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Northwest Missouri State University

About Online Learning

Click on this Demo Course link to view an example of the courseware used for Northwest Online courses.

Questions about Northwest Online and online courses? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section.

Here, you can find answers to some of the most common questions we get about Northwest Online. If you don't see your question here, e-mail it to us.


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General Questions about Northwest Online

What is Northwest Online?

Northwest Online is an online extension of Northwest Missouri State University that offers courses and degrees through the Internet.

What are the major characteristics of an online learner?

Although there is no need to be a computer expert to take an online ocurse, not everyone is successful when taking an online course. It has been found, for instance, that those who are successful in this endeavor display the following characteristics:

  • Proficient or adequate technology skills
  • Proficient or adequate reading and writing skills
  • Able to prioritize tasks
  • Able to motivate yourself to learn
  • Able to control your learning environment by scheduling appropriate amounts of study time and an appropriate location to study
  • Able to understand ideas and materials rather than just memorize and recall material
  • Able to comfortably discuss ideas with other students without a face-to-face meeting
  • Able to work on your own without constant explanation from an instructor
  • Able to determine your own progress in a class
  • Able to think through problems on your own
  • Able to follow a weekly schedule that includes hours dedicated for online work

Source: David Brooks, Web-Teaching: A Guide to Designing Interactive Teaching for the World Wide Web

Do I have to live in Missouri?

No. You can live anywhere and take courses through Northwest Online. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can participate in our courses.

Can I use financial aid with these courses?

Yes. Students taking courses through Northwest Online may be eligible for financial aid. To determine if you are eligible, you should contact a financial aid counselor at Northwest Missouri State University.

How much does it cost?

Please visit the Cashiering Office's web page to view tuition information.

How long do courses last?

Northwest Online fall and spring courses are 15 weeks long. Summer courses may run on shorter schedules. The course structure will require that you keep to these schedules in order to successfully complete the courses. If you feel you will need more time, you should contact your insturctor about getting an "Incomplete" grade for the course. Finishing earlier than the scheduled time can only be done with the permission of the course's instructor.

Can I start a course at any time?

Northwest Online courses are only offered during the fall, spring, and summer trimesters. You will be expected to follow each course's schedule as outlined in its syllabus. The Academic Calendar lists important dates for the whole year.

What degrees can I get?

Northwest Online offers several degrees. Visit the Programs page for more details.

Where do I get a list of courses?

You can find a list of available courses on the online course catalog.

How can I get a copy of the course schedule?

The course schedule is available online or you can complete an inquiry form to get on our mailing list.

In order to take courses through Northwest Online, you must first go to the Admissions page and follow the on-screen instructions.

What are the admissions requirements?

Check the Admissions page for more information.

How do I apply?

In order to take courses through Northwest Online, you must first go to the Admissions page and follow the on-screen instructions.

How do I know if my computer will work for this?

Check the Technical Information section to make sure your computer and web browser are compatible with Northwest Online courses.

Is Northwest Online accredited?

Northwest Missouri State University degree programs are accredited.

How can I contact someone at Northwest Online?

You can contact the Northwest Online office at 660.562.1532.

Will more courses and programs be available in the future?

We are always looking to add more courses. However, because Northwest Online stresses instructional quality over quantity, there can be a considerable development time in bringing new courses online. You should check the website periodically to look for new courses and degree programs.

What library services are available for Northwest Online students?

Information about available library services may be found at the library website.

If I have a disability, may I still take an online course?

Students with disabilities may take online courses, but any adaptive computer equipment needed to fully access online courses must be provided by the student. For further information about obtaining assistance, please contact your instructor.

What are some tips to help me be a successful student in an online course?

  • Check your e-mail frequently.
  • Log on to your course every single day or a minimum of 5 - 6 days a week.
  • Keep in contact with your instructor.
  • Advise the instructor promptly of any changes in your e-mail address and/or telephone number.
  • Allow a reasonable amount of time for instructor responses.
  • Interact with your classmates as much as possible.
  • Contact your instructor by e-mail for help if you have trouble understanding a unit of study.
  • Apply what you learn.

Questions about Northwest Online courses

How do the courses work?

Once the semester begins, you will have access to your Northwest Online Student Home Page. On this page, you will find a listing of your course(s) along with some other useful links and an orientation course. Click on a course to enter that course. Once inside, you will see a listing of the course lessons and a menu that will allow you to navigate around your course. You will be able to communicate with other students and with your instructor through e-mail. You will also be able to post questions and comments to your course's threaded discussion forum. This forum allows you to hold virtual conversations with other classmates and your instructor without having to be online at the same time. You will also be able to psot assignments through your course's website and read lessons. You may have to visit other websites and even participate in online labs. Finally, you will be able to take exams online and get feedback from your instructor through the course gradebook.

How do I know what courses to take?

Students taking courses through Northwest Online receive academic advising from their assigned advisor. If you have any questions about your degree program or about what courses you should take, contact your advisor.

View a full listing of required courses for online degree programs »

How much time will I have to spend online?

You should expect to spend at least 5 hours per week per course online. But remember, this does not include time spent offline doing work. For that, you should expect at least 3 - 4 more hours per week per course. Northwest Online courses are as rigorous as on-campus courses, and you should expect the same level of work or more.

How much work is there in a typical course?

A typical course will involve 8 - 10 hours of work per week. This includes at least 5 hours of work online per week.

Do I have to be online at a specific time?

In most cases, you will not have to be online at a specific time. Most of the courses are designed to be as flexible as possible while still allowing you to get the best education. See How do the Courses Work (above) for more information.

Can I take courses on-campus and online at the same time?

Yes, you can take on-campus and online courses at the same time. However, please remember that online courses are as rigorous as on-campus courses and you should expect the same level of work or more.

Are courses ever cancelled?

Courses with fewer than 10 enrolled students may be cancelled. However, because Northwest Online is expecting considerable growth, it is expected that few courses will need to be cancelled.

How do I drop a course?

To drop a course and possibly receive a partial refund of your tuition, you must follow the policies and procedures listed in the course catalog. You must "DROP" a course prior to the Last Day to Drop in order to receive a partial refund of your tuition. If it is after the Last Day to Drop, you will need to withdraw from the course.

How do I withdraw from a course?

After the Last Day to Drop, but prior to the Last Day to Withdraw, as shown on the Academic Calendar, you can withdraw from a course. Withdrawing may not entitle you to a refund of your tuition, but it does allow you to get a "W" instead of another grade. Withdrawing after the Last Day to Withdraw may result in your getting a grade other than "W". To withdraw from a course, you must follow the policies and procedures in the course catalog.

When do courses start?

Courses start in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Check the Academic Calendar for a full listing of dates.

Will I have to go to campus?

You should not have to go to campus when taking Northwest Online courses. However, if you are taking a course that requires a monitored lab or a special meeting, you may have to go to campus. Also, you may want to go to campus to take advantage of the services available there. As a Northwest Online student, you can use the services available on-campus.

How do I register for courses?

You may register for courses at Northwest Online using CatPAWS, but you will need a username and password provided by your online advisor.

How do I get to my course?

After you have registered for your course, you can access it by logging in to the Northwest Online website. Courses are accessible on the first day of that course's session. You will need your Student ID and your 919 number to get access to your course. We recommend that you access your course within the first couple of days when the session begins.

How do I get my Student ID and word?

After you have been enrolled in a course, you will be notified through e-mail of your Student ID number and 919 number. If you are unsure of what these are, contact the Northwest Online helpdesk via email at

How do I get books?

Online students may order their books through Bearcat Bookstore. Visit the bookstore for more information.

How do I take tests?

Tests are taken online. Once you are in your course, you will be able to take tests through the course website. The tests can be multiple choice, short essay, or long essay in format. Tests may also be timed and graded automatically. Each course will be different in the type of tests required, with some courses not requiring tests at all. Once completed, your instructor may provide feedback on your test through the course's gradebook.

If my course requires lab, how does it work?

Lab courses will generally be conducted online through the use of CD-ROMS and laboratory kits that are mailed to your home. Although some courses may require you to attend a supervised laboratory setting, these courses will be minimized and all students will be advised of this requirement at the time they register.