Frequently Asked Questions

Indiana University has been a leader in labor education for over 60 years. Our credit courses are offered on all Indiana University campuses and worldwide via online classes. The faculty members of the Department Labor Studies bring academic expertise and valuable union experience to their instruction.

What is an online course?

An online course and an online seminar are the same as a classroom course, except the entire course takes place online. There are no face-to-face meetings where you are required to participate in order to pass the course. You are not required to log onto the course at any specific time. You are however, expected to read, complete, and submit all required assignments; answer and post responses to the online discussion forums demonstrating your knowledge of the assigned readings; and read all relevant messages and or materials posted by the instructor.

What is a compressed course?

A compressed course is a shortened version of a regular full-length course. The time is shortened but the content of the course is the same and therefore the course becomes like an intense seminar. Our compressed courses run for 6 weeks. Compressed courses are offered each fall, spring, summer I and summer II semesters. You are required to do just as much work as in a regular 15-week semester course. To do well in compressed courses you must be able to work independently, seek help when you need it, be very diligent, set aside enough time per day to complete all readings, post to the discussion forums, read other students’ and the instructor’s forum posts, and take assigned tests or complete assigned papers.

Where do I find the courses?

Labor Studies courses are taught in Canvas.

If you are not familiar with the Canvas web based system, or if you need technical assistance and support with Canvas, do the following:

  1. Read the "Getting Started with Canvas: Student Guide." Before you log-in, look to the top left for "Student Resources" and view or download this and other helpful information.
  2. Once you are logged in, there is a "help" link under the words Oncouse.iu.edu in the upper right corner, which contains a detailed navigation tutorial. Take time to go though the entire program if you aren’t already familiar with it.
  3. Contact the Canvas Help Desk if you have questions.
  4. Many courses have an Online Student Assistant who can help you. Email the OSA through Canvas email.

Do I have to log onto my course at designated times?

Web-based courses are designed to be very flexible. Your web-based course is available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While you do need to log into the course on a regular basis to participate in student discussions, you do not have to log onto your course at designated times during the week. Online discussions take place in discussion forums, where students and instructors interact with one another at various times throughout the week, please log into the class at times convenient to you and at times designated by the instructor from time to time. Also, check your Canvas email daily.

What about books?

You must buy your books for the class to be able to follow the content of the course. Review the syllabus posted by your instructor. This will have the required book needed for the course. You can purchase your book through the campus bookstores. You also have the option of the Barnes and Nobles Bookstore online where you can request in-store pick-up and delivery to your nearest IU bookstore, just as you would in a face-to-face course. If the Labor Studies course you are registering for uses an eTextbook, this will be designated on the Class Schedule Details in the Student Center. When you log onto Canvas, there will be a CourseLoad link which will allow you to retrieve the eTextbook.

What about grading?

Each week you do the reading and then log in at various times to read and post to graded discussion forums based on instructor-posed questions. Canvas has a feature that tracks the number of times you use the forum, respond to someone’s posting and post to the forum, and this helps the instructor evaluate your participation and knowledge as well. Exams offered by the instructor may be multiple-choice and/or true/false, using Canvas "Tests and Surveys" under "Tools," or essay exams done at home and emailed to the instructor. The syllabus will outline course requirements. Generally, instructors use the Canvas Grade Book (under the "Tools" menu) to post grades on discussion forums and exams.

How do I contact the instructor?

You can email your instructor through Canvas email. You can also call your instructor or use another email account if this information is provided on the syllabus. However, since the LS online courses are offered statewide, your instructor may be on another campus, or in another state. Personal walk-in and office appointments may not be an available option.

What computer hardware and software do I need in order to take an online course?

You can take online courses using an Internet browser (Netscape or Internet Explorer) on a PC or Macintosh computer with Internet access. Online students should be comfortable typing, using basic word processing, and navigating within Internet sites. Downloadable lectures and exams are generally written in Microsoft Word. Of course, the faster your Internet connection (DSL or cable), the easier it will be for you to move quickly through course material on Canvas.

What is the Department of Labor Studies?

Labor Studies is a statewide, independent unit with faculty on six of the nine IU campuses. We also teach online at Southeast, East and Columbus. 

What is the Department of Labor Studies about?

The field of Labor Studies analyzes issues facing workers and labor from a multi-disciplinary perspective, drawing on and synthesizing the fields of sociology, history, law, economics, political science, business, and industrial relations. Labor Studies is not a "Human Resources" or "Industrial Relations" program. In all Labor Studies classes you should assume the instructor will take a pro-worker and pro-labor stance, although rigorous analysis of the strengths, weaknesses and flaws of the labor movement are expected.

Can I earn a degree from Indiana University entirely online?

The Department of Labor Studies offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, and Associate of Science (A.S.) degree, and a Certificate of Labor Studies. It is now possible to fulfill all your Labor Studies course requirements towards these degrees through online courses. In addition, IU is offering a growing number of online courses that you can take to fulfill the other general education requirements of the degree. Check with your respective campus advisor concerning the general education courses required for the degree of your choice.