New Professor-Led and Cohort-Based Course Options from the New StraighterLine

Jeffrey Simons

What are Professor-Led and Cohort-Based Course OptionsBy Jeffrey Simons

Welcome back. We hope you’re enjoying getting to know our new “campus.” We’re pretty proud of it, especially because we’ve incorporated many of the latest advances to continue to bring you the best options in online college courses.

In keeping with our commitment to give you more choices for pursuing your college degree, we’re happy to announce our newest innovations in course offerings: professor-led courses and cohort-based courses.

In the past, all of our courses have been self-paced courses that you take on your own. You’ll still have that option, but now you’ll also have the opportunity to choose courses that are led by professors, as well as courses that you take as part of a small group of students, called a cohort.

Let’s take a look at all three course types.


You’re all familiar with this one, so we don’t need to spend much time here. You enroll in the course when you want, study when you want, take tests when you’re ready, and take as much or as little time as you need. If you need help, it’s available to you 24/7 with our live online tutors.

Self-Paced, Professor-Led

These courses are still self-paced, which means you’re in control of every aspect of “when, where and how long." But with a professor-led course, you get so much more. Professors may add additional resources, assignments, discussion groups, video lectures – and yes, more assessments if they choose. They may even create exclusive content themselves.

You also get access to the professor, in addition to any online tutoring time included in the course. Some professors will have actual office hours, others will have different methods by which you engage with them. Read the course descriptions to find out how each professor intends to add value to the course, and then decide whether you want to take the professor-led version or not.

Cohort-Based, Professor-Led

Some students want the convenience and affordability of our online college courses, but they just don’t want to go it alone. If you’re one of them, then you will love our cohort-based courses. A cohort is a small group of students that all take the course together, as if they were enrolled in a traditional college or university. They are led by a professor, and the course has a fixed start and end date for all participants. Tests are taken by all students on the same basic schedule. Depending on the course, students may participate in discussion groups together, and have access to other forms of group support, such as discussion boards, group conference calls with the professor, live online group sessions, and more.

On top of all that, you have most of the benefits of StraighterLine online courses. You will still enjoy the flexibility to study when you want, with access to all course materials and labs at your convenience, 24/7/365. You’ll still have the same access to free online tutoring help you have with a self-paced course, but you’ll also have the access to the professor and other benefits you get with a professor-led course.

QUESTION: Are Professor-Led online courses MOOCs?

You’ve all probably heard the term MOOC, or Massive Open Online Courses. These are typically free, not-for-credit courses with enrollments in the thousands or even hundreds of thousands of students. MOOCs are usually affiliated with a specific college, like Harvard or Stanford, but provided by organizations like Coursera or edX.

Our professor-led courses not MOOCs. They are for-credit college courses, and other than the benefits that come with the involvement of a professor, they are the same as other StraighterLine courses.

About Our Professors:

They’re a dedicated group of educators who believe online education should meet the needs and schedules of today’s student: you. They come from a variety of backgrounds, with experience at other institutions of higher learning leading classroom-based or online courses. All of our professors have at least a master’s degree and undergo a training process designed to provide you with a superlative online course experience.

We’ll be doing profiles of our new professors right here on this blog, so stay tuned.

That’s it for today. In our next post about the new StraighterLine, we’ll look at our new CBEs (Credit-by-Examination) and show you how these knowledge-based assessments can save you time and money and help you get your degree sooner.

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Welcome to the New StraighterLine!

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