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Frequently Asked Questions: Online Programs

Online Class Format

What is the usual/average number of classes taken per semester in an online program?

Full-time online credential students take an average of three to four classes per semester master’s students take two to three classes per semester.

How many years should I expect to study in my online program?

For a suggested timeline of the program in which you are interested, contact an admissions counselor to review the program sheet for your anticipated program.

How would I interact with my professor and peers

Our classes are taught on the Canvas Learning Management System. Most classes within Biola’s School of Education graduate programs are asynchronous, meaning that you do not need to be online with your professor or peers at the same time. For example, you may be asked to write responses to discussion questions within a three-day window and then interact with three to five posts. You may also work in groups using email, Skype and other interactive platforms.

Will I have flexibility in the number of classes taken per semester?

Yes. There is no cohort requirement. You determine and take the number of classes that best fits into your schedule. Your advisor can assist you in determining the best course load and sequence of your program. Full-time for credential students is 12 credits, and full-time for master’s students is 9 credits.

What is the cost for each class?

For fall 2019, cost per credit is $633. Tuition rates are the same for our online and in-person classes. See our Tuition and Financial Aid page for the most recent tuition rate.

What kind of workload should I expect in an online course? What is expected of me as a student?

The workload of an online course differs based on whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student. A typical 3-credit graduate course may require around 10 hours per week, while a typical 3-credit undergraduate course may require around 7.5 hours per week. 

Please connect with your admissions counselor for additional information. In terms of student expectations, you will be expected to interact with and contribute to online classes just as much as if you were in our in-person classes.

Are online classroom studies thoroughly integrated with biblical teachings like Biola's on-campus classes?

Yes. While  classes vary in their models of biblical integration all classes are committed to present truth from a biblical perspective and align with the School of Education’s mission.

Online Student Expectations

What qualities does a student need to have to succeed in an online learning program?

As with any program in higher education, there are several inherent qualities a student needs in order to be successful. These same qualities apply to online students as well. Distance-Education.org lists six qualities of a successful online student as:

  • You are good at time management.
  • You are an independent learner.
  • You have excellent reading, writing and communication skills.
  • You are comfortable with technology.
  • You are good at setting goals.
  • You have a good support team around you.

How do online students have the opportunity to engage with others in their class or field of study for community, prayer and encouragement?

While this varies some from class to class, here are a few examples:

  • You are given the opportunity to introduce yourself to your class and professor. As the class progresses, your relationships with your professor and peers generally deepen as you share personal application to the course material.
  • Professors often provide an open or closed forum for you and your fellow classmates to share prayer requests or to discuss things outside of class.
  • You are always welcome to attend chapels, School of Education community building events, and any other Biola-sponsored activities.

What rules of etiquette are expected as an online student?

Professionalism and courtesy are a requirement for any class. Part of the richness of Biola University is having the opportunity of meeting and engaging with people who come from diverse traditions and cultures other than your own. As the body of Christ, we are called to treat each other with love and respect and must express our opinions in ways that respect and honor fellow classmates.

How does the success rate for those who complete your online program differ from that of students taking in-person classes?

It doesn’t. Our students who have taken online or in-person classes have done equally well with respect to their employment opportunities, acceptance to and graduation from doctoral programs. Transcripts for in-person and online classes from Biola University are identical.

Is there a different completion timeline required for online degrees versus in-person degrees?

No. Classes taken online are completed over the same 16-week semester in which our on-campus students complete their classes. Please note that online summer session courses can be in either Session A or Session B only.

How could online students explore networking opportunities and connections outside of their home study environment for the possibility of job and ministry leads?

As part of Biola University, the School of Education relies upon our Office of Career Development and our Handshake job placement platform to connect both those wanting to hire Biola students and those Biola students wanting to be hired. In our classes, we encourage participation in professional organizations — local, regional and national — to prepare students to become lifelong learners. Specifically, the School of Education requires master’s degree students to meet a professional membership requirement or attend educational conferences.

Program Details and Questions

Can Biola University’s online programs work for someone who is relatively new to the education field, or someone who is looking to switch from a different career path?

Yes. While the majority of our students have some experience in education, we also have students each year who are new to the field and join our educational programs.

Some of the online classes I am interested in taking have a fieldwork component. How will I complete this fieldwork as an online student?

You will need to contact the appropriate field placement coordinator as instructed in your class. If a class requires fieldwork — whether online or on campus, in state or out of state — you must complete the same number of fieldwork hours to meet this class requirement. If you are out of state or out of country, you are required to arrange your own fieldwork placements. Fieldwork completed outside of California cannot be applied toward a California credential or permit.

If I want to teach outside of California, what path is recommended?

If you are interested in teaching outside of California, our online programs will not include classes toward certification outside California. You are encouraged to contact your specific state’s Department of Education for certification information.

If you are interested in earning their Preliminary Single Subject or Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, you can only earn these credentials in person on our La Mirada campus, but may complete your Clear Credential or the Special Education (Mild/Moderate) Credential online within California.

Although California’s teacher credentials have reciprocity with most states in the U.S., there might be additional requirements in some states.