Non-Credit Courses FAQs

View Commonly-Asked Questions

How do I apply a discount code.

If you are an Extension Master Gardener, Extension Master Naturalist, or an Extension professional,  ask your county horticulture agent for the discount code.  If they do not already have the code ask them to send a request from their work email account to eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu.

If you are a volunteer at JC Raulston Arboretum, ask the volunteer director to give you the discount code.

Once you have the code, register for the class.  The very last step before you pay is to apply a discount code.  Enter the code in ALL CAPS

Does any Extension Master Gardener or Extension Master Naturalist in the country qualify for the $98 fee?

Yes, any Extension Master Gardener or Extension Master Naturalist, whether in North Carolina, Pennsylvania or elsewhere qualifies for the $98 rate.  Your county Extension agent can give you the discount code.  If your agent does not have the code, have them email eg-online-classes@ncsu.edu to obtain the discount code for Extension Master Volunteers.

How do I Create an Account with REPORTER

In order to pay for a course, you must first create an account with REPORTER, the registration system used by NC State for online courses.

You only have to do this once, no matter how many courses you take.  After the first class, you just login to REPORTER.

Create a Guest Account

Or you can click on “Sign in/Sign Up” in the upper right corner of the registration page.

Screenshot of REPORTER Web page

How many hours of continuing education credit will I receive?

This will be up to your supervisor.  The amount of time students spend on the course varies widely.  Below is an estimate:

  • 1 hr Learning the Moodle platform (how the course website works)
  • 2 hrs Videos – often watched multiple times
  • 4 hrs Reviewing 45 plant profiles – plant factsheets and course book
  • 9  hrs completing online exercises, practice sessions, vocabulary games
  • 1 hr adding to forum and critiquing others’ input
  • 6 hrs homework assignments
  • 1 hr reviewing pronunciations
  • 3 hrs quizzes
  • 2 hrs practice exercises for final
  • 1 hr final

Total 30 hrs

But most students will spend many more or many fewer hours.  The course is a non-credit elective so all the assignments are optional, students complete the ones they find most helpful.  Students may earn a Certificate of Participation by submitting each of the assignments, and a Certificate of Mastery to show they scored 70% or more on each of the quizzes and exams.  Agents may request the student to submit a copy of one or both of these certificates to award continuing education hours.

Many things go into an agent’s decision as to how many hours of continuing education credit to award for a particular class. In order to ensure that volunteers have a wide variety of training experiences, some agents do not allow more than 10 hours credit for a particular class no matter how much time the student spends.

Before you sign up for this class, check with your agent to determine what credit you may earn for completing this class and what documentation they will require.

How does the course work?

The course is self-paced.  There are short videos and a variety of learning exercises for you to complete online.  You log on whenever you want during the 6 weeks the course is open and do as many of the activities as you like.  The instructor will be available to answer questions and provide feedback on assignments.  There are quizzes for each section and an optional final exam.

Are there any fees other than the registration fee?

None that are required, but you may choose to purchase a printed copy of the eBook used in class.  It has plant profiles and detailed photographs of plant identification characteristics.  The cost varies with the class topic.  Books are purchased directly from the NC State Print shop.  Detailed information on ordering a color or black and white copy of the book are available once you register for the class.  On average the color book is $60 and the black and white version is $20.  Shipping is $11.

Are there specific times of the day or days of the week that I will need to participate in the class?

No. This is an asynchronous, fully online, self-paced, non-credit course.  You may participate anywhere that you have access to the internet.  You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for the entire 6 weeks of the class and for 6 months after the course ends.  There are no required presentations or any set times that you will need to meet online.

Once I have registered, how to I find the class?

Go to REPORTER <https://reporter.ncsu.edu> and click on “My Courses”

You will see a list of all of the classes for which you have registered

At the end of each line is a link to “Access Online Content” — click that button to take you to the class.

What can I do before the class starts?

As soon as you register you will be able to access the introductory material on the course website. Use the time before the course starts to become familiar with the website and to review the introductory material on plant identification.

You can start learning about plant ID now to help you sail through the course.  Visit places where plants are labeled (botanical gardens, arboretum, demonstration gardens, nurseries, etc.). Review your books and magazines, focusing on the types of plants that will be featured in the course.  Look closely at leaf shape and bloom structure, notice the details and the differences.  Once the class starts you will see the world in a whole new way.