Online Learning

The Science Writing Program exploits the best of onsite and online learning. Our online courses include the one-on-one help that defines many low-residency graduate writing programs, plus the group / classroom interaction that many low-res programs lack. In effect, our online courses combine individual help with an instructor-led digital classroom experience involving other students.

All students in the MA in Science Writing and Graduate Certificate in Science Writing are trained in online learning and benefit from 24/7 technical help. The primary platform for digital courses at Hopkins is a special, customized version of Blackboard, one of the nation’s major online education systems. Instructors use a range of other tools in and outside each Blackboard course, including Adobe Connect, Skype, video, audio, email, wikis, blogs, chatrooms, Twitter, and Facebook.

In our online courses, students learn in various ways:

Asynchronous Units: Most work in an online course occurs through a series of units or lessons that students complete when they choose, without the need to show up at a certain time and day each week. Students login to their course, complete assignments or do other work, and engage with others over several days, a week, or more – whatever amount of time the instructor has assigned for the lesson. The typical period is one week. Each unit involves specific assignments and goals reached through a range of learning tools, including readings, exercises, video lectures, narrated PowerPoints, writing or reporting assignments, demonstrations, or asynchronous discussions with other students. The instructor is available for questions and feedback at all times as students finish the unit amid their individual schedules and across multiple time zones. The instructor supervises and evaluates all class work, including discussions, exercises, assignments, and other work.

Individual Help: Instructors provide regular one-on-one feedback and communication with students. This feedback may include assessment of a student’s work, especially for writing assignments and revision. The student/faculty interaction occurs by email, direct messages, private journaling, phone calls and written comments and editing directly on a student’s writing. Online instructors also schedule individual or group appointments and hold email or video office hours.

Synchronous Discussion and Meetings: At times, students join live, synchronous discussions with fellow students and their instructor. Such synchronous discussions can occur in the course’s Blackboard site or using Skype, Adobe Connect or other methods – audio, video or text. These opportunities occur less often than asynchronous lessons and are announced well in advance so students can arrange to attend. Students who cannot attend access recordings of the sessions.

A Program Community: In addition to each course’s digital features, Science Writing students join broader, program-wide discussion groups, meetings, and networking. These may include chat rooms, Facebook pages, job postings, townhall meetings, readings, lectures, information exchanges, and private discussions.

State-specific Information for Online Programs

Note: Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.