Help CenterStudent Handbook

The Basics

How Does a StraighterLine Course Work?

Unlike many online courses, StraighterLine courses are self-directed, meaning that you are responsible only for yourself. You will progress as quickly or as slowly as you see fit. Depending on your billing method, you’ll either be charged every 30 days for continued access (until you cancel) or will have a set time frame consistent with the bundle package you purchased to complete the course. If you think you need more time—just speak to your Student Advisor about purchasing an extension.

Lessons and Assessments Each StraighterLine course follows a syllabus. On “The Course” page, you will see a number of topics that constitute your StraighterLine course. Though the components of the topics vary, each topic may include a reading assignment, a lesson presentation, review activities, homework assignments, and other methods to help you learn the essential concepts. The topics represent the fundamental concepts that you will need to master in order to successfully complete the course.

Graded assessments are your key to successfully completing the course. Each assessment can only be taken one time and all graded assessments have a time limit. Once you finish and submit the assessment, submitted answers cannot be changed. You will receive a final score for the course after all of the assessments and required assignments have been completed. If you choose to take the course for credit at a partner college, you can request a transcript and the final score will be forwarded to the partner college, who will award credit based on their academic criteria.

Are there due dates? StraighterLine does not set due dates for assignments or assessments. Once you are ready to submit an assignment or complete an assessment, you may do so—take as much time as you need, or move as quickly as you would wish. Please be wary of your school’s deadlines and academic calendar; StraighterLine is not responsible for expediting transcripts or access to course retakes. (So do your research on timelines and connect with your Student Advisor to discuss any potential constraints or deadlines.)

Do I have to complete all of the test and assignments? Yes, you must complete all required assignments and tests in order to request and be provided a transcript, which may include graded and ungraded assignments. While you need only 70% to pass a course, we require that students attempt every required test and assignment. Failure to do so will prevent StraighterLine from releasing your transcript.

Can I retake a course? If upon completion of a course a student has not achieved a satisfactory score (70% by default as per ACE), a student may retake this course by repurchasing and reattempting it in full. Students will wait a minimum of three (3) business days between attempts. The highest final satisfactory score will be used for the transcript. $99/month students will need to pay the course start fee once more, notify their student advisor and simply continue with their monthly plan.

Please note that StraighterLine courses are regularly updated and improved. In some cases, this means that a new course version uses a different textbook. In the case that you are retaking a course and a new version has been released since you originally enrolled, you can decide to move to the new course version or remain in your originally purchased course. All new students are automatically enrolled in the most current course version.

Where to go for help You will quickly discover that your options for support are greater than you have experienced at any other school. Academic, Admissions, and Technical Support teams are available 7 days per week. For hours and contact information, visit the Quick Reference Guide: Student Support Services at the end of this handbook.

What is Tutoring? We provide on demand academic support through tutoring service providers. For students at StraighterLine, these services provide online, on-demand academic support for all academic disciplines. Since StraighterLine students have special accounts within each service, you have access to tutors whenever you need support for specific topics and assignments. Through your courses, you can connect to one of 700 different online educators at your convenience instead of trying to schedule time with a single professor.

Tutoring Hours Each StraighterLine membership comes with 10 hours of instruction available for the duration of the membership. Additional hours may be purchased directly from each Tutoring company.

To purchase additional SMARTHINKING hours, follow these steps:

  1. Start at “My Home Page.”
  2. Click “My Account.”
  3. Click “Purchase more time from SMARTHINKING.”
  4. Select the package you wish to purchase.
  5. Input your credit card and billing information.
  6. Click “Purchase.”

The time you use and the hours that remain in your account are tracked automatically. To see the current status of your account, click on "My Account" tab on your homepage. We will track how many hours you have used and how many remain--and you'll be able to see this information as well. Time is deducted from the student's SMARTHINKING account according to the following:

Service UsedCharge to Student Account
Real-time Interaction with tutor Metered to the minute plus 5 minutes for processing and archiving
Submission to Online Writing Lab 35 minutes
Pre-scheduled Sessions with tutor 30 minute increments (plus 5 minutes for processing and archiving starting)
Submission of Asynchronous Questions 20 minutes

Tutoring should not be used while completing graded exams. Tutoring is designed to help you with studying, practice exercises, review activities, and other non-graded components of the course.

Proctoring is available to all students via StraighterLine proctoring services, which we partner with ProctorU to deliver. StraighterLine requires proctoring on final exams for all courses purchased on or after November 1, 2012. English Composition I, II, Developmental Writing, and 1 credit lab courses do not have a final exam, so there's no need for proctoring. To ensure academic integrity, written work for such courses is subject to review via plagiarism detection software and other protocols. For more information please refer to the StraighterLine Proctoring Page