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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • Am I required to submit a prior learning portfolio?
    • Students are not required to submit a portfolio.
  • How can I tell if the prior learning portfolio is a useful option for me?
    • If you have had significant university-level learning from non-academic activities and can describe and provide independent documentation for this learning, the portfolio may be a useful tool in completing your degree. There is no guarantee that submitting a prior learning portfolio will result in the awarding of academic credit. Also, prior learning portfolio credit does not meet the 30 semester hour BGS enrollment requirement nor does it apply toward academic honors distinction. However, credit awarded may apply toward all other appropriate credit hour graduation requirements.
  • Is there a limit to the number of credit hours gained through a portfolio that can be applied to my degree?
    • Yes. There is a limit of 30 hours that can be applied to your graduation requirements. Any additional hours awarded will be transcribed but this additional credit will not be applied to your graduation requirements.
  • When would be the best time to write a prior learning portfolio?
    • We strongly urge that if you intend to submit a prior learning portfolio that you start to work on it as soon as you are admitted into the degree program or as soon as is appropriate if you enter the program with little prior college or university level course experience. With the portfolio evaluation completed, you can better assess which and how many courses you will need to complete your degree. You may submit a prior learning portfolio at any time before meeting all graduation requirements if you are enrolled in the BGS degree program.
  • Can I graduate the same semester in which I submit a prior learning portfolio?
    • No. Since the actual award of academic credit is dependent upon many variables, it is impossible to predict whether you will be granted sufficient credits to meet the graduation requirements. You may not graduate in the semester that you submit a prior learning portfolio for evaluation.
  • How do I identify my prior learning which may earn college credit?
    • The simplest way is to find out whether what you know is taught in a college course. One useful approach to begin your discovery process is to review course descriptions in the WIU Undergraduate Catalog and check off the courses which correspond to your learning.

      Note: Time in itself means very little. Thirty years spent on a particular job might result in no college credit at all from a prior learning portfolio whereas one year of experience and learning may produce significant amounts of credit. What is important is time and effort spent in documenting meaningful, equivalent university-level learning.
  • Are there any courses the University does not evaluate for prior learning portfolio credit?
    • Yes. Internships, departmental independent studies, seminars, workshops, and field work are course types which are not appropriate for portfolio use.
  • How much and what kind of credit should I request in my prior learning portfolio?
    • There is no established limit to the number of course requests you may include in your prior learning portfolio; however, the number of credits earned through portfolio evaluation that may be applied to your graduation requirements is limited to 30 semester hours. The number of course requests should be based on your prior knowledge, interests, and your answers to the following practical questions:
      • How many credits do I need to graduate?
      • Do I need upper or lower division credits?
  • What kind of writing quality is expected in the prior learning portfolio?
    • Because you will be submitting this portfolio as a request for WIU credit, it is expected that your document will conform to University standards for written work; that is, it will be neatly typed, double spaced, and with adequate margins. Standard spelling and proper grammar are essential, and the content should be arranged in an orderly and coherent manner. Course requests which do not meet these standards will be returned to you for revision.
  • Can I transfer the prior learning portfolio credit to another school or program?
    • Should you decide to apply for admission to a traditional degree program after receiving a credit award for prior learning, you should be aware that each college or university has its own policies concerning transfer credits. It would be wise to check the transfer policy of a college or university on prior learning credits before making a decision to apply for admission.
  • Am I required to submit a prior learning portfolio?
    • Students are not required to submit a portfolio.
  • How can I tell if the prior learning portfolio is a useful option for me?
    • If you have had significant university-level learning from non-academic activities and can describe and provide independent documentation for this learning, the portfolio may be a useful tool in completing your degree. There is no guarantee that submitting a prior learning portfolio will result in the awarding of academic credit. Also, prior learning portfolio credit does not meet the 30 semester hour BOT/BA enrollment requirement nor does it apply toward academic honors distinction. However, credit awarded may apply toward all other appropriate credit hour graduation requirements.
  • When would be the best time to write a prior learning portfolio?
    • We strongly urge that if you intend to submit a prior learning portfolio that you start to work on it as soon as you are admitted into the degree program or as soon as is appropriate if you enter the program with little prior college or university level course experience. With the portfolio evaluation completed, you can better assess which and how many courses you will need to complete your degree. You may submit a prior learning portfolio at any time before meeting all graduation requirements if you are enrolled in the BOT/BA degree program.
  • How do I identify my prior learning which may earn college credit?
    • The simplest is to find out whether what you know is taught in a college course. One useful approach to begin your discovery process is to review course descriptions in the WIU Undergraduate Catalog and check off the courses which correspond to your learning.
      Note: Time in itself means very little. Thirty years spent on a particular job might result in no college credit at all from a prior learning portfolio whereas one year of experience and learning may produce significant amounts of credit. What is important is time and effort spent in documenting meaningful, equivalent university-level learning.
  • Instruction: What is the best way to contact my instructor?
    • Instructor telephone numbers and e-mails are provided in your course syllabus.
      Check your syllabus as to the best way to contact him/her. Contact info for instructors is also available through the online directory.
  • Exam Limitations: How many exams can I request at one time?
    • Exams are to be requested one at a time. Once the previous exam has been returned, the next exam can be sent out.
      If you have a special circumstance, for example: you are graduating and need to complete the course early, please contact the Distance Learning at 309/298-2496.
  • Exam Grades: Who grades my exam and how long after taking my exam can I expect my grade?
    • Your instructor corrects the examination, assigns points, and informs you of your score on each examination. Allow enough time for the exam to be received by the Distance Learning office and forwarded to the instructor for grading.
  • Exam Requests: I am not taking my exam at the Macomb or Quad Cities campus, how far in advance should I request my exams?
    • No later than two weeks in advance to allow for mail time. During deadlines allow enough time for the exam to be returned and forwarded to your instructor for grading.
  • Registration Next Steps: I've registered for a online course, now what do I do?
    • You may order your books from the University Union Bookstore and they will ship them to you by using one of the following options:
      1. You can call call the Bookstore at 309/298-1931 or TOLL FREE at 800/338-6369. Have your course information available for the representative when you call. Be sure to specify the course name and number and that it is an online course, OR
      2. You may order your books through the Online Bookstore which is located on the University Union Bookstore’s web page at http://www.wiu.com/bookstore/. Click on the “Online Bookstore” option from the left menu. Then click on “Shop WIU on efollett.com” icon located on the left menu. Click on “Textbooks & Course Materials” and select the program “WIU-EXT/ISP” and then select the appropriate term. When selecting the department, scroll down past the EXT prefixes to the ISP prefixes. (EXT courses refer to classes offered at a location other than the Macomb campus, and not to online courses.) Select your course and section number, if necessary. Follow the remaining instructions regarding payment and shipping.
  • Deadlines: How long do I have to complete courses?
    • All of our online courses begin at the same time as regular on-campus classes.
      • Fall: Mid-August
      • Spring: Mid-January
      • Summer: Early-June
      Online courses must be completed by the end of the regular on-campus semester (16 weeks for Fall and Spring, 8 weeks for Summer).
      All materials are due to the instructor by Monday of on-campus finals week.
  • Proctors: What is a "proctored" exam?
    • Some online courses also have proctored exams.
      A student is required to arrange an acceptable exam supervisor (known as a proctor) and make arrangements with them to have the test administered.
  • Proctors: Who is an acceptable proctor?
    • Students living near Macomb must take all examinations at Distance Learning, Horrabin Hall 10, WIU. Call 309/298-2496 to schedule a time for the examination. Distance Learning requires 24 hours' notice before scheduling an examination.
      Students living in the Quad Cities area must take all examinations under the supervision of personnel at WIU-Quad Cities campus. Call to schedule a time for the examination. WIU-Quad Cities requires 24-hours' notice before scheduling an examination.
          Western Illinois University's Quad Cities

          3561 60th Street

          Moline, IL 61265

        309/762-9481
      Students living in other locations should arrange for an acceptable proctor to conduct the examination and are responsible for fees assessed. The following are acceptable proctors:
      • Community colleges and universities testing center personnel
      • School superintendents, high school principals, and counselors
      • Education officers of military personnel
      • Education officers of correctional facilities (for incarcerated individuals)
      Indicating a proctor on your Examination Request Form who does not meet these criteria will cause a delay in processing your examination. Faculty members, relatives, work supervisors, or the immediate employer of the student may not serve as proctors.
      WIU reserves the right to reject a proposed examination proctor.
  • Online Course Registration: Why can't I register at any time for online courses?
    • Online courses are not on an open enrollment system. The registration period for these courses is coordinated with on-campus registration.
  • Advance vs. Open Registration: What is the difference?
    • Only currently enrolled students are eligible to register for courses during advance registration. During open registration, all eligible students may register.
  • Fees: Are there any additional charges or fees?
    • Students will be assessed a $50 per semester hour instructional enhancement charge for all courses designated Internet (I and IC), and Extension site (E). This distance learning instructional enhancement charge is applicable to all students being assessed beginning with Plan H as well as subsequent assessment Plans. Students at the receiving site taking CODEC classes will be assessed a $50  access charge.
  • Tuition: How much is tuition?
    • Tuition at WIU is based on semester hours.
      The most up-to-date tuition information is available online through the Business Services office at https://www.wiu.edu/tuition/.
  • Cost/Tuition: How do I pay for my classes?
    • You will be billed for your classes after the start of the semester.
      Bills are available on STARS. You may pay your bill by check or credit card (MasterCard, American Express, or Discover).
      Details are available on the Business Services website https://www.wiu.edu/businessservices/.
  • Financial Aid: Is financial aid available?
    • Students receiving any form of financial assistance are advised to check with the Financial Aid Office to determine the extent of coverage available.

      Financial Aid
      Sherman Hall 127
      1 University Circle
      Macomb, IL 61455
      (309) 298-2446
      Website: http://fa.wiu.edu
  • Veterans Benefits: Are there any benefits for Veterans?
  • Withdrawing from courses: Is it too late to withdraw from a course?
  • Computer Questions: Help with technology/computer questions?
    • University Technology (uTech) Support Center provides help for questions about hardware, software, accounts, access, etc.
      Contact the Helpdesk at (309) 298-2704 or via email at support@wiu.edu.
      For hours of operation, please check the uTech Support Center Website.
  • Courses: Where can I see what courses are being offered?
    • Course offerings are available online through "Course Search" on STARS, or through the "Course Search" from the Registrar's website.
  •   Degrees at a Distance Program Course Registration: Why can't I register myself for the Degrees at a Distance Program courses?
    • Classes offered through the Degrees at a Distance Program are upper level courses restricted to firefighters. To register for these classes, students must contact their advisor.
  • Username/Password: How do I find out my user name and password?
    • University Technology (uTech) Services can assist you with username and/or password questions.
      Contact the Helpdesk at 309/298-2704 or via email supportcenter@wiu.edu.
  • Grade Posting: How will I find out my grade?
    • Western Illinois University sends semester course grades to students WIU email address within a week following the end of the semester. Students may also view their grades on STARS.
  • Transcripts: How can I get a copy of my transcript?
    • WIU assesses a one-time, non-refundable $15 transcript fee from first-time WIU students. After paying this fee, you may request as many transcripts as desired without paying an additional transcript fee.
      Request for transcripts must be submitted to the Registrar's office in writing; telephone request cannot be honored.
      A written request must include:
      • Name (present and all previous)
      • Social Security Number or Student ID
      • Date of birth
      • Last year attended at WIU
      • Where to send transcript (name and address)
      • Signature
      Transcripts are not issued for persons under financial obligation to WIU.
      Send requests to:
          Registrar

          Sherman Hall 110

          Western Illinois University

          1 University Circle

          Macomb, IL 61455-1390

        (309) 298-1891
      http://www.wiu.edu/registrar/transcripts.php.
  • Registration How-to: How do I register for a course?
    • Students may register through STARS, or with the assistance of an academic advisor.
  • Do I have to be a student at WIU to register for an online course?
    • Students seeking a WIU degree must be admitted to an undergraduate or graduate degree program at Western Illinois University before they can register for an online course.

       

        Following admission, students may register for online classes via the Student/Alumni Records System (STARS).

       

      Students who do not wish to complete a degree at WIU and want only to take one or more online courses for transfer to another institution may choose to apply to be admitted as non-degree seeking students. Please review the criteria below to determine your eligibility status as a non-degree seeking student.

       

          Students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution should NOT use the undergraduate application, but should instead apply through the
      Office of Graduate Studies
        . Access the Graduate Application by clicking on Apply Now on the WIU Home page and choosing the application link labeled “Graduate Application.” Carefully read through the admission criteria posted on the website and proceed as indicated or call the Graduate Studies office at 309/298-1806 for assistance.
      Students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution may submit an
undergraduate non-degree application
      . Access the     Undergraduate Non-Degree application by clicking on Apply Now on the WIU Home page (
www.wiu.edu
      ) and choosing the application link labeled “Undergraduate Non-Degree Application.” Carefully read the online instructions and proceed with section 1 to electronically submit the application and $25 non-refundable application fee. Students wishing to submit a paper application and pay a $30 non-refundable application fee with a check or money order should choose section 2 to download the application in an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Students must also complete and submit the "
Request to Register for Courses
      " form found on the Undergraduate Non-Degree Application web site. The form can also be located at:
www.wiu.edu/ses/docs/RequesttoRegister.pdf
    .

  • Do I need a WIU student ID number to register for an online course?
    • New WIU students will be sent important information containing their WIU student identification number, their electronic communications (ECOM) login identification, and instructions on activating their WIU Zimbra E-Mail and Student/Alumni Records System (STARS) accounts. Students MUST activate their email account in order to log in to any online course.
  • Can I start courses at any time?
    • Online courses at WIU follow the same academic calendar as campus classes; they begin on the first day of the term and end on the last day of the term. Students enrolled in a course can access the online course website on the first day of the term. Although students may access the course website and do homework 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, each course has specific deadlines and due dates for assignments and exams.
  • Do I have to come to campus to take exams?
    • No, online courses do not require students to come to campus to take exams. Some courses require proctored exams, while others utilize online exams. Exam specifications can be found in the course syllabus which is available on the course website the first day of the semester. Students wishing to obtain this information prior to the first day of class are advised to contact the instructor by phone or email or to contact Distance Learning by email at DistanceLearning@wiu.edu or by calling 309/298-2496. The Distance Learning office maintains a list of approved proctors and can work with students seeking testing sites.
  • Where do I locate my course on the first day of the term?
    • All online courses at Western Illinois University are accessed via the WesternOnline website. From the WIU Home page (www.wiu.edu) place your cursor over the “Web Tools” link to display a menu bar and click on Western Online or by typing “WesternOnline” in your web browser. Login is completed using your ECOM user name and the password you created when you activated your student email account. Enter the specific course web site by clicking on the appropriate link in the “Course List” area of the page.