Support & Resources
I am new to this. How do I figure out how to learn in an online setting?
One of the great things about Chatham is that you will never have to teach yourself or "wing it" when it comes to participating in your online education. Every new Chatham SCPS student has a week-long Student Orientation before classes officially start.
Orientation gives all new students the opportunity to meet one another and to participate in "assignments" to become comfortable with their online environment. You will learn how the online classroom works, what it means to learn asynchronously, how to access and submit assignments, how to track class success, and how to access many various student services. After orientation, each of our students are prepared to begin their academic courses.
What is a typical online class like?
Most of the distance learning courses offered through SCPS at Chatham University are intensive, 7-week long classes. Two 7-week sessions are offered back-to-back during the spring and fall semesters and summer semesters. Interactive class discussions are held asynchronously via a discussion board forum, where students may post responses to readings, course ideas, and each other. As with many on-ground courses, assignments and papers are submitted electronically by uploading them to the online classroom. Although few courses set examinations, these are also accessed and taken through the online classroom. Grades and instructor feedback are available continuously through the class's grade book and final grades are accessed on myChatham. Instructors often hold office hours in which phone calls or emails from students may be immediately addressed.
What is the Student Success Center?
The Student Success Center is where you will find helpful information about student services through the Chatham University School for Continuing and Professional Studies and other Chatham University resources and opportunities. This is where current students find timely reminders for University deadlines, resources for becoming an effective distance student, and updates about CCPS policy. Students also have the opportunity to post questions for the Success Center or fellow students to answer about programs, technology, or other available resources.
Will I have access to the library as a distance student? How can I use the library?
Yes, as a distance student you will have access to many of the resources and services that the library has to offer. The Jennie King Mellon Library is located on the Chatham University campus in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There are many online tools available for our students to access from anywhere in the world. Some of the many useful tools which can be accessed through the JKM library website are Research How To's, Help Me videos, full text e-journals, and an Ask a Reference Question site in which you can access a Chatham librarian via email and instant messenger when you need help. There are also Subject Guides located here: http://jkmlibrary.pbwiki.com. You may also refer to the Student Manual for more details including contact information.
Can I use the Chatham campus facilities as an online student? May I get an ID?
Yes, any local or visiting online distance learning student may utilize the extensive campus facilities on the beautiful Chatham University grounds. In order to access the library or the athletic center, however, you must present your Chatham University student ID. You may acquire the ID at Student Affairs, which is operational during normal business hours Monday - Friday and is located in the Carriage House, prepared with your student ID number. We are sorry that we cannot yet make Chatham University IDs available through the mail to non-local or non-visiting students as we are working through authentication concerns.
Do distance learning students have access to career development services?
Yes, SCPS students have some career resources available online, and the SCPS office is working to expand our offerings in the future. These resources are accessed through the PACE Center, or Programs for Academic Advising, Career Development, and Educational Enrichment. The University's PACE Center offers students a comprehensive approach to academic and career planning as well as an academic support network designed to maximize each students' academic success at Chatham.
Will I be able to work toward a distance learning degree despite my disability?
Chatham University is committed to providing an environment that ensures that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of her/his disability. Students with disabilities, as defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), who need special academic accommodations should notify the director of PACE as soon as possible. The PACE staff will work with the student and their course instructors to coordinate and monitor the provision of reasonable academic accommodations.
Technology RequirementsWhat kind of equipment do I need to take a Chatham distance learning course?
Access to a computer (PC or Mac) and the Internet is required for all Chatham distance learning courses. The general minimum requirements are:
- Internet access: We recommend a minimum modem connection speed of 56kbps or better.
- Web browser: Some course components will only be available via the course website. You will need a web browser to view them. We recommend Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari
- Portable Document Files (PDFs): Some course documents may be presented in a PDF format. To open these documents you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or other pdf document reader. (Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.)
- Word Processing: You will need a word processing package that can save files in Microsoft Word 2003 or 2007, rich text format (.rtf), or a compatible format.
What technology accounts do I receive as a Chatham distance learning student?
A student username is created for you after you register for your first classes. This username is applied to your Chatham email account, your Campus Vue Portal account, and your myChatham account.
Email: Your Chatham University email account is your email@example.com. You can access your email from any computer that has Internet. We encourage our students to use their Chatham email accounts for classes and strongly recommend that they check it at least once every day for updates during the semester.
Campus Vue Portal: The Portal is a new web-based program for Chatham University and is tied to the campus-wide student information system. The purpose of the Portal is to allow students access to their student information including their student accounts and financial aid information. All returning students register themselves for classes through the Campus Vue Portal.
myChatham: This site is dedicated to Chatham University student affairs. It is home to all necessary student forms, the campus directory, and a student news and events calendar; here you can find course schedules, grades, and unofficial transcripts. It is also where you remotely connect into the Jennie King Mellon Library's catalogs, databases, and journal archives. myChatham also displays access links to Webmail and the Portal.
Is there technical support available? How do I access it?
When working with any form of technology, like our online course software Moodle, it is important to realize that you may occasionally encounter some type of technical trouble. If you are having technical problems accessing or using Moodle, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk immediately by phone or email. The Help Desk is available Mondays - Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. They may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 412-365-1112.
*Note: We do not provide technical support for your personal computer or internet connection.