Online Orientation

Step 1: Orientation Materials

Nicholls Online is a way to get a Nicholls State University degree without having to come to campus. The courses are taught by the same Nicholls professors and use the same rigor and high standards as the face-to-face programs. While quality remains the same, some of the procedures are drastically different. Your courses may be completed at home, while stationed abroad, or on the road. The orientation modules below will help you prepare for a successful career at Nicholls State University.

What is Nicholls Online?

The most obvious difference between an online courses and a traditional on-campus course is that you will not be sitting in a classroom receiving immediate instruction from a professor.  Online courses are taught through a website where the professors will interact with you.  Nicholls State uses Moodle as our course management system. Be sure to watch the videos on Moodle later in this orientation and log into the sample Moodle course.  You also have the ability to message your professors through Moodle. But you may also email or phone the instructors as well. You are required to use your student email account when communicating with instructors and with the other Nicholls State University offices.

Class time
Most college course are worth 3 credit hours, which means they should equate to three hours of “class time”.  For each three hour class, you should expect to study 10-18 hours per week for each class. This is due to the 8-week course terms vs. the traditional 16 week college semester.  If you feel that you cannot handle the compressed schedule or study hours, you may want to reduce your course load.  Only nine hours are allowed to be taken by students each term.

Canvas is the course management system where your course will be delivered. Meaning, this is where you will go to find your coursework, your instructor, and your classmates. Some Nicholls Online professors may use a separate site for some of your coursework, but your journey will still begin on Canvas.

Faculty members serve as mentors, guides, or facilitators for your learning. They will encourage further thought in particular areas, initiate discussion topics, grade assignments, provide feedback on assignments, and answer any questions you have concerning the course content.

You, the student, must take an active approach to your learning. The instructor has structured the course for you and will give you feedback, but you are responsible for learning the material. Not only will you read the material and complete assignments, but you will also interpret important issues and ask questions when you need clarification. You are also responsible for staying motivated and engaged with the course content. “You get out what you put in.”

Nicholls Online Honor Code

By enrolling in a course, I agree that I will:

  • Complete all assignments, exams and other assessment activities with my own work and only my own work (unless otherwise permitted by instructor). I will not submit the work of any other person.
  • Maintain only one user account and not allow anyone else to use my username and/or password.
  • Not engage in any activity that would dishonestly improve my results, or improve or hurt the results of others.
  • Not post answers to problems, assignments or exams that are being used to assess student performance.
  • Follow all codes of student conduct as specified in the published Code of Student Conduct. DOWNLOAD IN PDF FORMAT

A. Understand what is to be expected from an online student

  1. Know how to work the required technology
  2. Be committed and motivated
    • It is helpful to write down your motivation and put it at your desk or on your fridge. It is common to become unmotivated while taking courses. Having a reminder to look at focuses your mind and helps you accomplish your goal.
  3. Be timely with assignments and studying
    • Be sure to write down all assignments and due dates

B. Have a dedicated place to study

  • Having a dedicated place to study and do homework away from noise and distraction cannot be overestimated.

C. Plan

  • Set aside time to do homework and stick to your schedule. It can be easy to procrastinate or skip study time.

D. Ask your Professor

  • If you have any questions regarding your classes don’t hesitate to ask your professor

Before you progress any further, you should figure out if online learning is right for you. Take this self-assessed readiness survey below. This quiz is intended to pinpoint key skills needed for online learners, so if you find you answer “Yes” to all of these questions, it is a good indicator you are ready to begin online courses. If you are lacking in any of these areas, look for more information on them in the above orientation material.

I have access to a computer and the Internet required for an online learning experience.Yes/No
I am not intimidated by using technology applications for learning.Yes/No
I feel comfortable using a computer for basic word-processing, accessing the Internet, and sending/receiving e-mail.Yes/No
I am capable of uploading and downloading files on my computer.Yes/No
I know how to open and listen/view audio and/or video files.Yes/No
I have strong time management skills and can meet deadlines and keep track of assignments.Yes/No
I can stay on task without direct supervision.Yes/No
I can learn without face-to-face interaction with others.Yes/No
I possess good reading and comprehension skills and can follow written instructions.Yes/No
I can easily express my ideas, comments, and questions in writing.Yes/No

Getting Started

If you decide you want to pursue an online degree through Nicholls Online, here are the first steps you will take to begin your journey.

  • Click on the Nicholls State University Application page.
  • Make sure to select “Online Only” and then the Term in which you want to start. (if you want to start immediately or are unsure, you can simply select the first option)
  • There is a $20 application fee ($30 for international students).
  • You will receive a confirmation e-mail after completing the electronic application form.
  • Application processing may take a week.

Financial Aid

Nicholls Online students are eligible for financial aid.


You will hear early and often about Banner.  Banner is where you can go to register for classes, check your Financial Aid status, pay your fees, view your transcript and much more.  Here are some video tutorials and step-by-step instructions to help you set up and learn to navigate Banner.

Video Tutorials 

Nicholls’ students are required to use their Nicholls email address when corresponding with faculty, staff, advisors, and administrative offices on campus.  Here are some simple steps on how to set-up your email.  Your Nicholls email is a Gmail account, so it provides you with all of the additional services in Google such as YouTube, Calendar, Drive, etc.

  1. Go to 
  2. Enter your username.
    • Your username is the email address that you received via logging into Banner Self-Service
  3. Enter your password
    • Your password is your N# found in the upper right corner of Banner Self-Service

You will see two course sections for Nicholls Online courses: WWW and WWP. WWW means that the entire course will be done online including testing. WWP will be entirely online instruction but may require the proctoring of exams. This can be done by using a testing center, library, or even at home using an online proctoring service. ProctorU uses your webcam to monitor your test-taking. All you need is a webcam with a microphone and a reliable, high-speed internet connection. The cost is $15 per test. If you prefer to take the exam on campus at Nicholls testing center you have that option. Click here to learn more about the Testing Center.

The purpose of having exams proctored is to ensure academic honesty in the Nicholls Online course. It will enhance the validity and learning experience of the course and the degree which you will receive from Nicholls State University

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty will be dealt with severely. All proven or suspected cases of cheating, plagiarism, purchased papers, borrowed papers, work copied from the Internet, and any other act deemed dishonest will be reported to the Academic Integrity Committee for permanent record keeping and disciplinary action.

Students must understand how to avoid plagiarism before enrolling in a course.  The following resource is available for guidance in this manner.

Records of academic dishonesty will be maintained in the Office of Academic Affairs.  If a student is recorded as a multiple offender (more than one listing in the data file) of the academic dishonesty policy, the student will be brought before the Academic Affairs Integrity committee for review as per Section 5.46 of the Code of Student Conduct.

What are General Education Courses?

All college students across the country have to take some form of “General Education” courses.  The phrase General Education refers to the educational foundation of skills, knowledge, habits of mind, and values that prepare students for success in their majors and their personal and professional lives after graduation. This educational foundation is developed primarily through the Core Curriculum, a set of general education course requirements that all students, regardless of their major, must meet. At Nicholls, most students complete their general education courses by their junior year.

What’s Their Purpose?

The General Education Program develops and fosters

  • foundational skills in critical thinking, creativity, and communication, including information and technology literacy
  • an understanding of the natural and social worlds in which we live
  • an awareness of the importance of the past and a familiarity with the cultural movements that have shaped the present
  • an appreciation for the artistic and philosophical expressions of the human community
  • the exercise of moral reasoning, ethical choices, and social responsibility
  • intellectual curiosity, independent and life-long learning
  • informed and tolerant perspectives of intercultural and international issues and challenges

Technology and Resources Needed

A syllabus is a great place for faculty members to begin helping students appreciate the nature of a given course.  Syllabi serve several important purposes, the most basic of which is to communicate the instructor’s course design (e.g., goals, organization, policies, expectations, requirements) to students. Other functions commonly served by a syllabus include:

  • To convey expectations for the course
  • To explain the instructor’s role in the course including contact information, response time, and guidelines for interaction.
  • To show how this course fits into a broader context (“the big picture”)
  • To establish a contract with students by publicly stating policies, requirements, procedures, and support for the course
  • To set the tone for the course, and convey the role of teacher and expected role of student
  • To help students manage their learning in the course by identifying outside resources and/or by providing discipline- or course-specific advice
  • To convey a sense of support for students’ learning and well-being by providing information on academic, counseling, and other resources, offering statements of support, and (as desired) directly inviting students to reach out for help.
  • To help students assess their readiness for the course by identifying prerequisite areas of knowledge
  • To communicate course goals and content to colleagues
  • To include clear explanations of optional and/or required software, including any additional costs

We have already taught you about Banner and Canvas.  It is important to know how these two systems work and how you can use them to the best of your ability. Banner is where to go to schedule, view your course listings and grades, and see your financial aid status. Canvas is where you go for course material. Below is a video on how you can access course information through Banner

You need to have the following required technology for your Online Courses:

  • Reliable high-speed access to the Internet (with a current browser).
  • Know how to send and receive emails through your Nicholls account.
  • MS Office software (if required)
  • Access to additional software such as Adobe Reader, RealPlayer or Windows Media Player, etc.
  • Certain classes may require separate software for your class. Please check the individual syllabi for this information.

Since 100% of your courses will take place online, it is important that you have reliable Internet access and basic computer skills. You should answer yes to all of the following questions:

  •      Can you create, save and manage files on your computer?
  •      Can you regularly access Internet email and the World Wide Web (WWW)?
  •      If you do not have your own computer, can you gain access to a computer multiple times a week?
  •      Do you know how to attach a file to an email message?
  •      Do you know how to “copy” and “paste” text from a word processor into an email message?
  •      Do you know how to receive a file attachment from an incoming email message?
  •      Are you comfortable searching the Internet?
  •      Can you download software and install it to your computer?

Becoming a Distance Learner will require students to be focused and use good time management skills. Classes are eight weeks in length instead of the traditional sixteen, so time management will be beneficial to your success.

This ongoing challenge is one that requires a realistic set of expectations. You will need to plan days effectively by prioritizing tasks, and making a consistent effort to keep to your schedule so that you can reach the goals that you set for yourself. Goals for consideration when planning include:

  1.   Long term, such as monthly
  2.   Intermediate or weekly
  3.  Short term or daily goals

What is the proper etiquette when participating in an online environment

-Always be polite and respectful in your discussions. Do not attack. Listen gently to others views.

-Treat people as you would face-to-face.

-Your writing must be thorough, complete, professional and of the highest quality and written on a college level.

-Online chat style writing and slang are unacceptable.

-Never use foul language.

-Be sure to spell check your postings.

-Grammar, spelling and punctuation will be included in grading.

-Discussions are meant to be read by the whole class. Send personal communication via email or other private means.

-Use titles that accurately describe the contents of your posting or e-mail.

-Be careful with humor and sarcasm. These do not always translate well to asynchronous virtual communication.

University Student Support

You should always consult your advisor before registering, adding a class, dropping a class, or making any decision that may impact your academic standing. Every program offered at Nicholls Online has its own advisor. To see the list, go to the Nicholls Online Registration page.

The Nicholls Counseling Center provides professional assistance for students dealing with a range of mental health, wellness and adjustment issues through individual, couples and group counseling; consultation; and various forms of outreach.

Ellender Memorial Library accommodates the educational and research needs of current distance education (DE) students through access to databases, instructional videos, articles, and books as well as other services. Below is a video to help you access the Student Portal on the library website.

Nicholls State University is a Veterans Friendly Campus. The University is committed to providing outstanding service to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces both while on active duty and after separation. We believe that members of the military and veterans enhance the campus community and provide a wealth of insight both inside the classroom and through interaction with fellow students. Whether your service has been foreign or domestic, we thank you for your contribution and promise to make sure that your enrollment experience is as seamless as possible. If you qualify for some sort of assistance, contact the Veterans Affairs office on campus.

If you are experiencing difficulty with your technology, you can contact your instructor or Nicholls IT support, CLICK HERE.

Nicholls provides tutoring at $25 fee per subject per semester. Contact 985.448.4100 or go by 143 Peltier to make an appointment

The Nicholls Bookstore has required course material along with Nicholls merchandise.

Step 2: Orientation Webinar

Nicholls Online will provide live orientation webinars within two weeks of the start of the term. If you would like to see information before hand view the video below.

Step 3: Sample Course

The course below will give you a sample of how most of your Nicholls Online courses will look. This is a Canvas course set up for you to look around and get comfortable before your classes start. Eventually, all of your courses will be listed on Canvas. The name of this course is Colonel Connection. The Final Quiz of this orientation will also be located on this page. After this, your Orientation will be complete.

If you have already received your Canvas access through Nicholls, email, and will enroll you in the course.

LINK: Canvas (will open in a new window)

Final Step: Quiz and Reward


Click the link and use your USERNAME and PASSWORD from STEP 3.

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