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Frequently Asked Questions

Course Information |  Online Tutor InformationRegistration Information |  Technical Requirements | Health Insurance for International Students/Temporary Residents

Course Information

Who are these courses for?
These courses are designed for non-native speakers of English who are already at a mid-intermediate level in written English. Potential students usually have a college or university background and, in many cases, already have work experience. Their goal is to become more independent in their written communication for the workplace.

Are these credit courses?
These are non-credit courses. Nevertheless, students receive eight (8) Continuing Education Units (CEU) for each course successfully completed.

How does an online course work?
Each course is divided into five learning modules. Each module covers a period of two weeks and is composed of well-structured learning units which allow students to:

  • work individually (virtual lessons, grammar and vocabulary exercises, written work to be submitted to the tutor, learning resources)
  • communicate/collaborate with their classmates (discussion forums)
  • communicate in real time with their tutor and/or other students (chat, online meetings).

Is the schedule flexible?
Yes, but students must follow a course calendar and submit their work on the dates indicated. There are no courses given online at a set date and time.

How many hours of work are involved each week?
From 4 to 5 hours. However, the time devoted to study and homework can vary substantially between students.

How will I be evaluated?
Evaluation is based on individual written work, communicative tasks, and participation in various learning activities. There will be an online final test on a fixed date (your choice of the last or second-to-last day of the session). Your final mark will appear on your McGill transcript.

Online Tutor Information

What is the role of the online tutor?
The tutor helps students in many ways. He/she will:

  • Answer questions, offer explanations and clarify learning materials as needed
  • Provide constant support to students and suggest strategies as needed
  • Motivate and encourage them to learn and succeed
  • Participate in communicative and collaborative activities
  • Correct and evaluate work and give relevant feedback to the students

How do we get in touch with our online tutor?
Your tutor can be reached by email, discussion forums, chat, during online meetings in real time.

Registration Information

Do I have to take a placement test before registering?
Yes. All students who want to register for an online course must sit the McGill Placement Test of Written English (PTWE).  You can register for this test in the “Placement Test of Written English” section.

Can I take two courses a session?
Yes, provided the courses are at the same level.

Can I drop a course after the beginning of the session?
Yes. The cancellation policy for online courses is clearly stated in the “Session dates – Registration – Cancellation” section. 

Technical Requirements

What equipment do I need?

The course is optimized for the following configurations:

  • Windows 7 or higher, MAC OS X
  • High-speed Internet connection (DSL or cable)
  • Headsets with microphone (USB recommended)
  • Webcam
  • Latest versions of FirefoxChrome or Safari
  • Microsoft Office Word or compatible

How can I get technical and administrative support?
As soon as you have completed the registration process, technical and administrative support is available by telephone or email between 8 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and on Friday until 5 p.m. (Eastern standard time).

Is my computer compatible?
Prior to registration, we encourage you to verify that your computer is compatible with our learning management system by clicking on this link.

Health Insurance for International Students/Temporary Residents

All students residing in Canada who do not have Canadian Citizenship or Permanent Resident status must purchase the compulsory McGill International Health Insurance plan, which meets the health insurance requirements of Immigration Quebec. Additional information will be communicated to you via e-mail, prior to your assessment.

Students who meet certain criteria may be eligible for an exemption. Students who are entitled to an insurance exemption are asked to submit their supporting documents by e-mail directly to languagesonline.scs [at] before the first day of class. Please ensure that you have indicated your First Name, Last Name, and McGill ID (if applicable) in the subject line of your e-mail. Students may also submit their supporting documents in-person at the Client Services office – 688 Sherbrooke St. West, 11th floor (suite 1199). Please be advised that your coverage must be valid for the entire period of study.

Any inquiries related to exemption categories should be directed to Client Services at the abovementioned e-mail address. Note that students covered by private/travel health insurance are not exempt from the McGill plan.

For coverage details, please consult the PDF icon International Health Insurance booklet (1.1Mb).

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