Online Special Students FAQ

The information on this page is provided as a courtesy for our online Special Students, or for prospective online Special Students. The term “Special Student” refers to individuals who wish to take coursework but who are not currently enrolled at Starr King or any other GTU school.

Where can I find the syllabus for my course?

Syllabi with any required books are posted as soon as instructors send them to us. Syllabi will be found beneath associated course descriptions in our online course descriptions.

How do I register for an online course?

See How To Register for details. Take note of registration dates as listed on Starr King’s Academic Calendar.

To register, I sent in a PIN request, but haven’t heard back. Why?

PINs should be requested during the first week of early or general registration in order to allow Instructors to receive all requests before making decisions. Instructors are expected to notify students by 5 p.m. on Tuesday of the second week. They are asked to keep an adequate number of spots for low-res students and special students, giving them priority in the online courses. Once a semester begins, if you have not received the key to your course within three working days of your having completed the SKSM Course Registration form, notify cyoung@sksm.edu.

Is there any additional assistance for learning Moodle?

Yes. Moodle has an excellent demo site at https://moodle.org/demo/. You don’t need to worry about making mistakes because everything auto-erases every hour. Definitely check it out.

How will I log in?

During the week before your class begins you’ll get one email per course containing its Enrollment Key along with detailed information, including simple instructions for getting to know GTU Moodle (the GTU’s Pre-course; even now you can practice Moodle at https://moodle.org/demo/), and posting photos and introducing yourself.

How can I contact my Instructor?

Your instructor will provide contact information to enrolled students either by email at the start of the semester, or by clarifying preferred contact information through your particular Moodle course site. Or, if an instructor has multiple email addresses and the preferred email address for class use isn’t clear, you can contact your instructor by email once your course has begun. SKSM does not give out faculty home phone numbers. Adjunct Faculty, Visiting Scholars and Student Teachers do not have offices or voicemail boxes at the school, and cannot be reached by phone via the school. Please do not contact online instructors outside of the GTU’s scheduled registration periods or after a semester/course has ended. During registration periods, follow the information at How To Register.

Briefly please, what will be expected of me?

One thing is consistent across all SKSM courses: Full participation is required. In terms of simply “showing up,” students are allowed 1 week off ~ the equivalent of 1 absence per semester. More than that must be arranged with the instructor. Sometimes terms can be negotiated. If not, a student may be encouraged to withdraw from the course.

Going back to make up a missed unit does not erase an unexcused absence.

Apart from that, be sure to look for a clear and detailed set of expectations that’s been posted by your instructor. If you don’t see one, ask for one. It might go something like this:

  • As this is a graduate course, you will be expected to do a substantial amount of reading. Students are expected to complete all assigned readings and to complete them on time.
  • Each student is expected to post to the Web a one-page-or-less written reflection based on readings and course materials pertinent to that week; to be posted by midnight Wednesday of each week in the discussion forum (midnight Pacific Time, where Starr King is located).
  • Participate in weekly online discussion (forums) by responding to peer reflections. Each student is expected to respond to the substance of the reflections of two of their peers each week. The length of an average forum post for this course is 250 words.

How can I eliminate all those odd little glyphs from my Moodle postings?

Copying and pasting from a word processing program (like MSWord) into Moodle often causes unwanted code to appear. Use the “Paste from Word” button in the Moodle textbox toolbar. Copy your text from Word, then go back into your Moodle course. In the textbox toolbar, click the “Paste from Word” button. A new window will appear; paste your text (right-clicking and selecting Paste, or pressing Ctrl+V on your keyboard) into that textbox. Click the Insert button.

Another older-but-reliable method is to copy from Word into Notepad [if using a Windows-based computer] or into Text Edit [if using a Mac]. From there, do a “Select All,” then copy again and paste into the Moodle window. It sounds more complicated than it is and will go fast once you’ve done it a few times.

How can I upload a large file?

The maximum file upload size for GTU Moodle is 10 MB. Most files uploaded to Moodle are smaller than that, but PowerPoint files or images might exceed the threshold. Here are some links to help you keep your file sizes manageable:

Remember that audio and video files are never to be directly uploaded to Moodle. Please contact Justin Lipscomb, the GTU’s Online Learning Coordinator, at moodle@gtu.edu if you need assistance.

Is there a way to go right to the week of class without scrolling all the way down from the top? That gets to be a pain as weeks pass and the course page grows longer and longer.

Yes! (Long-time Moodlers call that “The Scroll of Death.” Sometimes it feels like it is!) You can click the little square in the upper-right of the week and then the square resembles a little square ’8′. The display changes to one week at a time and you can select the appropriate week in the “Jump to…” drop-down menu [see directly below the week].

Is there a way to download or save all my postings?

The best way to do this is to create a Word document and keep it available during your reading and writing sessions. Copy everything you post into the document as you go. By semester’s end, you’ll have everything. It is good in any case to save all of your online coursework not only to Word docs, but to a folder backed up externally (to the Cloud, to CD, flash drive or other external drive) so would do not lose your work if your computer crashed.

Can I get a library card?

Special students are not automatically given GTU library cards, but you may request one by contacting Malia Armstrong, Assistant to the Registrar, at marmstrong@sksm.edu. Please be aware that a library card won’t allow you to check out books, but it may prove helpful for online research.

What if my Instructor doesn't post on time or as expected?

If during the semester your Instructor should seem to break pattern ~ either not posting for an unusual interval or replying to emails normally ~ contact Online Education Director Cathleen Young cyoung@sksm.edu posthaste.

Tell me about grading.

You probably handled this when you submitted your registration form. If not, right after the semester begins, let your instructor know what grading system to use. The norm for grading at Starr King is pass/fail, but if you need or prefer a letter grade, simply tell your instructor. Be sure to do it well before the end of a semester.

Okay, so if I had to drop or withdraw from my course, what would I do?

Special Students may request to be dropped from a class after having registered. This is generally done during the registration phase: early registration, general registration, or late registration. The student is required to send an email to the instructor, copying the Registrar’s office at registrar@sksm.edu, requesting to be dropped from the course. Any requests to drop courses made after late registration must also be submitted via email to the instructor, copying the Registrar’s office, the Dean’s office at glettini@sksm.edu, and the Online Education Director at cyoung@sksm.edu. The instructor is then required to submit the decision to the student, copying the same three offices. (You need the Dean’s signature after late registration only.) Requests submitted after late registration incur a $50.00 fee assessed for each transaction. (There are no refunds after the first day of a class. Drop of a class = $50.00; Add = $50.00. So drop/add = $100.00.) If you have questions about how your tuition might be affected, please direct them to our Finance Director, Anita Narang, at anarang@sksm.edu.

Once these changes of enrollment are approved, the Registrar can go into Colleague and remove a student’s name from the class, which in turn removes the name from the class roster as reflected in WebAdvisor. Moodle is electronically independent of WebAdvisor, so the Instructor should remove the student’s name from the class roster (‘Participants’ list/page) in the Moodle course site. No change of enrollment will be permitted after the tenth week of the term, except under circumstances approved by the Dean or an appropriate committee of the student’s school.

My brother said Incompletes are never an option; that it’s pass or fail and that’s that. Is it true?

Incompletes are an important option for students dealing with extraordinary circumstances; however, it should not be an option that is to be encouraged.  Students are responsible for finishing their work within the term.  In order to take an incomplete, students must submit a completed petition for an incomplete to their registrar before the last day of the term – no exceptions. Incomplete work is due to the instructor three weeks after the term. The instructor is required to submit a new grade by the 6th Friday after the end of the term. If, however, no new grade is received by the end of the 6th week, the incomplete grade becomes an “F”.

Given exceptional circumstances, Instructors may, at their discretion, agree to a time frame beyond the six weeks with approval from the Dean of the Faculty. Time frames must be documented as part of the original petition. It is the responsibility of the SKSM students to make sure a “Change of Grade” form is completed with all necessary signatures and given to the Registrar to update the grade by the end of the semester in which the incomplete work is due, or it will automatically be converted to an “F” by the Registrar. Special Students should use email correspondence when requesting to be dropped from a course.

I heard online lends itself to acts of plagiarism. Is that true?

Teachers who suspect that a student has plagiarized should address the issue with the student. If plagiarism is confirmed, the teacher will work with the core faculty to determine the best course of action which could include Academic Probation. If the matter is disputed, the student or teacher may follow the procedures listed under “Academic or Personality Disputes.” Students who are placed on Academic Probation twice may be dismissed from a program.

GTU Consortial Agreement Concerning Plagiarism

When a student from one GTU school is suspected of plagiarism in a course that the student is taking at another GTU school, the following protocol will be followed:

  1. The faculty member teaching the course will notify the dean of the faculty member’s school that the student has been suspected of plagiarism.
  2. The dean of the faculty member’s school will notify the dean of the student’s school that the student has been suspected of plagiarism.
  3. The faculty member will follow the policy of his or her own school in regard to possible consequences within the context of the course (e.g., failing grade on the assignment, failing grade for the course, etc.)
  4. The student’s school will be responsible for following its own policy in regard to possible consequences beyond the context of the course (e.g., warning, academic probation, expulsion, etc.).

Although plagiarism and copyright are not the same thing, it should also be noted that before a course begins, all online Instructors and Students are asked to read and abide by the copyright guidelines.

Will someone send me a transcript once my course is over?

Starr King produces transcripts only upon request. Students can request a transcript by filling out and submitting an online request form: Transcript Request Form.

Students may also send a written request via USPS mail to Starr King School for the Ministry, Attn: Registrar, 2441 LeConte Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709. It takes approximately 5-7 business days to process a request. Please note: Policy prohibits us from emailing transcripts.

How long after the class ends will I be able to access it?

Online courses remain available for one year after a semester officially ends. However, professors’ obligations terminate at the semester’s end and students should refrain from contacting them afterwards.

Ok, well, I'm still sort of worried about taking an online course. Is there any more help out there?

Definitely. In addition to our Technology Requirements and Support page, GTU Moodle Administrators have compiled a helpful and concise resource page called “Moodle Help for Students.” Be sure to check it out.

Will you all please notify me when it’s time to register for that one course I really, really need?

Alas, at the present time we don’t have resources for maintaining alert lists for everyone who request them. We suggest you keep checking our online course descriptions page [as above; see first question] for next-up registration periods. Then write yourself a reminder or mark a calendar you use on a daily basis. Also remind yourself to keep checking our website for changes in registration procedures.