Frequently Asked Questions



1. Learning in Flexible Studies:

How do students learn in Flexible Studies?

  • The instructors who teach classes in the Flexible Studies Department hold higher education degrees.  Most of our instructors have Master's degrees and some even have Doctoral degrees.
  • The instructors are present during the scheduled class time.
  • The instructors do not lecture. Instead they facilitate the classes, explain and instruct the material to be learned, and guide students through tasks and activities that promote learning.
  • The Flexible Studies Department instructors recognize that not all students enjoy learning through lectures.  They instruct the students with mini-lessons and getting the students involved in small and/or large group activities and discussions as standard practice.
  • The Flexible Studies model and methods are best suited for students who are self-motivated, have the desire to succeed, and possess strong time management skills.

2. Course material in Flexible Studies:

 How do students learn the course material?

  • Students learn the course material by applying the learning through tasks and activities that include workshops, projects, reading, research and writing assignments.
  • Students apply the lessons they are learning by actively completing course work in the classrooms.
  • Students complete their course work by interacting with the instructor, their classmates, and computers & technology in the classroom and at home.
  • In the World Languages classes in the Flexible Studies Department students communicate with each other and their instructor in the target language.  There are ample opportunities for one-on-one, small group, or large group conversation practice with the instructors.

Is homework required and expected?

  • Just like all college level courses the expectation for completing homework is the same, for every one hour of class time you should expect to complete two hours of homework.

  • Middlesex Community College follows the Carnegie Unit for Credit.  Students are expected to spend a minimum of 45 hours of work for each credit.  The most common breakdown for one credit is one hour of class instruction and two hours of homework for 15 weeks each semester.  A three credit course demands nine hours each week.

Are the textbooks the same across MCC and the Flexible Studies Department?

  • Some of the textbooks are exactly the same across Middlesex Community College and the Flexible Studies Department.  Occasionally, an instructor may choose another option for a textbook depending on the course material and course content.
  • The material covered in textbooks is supported by electronic material provided to students with specific websites intended and designed to work with textbook material.

Is there an attendance policy at MCC and FSD?

  • One of the most critically important factors that impacts student success is attendance.  In all of the courses offered at MCC students will encounter attendance requirements.
  • Students attend classes in Flexible Studies just like they would attend classes in any other department at MCC.

Does a course in FSD cover the same material as courses in other departments at MCC?

  • Courses offered in Flexible Studies cover the same material as any other class in another department at MCC.  The only difference is the instructional method.  In a traditional classroom instructors usually lecture during a class.  In Flexible Studies the students are the center of the classroom universe.

3.Course Credits:

How are course credits awarded from FSD classes?

  • Course credits are awarded based on the number of credits completed per course at MCC regardless of where students are attending classes.
  • The course credits are noted on students' transcripts based on the classes the students have taken.  There are no distinctions between courses taken in Flexible Studies or any other department at MCC.

Do students earn academic grades from taking classes in Flexible Studies?

  • All students at MCC earn academic grades to reflect the production of the work they complete in their classes.  There are no distinctions between courses taken in Flexible Studies or any other department at MCC.

Do the course credits earned in Flexible Studies transfer to another college or university?

  • All credits listed on a student's transcript are subject to transfer to other colleges and/or universities based on articulation agreements with other institutions of higher education and the Massachusetts Transfer Program.  For specific questions about transfer of credit, please see your academic advisor.
  • A student's transcript will not differentiate between a Flexible Studies course and a traditional course at MCC.  The transcript will only report the student's name, academic grades and the courses completed.

4. Methods and Materials:

What do you mean students are the center of the classroom universe in Flexible Studies?

  • The Flexible Studies Model and methods take into account that some students at some points in their education will learn material more quickly than their classmates.  As a result, students are permitted to complete a course in less than one semester and take the final exam early if all of their coursework is successfully completed ahead of schedule.  Once a student completes his or her coursework successfully, he or she can register for the next semester's course and began taking it in the same semester.
  • On the other hand, sometimes students may need more time to learn course content and gain mastery of it, so they may need to extend the time it takes to complete their coursework.  The Flexible Studies model and methods also take this into account.  As a result, for a fee of $75 students and instructors can complete an in-progress contract that extends the learning time necessary for success.  A student can have more than one semester to successfully complete his or her coursework only if he or she has already successfully completed 50% of the work and has maintained good attendance.
  • This information is not noted on a student's transcript.

General information:

How many students enroll in Flexible Studies classes at MCC?

  • More than 1,000 students enroll in Flexible Studies classes in the fall and/or spring semesters at MCC.  Annually we serve more than 2,000 students.

Where is Flexible Studies located and where are the classrooms?

  • FSD uses classroom space in the Academic Resources Building in Bedford and both the City and Pollard Building in Lowell.

When are classes offered in the Flexible Studies Department?

  • Just like the other departments at MCC classes in Flexible Studies are offered Monday/Wednesday/Friday, Tuesday/Thursday, or Saturday.  We offer early morning, morning, late morning, afternoon, evening, and Saturday classes.

How do I register for classes in the Flexible Studies Department?

  • Make an appointment to meet with your academic advisor.

Last Modified: 3/10/14