Category Archives: Courses

Introducing Our New Mobile Friendly Course Site Theme

You probably noticed our new theme for the course site at StraighterLine. While it’s a total refresh aesthetically, it also brings some added benefits to our students by providing a responsive layout.

What is responsive?

In short, a responsive theme is flexible so that no matter what screen size you’re using to view a site, the page loads to look it’s best on that screen by moving page elements or resizing columns. This means that it will be a much more friendly experience for our users who are studying with a tablet or even a phone.

What are students saying?

In our demo to date here’s what students have had to say,

The screen condenses itself to the size you choose, making it a better experience.
I was not able to adjust the size of the screen on my laptop to make the screen smaller or larger. Very Simple looking.

I think it’s better organized…

Looks better.

responsiveness is great- will make much easier to use on my tablet or phone if I’m on the go

I loved how things have heading and i can click on it to access materials. It seems more organized as well before it looked bulky, and messy. I love this new update!

Loved it, love it, loved it! Can’t get here fast enough!

It was such a nice layout. Not as confusing. And it was easier to maneuver around in.

Will the theme now work on all devices? In short, yes. But the content that drives our courses has not changed. Through extensive testing we’ve identified a few devices and OS versions that might continue to have trouble viewing content specifically. We are working with our content partners over time to improve the mobile experience for all courses.

Known issues:

  • On many mobile devices lesson presentations do not autoplay, just click the little play button to start the audio on each slide.
  • iOS8: if you’re using iOS8 you may not have the best experience with the McGraw Hill content. Earlier versions of iOS may provide better experiences to students.
  • PE101: Flash content is not supported on Android or iOS
  • MAT250, MAT251, PHY250: Flash content is not supported on Android or iOS

Have a comment or suggestion? Don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below:

Try our new course site theme: it’s better on every device

You’re invited to try out our new site design before it’s officially released on your desktop, laptop, netbook, Chromebook, tablet, phablet, phone, Glass or iWatch and let us know what you think. The feedback process is essential to ensuring that we’re doing our best to serve you so please fill out the brief survey once you’ve gone through the quick demo using the link below.

Try out the new site

(Note: autoplay of lesson presentations is disabled for mobile, to play the audio slides just click the play button.) And then don’t forget…

Complete the survey

We’re happy share that we’ve been hard at work creating a better and more mobile-friendly experience for our course site no matter what device you are using to access StraighterLine. Rather than create a device specific app that you need to download we’re releasing a “responsive” theme which will work no matter what screen size your looking at. Responsive design is a feature of many sites you’re familiar with and helps to reorganize elements of websites so that they can easily display on any device without showing just a miniature version of the webpage.

At the moment we’re testing all of the activities that you as students do on a daily basis on our site to make sure that we have maximum compatibility and we hope to update the experience for all students soon. We do know already that some content may not playback on all devices but navigating through the site, checking grades, assignment details, or just seeing what chapter to read from your textbook should be better than ever.

Turnitin Outage this Saturday

In courses using Turnitin, assignments will be unavailable for viewing or upload this Saturday July 26th from 12pm EST to 12am EST for scheduled maintenance by Turnitin.

During those times you may find both the assignment upload and assignment grade/view options for evaluated works to be unavailable. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Scheduled Maintenance on July 26th

Turnitin service will be unavailable during a scheduled maintenance period on Saturday, July 26th, 2014, from  9 AM to 9 PM U.S. Pacific Time (click for local time). We will be making significant upgrades to improve capacity and scalability as our service utilization grows. An announcement will appear for users within Turnitin in advance of when the system will be unavailable for this scheduled maintenance. This maintenance will affect all Turnitin users.

For more StraighterLine events please visit

Ready for your 5k? Be wary of the heat this summer

If you’re in PE101 and gearing up for your 5k or fitness test be sure to use some commonsense to make sure you aren’t going to overexert yourself, that the temperature isn’t too hot, and that you have access to shade, water, a cool place to recover after all that movement and exertion.

Writing from Texas I know how hot and humid the midday can be (which is why I try to schedule any physical activity for the morning or inside at least a shady areas out of the sun), remember that the goal of the fitness test and 5k is to create a benchmark for your own fitness level (not to see if you can survive the heat and humidity of wherever you may be).

Use some commonsense and ensure that you are taking all the precautions required to stay safe and healthy when getting physical this summer. As a bonus, here’s a quick video from Ted Ed (a great source of educational content) that talks about heat stroke and how to prevent it and treat it.

US Westward Expansion across US History I and II

Westward expansion is a major topic in US History II at StraighterLine and in many traditional US Hist 102 courses across the country. The course usually picked up right at Reconstruction (or shortly thereafter) and then highlights all the interesting developments of the US’s quick westward expansion through purchases and policy. But Manifest Destiny started well before the events that traditionally mark the break between US History I and II.

If you’re a visual learner you might get a kick out of seeing the expansion on a timeline as visualized in a map. Check out the video below to see the US expand over time into the shape and size we’re all familiar with today.

And if you’re interested in learning more about US History check out both courses available with your membership.

New Course Offerings- 1 Credit Labs: Biology, Chemistry, and Anatomy & Physiology

If you’ve already taken a science lecture courses, but now need the laboratory credit for your degree program, check out the new 1-credit standalone versions of our already popular Introduction to Biology, General Chemistry I,  Anatomy & Physiology I, and Anatomy & Physiology II labs. These courses now contain:
1) Enhanced Content – We’ve worked with our content provider, eScienceLabs, to bring you updated, at-home lab experiments and dissections as well as a new virtual model in the A&P labs to help you learn the various systems of the human body.

blog post

2) Grader Feedback – We’ve hired experts in the field who will review and provide feedback on your assignments so that you have a better idea of how well you’re understanding the course material.

3) Streamlined Submission Process – We’ve clarified the laboratory requirements by combining every exercise within a given lab assignment into a single worksheet.  You’ll be able to record data, answer lab questions, and insert experimental photos in one document that will be submitted to our graders for review.

Check out these courses today!

What’s the best music studying?

While it’s not allowed during proctoring, you can definitely put on the tunes while taking other exams, writing papers or just interacting with the course materials in your online course. What’s your favorite playlist or album (or even single song on repeat) to jam out to while learning?

Have a good playlist or album to share or recommend? Put it in the comments.

I bet it’s this one…

Scheduled Maintenance on 5/18

Hello Students,

We want to let you know that StraighterLine will be down for scheduled maintenance on Sunday, May 18, starting at 10:30pm Eastern Standard Time. Our expected downtime will be one to two hours but our maintenance window will remain until early Monday morning.

For more dates, events and updates on service availability please check/bookmark

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

The StraighterLine Team


Psyched for Psych: How to Train a Brain with the fellows at Crash Course

Here’s a great video from the guys at Crash Course (an awesome Youtube channel covering all sorts of Biology, US History and other college course content). The video covers “conditioning” which is what the famous “Pavlovian response” comes from. It goes further into conditioning and associative learning: how we form relationships with different stimuli and learn cause and effect.

Check it out at

And if you’re interested in this or other bits of Psychology or just need 3 fun credits, check out StraighterLine’s Introduction to Psychology.

Caution: Slippery Slopes Ahead!

LeBron James drinks Sprite, so YOU should drink Sprite! Michael Phelps thinks Subways is delicious, so of course you agree! Right? Joe Flacco loves Gummy Bears … you probably get the idea. And you can undoubtedly list many other examples of advertisers who attempt to sell products based on the “authority” of celebrity endorsements. Hence, this logical fallacy is known as the appeal to authority.


Another common fallacy is the bandwagon appeal, which you can see anytime you pass one of the 35 thousand-plus McDonald’s that exist on the planet.The implicit argument here is “99 BILLION” people can’t be wrong! In other words, if everyone is doing something, so should you.

But have you ever considered the strength of your arguments when you write essays for your English or Business courses? If not, now is a great time to learn about the many ways arguments can be flawed so you can work on making yours stronger. Check out this awesome poster that includes an exhaustive list (and nice graphics) of various logical fallacies, including the titular slippery slope preceding this post. And the next time you’re watching a commercial, see if you can identify one of these fallacies in the ad’s argument.