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Tips for Success in Courses

Beacon provides a variety of online courses. Courses are facilitated and include multiple summatives. Each reflection-type summative must be reviewed and approved by your facilitator. To maximize online learning, Beacon recommends the following considerations.  

Before the course:

  • Explore the Beacon website to become familiar with the information found on the support and policies pages. You will find answers to many of your questions on the support and policies pages.
  • Course facilitators will send a welcome message via email by the start date of the course. Check your spam folder if you do not find the message in your email inbox. Notify Beacon if you do not receive the email by day two of the course. Reply to the welcome email to verify confirmation of receipt.
  • Create a folder on your computer to save your summative responses and any other documents or notes you might want to keep.
  • Make a tentative schedule for completing the course. Keep in mind your own schedule as well as any course deadlines. Refer to the recommended pacing guide (see the article “Working in Summatives”).  Note: Some courses have specific checkpoints. Information about checkpoints is found in the first chapter of the course or will be shared with you by your facilitator.
  • You have immediate access to the course as soon as you enroll. You may access and begin reading the course prior to the start date. 
  • If you submit multiple summatives at the same time, it might take longer to receive feedback. Be patient and check back frequently for feedback in case any revisions are required.

During the course:

  • Read the course content carefully before responding to summatives. Careful reading reduces the need for revisions or retakes.
  • Check Your Understanding (CYU) exercises are formative self-assessments. CYUs are embedded throughout the course. Immediate feedback displays when a response is submitted. Responses are not tracked.
  • Chapter summatives are identified on the first page and the last page of each chapter. Press the button at the bottom of the last page of the chapter to go directly to the relevant summative.
  • Click Summative Log from the Table of Contents to jump directly to the list of summatives.
  • The Summative Log lists all the required summative tasks and their status. The status indicates your progress on each summative (see the article “Working in Summatives”).
  • Responses on reflection-type summatives are reviewed by the course facilitator. Facilitators approve or return summatives for revisions based on specified criteria.
  • Quizzes and cumulative exams are computer-scored. Learners must receive a score of at least 80 percent to pass. Learners can retake quizzes and cumulative exams as needed.
  • No more than two summatives can be submitted during the final week. All summatives must be submitted by the end date. Submission deadlines ensure a quality learning experience for all parties. (For sections with no grace period, the final tasks must be submitted by the BEGINNING of the final week to allow time for review and revision.)
  • Use a word-processing program like Microsoft Word to create your summative responses. Use spell check and grammar check. Save each response. Copy and paste the response into the appropriate online summative tasks after the start date of the course.
  • Review the directions and item requirements before submitting a response. Responses should be substantive and thorough.
  • Facilitators review summative responses for alignment to criteria based on course objectives. Responses are approved once the criteria are met. Responses that do not meet the criteria will receive feedback and be returned for revisions.
  • Summative responses must be your own original work and must follow standard English usage and grammar.
  • Check the status of your summatives frequently (see the article “Working in Summatives”).
  • Summative status and facilitator feedback:
    • Summative approved: facilitators often provide feedback even when the response is approved. Open the summative task and click the link to the comments.
    • Summative returned for revisions: open the summative task and click the link to the comments. Make necessary revisions and resubmit summatives in a timely manner to ensure summative approval and avoid losing course access.
  • Late submissions of summatives may jeopardize successful completion.

After the course:

  • Courses are marked complete after all summative tasks have been submitted by the learner and approved by the facilitator.
  • Learners receive an email confirming course completion.
  • Completed courses appear on your Beacon transcript as soon as they are marked complete even if the course is completed before the end date.
  • Courses with a grace period:
    • The course expires seven days after the end date.
    • Learners lose access to submit or revise summatives once the grace period expires.
  • Courses without a grace period:
    • Learners lose access to submit or revise summatives on the posted end date.
    • All work must be approved by the posted end date. 
  • You have access to your Beacon transcript even after courses expire. Log in to Beacon and click My Transcript from the left menu bar.