Study Schedules
Even though you may not need to be physically present in a classroom on a specific day and time, you still have to follow the course schedule provided by your instructor. Online classes are not independent study courses; you are still required to log into class, engage in discussions, and actively participate.
Students should be online frequently and log into classes at least three to four times per week in order to keep up with the content flow, complete assignments, participate in discussions, and communicate with classmates and instructors. Some courses may require you to log in every day.
Never wait until the last minute to complete assignments. One of the major reasons for having a negative experience with an online class is procrastination, as it’s easy to fall behind in the online environment. The best way to succeed in an online class is to set aside scheduled time on a regular basis to study and participate in classes.
To participate in online courses, you must have a basic knowledge of computers and internet skills including:
- Using a keyboard and mouse.
- Knowledge of terminology, such as browser, IMHO, application, etc.
- Managing files and folders: save, name, copy, move, backup, rename, delete, check properties.
- Software installation, security and virus protection.
- Using software applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and email.
- Knowledge of copying and pasting, spell-checking, saving files in different formats
- Sending and downloading attachments.
- Internet skills (connecting, accessing, using browsers) and ability to perform online research using various search engines and library databases.
- Ability to use online communication tools, such as email (create, send, receive, reply, print, send/receive attachments) and discussion boards (read, search, post, reply, follow threads), chats, and messengers.
Ability to Learn New Programs on Your Own
Online learners must have experience using computers and various software so that they are able to figure out how to use new programs on their own.
Students enrolled in SCNM courses must have access to the following minimum requirements:
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows Operating System (Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10) or Mac OS 10.95 or above with the operating system’s minimum requirements for processor, memory, and hard drive.
- Audio: A working sound card and speakers will be required.
- Webcam & Microphone: Some classes may require a microphone and webcam to complete assignments/projects and interact with classmates.
- Display: 1024 x 768 monitor with a 16-bit or greater video card
- Storage: At least 10.0 GB of free hard-drive space will be necessary to ensure that you are able to download course materials when necessary.
- Internet Access: High-speed internet connection, such as DSL or a cable modem. Your internet connection is necessary for viewing course materials and supplemental videos in Canvas.
- Internet Browser
- Chrome or Firefox is recommended for accessing all online courses in Canvas. Other acceptable internet browsers include Internet Explorer and Safari.
- Word Processor and required applications
- Microsoft Office is required and available for free to our currently enrolled students through their Office 365 account.
Online Readiness Assessment
Is the online learning environment for you? Take the SCNM Online Readiness Assessment.