College of Southern Maryland
8730 Mitchell Road
PO Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
The College of Southern Maryland is committed to implementing the Quality Matters (QM) standards for the design of online and hybrid courses. CSM is systematically developing and evaluating courses based on rigorous, research-based standards. The QM standards ensure that online courses promote learner engagement and provide students with all the tools and information they need to be successful learners.
Welcome to Online Learning
What are Online Learning Courses?
Are Online Learning Courses for Me
College Store/Textbook Information
Submission of Class Assignments
Student Success Center
Credit and Transfer Policies
Registration, Fees, and Status Changes
Logging into Online Courses
Technical Requirements for Online Courses
Orientations and Tutorials
Frequently Used Addresses and Telephone Numbers
Tips for Success
Welcome to online learning at the College of Southern Maryland. The flexibility and variety of online courses broaden the reach of the college community by offering students the opportunity to earn credits without attending classes on campus. Many students take a combination of online courses and on-campus courses. This guide is designed to answer general questions you may have about online courses. If you have questions which this guide does not address, please feel free to call the Distance Learning Coordinator at 301-934-7615. We are pleased that you are considering taking advantage of these unique educational formats and hope that you find participation in online courses to be an interesting, convenient, and satisfying way to learn.
Web-hybrid (Blended) courses blend on-campus instruction with web-based or other flexible learning options. Students meet on campus according to the published schedule of classes with approximately half of the course instruction and/or activities occurring online or in another of our flexible formats. Web-hybrid courses create flexible learning options while allowing students to regularly meet face-to-face with instructors and other students.
Web-enhanced courses are instructional methods, such as lectures and cooperative education experiences that use certain Blackboard tools, such as email and discussions.
View the self-survey to determine if online learning is for you. You can explore the student demo course to experience what it's like to be in a online course. If you would like to contact an advisor you may do so online.
Most textbooks for online courses are available at the CSM College Store at the La Plata Campus with some exceptions noted at www.csmcollegestore.com on the textbook page. Textbooks for courses at the Waldorf Center are available at the CSM College Store at the La Plata Campus. For your convenience, textbooks may be transferred to another college store by calling the CSM College Store
nearest you. You may also purchase textbooks online at www.csmcollegestore.com.
A variety of assessment techniques will be used by your instructors to determine your comprehension of the course content and to assess your progress. Students in most online courses will be required to take exams. Students should review their syllabus to determine if the exams must be completed at the Testing Center on one of the CSM campuses. For some online courses, exams may be completed online from home. If students are required to take their exams at a testing center, they must: Take the exams on the assigned dates at the Testing Center at any CSM campus. Call the Testing Center of your choice to verify that it can provide the service at the time you require. Be sure you take a picture ID and two #2 pencils to the examination site.
For additional testing information, please visit the following site:
For the Testing Center’s hours of operation, please visit the following site:
Instructors will provide their telephone numbers, email address, and office hours in their course syllabi. Questions concerning course content, exams, or grades should be directed to your instructor. Administrative questions or questions about online course procedures should be directed to the Distance Learning Coordinator at 301-934-7615. Regular office hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Please leave a message when contacting the Distance Learning Coordinator after hours. Your call will be returned on the next business day.
Your instructors will provide instructions on how and where to submit course assignments. Please review your course syllabus to determine the procedures for submitting written work. You should retain copies of all course assignments for your own records.
The CSM Library’s Home Page (www.csmd.edu/library/) includes links to the Card Catalog as well as links to electronic databases. Some of the databases are available not only on-campus but also off-campus to currently registered students. The popular journal database ProQuest is one of the databases accessible from off-campus. A valid student ID is needed to access these databases and to check out books. Students can pick up their ID cards at the library’s circulation desk on the La Plata Campus Library or they may request to have it sent to another campus library. For information on library hours and services, please visit the library web site or contact the library at 301-934-7626.
The Student Success Center (SSC) provides a comprehensive system of student support services. Peer tutoring, skills improvement, testing, and disabled student services are some available services. In cooperation with Smarthinking.com, CSM also offers Online Tutoring Services in the areas of Math, Writing, ESL, Accounting, Economics, and Chemistry. Academic support in these areas is offered to all CSM students free of charge.
Because most of your communication will be by email or by phone, it is extremely important that you advise the Admissions Office and your instructor of any change in your mailing address, home/work telephone numbers, and email address. Submitting a change of address to your instructor does not change your address on the CSM student database. You must complete a change of address form at the
Admissions Office (301-934-7765) to be sure you will continue to receive information from the college.
Online courses are recorded on your official College of Southern Maryland transcript. No distinction is made between online courses and on-campus courses. Transferability is always at the discretion of the receiving institution. You should meet with an academic advisor for assistance in determining transferability of credits to the institution of your choice.
The registration process is the same for online courses as for on-campus courses. Because of licensing costs, there is an additional fee for online courses. If you wish to change your status from audit to credit or vice versa or if you find that you must withdraw from a course, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 301-934-7588 for information about the necessary forms and procedures. Enrollment in online courses could affect your VA benefits. Contact the Financial Assistance Department before registering for these courses.
Online courses follow the CSM semester calendar found in the college’s schedule of classes. Each online course has a start and end date. The length of most online courses is the full semester, 16 weeks. However, some are of shorter duration. Please take note of important dates such as the first and last days of classes, mid-term week, holidays, and deadlines for adding/dropping classes, and changing audit/credit status. For important dates, see the academic calendar.
Students will have access to their courses at 8:00 a.m. on the first day of class as published in the Schedule of Classes. To access your course, you will need your User Name, Password, and log in URL.
The Blackboard Browser Tune-Up may also be used to ensure that you are using a supported browser. It includes step-by-step instructions to make sure your browser settings are optimized for the best possible Blackboard experience.
Traditional courses are exactly alike. Instructors have different teaching styles, assign different types of activities, and assess students in a variety of ways. Similarly, online courses are exactly the same. Your instructor selects web tools and features to teach and facilitate your course based on the course content preferred teaching methods. However, many of the tools and most course navigation are similar. The Online Orientation consists of a series of tutorials that explain and demonstrate the basic skills necessary to be successful in online or web-hybrid courses. The tutorials will provide the step-by-step instructions needed to use many of the features and tools you'll find in these courses. In addition, a demonstration course has been created for you to experience what it's like to be in a online course. If you have problemsviewing these tutorials contact the Help Desk at 301-934-2251, extension 4357.
Online courses are designed to be convenient and flexible; they are as intellectually challenging
and academically rigorous as traditional on-campus courses. Online courses allow you to achieve your academic goals by participating in a course virtually “any where, any time, and any place.”
Success in an online environment requires a self-directed, well-organized person who is comfortable with technology:
We’re glad you’ve chosen to take an online course from the College of Southern Maryland.
Students are expected to perform their own academic work. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty are considered extremely serious offenses. Students are personally responsible for understanding the various forms of academic dishonesty as they are explained in the Student Code of Conduct in the Student Handbook. Ignorance of any requirement for academic honesty will not constitute an excuse from disciplinary proceedings.