Frequently Asked Questions

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Go to: General | Courses | ePortfolio | Certificates | Copyright


General

You can find the majors here.
The courses are all still available. We encourage you to use the ePortfolio catalog and to “enroll” in courses to save them to your ePortfolio. You can also see the full list of courses here.
Our courses were designed and built by credentialed professors, teachers, and industry professionals who have previously taught the specific subjects they work on. These highly-qualified consultants research, design, and outfit our courses from start to finish; many assist in our peer review process.
Yes! All of our courses, resources, and associated site features are free.
There is no application process. You can register for your free account at the ePortfolio.
With our student ePortfolio system, you can register for an account, enroll in courses, and share your progress.
Visit our course catalog and select a course you want to take. On a course page, find Unit 1 and begin to work your way through the units in sequential order.
Our courses are self-paced, so you can start on any day – and take as much time as you need.
Currently, we do not have plans to translate our courses into additional languages; however, we welcome opportunities to work with other organizations who wish to do so.
Yes, absolutely! Close to half of our students live outside of the United States.
Our Student Handbook is a good introduction to the what and how of learning at the Saylor Academy. You can find a copy of the Student Handbook here.

Course Information

You can take as many or as few courses as you would like. Some courses, however, do have suggested prerequisites. Be sure to check the “Course Requirements” area to find out what prior knowledge might be useful to you.
Students that take our courses will not be able to interact directly with a professor or TA. Some assignments are automatically graded and many others are self-graded. You can also seek feedback from other students in the discussion forums.
In some cases, yes. Be sure to check the “Course Requirements” area to find any suggested prerequisites before beginning your course. You are welcome to take any course you wish without completing prerequisites, however.
(1) Check the discussion forums — someone may have found a good replacement already;
(2) Tell us if we do not already know (if a resource has text but no link to click, we have marked that as missing);
(3) You may be able to find the missing resource by [a] using the “Wayback Machine” at http://www.archive.org/web — just paste in the link that is broken, or [b] searching the Web.
We are sorry! This is one of our toughest problems. We rely on what is freely available on the Web as well as what passes muster with our course designers. Replacing broken and missing resources is sometimes a quick fix and sometimes takes much longer; we ask you to bear with us and will be happy to suggest possible solutions so that you can continue with your course.
You have two hours to take the final exam. There is a clock onscreen to help you keep track of your time as you go through the exam. Please note that the two hour limit means that you cannot save your answers and return later to finish your test — you will need to submit your test for grading within two hours of beginning.
You need to receive a score of at least 70% on the final exam in order to pass.
Yes, although there is a 14 day waiting period between attempts. You can retake the exam as many times as you wish; only your highest score is considered.

ePortfolio

There are three ways to enroll in a course. First, you can browse our Course Catalog and enroll in any course that interests you. To get a better idea of the topics covered in a course, click on “read description” for a brief overview; you can select “More…” to view the full course description. Once you have enrolled, the course will immediately show up in the Current Courses tab of your My Portfolio page.
There are 4 levels of privacy that you can choose for your ePortfolio account:

• Private: Only you and Saylor Academy Administrators will be able to view your portfolio. Sign-in required.
• Link-only Access: Your portfolio can be viewed by only those to whom you have given a direct URL link. Those viewers will not be required to sign-in themselves or have an account.
• ePortfolio User Access: Any registered ePortfolio User can find and access your portfolio. Those users must be signed-in.
• Public: Anyone on the web can find and access your portfolio. No sign-in is required.


Certificates and Recognition

The Saylor Academy is not an accredited institution and therefore cannot issue degrees. However, you will be able to download a free certificate of completion after you pass each course’s final exam (a passing score is 70% or higher).
You may be able to obtain college credit using Saylor Academy materials. Learn about our college credit pathways here.

We are not an accredited institution. Some of our courses have been evaluated and recommended for college credit (upon completion of a proctored exam). Learn about our college credit pathways here.
Awarding college credit for studies completed at Saylor Academy is a decision that ultimately must be made by individual colleges. We have developed partnerships that connect students with inexpensive, portable credit. Learn about our college credit pathways here.

If you would like your college to award credit for Saylor Academy coursework that is not currently aligned to defined credit pathways, we suggest that you speak with your institution’s administrative offices about a number of different options. Firstly, you should talk to a professor, department head, or registrar about the potential to take an existing challenge exam (common at many schools), to earn credit and/or place out of a course for which there is a Saylor Academy equivalent that you have taken. Typically, schools that do have these exams will let students take them anywhere from no cost, to $100 per test.

Alternatively, you could ask to have a school official proctor your Saylor Academy exam attempt (thereby verifying that you are the one who passed the test, and should receive credit for it). This option may require the extra step of having your school review the Saylor course and exam, to determine whether it assesses the same topics as other college level courses on the subject.

If you have already taken and passed a Saylor Academy course, try submitting your digital transcript, available in your ePortfolio, for review by your school.

You should also look into whether your school has a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program, by which you may be able to write a narrative/create a learning portfolio, based on what you have learned in one of our courses. Often, a student will have to take a PLA writing class from the school first (for regular tuition), but they are then usually able to bundle courses into one portfolio assessment, thereby reducing the cost per credit earned.

We would be happy to assist in any conversation you have with your school!

Each course certificate has its own unique verification code. Students can direct others to http://school.saylor.org/ to verify a certificate’s authenticity.

On this page users can find the “Verify Certificates” box toward the right of the home screen and input the appropriate code. A page will then display your name, the course name, and the date you passed the exam:

Display of the results page after verifying certificate authenticity for a Saylor.org course

You may wish to provide the verification codes and appropriate hyperlinks directly to your employer or school. For instance, displaying certificates and transcripts on a resume would be difficult, but you could accomplish the same thing by writing:

Computer Skills and Literacy (online course) – verify at http://school.saylor.org (use code 2fGBBepe57)

Your transcript is a PDF document that you can save, share, or print. Click the image below for a sample from one of our staff members: Saylor Academy Sample Transcript
We are able to send print transcripts only for courses with proctored exams (presently some of those in our Saylor Direct program and one of our partner programs. All proctored exams are protected by password and are distinct from the standard course final exam. Students can download their own digital transcripts to use as they wish. Please note that Saylor Academy is not an accredited institution.
Click on the image below to see an example of the course certificate of achievement: Saylor Academy Sample Certificate
At present, we do not have the capacity to review outside work or transcripts and award a certificate for the matching Saylor Academy course. The best current option is to take and pass the final exams for Saylor Academy courses that match your prior knowledge and experience — there is no strict need to complete the coursework again, although you may find it helpful to do so.

Copyright and Re-use

While the goal of the Saylor Academy is to provide as much educational material as freely as possible, we also try to present our students with the best and most accurate information. Sometimes, this means using resources that are protected by a variety of licenses and copyright agreements. Below is an explanation of the various licensing you may encounter throughout our courses. Although we strive for accuracy, you should verify copyright and licensing for yourself before reusing any materials.

Creative Commons License Suite
Founded in 2001, Creative Commons issued its first set of licenses the following year. These are intended to make it easier for copyright holders to extend specific usage rights to their audience. Six basic licenses are offered:

BY (Attribution)
BY-SA (Attribution – Share Alike)
BY-NC (Attribution – Non-Commercial)
BY-ND (Attribution – No Derivatives)
BY- NC-SA (Attribution – Non-Commercial – Share Alike)
BY-NC-ND (Attribution – Non-Commercial – No Derivatives)

GNU License Suite
GNU is an organization sponsored by the Free Software Foundation; GNU has produced a number of licenses relating to software. Some of our materials make use of the following:

GPL
GNU’s General Public License is used for many software packages, as well as other items.

GFDL
The GNU Free Documentation License is a form of copyleft intended for use on a manual, textbook or other document to assure everyone the effective freedom to copy and redistribute it, with or without modifications, either commercially or non-commercially.

DSL
The Design Science License is a form of copyleft intended for use on source data to grant permission to distribute, publish or otherwise present verbatim copies of the entire work, in any medium, provided that full copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty, where applicable, is conspicuously published on all copies, and a copy of the license is distributed along with the work. The DSL license was written by Michael Stutz.

Academic Permission
These are materials that can only be reproduced or distributed for academic or teaching purposes. The licensors often intend audience and distribution to be limited to a classroom or a private website.

Non-Commercial Permission
These are materials that can only be reproduced or distributed for non-commercial purposes, as specified by the copyright holder.

Standard Permission
These are materials that the Saylor Academy has received the right to host through the outreach of our Permissions Initiative. However, please note that these materials are protected by copyright and may not be reproduced or distributed in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

All Rights Reserved
We do link to materials that we do not own and do not have permission to modify or host.

More information about Creative Commons and licensing can be found in the Open Licenses section of our Open Course Resource Center.

For entire courses:
Although we hold the copyright to our course outlines, we have made them available under a Creative Commons Attribution license (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0). As such, you are free to download, modify, and reproduce our course outlines for any purpose, as long as you provide credit (attribution) to the Saylor Academy for the source material. Please note, however, that the Saylor Academy hosts some resources on its servers by special arrangement with the copyright holder. This status is clearly indicated in each resource’s terms of use. Although you may link to the Saylor Academy copy of these resources, you may not repost or distribute them without obtaining permission from the owner.

For individual materials:
You must abide by the terms of use provided for each resource. About a third of our materials are openly-licensed, including all materials authored by the Saylor Academy. These are free to share under the conditions set by each license. The remainder of our materials cannot be reproduced or shared except under any conditions specifically set by the copyright holder. In particular, several hundred items are hosted on Saylor Academy servers by special arrangement with the copyright holder (clearly indicated). While you are free to use these items for personal learning, you may not distribute them further.

Detailed information about adapting a Saylor course can be found in the Revising and Remixing section of our Open Course Resource Center.


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