Before Your Course Begins

Because you are choosing to register in an online course, you're going to need a reliable way to connect your computer to the Internet. You need an Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you're reading this from your own computer, then you already have a way of connecting to the Internet. But if you're not, then here are some suggestions: Check out nation-wide ISP's (like Compuserve, Sympatico, or Netcom) and see if they offer a local telephone number for your area. Or look into cable Internet access (like Rogers@home.) As well, many cities and towns have local ISP's; check the Yellow Pages under Internet Services & Products for these companies.

Your first objective is to be able to dial your ISP locally - you don't want to add long-distance telephone charges for your Internet time if you can help it. If you've got a few options to choose from, then ask your ISP about their features and policies - like no-busy signals, or contract policies. Remember, you'll be online about 8 hours per week for each course you take, so choose your "hours-per-month" package accordingly. (And once you've made your decision, make sure that you know the name of the outgoing mail (SMTP) server and incoming mail (POP) server so that you can set up your email program.)

Once you've registered in an online course from the University of Guelph, you'll receive an information package - usually about a month before the course begins. This package will contain a list of all of the courses offered by Open Learning and Educational Support for that semester, details on any textbooks or additional resources you need to purchase, the procedure for adding another course (or dropping this one), and an estimate on when you can expect to receive course materials that aren't web-based. If you live nearby, you're welcome to drop by our offices and pickup the materials yourself when they're ready - if that's not convenient, they'll be sent to you via courier.

As soon as you know what your textbook and resource requirements are, you'll need to make arrangements to order and purchase them.

Your course materials - and your Student Handbook - should arrive about one week before classes begin. In these materials you'll get the details on how to get your login and password for the course, and where to find your course on the world wide web (the URL or address - it's that www. thing.) You can usually visit your course website a couple days before courses actually begin.