Online College Courses for Credit

Study Guide

Study Guide

Author: ragus dack
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Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

37 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 32 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


We recognize that people learn in a variety of ways, so we’ve made each concept available for you to learn in a way that makes sense to you. We’re glad you’ve chosen Sophia to take the next step in planning your educational journey and significantly reducing the cost of your college tuition.

Your Sophia Pathways online college course is designed to be completed in 60 days or less. You may start at any time and learn on your own schedule. There are no classes to attend or weekly assignments to complete.

Using Sophia courses to earn college credit and lower the cost of your college education is simple:

  • Dive right into problem solving mode with our Challenges, learning new concepts along the way through our instructional tutorials.
  • Successfully complete timed Milestones, demonstrating your mastery of the concepts.
  • Successfully pass the Final Milestone to complete the course.
  • Submit your final score, and we will provide you with instructions on requesting your official transcript.

How It Works

To earn a Sophia transcript, you must:

  • Complete each Challenge by attempting each of the questions
  • Pass each Unit Milestone by getting at least half of the points in each assessment.
  • Achieve a total average score of 70% or better across all Challenges and Milestones.
  • Pass your Final Milestone with a score of 50% or higher, which contributes to your overall course score.

Course Instruction

Each concept has a corresponding tutorial designed to provide you with the content needed to be successful on the Challenges and Milestones. Tutorials may be video-based, audio-based, or text-based. You can find the course tutorials in two places: in the Challenges directly and on your Dashboard. The Unit Outline (located to the right of each Unit on your Dashboard) provides a single location for all the instructional tutorials for that Unit. It is a great resource for you to find all the concepts you need to learn for the Challenges and the Milestone. You can either view it online, or download a PDF version.

What is a Challenge?

Think of a Challenge like a quiz.
Sophia courses are designed using a problem-based learning model. You can expect to engage in real world scenarios. To assist you in solving these Challenges, we provide tutorials that help you understand the key concepts behind each problem.

Each Challenge encompasses an average of 5-10 practical problems to solve. You have multiple attempts to solve these problems and you may leave and return to Challenges whenever you want to continue your learning and improve your score (as long as you have remaining attempts). You must attempt all of the Challenge questions at least once in order to advance to the Milestone for that unit.

What is a Milestone?

Think of a Milestone like a test.
Milestones test your mastery of the concepts taught in the course. Each Milestone consists of 20-30 questions on average. You have a set amount of time to complete each Milestone, which is displayed on the Course Dashboard. You must get at least half of the questions correct to pass— but keep in mind that you need to achieve an average score of 70% across all Challenges and Milestones. Milestones are weighted three times as much as Challenges for the purpose of calculating your final score. If you do not pass a Milestone, you will be given one opportunity to retake it.

Each Milestone has a corresponding Practice Milestone that you can use to check your readiness before attempting the actual Milestone. You’ll find similar questions to the actual Milestone, along with answers.

What is a Touchstone?

Think of a Touchstone like a project.
For students in certain English/Communications courses, a Touchstone is a project-based assessment that helps you apply mastery of the concepts to solve an authentic problem. Each Touchstone consists of a project-based deliverable. Each Touchstone is checked for originality and then submitted for manual grading. You can work on a Touchstone whenever you want. However, you must pass the Unit Milestone before you can submit the Touchstone for that Unit for grading. Please be aware that it could take up to seven business days to get a Touchstone grade back. You must get at least half of the available points to pass a Touchstone— but keep in mind that you need to average 70% across all Challenges, Milestones, and Touchstones to pass the course. If you do not pass a Touchstone, you will be given one opportunity to resubmit it.

What is the Final Milestone?

Upon successful completion of all Challenges and Milestones, you will be ready to take the Final Milestone. A score of 50% or higher is needed to pass the Final Milestone and complete your course. The Final Milestone does count toward your overall score. Like the Unit Milestones, the Final Milestone is weighted three times as much as a Challenge. Courses that include more than one Touchstone do not have a Final Milestone.

Best Practices for the Successful Student


  • Read through each of the questions in the Challenge first so that you have a general idea of what to look for as you watch/read tutorials.
  • View all the tutorials linked to the Challenges. They can be found under the tab “Helpful Tutorials” to the right of the Challenge “Question” tab, or may be displayed on the right side of the question itself, and provide the information needed to complete that Challenge.
  • Take notes on the tutorials as you watch them and write down key terms and definitions, processes, diagrams, etc.
  • Use our “Many Ways to Learn” format to view, read, or listen to tutorials from various instructors. This will allow you to find the instructor or tutorial that you prefer based on your learning style.
  • Use your notes to complete the Challenge questions.
  • If you struggle with a concept, use the “I Need Help with this Question” link at the bottom of the question. This will send a message to the Learning Coach team, who will review your feedback and respond with guidance.


  • Review all Challenges prior to taking the Milestone.
  • Complete the Practice Milestone before attempting the actual Milestone.
  • Review tutorials related to the concepts you got incorrect on the Practice Milestone.
  • If you continue to struggle with a concept, contact a Learning Coach for assistance.
  • Take the Milestone at a time and location when you can have sufficient undisturbed time, so you can focus on completing the Milestone successfully.
  • Milestones are ‘open book,’ so have two browser windows or tabs open. Use one for viewing relevant tutorials, and the other for the Milestone.


  • Review the Touchstone description thoroughly at the start of the Unit in order to understand the requirements.
  • Give yourself enough time to develop your Touchstone over a few days as you go through the Unit, versus attempting to rush through it in one sitting.
  • Familiarize yourself with the scoring rubric to understand how the Touchstone will be graded.
  • Look at the Sample Touchstone to understand the desired look and feel of the end product.
  • If you are unclear about any section of the Touchstone, contact a Learning Coach for assistance.
  • Before you submit a Touchstone, proofread and make appropriate edits.
  • Touchstone submissions are checked for originality and manually graded. If a Touchstone is determined to contain plagiarized content, it will be rejected and you will be given a single opportunity to submit an original version.

Student Honor Code

Academic dishonesty is a serious offense in any academic community. At Sophia, failure to comply with the student honor code will result in removal from the course, and/or disqualification to enroll in future courses. By participating in Sophia Pathways, students must abide by the following:

Honor Code

  • The answers to all assessments and projects, which include Challenges, Milestones, and Touchstones, will be your work and your work alone.
  • You will not make questions or answers to Challenges or Milestones available to anyone else.
  • You will not engage in any other activities that could dishonestly improve your results or improve or hinder the results of others.

Extension Policy

We want you to be successful in learning your academic subject. If you do not complete your Sophia course in the allotted 60 days, we do grant one extension, not to exceed 30 days, at no additional cost. You will see a link in your course to request an extension if you are running out of time. Please contact a Learning Coach at with any questions on your course extension.

Retake Policy

We allow one (1) retake per Challenge and one (1) retake per Milestone. You will be prompted to contact the Sophia Learning Coach team if you fail an assessment in the course.

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

We want you to be completely satisfied with your learning experience. We offer a 30-day money back guarantee prior to completion. Please contact a Learning Coach at to drop your course and receive a full refund within 30 days of your course start date.

Other Elements of the Sophia Pathways Learning Environment

Chat Feature ("Questions? Let's Chat")

Learning Coaches are available via this Live Chat feature during our office hours.

Progress and Score Indicators

Track your progress! Your Course Dashboard page provides real time feedback on your progress to help you stay on track. The Progress Bar gives you a recommended schedule to ensure a successful completion. The Score Indicator plots your current score against the 70% passing mark. The “View Report” page provides more details on your activity and progress throughout the course.