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ONLINE COURSE FAQs

The Center prides itself in engaging actively with students in our online courses.

In order to help you find answers to your questions quickly, we have compiled the questions that people ask us most frequently into this FAQ and encourage you to seek answers here first. 

As an online venue we are unable to support telephone/Skype commnication. Contact us on our contact form and we will answer your questions quickly by email--or contact us by email:
Online.Learning@csd-i.org

Also consider looking at our informative FAQ page.

If you can't find the answer you are looking for, please don't hesitate to  

1. COURSE REQUIREMENTS.
Are there any academic, professional, or personal qualifications required for applying?
What is a prerequisite course?
Will I need to purchase any books prior to the course?

2. REGISTRATION.
How do I register for the course?
Where can I find the form need to register?
Is there limited space available for each module offered?
What documents do I need in order to register?
Can I register after the deadline has passed?
How long do I have to complete the course?
Once I have my username and password what do I do?

3. COURSE FEES.
How much do the courses cost?
What is the early registration discount?
How do I know if my country is a developing or developed country?

4. DEVELOPING NATION SCHOLARSHIP DISCOUNTS.
Do you ever give full scholarships?
What does a scholarship discount entail?
Am I eligible to receive a scholarship discount?
How do I show my eligibility for the automatic scholarship discount?
I have already received a discount for one course, can I still apply to get one for another course?

5. PAYMENTS.
In what currency should I pay?
How do I pay for the course with a credit/debit card?
If I don’t have a credit/debit card, how can I pay for the course?
Can I transfer the money through my bank?
Can someone in another country pay on my behalf? 
Incomplete Payments.
What is the Cancellation/Refund Policy?
Student Balances.
Course Start and Finish Date Limitations.

6. SCHEDULE AND COURSE OFFERINGS .
What is the duration of each course?
When are the courses offered again?
Will you be offering new modules in the future?
Cancellation of Courses.

7. TIME COMMITMENT.
If I have a full-time job, can I still take the course?
How many hours per week does the course require to complete successfully?
Do I need to log on at certain hours?
Is there interaction between the course facilitator and the student?

8. PARTNERSHIPS.
What is a partnership?
Why should I consider partnering with someone?
I’ve decided I want to partner with someone, what do I do now?
What happens if I don’t get a partner or I don’t like my partner?

9. CERTIFICATES AND DIPLOMAS.
Do I receive certification upon completion of this course?
How do I qualify for a certificate?
Do I receive a diploma upon completion of a diploma program?
How do I qualify for a diploma?

BEGINNING OF FAQ ANSWERS

 

 

1. COURSE REQUIREMENTS
Are there any academic, professional, or personal qualifications required for applying?
The courses are designed to make sound development information accessible to a broad range of people interested in humanitarian development. The courses are open to all persons regardless of professional, academic, or personal qualifications, nationality, gender or religion.

What is a prerequisite course?
A prerequisite course is a course that must be taken in order to take a higher level course. For example, OL 101 and 102 are prerequisites for all 200, 300 and 400 level courses offered at the Center.

Will I need to purchase any books prior to the course?
No, there are no additional costs beyond the course fee. You will not need to purchase any books prior to, during, or after the course. All the information you will need can be found at the Online Learning website.

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2. REGISTRATION
How do I register for a course?
If you are interested in registering for a course, you simply need to pay the course fee, and fill out our Student Enrollment Form - linked to from the course webpages.

Where can I find the student enrollment form needed to register?

The Student Enrollment Form can be linked to from the individual course webpages. You only need to fill out the form the first time you enroll in a course - such as OL 101 or OL 341.

Is there limited space available for each module offered?
Yes. We cannot take more than 40 students per course offered and will admit students on a first come, first served basis. If the course you want to take is full, please review our yearly course schedule to find out when it will be offered again.

What documents do I need in order to register?
You do not need any official documents in order to register.

Can I register after the deadline has passed?
No. Due to a high number of applicants, and the need to maintain the course schedule, you must register before the registration deadline. If you have missed the deadline, please review our yearly course schedule to find out when your course will be offered again.

How long do I have to complete the course?
Courses are either 6 or 8 weeks in duration - as indicated on the course web page. When you enroll in a course, you are enrolling in a single specific course that is being offered during specific dates. If you are not able to complete the assignments for the course within those specific dates, the Center allows you to take the course again for 50% of the normal course fee if you enroll in the very next scheduled course and use the very same project that you developed in Assignments 1 and 2. Unfortunately, we can't make exceptions.

Once I have my username and password what do I do?
Simply click on “Student Login” at the bottom of the left hand menu and log in with your account information. You will automatically be directed to the homepage for the course you are enrolled in.

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3. COURSE FEES
How much do the courses cost?
The courses vary in price depending on the country that you are from and the day you register for the course. Citizens and residents of developing nations receive an automatic partial discount. Please see scholarship information below for detailed information on discount requirements.

Citizens and residents of a developing nation wiith $50 scholarship discount:          $100.00
Citizens and residents of a developed nation:           $150.00

Please note that the course fees are for a single course participant; participants that include other people in the course under the umbrella of a single enrollment fee will be suspended without refund.

 

How do I know if my country is a developing or developed one?
Please consult our Developing/Developed Nations Chart in order to figure out which course cost applies to you.

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4. DEVELOPING NATION SCHOLARSHIP DISCOUNTS
Do you ever give full scholarships?
Unfortunately CSDi does not have full scholarships or sponsorships. Our courses are self-sustaining and the fee cannot be waived.

We do however offer a $50.00 partial scholarship for people in developing nations.

A better solution – we have discovered – is for you to seek local sponsorship. Many participants do this by writing a short letter of intent to government offices or to an NGO – either a large international NGO – or a local one. Some development agencies, development banks, and embassies provide co-funding for training. This is of good value for the sponsor because this provides training for a potential employee or project partner.

What does the $50.00 scholarship cover?
The scholarship reduces the normal course fees by $50.00 (150 - 50 = $100.00).

Am I eligible to receive a scholarship discount?
1. All students who were born in and are citizens of DEVELOPING nations, and who reside full-time in a developing nation automatically receive a discount.

2. If you are from a developing nation, but have citizenship or residency from a developed nation, or if you reside part-time or full-time in a developed nation, you are not eligible for the automatic discount.

3. If you are from a developed nation, but live in a developing nation, you are not eligible for a discount.

Our scholarship donors require strict accountability. If you do not qualify for a scholarship discount pleased do not ask for a special exception: we cannot risk alienating our donors.

These are terms set up by our donors and which we are contractually obligated to fill. In the world of nonprofits and donors transparency is very important -- and we cannot risk losing a donor by making exceptions to their contractual requirements.

How do I know if my country is a developing or developed one?
Please consult our Developing/Developed Nations Chart in order to figure out which course cost applies to you.

How do I show my eligibility for the automatic scholarship discount?
After paying the correct course fee, you need to fill out the Scholarship Student Enrollment Form that can be linked to from the course webpages; each course has its own individual enrollment form. We ask several simple questions about your nationality and country of residence in order to verify your eligibility.

If you do not qualify for a discount - please do not take a discount when you enroll - your fee will be returned - at your expense.

I have already received a discount for one course; can I still apply to get one for another course?
Yes. You can receive a discount each time you take a new course. However, receiving more than one discount will be dependent upon your successful completion of past courses. If you do not successfully complete one course, your chances of obtaining a discount for another course will diminish.

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5. PAYMENTS
What currency are the course fees listed in?
The course fees are based upon US Dollars. To check the conversion rates from your country of citizenship to US Dollars, please click here. Your credit/debit card will automatically convert your payment into US Dollars.

How do I pay for the course with a credit card?
To pay for the course using your credit card, please follow the PayPal link at the bottom of the course description page for the course you are interested in. You will be sent a payment confirmation email once your payment has been submitted. Make sure that you enter the email that you want to use in the course in the PayPal form so that we can send you your enrollment confirmation and your course login in information.

How to pay by credit card:
1. First go to the course web page of the course you want to take. Go to the bottom of that page.
2. Add your nationality in the cell and Click on 'add to cart'. After you click ‘add to cart’ it takes you to the shopping cart.
3. Click on ‘check out’. It takes you to a page that at the bottom says “choose a way to pay”.
4. You can either choose to log into a PayPal account, OR just beneath that it says ‘pay with credit or debit card’; click on that.
5. Fill out your credit card information and follow the rest of the directions and you are done paying.
6. Then, you need to fill out the Student enrollment form—this is important—please do this quickly.
http://www.csd-i.org/standard-student-enroll-form/
http://www.csd-i.org/scholarship-studnt-enroll-form/ for scholarship discount recipients.

If I don’t have a credit card, how can I pay for the course?
We understand that some of our applicants might not have credit card access. Therefore, we accept bank transfers.

If you would like to use a bank transfer please write us for the transfer instructions:
Online.Learning@csd-i.org .

Can I transfer the money through my bank?
Banks will charge a fee to transfer funds through a bank (approximately $65.00 US in total).

Sometimes your bank deducts the transfer fees from the funds being sent to us; i. e. we receive $35.00 less than the course fee. This will need to be corrected before we can admit the student into the course. Please see our refund policy below.

However, if you do not have credit card nor you may contact us about our bank transfer instructions.

Can someone in another country pay on my behalf?
This is a good payment solution; it is perfectly fine for someone to pay on your behalf. Participants take advantage of this form of payment on a regular basis. On the PayPal credit card form online, there is a blank cell called 'special instructions.' All the person who is paying needs to do is to write your name and the course number there. They should also enter your email address in the PayPal form – not theirs.

It is a good idea for you to send us an email with their name, your name, the course number and your email and we will make sure that the payment is credited to you.

Incomplete Payments.
Occasionally we received incomplete payments from students. This will need to be corrected before we can admit the student into the course. Please see our refund policy below.

If the incomplete payment has been made by credit/debit card—it’s very easy to correct that online.

Most underpayments are due to your bank  deducting your transfer fees from the funds being sent to us; i.e. we receive $35.00 less than the course fee.

Please, please check the paperwork to ensure that we are being sent the correct amount of money prior to authorizing the transfer. Unfortunately, if we don't receive the correct fee, you will need to make a second  bank transfer—and this can become quite expensive and time-consuming.

The second reason that we receive underpayments is due to the fact that people who don't qualify for the scholarship discount take advantage of the scholarship discount. This will need to be corrected before we can admit the student into the course. Please see our refund policy below.

What is the Cancellation/Refund Policy?
Places on our courses are limited and we therefore operate a cancellation policy. Your cancellation means that we won't be able to fill your spot and so once you have received confirmation of your place in the course, you are liable for course fees under the following policy guidelines.

100% refunds are automatically granted when a class is cancelled; or if a course is cancelled we give you the opportunity to convert your registration to another class.

100% refunds are granted with a written cancellation request received up to 8 days prior to the start of the course (less a $50.00 non-refundable enrollment processing fee per course paid for).

There are absolutely no refunds granted once the course has begun.

Refunds can only be made to those persons who've paid by credit/debit card. The PayPal system places a limit for any refund: no refund transactions after 60 days from receipt of payment.

We cannot issue refunds for fees that were received through bank transfers that were for less than $500.00. Refunds for amounts over $500.00 are subject to the cancellation fees described above, a $50.00 nonrefundable enrollment processing fee per student, a $50.00 administrative transfer handling fee on our end, plus a $35.00 bank transfer fee levied by our bank. An alternative is to place remaining funds into a student account balance that can be applied to future courses for up to six months from receipt of funds.

Student Balances.
Students occasionally develop balances in their account. Those balances are subject to the cancellation fees described above and can be applied to future courses for up to six months after the original receipt of funds. After six months the funds are considered a donation to the Center for Sustainable Development and are removed from the student account.

Course Start and Finish Date Limitations
When you enroll in a course, you are enrolling in a single specific course that is being offered during specific dates. If you are not able to complete the assignments for the course within those specific dates, the Center allows you to take the course again for 50% of the normal course fee if you enroll in the very next scheduled course and use the very same project that you developed in Assignments 1 and 2. Unfortunately, we can't make exceptions.

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6. SCHEDULE AND COURSE OFFERINGS
What is the duration of each course?
Each course takes 6 to 8 weeks on average. Check for the length of a course on the course's web page.

When are the courses offered again?
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive information about new dates.

Will you be offering new modules in the future?
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive information about new offerings.

Cancellation of Courses.
The Center reserves the right to cancel a course on an announced date due to insufficient enrollment. Please see the refund policy in section 5 of this FAQ.

The Center reserves the right to delete course offerings from its course catalog. This could be due to a course becoming outdated, the loss of a course facilitator, or low interest in the course from potential course participants. The Center is not responsible for any inconvenience this may cause. If a course that is part of a diploma program is dropped, please contact us to recommend a substitute course that will fulfill the diploma requirements.

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7. TIME COMMITMENT
If I have a full-time job, can I still take the course?
Yes. Whether you are a full-time or part-time employee, a student, or a business owner you can take this course. There are no pre-arranged ‘class’ times – so you can work on your assignments any time during the week that is convenient for you. However, weekly assignments are due on Mondays.

How many hours per week does the course require to complete successfully?
The time investment required is only 3 – 4 hours per week.

Do I need to log on at certain hours?
You can log into your account at any time of the day or night.

Is there interaction between the course facilitator and the student?
Yes, each assignment turned in by a student is carefully read. Assignments are not graded; we prefer to assist each student in maximizing their results for each assignment. The course facilitator makes specific suggestions for improving the assignment if necessary. Students are encouraged to communicate by email with the facilitator during the duration of the course with comments or questions.

What happens if I fall behind schedule and don’t complete the course on time?
Let’s say that you only complete 3 of six assignments during the time scheduled for the course. The Center will let you take the course again for ½ price. This is ½ of the price of the early registration discount of you sign up early, or ½ of the normal price of you sign up after the discount has ended. This offer does not include establishing a new partnership. This offer is valid only:


If the course is being taught by the same course leader.
You receive the course leader’s approval.
If you continue working on the same project that was finalized in week 2 of OL 101 or OL 341.
If only if you sign up for the same course in the very next calendar cycle. For example, if your course ended in April, and is offered again in May, you need to sign up for the May course to receive the ½ price offer.

What happens if I don’t complete a course?
You will not be eligible for a certificate of completion. If the course is a prerequisite, you will not be able to take the succeeding courses.

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8. PARTNERSHIPS
What is a partnership?
Several of our courses are perfect for forming partnerships, and we encourage people from different parts of the world to partner and to work together on a course project. It adds a personal dimension to an online course. Two people working on a project will develop a better project. You share the work load, and this is the stuff of development: people from different parts of the world working together – and this is a great way to get experience doing this.

Partners communicate about their projects through email, with photos, in chat rooms, through the course forum and the course blog, and over Skype.

Why should I consider partnering with someone?
Cross-hemispheric partnerships in the courses add an incredible dimension to the online experience. Northerners and Southerners get a window into each other’s worlds, and friendships and real partnerships form. Frequently the Southern partner has access to communities. Sometimes the Northern partner has easier access to a donor community. If you do not want to partner, that is fine; solo projects and virtual projects work well too. There is some good supporting information here: http://www.csd-i.org/partnerships-solo-projects/

I’ve decided I want to partner with someone, what do I do now?
At the beginning of each course, we post a student list on the course homepage. Here you can look for potential project partners that you feel would be interesting to work with. The list includes the organizations they work for, what they do, and what their interests are. Nothing confidential nor personal is included on the student list. In order to protect privacy, your contact information is not included on the list; you can make the decision to share contact information with fellow participants once the course has begun.

If you are from a developed country without access to a community, we encourage you to select someone from a country where they do have access to communities.

We suggest that you pick two potential partners – and send us their names. We track who has and has not already partnered and we make the introduction for you. Partners get snapped up quickly, so you should do this right away at the beginning of the course.

What happens if I don’t get a partner or I don’t like my partner?
The Center has had a very good track record in arranging partnerships, but we can’t guarantee a partner for you. First come, first serve: Partnerships are developed in the first week of the course and we have seen a few problems when students leave their partner request until too late. We also can't guarantee that there will always be a balance in the numbers in the urban/rural mix. Therefore, you also have the option of creating a virtual project – or meeting with an urban community in need (such as a shelter or a teen drop-in center). We can give you ideas for both.

If you are unhappy with your partner, before we make any changes, the Center’s position is to encourage you to work toward an equitable solution. This is after all the stuff of development: working across hemispheres and cultures through email and Skype trying to get projects off the ground and running. The partnerships can be one of the most valuable, real-world experiences of the course.

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9. CERTIFICATES AND DIPLOMAS
Do I receive certification upon completion of this course?

Yes, course participants who successfully complete a course on time will receive a course certificate.

Signed certificates are delivered by email in a PDF format for you to print out. We do not offer paper certificates by mail. The name on the certificate will be your first and last names as they appear on your Student Enrollment Form.

Our online courses are very inexpensive and consequently need to be run very efficiently. The term "online" implies that many functions like course completion certificates are automatically generated electronically; you will find that this is true with all organizations offering e-learning courses. Consequently, mailed, paper certificates are not available.

For efficiency’s sake, course certificates are issued for all students from one course all at the same time—usually within 30 days of the end of the course; please exercise patience. Students requesting a certificateor a replacement certificate after we have issued their course’s certificates will be charged a $15.00 fee.

How do I qualify for a certificate?
The course must be successfully completed on time in order to receive the certificate. Each assignment must be approved as acceptable by the course facilitator, and each assignment in the course must be completed.

Do I receive a diploma upon completion of a diploma program?
Yes, course participants who successfully complete all of the required courses within a diploma program (some diploma programs are 4 course programs and some are 8 course programs) on time will receive a program diploma. You also receive an individual course certificate for each completed course within the diploma program at the time of your course's completion (see above).

Signed diplomas are delivered by email in a PDF format for you to print out. We do not offer paper diplomas by mail. The name on the certificate will be your first and last names as they appear on your Student Enrollment Form.

For efficiency’s sake, program diplomas are issued for all students from one program all at the same time—usually within 30 days of the end of the last course; please exercise patience. Students requesting a diploma or a replacement diploma after we have issued their course’s diplomas will be charged a $15.00 fee.

How do I qualify for a diploma?
The required courses for the diploma program must be successfully completed on time in order to receive the diploma. Each course assignment must be approved as acceptable and completed by the course facilitator, and each the student will need to have successfully received a course diploma for the required courses in the program.

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