Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I choose OST?
Unlike many traditional distance learning institutions, OST courses engage students in a flexible, active learning environment. You don’t need to be present at scheduled times to receive course material. We’ve tried very hard to make our coursework accessible to any student with an internet connection. You may find more information about out teaching methodologies here.
When can I start?
As soon as we receive payment, you will have access to your course(s).
How do I get started in my course?
Log in to your Student Start Page at https://students.oreillyschool.com/. You will see an Enter link for each of your courses. Click the Enter link for the course you want to work on.
How do I contact my instructor?
There are several ways in which you can communicate your questions or ideas to your instructor.
- When you log in to your student account, you can use the Contact tab contained within the Learning Sandbox to ask your instructor questions.
- When you hand in an assignment, you can use the Comments section to communicate with your instructor. Many students prefer this method, since it accompanies the files being handed in.
- A Skype session can be scheduled at the discretion of your instructor, if you need to talk to him/her real-time. However, most students find this unnecessary with the amount of communication that can be accomplished via the other methods.
- You can always email your instructor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your message will automatically be routed to your own instructor. If you are having system or enrollment problems, email email@example.com. You should expect a return email within three business days, although often you will receive a response sooner.
What is the registration fee?
The registration fee is mandatory for all new enrollment agreements. Every time you enroll in a course, you will sign an enrollment agreement—every time that happens, you must pay a registration fee. The registration fee is 20% of tuition, but no more than $200 per enrollment. The registration fee is non-refundable after 7 days of beginning your course.
Why are there no videos or lectures in OST courses?
The O’Reilly School of Technology has developed an online learning technique called useractive learning. Useractive means that you, the user, are actively engaged in building and creating projects as the material is being presented. We avoid the use of presentational videos and simulations, and instead provide you with tutorial-style content and Learning Sandboxes that contain easy-to-use, real, and open programming environments where you can experiment with examples and work on projects.
From the moment you enroll, you’ll start programming, working through simple examples, learning by doing as you go. You’ll be actively engaged in our Learning Sandbox where you have permission to experiment, make mistakes, and learn from those mistakes. As you progress, you’ll build more and more complex programs or accomplish more and more complex systems administration tasks. We’ll guide you through every part of this process, step by step, until you get it right.
Your skills will be reinforced as you work on increasingly challenging projects and open-ended quizzes that you’ll hand in to your instructor for evaluation. Your instructor will return your work to you for revision and improvement until you get it right and have a thorough grasp on the concepts. Once you master each project, you’ll move on the next step in the course, building on what you’ve learned.
Which courses do I need to take?
Which course you take depends on you, the amount of time you can devote to the coursework, and your own professional or personal goals. If you are interested in a particular IT field, we will typically direct you toward our respective certificate series. The exception to this is if a student has limited or no programming experience. In those cases, we will typically suggest you take our Introduction to Object Oriented Programming or Introduction to HTML and CSS courses.
How long will it take me to complete my course?
Each course takes a different amount of time to complete and each student will move through each course at a different pace. In each enrollment agreement that you sign, there will be course-specific information including how long you should expect to take to complete the course. On average, a student will work approximately 15 hours for each CEU. However, it is important to note that not every student is the same and that those times will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Enrollment agreements for courses allow students to take up to 6 months for each course or courses covered in the enrollment agreement. You may complete a course as quickly as you like. If you need more time, you may purchase extensions in 6-month increments up until two years from the start of your enrollment agreement. If you enroll in an entire certificate series, you are given 12 months to complete the series. If, at the end of that enrollment period, you need more time to complete your coursework, you may purchase extensions in 6-month increments up until two years from the start of your enrollment agreement. In any event, the maximum time for enrollment in any course is 2 years.
How do the courses work?
OST courses are fully online. You will be guided through your course curriculum, all the while getting hands-on experience in the topic you are studying. Your instructor will answer questions you have and grade all of your assignments, projects, and quizzes. All of your work will be graded using formative assessment. This means that you are working toward mastery of the topic you are learning and your instructor will have you redo your assignments until you get it right. As you work on your course projects, you will be building your professional portfolio of work.
When working through my course, why am I asked how long it took to complete this lesson, project or quiz?
OST must verify that the projected times for students to complete our courses are accurate. To assure the integrity of our CEUs for accreditors and to set reasonable expectations for students, we continually monitor how long it takes to complete our courses using multiple measures. One of the most important measures for this is your own estimate of how long it has taken you to do each task. By providing these estimates, you are helping us to keep our course materials and descriptions up-to-date and maintain the quality experience you have come to expect from OST courses.
Will I be certified in my programming language?
OST offers certificate courses, not certification. Certification in an industry is highly regulated. In some languages or professions, certification is a term that can mean many different things. When you complete an OST course or certificate series, you should have mastery of that course material. We believe that many of our students who complete a certificate series have acquired the skills that are necessary to be certified in a language or other industry standard. However, completing certificate series at OST does not automatically certify a student in any industry or field.
What is the eBook and when will I get it?
The eBook is purely supplemental to your coursework and is not required to complete the class. The eBooks are made accessible to students at the end of the 7-day trial period. They are available in a variety of different formats for you to download, and the link will be made available on the Student Start Page.
Can I get financial aid?
We do not currently offer financial aid for students. This includes federal grants, scholarships, or subsidized loans. We do offer a discount for active duty service members with a current, valid, military email address.
What are Continuing Education Units (CEUs)? Where are they accepted?
After passing each course, you will earn Continuing Education Units, or CEUs. CEUs are not the same as undergraduate or graduate credits; rather, they are a measure of continuing education and professional development. CEUs are often used by employers as a basis upon which to recommend career advancement for employees. CEUs will also enhance your resume, as they reflect your dedication to new career skills development
One CEU equals approximately 15 clock-hours of student work. Each of OST’s professional development courses consists of 30 to 135 clock-hours of student work, depending on the course. This corresponds to 2 to 9 CEUs per course, depending on the estimated clock-hours the course takes.
When you pass a course, your Student Start Page will offer you the opportunity online to request a hard copy of a CEU letter, on OST letterhead. This is an official letter that indicates how many CEUs you have earned, the course you have passed, the date you passed it, and your official grade. After you request this letter online, please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery to your physical address.
How CEUs are accepted or transferred to other institutions is a decision made by those institutions, not OST.
I’m a manager; how do I sign up my employees?
Everyone who enrolls in OST courses will sign an enrollment agreement and have their own accounts. We encourage managers to create their own accounts so that their contact information and names are correct. Once everyone has an account and has started the enrollment process, you may pay each of their invoices with a check, money order, or wire transfer. We can also print a purchase order number from your accounting department on your invoice.
Is OST accredited?
OST is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education. Students enrolled in an unaccredited institution are not eligible for federal financial aid programs. We are, however, licensed through the State of California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education.