MOOC Frequently Asked Questions

There are many questions that often come up regarding MOOC. Take a look and see if we can answer any of yours.

Student working on computer

Availability Questions 

  1. How often are courses offered?
    So far, courses have been offered once or twice per year. Northwestern cannot guarantee future offerings of previously offered courses. 
  2. Which courses are available?
    Northwestern has previously offered two courses titled “Christ through the Gospels” and “Navigating Grief with Humor.”

Enrollment Questions

  1. Who can sign up for free online courses?
    Free online courses are currently open to anyone with a valid email address.
  2. How do I enroll/register for the course?
    When a free online course is available, you will be able to register for a free online course at
  3. Can I join after the start date? 
    Registration for courses is limited to the official enrollment window preceding the course start. 
  4. How do I unenroll if I am no longer able to participate?
    Please email to notify us that you would like to unenroll from the course. You may also choose to simply cease visiting the course without officially unenrolling.

Course Questions

  1. Can I complete free online courses at my own pace?
    Content and activities open as the weeks progress. You may work at your own pace within the current week and return to previous weeks to continue working. All courses end at a specified time and become unavailable when they close.
  2. Are there due dates?
    Activities in the course do not have required due dates other than the date the course closes. Each week suggests optional activities to complete within that week, but all activities can be completed at any time while the course is open.
  3. Do I have to complete all activities?
    You are encouraged to participate fully in this course; however, all activities in the course are optional. You may interact as much as you choose in order to reach your learning goal. For those planning to take the proficiency test, there are participation requirements.
  4. Do I need to purchase a textbook?
    The use of a textbook varies by course. Your efforts on the Proficiency Exam at the end of each course as well as quizzes and some other activities will be strongly benefited by reading the textbook. Please see the MOOC registration page for information on a textbook.
  5. How long is the course?
    Available free courses are six weeks long. Courses will remain available for 1–3 additional weeks to allow time for participants to optionally complete the proficiency exam, if they wish to do so, and course materials.
  6. Do I have to go anywhere?
    Northwestern’s free online courses are entirely online, so you are never expected or required to visit campus. 
  7. Do I have to be online at a specific time?
    You may participate in a free online course at any time that is convenient to you. There are no activities that require you to be online at a specific time.

Credit Eligibility Questions

  1. Can I receive college credit for this course?
    Yes. New or re-enrolling students, those who haven’t taken courses from UNW in the last 12 months, can take an exam to qualify for two undergraduate college credits. If a required minimum passing score is achieved, these credits will be awarded in accordance with the academic program requirements after you apply to and are accepted and attend University of Northwestern within one year of the MOOC closing. A maximum of two college credits will be awarded if you participated in more than one MOOC.

    If you are currently enrolled in a course at UNW or have been in the last 12 months, this credit by examination is not applicable. 
  2. How do I pay for the online proctoring for the proficiency exam?
    You will pay for the proctoring service at the time of taking the proficiency exam. 
  3. Can I just take the test and not participate in the course?
    No. In order to take the proficiency exam, you will need to complete the weekly quizzes with a passing score and participate in one discussion each week. 
  4. Can I take the test more than once?
    You are allowed one attempt per course offering. 
  5. Can I earn CEUs for this course?
    Northwestern’s free online courses do not qualify for CEUs. 
  6. Can the credits be transferred?
    The credits are added to your UNW transcript after you attend UNW and remain a permanent entry on your transcript. Transfer of credit always depends on the receiving institution

Technical Questions

  1. What browser is recommended for this course?
    Current versions of Firefox, Safari, or Chrome will give you the best experience.
  2. What if I have problems logging in?
    Your username will be the email address you register with. Reset your password by clicking "Forgotten your username or password?" on the site's login page.
  3. Can I access the course content after the end date?
    The course will remain open for a few weeks after the end date of the course. Afterwards, the course will be closed. If you want to access the content again, you can register for the course when the course is offered in the future.
  4. What happens if I don't finish the course by the last week?
    All courses end at a specified time and become unavailable when they close. Specific dates will be provided on the course site. You are welcome to sign up for future sections of the course if you are unable to complete your learning goals before the course closes.
  5. Can I change my username or password?
    Your username will remain the email address with which you registered for the course, but you may change your password at any time by using the “Forgotten username or password?” link on the login page.

Other Questions

  1. Who will know that I am in this course? 
    All participants can view the names of those enrolled in the course. Your email address will not be shown to other participants unless you choose to share that information. 
  2. Can I communicate with the instructor directly/privately?
    Due to the high volume of participants in free online courses, direct communication with professors is not guaranteed. Participants are invited to use the forums in the course site to communicate with other participants and the professor.
  3. How can I find out more information about Northwestern's programs and courses?
    Visit the Northwestern website.

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