Academic Support Services: Online

Point Academic Support Services (PASS)

All online academic programs are offered in Point Online formats. A few select online programs are offered in both Point Online and Point Connect formats. Point Connect students combine online studies with weekly live, synchronous virtual or on-ground meetings. Once a student selects their academic program, their academic advisor will determine if the student’s program is part of Point Connect and information regarding this format will be given to the student at that time.

Point Online students engage in asynchronous learning through a course website that facilitates interaction with their instructor and classmates. Point Online students interact through online course sites and may never visit a Point education center in person (although they are welcome to). For this reason, PASS offers support services that may be accessed both on-site and remotely (off-site). The primary student support services are outlined below.

The Academic Advising Center

Academic Advisors, in conversation with faculty and the PASS team (Registrar, Student Billing, Financial Aid, Student Support Services, and Communications) assist students in developing a personalized course schedule covering their entire program, a complete “Plan of Study” from initial enrollment to graduation. Such advance planning is necessary to achieve optimum scheduling and course sequencing for each given student. Once students are enrolled, the Academic Advisors will maintain a high level of involvement during the students’ first two years then will work with Faculty Advisors who will then guide the student during their last two years of school. The Academic Advisors, located in the Advising Center at the West Point, GA campus, are a student-focused center and are available for all students regardless of their location.

In order to assist our online student population, the Academic Advisors work closely with the PASS team, to help guide students through their educational programs by providing online student orientations, explaining requirements and procedures, suggesting coursework appropriate to students’ career goals, aiding with course registration (described below), and recommending ways to improve academic performance. The Academic Advisors are available to assist all students and will link students with support services described below, such as financial counseling, learning assistance, and career services. Students may contact The Advising Center by telephone, email, videoconference, or face-to-face meetings at the West Point campus.

Academic Advising

Dr. Kate Nelson assists students whose last names begin with A – L and she can be reached at: Office (706) 385-1248

Email: kate.nelson@point.edu or advising.center@point.edu

Mrs. Sandra Tyner assists students who last names begin with M – Z and she can be reached at: Office (706) 385-1044

Email: sandra.tyner@point.edu or advising.center@point.edu

Please know that while we have an alpha split in order to better manage the amount of students we connect with, we will assist any student who contacts us.

University Website

Point’s main website (www.point.edu) gives students access to general information about the University, along with news and updates, academic catalogs, digital library resources, financial aid information, institutional policies, and a variety of other resources and services.

The Consumer Information section of the website (http://point.edu/disclosures) offers public disclosures required by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. It includes information on many aspects of University operations, such as accreditation, student achievement, campus security, emergency procedures, student privacy, and Title IX sex discrimination protections (http://point.edu/titleix).

Student Portal

The MyPoint Student & Faculty Portal provides a convenient means for students to receive messages and check their financial aid status, account balance, grade point average, and more. It includes direct links to many of the student services described below. Users enter MyPoint by logging into the single sign-on (SSO) portal (http://my.point.edu) and entering their Point username and password.

Intranet

Point’s Intranet(http://intranet.point.edu) offers students access to additional policies and information, various forms such as transcript and interlibrary loan request forms, and many of the student services described below.

Online Academic Catalog

The CGPS Academic Catalog provides detailed information on virtually every aspect of the College of Graduate & Professional Studies. A digital version of the catalog is available online at http://point.edu/catalogs or http://intranet.point.edu/catalogs.

Email

Point email accounts facilitate communication between students, faculty, and support staff. All student correspondence with instructors, participation in Point Online and Point Connect courses, and submission of course assignments must occur via the student’s assigned Point University email account or through Point’s online course platforms. Students should check their Point email accounts daily for messages from the University. Users may access their email by logging into the single sign-on portal (http://my.point.edu), entering their Point username and password, and then clicking on the “Student Email” icon.

Technology-Mediated Learning and Support

Students in the College of Graduate & Professional Studies (CGPS) engage in technology-mediated learning. All courses feature an online course site (described below). All education sites are equipped with wireless networks, so that students may access the Internet through their laptops or personal devices. During orientation, students receive instructions for logging into the University network using their Point passwords.

CGPS Technology Guidelines and minimum system requirements appear below. Technology support is provided by the Information Technology (IT) staff and the CGPS Educational Technology staff. Services include the 24/7/365 online SysAid Help Desk. Users may access SysAid by logging into the single sign-on portal (http://my.point.edu), entering their Point username and password, and then clicking on the “SysAid” icon.

Beginning in Fall Term 2017, Point will launch a 24×7 Help Desk hosted by BlackBelt Help. Users may call the Help Desk at any time (706-385-1493) for a live representative who can assist with issues such as password resets and basic assistance with Sakai and other computer applications.

Computer Labs

Computer labs are located at all Point education sites. Computers are connected to the Internet through the University’s network, with access to software for word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentations, web browsing and interactive course materials.

Students are required to provide their own hardware and software for online learning (see below for minimum system requirements). However, the computer labs are available for students as a supplement.

Online Course Websites

The University offers Point Online and Point Connect courses through Longsight, a professional hosting service dedicated to supporting higher education open source tools. Longsight is a part of the greater Sakai community housing the open source Learning Management and Collaboration system (LMS) authored and supported by a large number of major research universities (http://sakaiproject.org). Online course sites, which utilize the Sakai LMS, facilitate online presentations, the sharing of educational resources, communications with the instructor and other students, assignments, and assessments of student learning. Each online course site also features direct links to most of the service departments described below. For further information concerning Longsight, Sakai, and CGPS’ approach to course design and andragogy, see the portion of this catalog devoted to “Instructional Design and Delivery,” which appears above in the “Introduction to Academics.”

Students access Point Online and Point Connect courses by logging into the single sign-on portal (http://my.point.edu), entering their Point username and password, clicking on the “Point Online” icon, and then clicking on the desired course.

Training for students enrolled in Point Online and Point Connect courses is provided by the CGPS Instructional Design Department and through online Sakai tutorials and orientation courses.

Enrollment Services

The Enrollment Services staff helps students assess institutional fit and assists them with application and admission processes. Students may talk with an Enrollment Specialist by telephone, email, video conference, or by appointment at a Point site (http://point.edu/admissions).

Registrar Services

The Registrar Office assists students with course registration, course and schedule changes (“drop-add”), transfer of credit, transcript evaluation and requests, assessing and enforcing academic statuses (e.g. probation and suspension), appeals, graduation, and other academic functions. The Interim Registrar, Mr. Obie Killcreas, personally assists graduate students. Students may meet with a registrar by telephone, email, video conference, or by appointment (https://point.edu/registrar).

Financial Counseling and Services

Staff members from the Financial Aid and Student Accounts Offices provide students with individualized counseling and services The Director of Financial Aid, Mike Lage, personally assists graduate students. Students may meet with a financial aid counselor or student accounts representative by telephone, email, video conference, or by appointment at a Point University education site (https://point.edu/admissions/tuition-aid/student-billing-and-payments/).

Textbook Service

Textbook services are offered through the Point University Store, powered by eFollett. Students may order texts and other course materials online through the Store’s website (http://www.point.edu/store) or from other vendors. New, used, or eBooks are available based on supplies. Books will be shipped directly to the student’s home, office, or other designated site. The Store also stocks Point apparel, school supplies, computer accessories, and a variety of other products.

Library Services

Online library services are provided by the library staff. The library website provides a helpful overview of resources and services, including links to the library catalog and extensive online resources (http://intranet.point.edu/library).

Library Resources. In light of the fact that Point operates on multiple campuses and online, the University has adopted a philosophy that prefers electronic information resources over physical resources. Accordingly, the electronic resources are now considered the University’s primary collections, and the physical collection has been reduced to approximately 8,500 volumes housed mainly in the Learning Commons at West Point. The library staff has shifted its focus from development and maintenance of the physical collection to facilitating the use of electronic learning resources. Rather than maintain a library-centric system that depends on the direct provision of services only by library staff, Point has adopted a more decentralized approach. The Director of Library Resources and Assistant Librarian train the faculty, Educational Resource Center directors, and others to provide instruction and assistance to students in all locations and modalities.

The electronic collection grows each year with materials carefully selected to support Point’s academic programs. Students and faculty enjoy online access to (1) Galileo, a collection of over 200 databases, including many thousands of books, journals, reference works, and newspapers; (2) eBooks on EBSCOhost, featuring more than 148,000 electronic books in English across multiple disciplines; (3) the JSTOR scholarly journal archive devoted to history, literature, music, business, and science; (4) Films on Demand, which includes streaming video of nearly 7,500 titles; and (5) many other resources, tools, research guides, and tutorials. Students may also use the 8,500 physical books located on the West Point campus, along with smaller collections at certain other Point sites.

Students and faculty may access the electronic learning resources on campus or remotely from any off-campus location with an Internet connection. To gain access, they log into the library section of the Point Intranet with a University-issued login and password (http://intranet.point.edu/library).

Library Orientations. CGPS faculty and library staff include formal library orientations and research training for all students in certain introductory courses (e.g. APSP 105 Introduction to Adult Learning and BUSI 500 Graduate Business Orientation), intermediate courses in the undergraduate General Education Core (e.g. ENGL 101 Critical Reading & Writing I), and advanced professional courses in both undergraduate and graduate programs (e.g. HREL 304 Introduction to Research and BUSI 515 Business Intelligence).

Research Assistance. For assistance with research and reference questions, students may contact professional library staff. The Director of Library Resources (Mr. Michael Bain, M.L.S., M.Div.) serves as the primary resource for traditional and CGPS undergraduates at the West Point campus. The Assistant Librarian based in Atlanta (Mr. Richard Coleman, M.L.S.) serves as the primary resource person for CGPS students at other sites and online, including graduate students. Coleman’s responsibilities include providing research training for students in certain master’s courses. Students may meet with library personnel by telephone, email, video conference, or by appointment at a Point University education site (http://intranet.point.edu/library).

Learning Assistance

Point University’s mission and focus is helping students achieve academic success. Educational Resource Centers (ERCs) at the West Point, Peachtree City and Savannah sites provide a variety of support services. ERC staff members regularly visit other sites as well. Ms. Jessica Mazaheri, the ERC director, oversees all sites (Jessica.Mazaheri@Point.edu706-385-1480). Ms. Carson Ellzey, Educational Resource Center Coordinator, can be contacted at Carson.Ellzey@point.edu or by phone at 706-385-1121. Students may meet with ERC personnel by telephone, email, video conference, or by appointment at a Point education site (http://point.edu/educational-resource-centers).

Examples of undergraduate services include:

  • Help for new students adjusting to the academic and social demands of University life.
  • Offering instruction and tools for effective time management, study, and testing skills.
  • Assistance in the use of online course sites and Campus Nexus.
  • Cooperating in academic advisement and course selection for at-risk students.
  • Assisting with reasonable accommodations for students eligible for disability services (described below), and working with faculty and staff to meet those needs as appropriate.
  • Providing Writing Lab support to students at any stage of the writing process, including proper usage of MLA and APA writing styles (https://point.edu/writing-center).
  • Coordinating on-site math tutoring services. As part of APSP 105 Introduction to Adult Learning, students also gain 6 months’ access to the ALEKS Prep and Learning Module through which they may refresh and improve their math skills.

At the graduate level, Point University does not provide tutoring services as it does for undergraduates. Instead, learning assistance comes primarily from course instructors as part of the CGPS “high tech, high touch” educational model (see “Instructional Design and Delivery” in the section of this catalog providing an “Introduction to Academics”). However, the University’s Educational Resource Centers do offer certain services to master’s students, such as access to Writing Center staff (https://point.edu/writing-center).

Standardized Testing (College Success, CLEP, and DSST)

Point provides computer-based testing for the College Success Point University Enrollment and Placement Assessment, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), and the DSST (DANTES Subject Standardized Tests). Students may make an appointment for testing by calling 678-593-3118. If the appointment cannot be kept, students are asked to call and reschedule, so that the time slot may be given to another person.

The registration cost for CLEP and DSST exams is $80 per exam. Students must pay for the CLEP test online at https://clepportal.collegeboard.org/myaccount prior to the day of the exam. CLEP students are required to print the registration ticket from the website. They must present a registration ticket and a photo ID upon arrival at the testing site.

DSST students may pay for the test only by debit/credit card at the testing center on the day of the exam. A photo ID is required. Students with documented disabilities must submit that documentation to the director of the testing center, along with a request for auxiliary aid or services.

Career Services

Point University’s Center for Calling and Career helps students identify and boldly pursue their callings, equips them to communicate their gifts to potential employers and organizations, and serves as a relational link between employers seeking students for internships and job opportunities.

Students can also set appointments to meet with a career services counselor by telephone, email, video conference, or in person at a Point education site by emailing career.center@point.edu. To join and begin preparing for their careers, students should go to the Center for Calling and Careers website (https://point.edu/students) or visit the Center for Calling and Career in room 147 of the Lanier Academic Center.

Counseling Services

Point offers students personal counseling by trained professionals at three education sites—Atlanta, Peachtree City, and West Point. Services include, but are not limited to, psychological support and career counseling. Counselors also provide referrals to appropriate off-campus services. For more information, see the University website.

Disability Services

Point University offers disability services in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The Director of Disability Services, who is based at Point’s main campus in West Point, determines reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. She then communicates the approved accommodation to the student and the student’s instructors. The Educational Resource Center provides appropriate assistance with accommodations. For more information, see the Point University website (https://point.edu/disability) or contact Ms. Jessica Mazaheri, the Director of Disability Services and College Section 504 Coordinator, by telephone (1-706-385-1480) or email (Jessica.Mazaheri@Point.edu ). You can also email disability.services@point.edu. The website includes the application process for disability services, frequently asked questions, and the grievance policy and procedure.

Point Online Technology Guidelines

Point Online is dedicated to providing a high quality education and learner-centered experience while managing diverse instructional delivery modes and various academic technologies. The College strives to equip students, faculty, and staff with the development of technology skills and competencies needed within these modalities. CGPS asks students to adhere to the following technology policies and guidelines to ensure optimum user experience for those taking and teaching Point Online and Point Connect courses.

Acceptable Use of Technology

Technology equipment, network connections, and resources are to be used for supporting the mission, instruction, and services of Point University. Any use which compromises or interferes with the mission, character, and security of Point University is prohibited, regardless of whether the equipment is Point University property or private property. This policy applies to all physically present, virtual, and/or remote transmissions of data within any Point University network or resource. Participation in activities that are disruptive, illegal, or destructive to the Point University mission, students, faculty, or employees will result in disciplinary action, revocation, and/or referral to appropriate law enforcement agencies and authorities.

Point reserves the right to define and apply what is considered to be acceptable use of technology and its resources under these policies and guidelines.

Minimum System Requirements

Sakai is the current Learning Management System (LMS) used for Point’s online courses. For best user results, Point recommends that students evaluate their computer or device with the following checklist prior to logging into courses:

  • Windows PC or Mac with the most recent version of these browsers:
  • Windows PC or Mac with audio (sound card with speakers or headphones/ear buds).
    • Typically found in most computers by clicking on the Start icon, then Control Panel, and/or Sound.
  • Windows PC or Mac with video capabilities (webcam and microphone within device or stand-alone)
  • High speed internet access.
    • Typically found in most computers by clicking on the Start icon, then Control Panel, and Network or Internet.
  • Adobe Reader (https://get.adobe.com/reader)
  • Adobe Flash Player (https://get.adobe.com/flashplayer)
  • Access to a printer or scanner (depending on course activities)

It is the users’ responsibility to maintain their personal internet connection, computer, or device with the necessary hardware, software, and browser updates.

There may be occasions in which students need an alternate technology plan due to unforeseen circumstances, such as internet outages at home. In preparation for such circumstances, students should identify an alternate location with free WiFi, a computer lab, and/or other needed accommodations. Examples include a Point University education site, public library, or restaurant.