The Interamerican University International Network System
General Information > Distance Learning Student Handbook

Welcome to Distance Learning at I.A.U.!

We are delighted you have registered for a Distance Learning Course. We hope you will feel an important part of I.A.U.’s community of learners even though you may be located many miles from our campuses. We also hope that by offering you courses that give you a little more flexibility that we have made it possible for you to add lifelong learning to your already, very busy schedule.

This Distance Learning Student Orientation Handbook is designed to help you make an easy transition to learning away from our campus.

Two very important points to keep in mind:

Learning through distance learning courses takes just as much time and effort as learning through an on-campus course!

Distance learning courses are always open. Please contact your mentor if you have any question about options available.

Applying for Admission to I.A.U. from Off-Campus

Please request and complete an Admissions Application available from this address and phone number:

I.A.U.’s International Admissions Office
246 W.38th Street
10th Floor
New York, NY 10018
or call (646) 366-1318

Return the Admissions Application to the Admissions Office.

Related Links:

Placement Testing for Distance Learning Students

Students needing placement testing at a distance must contact I.A.U.’s Testing Services Office by phone at (212) 465-3434 or fax at (734) 448-8254. You may also contact the Testing Services Office at this website:

Once distance testing is approved, the student must locate an accredited testing site in his or her area. The student must then call I.A.U. Testing Services and provide information about the testing site, the testing administrator, and the phone number. I.A.U.’s Testing Services staff will contact the testing site and the individual accepting the responsibility for administering the placement test.

The off-site testing center will return the placement exam to I.A.U.’s Testing Services, who will grade the test and upload the information into I.A.U.’s Banner system. I.A.U. Testing Services will mail the test results to the distance learning student and provide the student additional information via Internet, phone, or fax.


New students who have never attended a college or university in the United States are required to follow an orientation session before registering. Transfer and returning students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Call (212) 465-3434 to arrange to have an orientation brochure sent to you. Or send an e-mail message to Emy Jones.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for distance learning courses.

You can send specific questions to the Financial Aid Office at this e-mail address:

Registering for Classes

Once you have been admitted to I.A.U., you can register for classes through the I.A.U.’s student telephone registration system. The system is available Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Academic Advisement

Distance learning students use counseling and academic advising to help ensure their success in distance learning courses.

Advisement is recommended for all students prior to registration. Students needing information about course selection and/or program requirements may obtain advisement by calling the Secretary of General Coordination

Changing Your Address

As a distance learning student, you will be receiving numerous mailings from I.A.U.’s Distance Learning Office and from your mentor through the mail. The first time your mentor contacts you may be to send you a syllabus before the term begins by mail. Therefore, it is critically important that I.A.U. have your current address, phone number, and e-mail address.

To change your address, send your new address in a letter to this address:

Office of the Registrar
InterAmerican University
246 W. 38th St.
10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

Please be sure that I.A.U. has your current telephone number and address. Otherwise you will miss an important packet of information about your Distance Learning experience at I.A.U..

Obtaining an e-mail Account

Many of the courses at I.A.U. require or strongly advise that you have an e-mail account and access to the Internet.

If you already have Internet service at home, you are ready to go. If you do not already have an e-mail account, you can open a free e-mail account. Your e-mail account will give you the ability to send and receive e-mail from any computer as well as participate in online discussions.

To obtain a free e-mail account for students who have paid their registration fee and/or tuition, please visit this website:

E-mail Account Signup: or

Ordering Textbooks

You may purchase textbooks through the I.A.U. Bookstore by phone, fax, or mail. You can also contact the I.A.U. Bookstore at this e-mail address:

Note: Some distance learning courses use textbooks that are different from the textbooks used by the on-campus courses. Please check your syllabus for the correct textbook your distance learning course will need.
When you ask for help at the Bookstore, please mention that you are looking for a textbook for a distance learning course.

When you register for a distance learning course, the Distance Learning Office will send you a packet of information. Included in that packet is a Textbook Order form. You can mail or fax the Textbook Order form to these addresses:

By Mail:

I.A.U. Bookstore
246 W. 38th St.
10th Floor
New York, NY 10018

By Fax:

(734) 448-8254

By Phone:

(212) 465-3434

Paying Tuition and Registration Fees

You can pay your tuition and fees by mail. Your Student Schedule and Fees Statement, which will be sent to you after you register, states the amount of tuition you owe. Please pay the exact amount show on your statement.

Distance learning students enrolled in telecourses, Internet courses, dual courses, and correspondence courses receive ten (10) days from the date they register for classes to pay tuition and registration fees to I.A.U.’s Cashier’s Office. Check the Course Schedule to determine which courses are telecourses, Internet, or correspondence courses. Telecourses are indicated by a "T," Internet courses by "I," dual courses by "D," and correspondence courses by "C."

If you fail to pay the exact amount of your tuition within the ten days, you may be disenrolled from your courses.

Checks and money orders must be payable to I.A.U. for the exact amount and must include the student's ID number.

Providing distance learning students with ten days to pay tuition does not set aside a very important date—the last date to drop a class and receive a tuition refund. The last date to drop a class and still receive a tuition refund is the tenth day of the term. If you drop a class after the tenth day of the term, you will not receive a tuition refund. Your status will be shown as "withdrawn" from the class, and the class will show on your I.A.U. academic transcript.

A Tuition Payment form is included in the packet you receive from I.A.U.'s Distance Learning Office when you register for a distance learning course.

Distance Learning Packet

After you have registered for a distance learning course, you will receive a packet of information from I.A.U.’s Distance Learning Office. The packet may contain the following items:

Ø Cover Letter
Ø Course Syllabus
Ø Your Student Schedule and Fee Statement
Ø Student Contact Sheet
Ø Tuition Payment form
Ø Book Order form
Ø Questions and Answers about Distance Learning
Ø Telecourse rental form (included only for students enrolled in telecourses)
Ø How to obtain a I.A.U. E-mail Account
Ø How Can You Be a Good Distance Learning Student

Some packets will contain the additional following information:

Ø Audiotapes
Ø Videotapes

Contacting Your Mentor

Your mentor will always contact you to answer your specific questions about your course.
If your mentor has been unable to contact you, you must contact your mentor. You can find your mentor’s email address or phone number by checking these sources:

Ø the Student Contact sheet, which is included in your Distance Learning packet or
Ø the Distance Learning Catalog

Distance Learning Office

I.A.U.’s Distance Learning Office is located within the Office for International Coordination

The Distance Learning Office works with the following people:

Ø with faculty to prepare distance learning courses
Ø with Registration to schedule distance learning courses
Ø with students who want to learn more about distance learning courses
Ø with TAL-NET, and Cable One to schedule telecourses

Please contact Marisol Espaillat by phone at (212) 465-3434 or by e-mail at for more information about learning at a distance.

Definition of Distance Learning at I.A.U.

Distance learning at I.A.U. involves educational and instructional activities designed to overcome barriers of time or space in support of I.A.U.’s missions and goals. Instruction by distance learning has developed into a "preferred alternative" for many people and provided access to individuals who seek education and training. Distance learning is an effective means of facilitating learning, especially suited to reach a number of busy people who wish to increase their knowledge and skills without giving up their jobs, leaving home, or losing income.

I.A.U.’s current efforts in distance learning include:

Ø Telecourses televised on KNME-TV
Ø Correspondence study
Ø Video instruction
Ø Teleconferencing
Ø Cablecast of the Teach and Learn Network (TALNet)
Ø Internet access
Ø Courses provided in the electronic classroom
Ø Dual courses that combine telecourses with Internet discussions


Successful distance learning students use counseling and academic advising to help ensure their success in distance learning courses.

Staffed by Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors (LPCC), and support personnel, I.A.U. Counseling Services is dedicated to providing all students with quality services. All information resulting from counseling is held in strict confidence. Counseling Services is committed to providing services for all persons without regard to sex, race, national origin.

Study Skills

Most successful distance learning students are self-sufficient, self-directed learners. They are resourceful and independent individuals, who can balance family responsibilities, work duties, and their academic workload by exercising control and balance in their daily lives.

Successful distance learners appreciate the flexibility that distance learning courses offer. Students can watch a telecourse video or participate in an online class discussion at their convenience, yet they understand they must devote the same amount of time or possibly more time to participating in a distance learning course as they devote to a traditional course.

Will you:

v organize your daily life to schedule time for learning?

v adhere to a schedule?

v set a priority for learning?

v work independently?

v ask for help when you need it?

v take responsibility for your learning?

Will you:

v follow the orientation session?

v take time to read the syllabus, course schedule, or class calendar?

v assemble the course materials your mentor requests?

v become familiar with all class policies?

v ask questions when you have them?

v complete assignments on time?

v ask for helping managing time if you need it?

v keep your mentor informed of issues?

v create a master calendar for the term that shows all assignments, tests, and reports for all your classes?

v think about the material as you view or read?

v schedule frequent, short review sessions?

Computer Access

I.A.U. owns and operates a variety of computer, network and telecommunication systems, which are provided for the use of I.A.U.'s students, faculty, staff, and the public in support of the programs of the Institute and are to be used for instruction, learning, research, and administrative use only. All persons using these systems are responsible for seeing that these systems are used in an effective, efficient, ethical, and lawful manner.

I.A.U.'s Technology policy provides guidelines for the use of individual systems establishes rules and prohibitions that define acceptable use of these systems. Unacceptable use is prohibited, and violation of these policies is grounds for loss of privileges, as well as disciplinary action as outlined in the I.A.U. Employee Handbook, Student Handbook, and Supervisors' Procedure Manual and possible legal sanctions under Federal, State, and local laws.

Library Access

I.A.U. distance learning students have many learning resources available to help them with research and class assignments.

On I.A.U.'s campuses, students have access to these online databases:

Ø EBSCO Host, which offers more than 1500 periodical, magazine, and journal articles
Ø First Search, which contains about 60 databases, including ERIC, ABI/Inform, MedNet, and more.

From anywhere on the Internet, students have access to the Internet search engines, such as:

Ø Yahoo
Ø Alta Vista
Ø Metacrawler

Additionally, your local community probably offers you resources that will round out the resources I.A.U. offers you. In your local community, look for these local resources:

Ø public libraries
Ø community college and university libraries

Remember anyone can publish anything on the World Wide Web. Please do not use information you find on the World Wide Web for your class assignments until you have evaluated that information for its accuracy, authority, and objectivity.

Student Code of Conduct

Distance learning students must read and follow I.A.U.’s Student Code of Conduct.

You must respect the your classmates' and mentors' privacy and the work or comments they produce. All assignments you submit or tests you take must be your own work unless your mentor has requested that you work in groups. You may not submit work that is plagiarized or violates copyright laws.

It is also your responsibility to respect copyright protection of licensed computer software.

Distance Learning Courses

You can find both a current list of the distance learning courses offered at I.A.U. as well as the list of proposed distance learning courses for the coming term at this website: Spring 2000 Distance Learning Courses

Distance Learning Mentors

Your mentor will be immediately assigned upon registration. He/she will be at your disposal at all times.

How to be an Internet Student

Do you use a computer everyday?. When you have a problem with your computer, do you have someone you can call to fix it within 24 hours? Do you use your e-mail program everyday?. Can you use a search engine like Yahoo or Alta Vista or WebCrawler to find information on the 'Net'?. Can you send your assignment to your mentor through an e-mail message with file attachments?. Can you print web pages from the Internet?. Would you like to access a bulletin board or pose questions in a chat room?. You will use a computer, e-mail, and the Internet everyday if you take an Internet course. You will frequently sent assignments to your mentor through the Internet and participate in Internet discussions.

To successfully complete online courses, you will need the following:

regular access to a computer (for MMS 296C, you will need a multimedia computer with CD-ROM, sound card, and speakers) at least a 56.4 modem for Internet connection access to an Internet service provider (ISP) and the World Wide Web word processing software Netscape 7.0 or higher or Internet Explorer 7.0 e-mail account

If students do not have computers at home, they can use the computers in I.A.U.'s Open Computer Labs.

Students must be able to:

Ø create, send, and receive e-mail
Ø use a www browser
Ø read web pages and follow links
Ø subscribe to list-servs
Ø post messages to bulletin boards
Ø participate in a chatroom


Ø Send your e-mail address to your mentor as soon as possible
Ø Spend time learning the buttons, icons, features of your online course before you start the first assignment
Ø Create a schedule for reading online, printing text, participating in online discussions, completing and submitting assignments
Ø Do not allow yourself to get behind
Ø Remember when you put something off until tomorrow, tomorrow is when your car is guaranteed to break down, your kids will get sick, or you get unexpected company

Communicating with your mentor and classmates in an Internet course is different from talking to them face-to-face. Since all we see are the words printed on the screen, we miss the body language and facial expressions that accompany the words. We may not know when you are joking. Please review your comments before you enter them and make sure the words say what you want to convey. Once your comments are entered, it may take some time for you to notice the impact of your comments, and it will take some time for you to clarify your meaning.

It is a very good idea to follow "Netiquette" when you are participating in an online class discussion. Here are a few good points:

Ø Follow the Golden Rule
Ø Don't type in ALL CAPS--that's called shouting
Ø Use "Emoticons"

The word "emoticon" is a combination of two words--emotion and icon. They are little "emotion pictures".
Tilt your head to the left and see if you can see a smiley face here :-)

But sometimes we get in a hurry and forget the nose and type :)

Sad faces are just as easy :-( or :(

Some people like to wink at you ;-) or ;)

Use Emphasis
Some folks use asterisks around words you want to *emphasize*, and we also sometimes use underlines _like this_ to imply the phrase is underlined.

Use Emotion Words

Sometimes it is better yet to just use emotion words and put them in brackets. If you were talking about my bad hair day, you might [snicker] or [grin].

Use a word processor, such as Word, or WordPerfect, or even Notepad (in your Accessories folder, most likely) to compose your posting. Get it the way you want, all spell-checked and everything, then highlight it, (or select all) then copy it (Control-C) then switch to the browser where you can see the box where you want to post your message, then paste it (Control-V). Your words will be there. This method is for those who want to think about their message, re-word it, play around with paragraphs, etc.

Additionally, learn to be efficient with your e-mail. You may have hundreds of e-mail messages before your course is completed. Learn to keep your e-mail in separate folders. Contact the Open Computer Labs for help.

Most importantly--you must either have or develop

Ø finely-tuned time management skills
Ø independent-learning skills

Related Links:


Open Computer Labs

If students do not have computers at home, they can use the computers in I.A.U.'s Open Computer Labs.

How to be a Telecourse Student

Telecourse students watch videotapes on certain channels to hear course material. However, merely watching a television program is not learning. Watching the videotape is a part of learning. You must watch the videotapes with a purpose in mind. You must do something with the information after you watch the television. Your mentor's syllabus and your telecourse study guide will help you form a purpose for watching the videotapes.

Your mentor may require you to also participate in online class discussions or come to campus for orientations, tests, and writing exercises. Your syllabus will tell what your course requirements are.

Evaluating Your Courses

Because distance learning at I.A.U. is a new initiative, the mentors and the Distance Learning Office would like to hear your thoughts about your experience as a distance learning student. Your thoughts will help I.A.U. improve the services and courses offered to you through distance learning. Your input is crucial.

Please share your thoughts about distance learning courses. Here are the ways you can.

1. Toward the end of each term, the Distance Learning Office will mail out a survey to each distance learning student. Please fill out the survey and return it to the Distance Learning Office in the envelope provided. Your answers will be kept anonymous and will not influence your grade in your course.
2. Please informally share with us what it was like for you to be a distance learning student. Talk to the Distance Learning Office.

Using WebCT

Some of your courses will use WebCT. WebCT stands for World Wide Web Course Tools. Some mentors use WebCT to post their syllabi, course calendar, online quizzes and to conduct online class discussions.

WebCT courses are password-protected. Your teacher may create your password and account for you or ask you to create your own password and account.

For some tips on getting started with WebCT, click here.

Distance Learning Delivery Fees

The I.A.U. Governing Board has established the following fees for students enrolling in Distance Learning Courses effective Spring Term 2003. These fees are charged per course in addition to regular tuition and fees.

1-4 credit hours: $30 per credit hour per course
5 or more credit hours: $120 per course

These fees do not apply to courses taught in the Electronic Classrooms.

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