Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Distance Learning and Online courses?
- What is the difference between an online course and a classroom or face to face course?
- How do I know if Distance Learning is right for ME?
- Can I save money by taking online classes
- How much does it cost?
- Am I eligible for financial aid ?
- What Are the Technical Requirements for Taking an Online Course?
- Are the courses synchronous or asynchronous?
- How flexible is the course schedule? Can I work at my own pace?
- How much time will I have to spend in an online course?
- Are there orientation sessions or other on-campus meetings required?
- How do I interact with my classmates and the instructor?
- What about course attendance? How often do I have to log into class?
- How do I submit course work and take exams?
- What is the process to apply to the program?
- Is there any travel involved?
- Do I have to secure my own clinical sites?
- How do I meet the requirements for completing clinical hours?
- How do I find a clinical preceptor?
- How do I know what textbooks or other classroom items I need?
- What happens when it is time for graduation?
- Do I need to have insurance?
- What is the English Proficiency Requirement?
Distance learning is an instructional setting in which instructors and learners are removed by time or place from the source of instruction. Online courses at Allegany College of Maryland are offered through the Internet via course delivery tool called BlackBoard.
Online courses are similar to classroom courses. Online students attend class, study and learn at times convenient to their schedules. However, online students are not free of time constraints. Online courses have specific deadlines for assignments and tests.
There will be a syllabus that leads you through the knowledge content needed to complete the course. In many online courses, you'll be asked to do exercises and solve problems either alone or in small groups. You'll have weekly assignments, and will generally be asked to complete projects, write papers, and/or take tests as a way for the instructors to assess your understanding of the material.
As with all distance learning classes, good time-management skills, motivation and self-discipline are required for online learning. It is also essential for students to take initiative and communicate with their instructor when they have questions. Take this quiz to see if you would be a good distance learner.
How much you can ‘save’ by attending online classes will vary per individual. This calculator (Courtesy of SUNY Learning Network) may be used as a “guide” to assist you. Actual savings may vary per individual and situation.
To assist you in determining tuition costs, refer to the appropriate category on our Tuition/Fees webpage. Please note that as an ‘Online Student’ you would be considered a “Non-Maryland Resident Attending the Cumberland Campus” if you do not fall into one of the categories listed below:
· Allegany County Resident Attending Cumberland Campus
· MD Resident (Other Than Allegany County) Attending Cumberland Campus
· Bedford County Campus - Pennsylvania
· Somerset County Campus- Pennsylvania
** In addition, there are fees that are specific to the nursing program. For additional details please review the Estimated Nursing Program Costs document.
Information about financial aid may be located at Financial Assistance or by contacting the Financial Aid Office at 301-784-5213.
Students must have access to a computer with an Internet connection, as well as any additional course-specific software required by the instructor, and be familiar with how to use e-mail and navigate the Internet. Follow the link to review computer requirements that are specific for the nursing program at Technical Requirements
8. Are the courses synchronous or asynchronous?
For the LPN-RN Online courses, the work is asynchronous. This means you do not have to log into the course on specific dates and times. You log into the course when it best fits your schedule. HOWEVER, you DO have to log into the course at least three (3) times a week. We highly recommend students log in on a daily basis!!
Courses are designed with your busy schedule in mind, providing the flexibility you need to study at the times most convenient to you. The majority of the courses are structured for asynchronous learning to provide maximum flexibility for the adult learner. Courses may also contain online group work that you need to take into consideration.
The typical length of our courses is 15 weeks. All of your course activities including clinical hours, assignments, and exams, MUST be completed by their respective due dates. So, although you decide ‘how’ and ‘where’ you complete the work, adherence to established due dates is mandatory in order to progress through the program successfully. Failure to comply with deadline dates may result in failure of the course and delay program completion.
Since there will be no face-to-face class lecture, it is imperative that you be conscientious, motivated and self-disciplined. While most online courses are flexible in terms of when you put in the time, expect to average about the same amount of time as a normal lecture course -- about three hours total a week per credit hour. This comes out to nine hours per week for a 3 credit course. This does not include clinical hours and clinical paperwork.
Our online LPN-RN Nursing program does not require an on-campus orientation. Orientation to our college and program will be completed through the required online Nursing Transition Bridge Course. This five week course is set up to acquaint you with policy and procedures, get to know classmates and faculty, and prepare for a seamless transition into the full semesters for theory and clinical experiences.
We strive to provide a variety of mainstream technology tools so that you can interact easily with other students and your instructor and continue to use these same tools in your workplace. These include:
• Adobe Connect
• discussion forums
Course attendance is required, just as it is for a traditional classroom. You will be required to login to the course a minimum of three (3) days a week (based on a 7 day week). A portion of the course grade may consist of "class participation". Class participation is normally accomplished through use of the discussion board. The instructor will provide guidelines for attendance, class participation, and grading.
Your assignments are submitted electronically through your online classroom environment — just like you would turn them in to your professor on campus. Most exams are taken through an approved proctor or testing center near you.
Be sure you understand at the onset of the course the testing procedures your instructor will be using.
Please visit the LPN-RN Online Admissions Application tab.
Students are required to travel to attend clinical agencies to fulfill the required amount of clinical hours. In addition, students may need to travel to pre-approved testing centers to take required course and national standardized exams.
The advantage of our program is it enables you to complete clinical hours in agencies close to where you live. It is the student's responsibility to contact agencies and seek permission to do clinical hours at the facility. Failure to secure appropriate clinical sites will necessitate the student be dropped from the program.
Approval of clinical sites are to be finalized two (2) weeks prior to beginning each respective clinical nursing course (205,206, 215). Processing and approval of preceptor and clinical site agreements may take 3-8 weeks, so be sure to begin the process immediately upon acceptance into the nursing program. We encourage online nursing candidates to contact the Director of Nursing or appropriate administrator of local agencies to discuss completing clinical hours at their facility. You may wish to review a sample listing of agencies with whom ACM currently holds agreements for students to attend and meet clinical hour requirements at Clinical Affiliations.
*This form is to be submitted after an applicant has been offered an official acceptance letter into the program.
All students must successfully complete a specific number of clinical hours – outlined in course syllabi - in order to pass the clinical nursing courses. Students are responsible to review the Clinical Preceptor Requirements and secure a professional nurse that meets established criteria to serve as a ‘preceptor’ for their clinical experiences. The student is responsible to have the *Clinical Preceptor Agreement form completed and submitted at least two (2) weeks prior to beginning each respective clinical nursing course. (Nursing 205/206/215). ACM Nursing Faculty must approve all clinical preceptors.
*This form is to be submitted after an applicant has been offered an official acceptance letter into the program.
While our LPN to RN online program is proving to be very popular, you need to do a significant amount of hands on study/work in a clinical setting to complete the degree. So how do you fill your clinical nursing requirements if your online degree school is in one state or region and you live in another?
The answer is to find a "preceptor" in your home area who can oversee the patient work you do in a hospital or other health care facility to get clinical credits. The preceptor is another professional nurse (RN) who supervises your work and is approved by your school.
Finding A Preceptor
Getting a preceptor can be a bit tricky, depending on what area you live in. One of the issues is that the preceptor is generally not paid, which means it can take a bit of work to find one willing to give you supervision. Many nurses like to provide a helping hand to students, and also want to help because there is a shortage of nurses in many areas. In fact, you may find it much easier to get a preceptor if you are willing to commit to working at a facility after you do your clinical work there. But you should expect to spend some time looking before you find a satisfactory preceptor.
Other key tips:
- Call the education departments of hospitals in your area. Teaching hospitals in particular can often supply you with a preceptor.
- Speak to the nurse manager of the clinical unit where you will be doing clinical hours, they know who would be a good preceptor or who has filled that role previously
- Contact your state board of nursing and see if they have a list of available preceptors in your area.
- As you speak to potential preceptors, let them know that you are willing to work "off" shifts - weekends, nights, etc. Hospitals and clinics are often short of nurses at those times, and are glad to have extra help available.
- Finally, when you talk to a person who may become your preceptor, ask as many specific questions about how he or she plans to work with you and what the expected outcome should be. This isn't a permanent relationship, but for the duration of your clinical course you will be working with this person one-to-one. Try to make sure you're both on the same page, as it can help you avoid potential personality conflicts.
A list of all required textbooks and supplemental materials will be provided once an applicant is officially accepted into the online program. A list of required technology tools, including a webcam, printer and computer may be found in the Technical Requirements document.
21. What happens when it is time for graduation?
As an online student, you are invited to attend the same commencement ceremony as those on campus to receive your diploma in person. This is often the first time that our students set foot on campus, as well as meet their classmates, faculty, and academic advisers in person. It is truly an exciting and emotional experience, and we are honored to be able to share in this joyous occasion with you. If you cannot attend graduation in person, we will send you your diploma through the mail.
PROOF OF HEALTH INSURANCE
Students enrolled in programs that involve clinical/practicum experiences are expected to have their own personal health insurance. Clinical agencies may require proof of individual health insurance coverage. A plan* is available at reasonable cost through E.J. Smith & Associates.
PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE All nursing students are required to carry professional liability insurance. Laboratory fees collected at the time of registration cover the cost of the college student blanket policy with a major insurance carrier. This policy provides coverage ONLY at school sanctioned clinical activities. It is recommended that students who wish to obtain their own liability insurance purchase $1,000,000 per incident / $6,000,000 aggregate Professional Liability Insurance coverage for nursing students.
SOME OPTIONS* FOR PURCHASING COVERAGE INCLUDE:
• American Nurses Association
• CM&F Group
• National Student Nurses Association
• Nurses Services Organization
* Neither Allegany College of Maryland nor the Nursing Department endorses any provider/vendor. Student is responsible for verifying whether coverage is available in his/her state.
Both the National Council for the State Board of Nursing and the Maryland Board of Nursing requires inclusion of English proficiency as criteria to insure the applicant's ability to use and comprehend spoken and written English at a sufficient level for entry into practice. Based on this, proficiency in English is required for both patient safety and student success.
In alignment with the above criteria and general admission requirements for International Students to the college, applicants to the LPN-RN Online Program at Allegany College of Maryland who completed high school outside the United States of America must provide proof of English language proficiency.
This can be done by submitting one of the following:
- Test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) with score of 550 or higher on a paper exam,
- on the TOEFL iBT (Internet based exam) score of 88 or higher
- Provide documentation of graduation from a college or university in the United States, or other English speaking countries such as Canada (other than Quebec), Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland.
There are books to help prepare for the TOEFL test.
More information from the National Council for the State Board of Nursing is available online.
For more English Proficiency information specific to the Maryland Board of Nursing can be found online.Information about English Proficiency here at Allegany College of Maryland can be found online.