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Online Education FAQs

If you have never taken an online course or would like to prepare yourself, please take the SUNY Cobleskill Online Self Assessment >>


Q 1. Why did the campus migrate to Brightspace? 

Answer: The use of Brightspace was a SUNY-wide implementation mandate. SUNY Cobleskill chose to migrate courses for the Fall 2023 semester and began piloting courses during the Summer 2023 semester.


Q 2: How can I log in to Brightspace? 

Answer: All faculty and students can use this link to log in to their Brightspace account: https://brightspace.cobleskill.edu/. Our learning management system, Brightspace, uses multifactor authentication to log in. If you do not have that set up yet, then you will need to contact ITS at 518-255-5800.


Q 3: What browsers are supported by Brightspace?

Answer: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge are supported. Internet Explorer is NOT supported. 


Q 4: Why aren’t my classes showing up in Brightspace? 

Answer: If you are taking a class it should show up under the My Courses widget. However, if the course is not displayed there then your instructor might have it hidden from students. If your course is still hidden at the start of the semester, you should reach out to your instructor to verify they are using Brightspace and to get information on when that will be made visible to students. 


Q 5: Is there an orientation for online students? 

Answer: Brightspace has student resources, which include Brightspace tutorial guides and videos to help with navigating the Brightspace environment. Click this link to access these resources: https://dle.suny.edu/resources-for-students/. The office of Online Education will be at student orientations to answer any questions/concerns students might have. 


Q 6: How do online classes work at SUNY Cobleskill?

Answer: Online courses at SUNY Cobleskill are developed and presented completely through the Internet. Professors and students communicate in an asynchronous format through a very popular online Course Management Suite, Brightspace.

Online courses do not have regular meeting times. Students can do their coursework at times that fit the demands of their lives. If work, family or constraints prevent you from pursuing your education in a traditional setting, online courses let you to create a schedule where you work on your terms. You can complete your assignments late at night, early in the morning, on weekends or even while on vacation.It’s all up to you! Online courses may also fit your learning style better if you are self-motivated and are a good time manager. Onlinecourses also open up a wider array of courses that you can take here.


Q 7: Do classes meet in “real time” (I.E. conference calls, web conferences, or chat room, etc.)?

Answer: Typically, online classes do not meet in “real time.” However, if a course is designed with a “real time” component, then the student would be responsible for that course requirements. The instructor may also use web conferencing software to virtually meet during class time. This can be done through Zoom or Microsoft Teams.


Q 8. Do we need books and other hard copy materials? Where can I get them if we do?

Answer: Online classes use textbooks and other hard-copy materials just like any other college class does. In most cases, students can get their textbooks through a website such as Amazon.com or through the campus bookstore.

Contact Information for SUNY Cobleskill's Bookstore:
Phone: 518-255-5227
Fax 518-255-5505
Check the Bookstore's website for detailed information.


Q 9. Is the acceptance criteria different for online students than for on-campus students?

Answer: The acceptance criteria for online students is exactly the same as it is for on-campus students. Visit the Admissions office for more information.


Q 10. How can I submit an application for admission?

Answer: Visit the Admissions sections for the application procedures. You’ll find information about tuition and fees on the Student Account webpage.

Q 11. What would be the cost for taking an online class?

Answer: The cost of an online class is exactly the same as any other credit-bearing course. Information about tuition and fees can be found on the Student Financial Services webpage.


Q 12. What online courses are offered at Cobleskill?

Answer: A list of online classes can be found in the Schedule of Classes for any given semester. They are identified by the prefix, ONLI. Visit online course listings and descriptions to find the online courses offered for the year.


Q 13. I am a full time student at a different college. Can I take online courses at Cobleskill?

Answer: That would depend upon your reason for taking the online class at Cobleskill. Do you plan to transfer the credits back to the other college? If so, you would need prior permission from that college to transfer the credits before you take an online course at Cobleskill.


Q 14. I am an international student at Cobleskill. Can I take an online class in my home country during the summer?

Answer: Online courses are available anywhere there is Internet access.


Q 15. Do online courses make use of pod-casts?

Answer: Some instructors will implement Podcasting on some Brightspace courses. The files from these Podcasts are usually MP3 files. You can download the file or open it inside Brigthspace if you have a sound card and working speakers in your computer.


Q 16. What kind of computer hardware and software do I need to take an online course?


Please visit the Technical Requirements for more information.


Q 17. Can I access my online course from work?

Answer: Unless the place you work uses a restrictive firewall, you should be able to access your course from work. Only your employer can determine whether or not you should access your course from their network.


Q 18. What kind of technical support is available if I run into a problem?

Answer: If you have questions or problems with Brightspace, you can submit a support ticket with the office of Online Education through TeamDynamix, or you contact the following Online Education staff:

Vincent Basile
Director of Online Education


Jennifer Weingarten
Instructional Designer


If you encounter a problem with your Cobleskill network connection, email, or anything else IT related, contact the Helpdesk at 518-255-5800 or you can submit a support ticket through TeamDynamix.

You can also contact SUNY Online Support Services Helpdesk for Brightspace related issues at:

Phone Support: 1-844-673-6786 or 1-518-320-1300 (Direct)  

Web Form Request: Create a support request

SUNY has Knowledge Base articles and other self-service options are available 24/7 at https://online.suny.edu/help/

This service is available weekdays 5 PM to midnight, Saturdays 10 AM to 8 PM, and Sundays 10 AM to 9 PM


Q 19. How can I get advice on which degree/program I should apply for?

Answer: You can visit the Admissions site for more information or you can call or email the Admissions Office:
Toll Free: 1-800-295-8988
Local: 518-255-5525
Email: admissions@cobleskill.edu


Q 20. How are tests conducted? Are final exams given?

Answer: Testing varies from course to course. Some courses are writing intensive and do not emphasize tests. Other courses might have weekly quizzes which you have a certain amount of time to complete. Some courses may require you to come to campus to take tests, as might be the case with a hybrid course. Some courses may use online exams that you submit electronically to the instructor. Each instructor explains testing activities, as well as their course requirements, ;in the syllabus that is posted on the course website.


Q 21. Is there a team assignment for online classes? How do team assignments work? How often are they assigned?

Answer: Team Assignments are given at the discretion of the instructor who would direct students in the assignment. How often they are given is also at the discretion of the instructor. There is no set rule for this criteria so make sure to read your syllabus and check the course website to be sure.


Q 22. Before I apply for an online course, is there any way that I can review the course schedules?

Answer: Go to online course listing and description for detailed information.

Q 23. How do I register for my online classes?

Answer: If you plan to take online courses in summer, you can register online. If you are interested in taking online courses during other semesters, visit the Registrar's Office for more information, or check out their webpages.


Q 24. How do I contact my academic advisor?

Answer: If a student is taking online classes and/or is a part time student, they are not assigned an academic adviser. If the student is a full time matriculated student, then they would contact their academic advisor through the usual channels. Advisement would have taken place before the faculty leaves campus. Students taking a summer class would not have access to their academic advisor, as their advisor is not on campus for the summer.


Q 25. What payment plans are available?

Answer: Information for payment plans can be found at on the Student Financial Services webpages.

Students Financial Services, Knapp Hall, Room 118A
Phone: (518) 255-5539
Fax: (518) 255-5844
Or visit this site: Payment FAQ.


Q 26. How much time should I devote each week to my online course?

Answer: During a typical fifteen week semester, an on-campus student spends at least three hours a week in the classroom and is expected to spend an additional two hours per credit hour (six hours for a 3 credit class) studying and/or preparing for the course. Over a fifteen week time frame, the total hours expected in a three-credit course would be 135 hours, or 9 hours per week. However, in an online class that time can be higher since the class does not meet and the burden of making time is on the student. In a condensed situation, such as summer classes that are only six weeks long, the amount of time spent per week in an online class will be significantly larger.


Q 27. How do I find the course textbook information?

Answer: The Bookstore on campus has all the information on what books you'll need for the courses you are taking. You can call this number 518-255-5227 to find out. Check this site for textbooks or eTextbooks.


Q 28. What computer skills should I have to be successful in an online course?

Answer: In order to be successful, an online student should have decent typing skills and general familiarity with their computer, including:


Q 29. How do I communicate with my online instructor?

Answer: In addition to announcements and assignments given through Brightspace, the main method for communicating with your instructor is through emails. Brightspace has a feature that allows your instructor to email students within the Brightspace interface, but the email will go to their school email address. There is also the Messaging feature in Brightspace that allows for private messaging in the Brightspace interface. Your instructor’s email address is listed both on your course website, as well as on the college’s website. As your instructor may send you individual or group emails, it is crucial that you check your email regularly. Your instructor may also post feedback about your assignments in your Gradebook. After an assignment grade has been posted, check to see if your instructor has also left specific comments regarding your work.


Q 30. How do I interact with other online students ?

Answer: Many instructors use the “Discussion Forum” function on the Brightspace portal for facilitating student interaction and discussions. For many online courses, an instructor will post a weekly topic for students to react to. In addition to your posting, you may also be asked to comment on postings submitted by other students. Using this tool, you have the opportunity to interact with your fellow students and instructors in a meaningful way other than through emails. Your participation in the discussions is often used as part of your course grade.


Q 31. Are library resources are available online?

Answer: Yes. On the Online Education homepage, you’ll find a direct link to Cobleskill's library resources. Among these resources, you can search numerous databases of current journals in most academic fields. From these searches, you can access full-text articles that you can use for course assignments or papers. The library resources can also be reached by the library homepage.


Q 32. How do I know if I'm ready to take an online course?

Answer: If you feel that you would like to take an online course but are unsure how prepared your are, please use this Online Self Assessment to determine your readiness: SUNY Cobleskill Online Self Assessment.

After completing the assessment, count the number of times you selected “Yes” and “No”. If you answered “No” to at least 7 statements, online courses may not be right for you. You may want to rethink your reasons for wanting to enroll in an online course. Take some time to decide if you still feel comfortable with this style of instruction and capable of learning this way.


Q 33. Will taking an online course let me complete my degree early?

Answer: This depends upon how many credits you take or have taken over the academic year. You are allowed to take a maximum of 18 credits for the spring and fall semesters and online courses allow you to gain credits without being physically present. However, you should definitely consider whether you feel you can handle it before committing yourself to an 18 credit workload.