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Tufts Online courses are designed to provide high-quality, flexible, and interactive courses to Tufts and visiting students. They are carefully designed to have the same academic rigor and expectations for teaching, studying, and achievement as their face-to-face counterparts offered by Tufts during the academic year. The benefits of online learning include giving students greater freedom to interact with course content (lectures, presentations, discussions, forums, etc.) on a schedule that works for them, using a wider network of resources to achieve educational goals.

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Asynchronous Courses: most Tufts Online courses are offered 100% online and in an asynchronous format, meaning outside the restraints of place and time.

Synchronous Courses: some online courses at Tufts have synchronous events in which all students must be online at the same time, along with instructors and TAs.  These take the form of webinars, online office hours, live discussions, and oral exams for language courses. Attendance at these sessions does count for participation grades. Please consult the course listing or check with your instructor if you have concerns about this.

While online courses provide greater flexibility, they are not self-paced. They are highly facilitated courses, and students are expected to interact with faculty and their peers nearly every day of the term. Students are expected to log on frequently to Canvas (the university’s learning management platform) to view course content, interact with their instructors and peers using online messaging tools, keep up with course requirements, and to submit written work. Tufts Online courses through Courses at Tufts, Summer Session, or Winter Session are subject to the same policies and procedures as face-to-face courses. Specifically:

  • Tufts Online courses have the same academic expectations as face-to-face courses at Tufts. Policies and procedures regarding adding, dropping, withdrawal, and the pass/fail grade option are identical. Tufts students apply these courses towards graduation requirements in the same way that Tufts face-to-face courses apply.
  • Tufts Online courses will be graded according to standards used by Tufts University. Every course instructor will have expectations for the quantity and quality of the work you do to complete the course and will affect the evaluation of your work for the course and grade.
  • Tufts University will designate online courses on the academic transcript.

Special Note to Tufts Undergraduate students: by vote of the Faculty of the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Engineering, up to five courses designated as online can count toward graduation. For more information, contact your adviser or consult the Tufts University Bulletin. This information is subject to change without notice and the latest policies can be found in the current Tufts University Bulletin.

Technical Requirements Policy

Students enrolling in Tufts Online courses must have regular access to a computer with a reliable, high-speed internet connection. Students are expected to log into Canvas and check email daily and need regular and reliable access to the internet using a laptop or desktop computer manufactured in the past five years. For hardware and software requirement minimums, please see the computer specifications for Canvas. Individual courses may require students to have additional software. These requirements will be listed on the course syllabus and the Canvas course site.

Please also see our Technical Requirements page for more details.

Proctor Policies

Some online courses require proctored exams. Students within fifty miles of the Medford/Somerville campus must come to campus to take these exams at a specific date and time. Students taking an online course from more than fifty miles away will need to identify an acceptable proctor and go through Courses at Tufts, Summer Session, or Winter Session strict proctor verification process. Some courses that require an online exam may have the opportunity to use an online proctoring service. This service requires a webcam, a microphone, and either a desktop or laptop computer (no phones or netbooks). It is the student’s responsibility to obtain access to these items. It is also the student’s responsibility to verify exam dates and exam modality with each instructor for each online class.

Local Students (residing within 50 miles of Tufts)

Tufts will schedule a time and place on campus to take each proctored exam. These exams are generally held from 4-8 pm on a weekday on the campus of the school in which you are taking a course. Please contact your course instructor or course site to find out the exact dates for your course’s on-campus exams.

Non-local Students (residing more than 50 miles from Tufts)

Students who are taking a course that requires a paper exam must make their own proctoring arrangements. It is the student’s responsibility to find an acceptable proctor, submit the proctor's information to summer-exams@tufts.edu  for verification, and schedule a time to take the exam directly with your proctor. Please contact your instructor or your course website to view the scheduling windows for your exams and for more detailed information. We recommend submitting this proctor information as soon as a student has access to the course website.

Acceptable proctors include:

  1. An official testing center at a college or university - including, but not limited to, those listed on the NCTA website, although this is not an exhaustive list.
  2. Librarians at a public library, college, or university
  3. College or university instructors, staff, or administrators
  4. High school teachers, principals, or administrators

People in the following categories are unacceptable proctors:

  1. Family and/or friends
  2. Co-workers, including supervisors
  3. Tutors and teaching assistants
  4. Athletic coaches

Written Exams

If your course requires a paper exam, your proctor will be responsible for submitting the exam to us digitally within 24 hours of the exam’s completion and mail in the paper exam. US-based students are asked to provide their proctor with a stamped envelope addressed to Courses at Tufts, Dowling Hall 419 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA 02155.

Please contact the proctor coordinator at summer-exams@tufts.edu with any questions.

Textbooks Policy

Although your course / program is online, there still may be reading materials that required for the course. Students are expected to purchase all of the required reading materials for each course or program.

To order textbooks in advance, check the Tufts University Course Materials Finder or the syllabus for the course and term in which you are enrolling. If no information is available, a syllabus will be handed out the first day of class listing required books and readings. It is not expected that every student will have acquired the course textbook by the first day of the term or class. However, you should make the purchase as soon as you begin your course so that you have all the resources you need in order to succeed in the course. Please contact your instructor if you expect purchasing any materials to be a problem for you.

Textbooks can be purchased from the Tufts bookstore in the Mayer Campus Center (46 Professors Row) or through online booksellers (like Amazon) or through any retailer that you might find. Please note that Tufts University does not endorse any particular retailer, these recommendations are offered only as points of information.