FAQ

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Studying Online

Q: I've never taken an online course, is it hard?

A: Studying on-line is very different from learning in a face-to-face classroom setting. It may be more convenient – or for some it may be the only way they can take our courses - but it is definitely easier.

The University of Illinois has provided some excellent pre-assessment information for potential on-line students.
Please complete the online Self Evaluation before you decide to take one of our courses: 
https://www.uis.edu/online/getting-started/learning-online/

You can also please read the article entitled
'What Makes A Successful Online Student?'
https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/pedagogy/successful-online-student/.

 

Q: I'm not very good with computers, is that okay?

A: Our courses are College level courses, and the appropriate computer skills are needed to complete the coursework. We've found an online testing site that will help assess your computer skills to see if you are ready for online work.

https://www.digitalliteracyassessment.org/

Try the 'Essential Computer Skills section (using the appropriate test of the last two; either Windows or Mac)
Try the Microsoft Word, and Social Media test as well to establish your literacy with computers.
If you did not pass, get help with the problem areas and try again.

Why can't I reset my password?

I tried resetting my password but haven't received an email to do so - how can I login?
First, try closing your browser and restarting it. Next, try clearing your cookies. Third, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Where can I find my T2202?

Where can I find my T2202 for the current tax year?
T2202s are sent out in February each year by mail or email. Log in (gaiacollege.ca/login) and navigate to Account Info - T2202 info in the top menu bar. Here you can update your SIN and delivery method (mail or email). If you do not specify a delivery method, it will be sent by mail. 

T2202s sent by mail are sent to the address we have on file (you can confirm your address under Account Info - Edit Account). Forms sent by email come from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. CRA requires they be sent by the last day of February of the tax filing year.

I registered for a course in December - how come I haven't received my T2202 yet? 
If you registered for a course in December, your T2202 will be prepared for the year the course is taken. 

Where can I find my T2202 for a previous tax year?
Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Preparing For Your Course

We know that everyone learns differently, and that online learning isn’t for everyone. We strive to make our courses as accessible as possible so everyone can get the most out of their learning experience. Here are some frequently asked questions and tips about our online courses. 

How can I prepare for my online course?
Before registering, be sure you know how to use a word processor and a web browser. You’ll also want to know where files go on your computer once they’re downloaded as you’ll likely be downloading some extra reading materials.  

How do I access the course material? 
The day the course starts you will have access to your online classroom through our learning management system (LMS), moodle. This is available through a web browser by logging into our website and clicking Online Campus. You’ll only be able to see your course once it’s started. 

We ease into each course by dedicating the first week to familiarizing yourself with the online classroom, the content, and the instructor. The first week also offers an opportunity for students to introduce themselves, and in turn get to know their classmates. Some courses offer a digital copy of the text within the course that will be accessible when it starts. Other courses require textbooks to be purchased.

Where can I find the course texts?
Required texts for each course can be found on the course overview page under Texts. Some should be purchased in advance, some are available in digital format and some are offered via a link within the course. 

Where can I find a course schedule?
Our courses are built so you can do everything on your own time. Each course follows a weekly schedule that covers a different lesson every week. All discussions, lessons, readings, quizzes, etc. for that lesson / week must be completed by Sunday at midnight. Thus, there is no “set time” to be online for a lecture or discussion. Because we get students from around the world, our instructors do not offer standard office hours but are able to connect with students if needed at a suitable time. 

How much time per week should I commit to my course?
We estimate 6-10 hours per week per course, depending on the course. However, each course comes with a wealth of additional resources that you can access (during or after the course ends) so you may find yourself spending more time reading one week than another. If you find you can’t get through all of the additional material, that’s ok as all students are granted indefinite access to the course resources and digital library materials. 

How much time per week should I commit to my course?

Q: How much time each week should I commit to a course?
A: We recommend 6-10 hours per week for each of our courses.

Q: Is it a problem if a lesson cannot be completed in the specified week?
A: Each week covers a different topic and you'll want to complete one topic before moving on to the next. Students are expected to complete their work on their own time during each week. If you are not available during the week, discuss it with your instructor and they will guide you in how to work ahead or catch-up.

Am I required to be online at a certain time?

Q: Are students required to participate in live sessions?
A: No. Students do not have to participate in live sessions. All lessons are completed on the student's own time. 

How is your online approach different from self-paced studies?

The question may arise why we are offering this course over a specific time frame, rather than letting each student study at their own speed. Our experience is that without firm deadlines most students do not finish the longer online courses - and we really want you to succeed!

So, for optimum student success, this course is being offered in an interactive online classroom format. The “virtual classroom” includes group interaction in structured activities such as discussions, experiments, and demonstrations, yet still maintains flexibility for the individual.

Our vast learning resources and networking facilities are always available to students, even after completion of the course. So if for some reason you are not able to complete the course on time you will still retain access to the information to review it at your own pace. However, to earn the Certificate of Completion all course work must be completed by the end of the course term.

How do you handle hands-on activities in an online course?

That is indeed a challenge, but frankly, allowing "enough" hands-on experience is always difficult even in a classroom course. So the hands-on portion of the course has been incorporated into the assignments, where students get to put their newly acquired knowledge to practice. This is even more fun if you can get a friend to take the course with you!

Depending on the course, some of these activities may require access to soil and composting materials. Students living in climates where the ground may be covered in 2 feet of snow for the duration of the course have the option to choose an alternative assignment, or take the course at another time of the year.

Are OMG and OHS the same course?

Yes, the two courses Organic Master Gardener and Organic Horticultural Specialist are the same. The reason for the two course titles is based on preferences expressed by educational partners and different students groups. When registering for this course please register under the course name that you would like to appear on your certificate of completion. 

 

I live in a different part of the world

Q: I don't live on Vancouver Island, is my region covered in the Organic Master Gardener course? Is the Organic Master Gardener course relevant for areas outside of Canada?

A: Yes, the course is designed to be completed wherever you live in the world and during any season. Whether you live in an apartment or on a farm has no impact on completing the assignments. The course is designed to take students from all over the world into consideration. The information taught is universal. If alternatives are required at any time, this can be discussed with your Facilitator.

All of our courses are designed to accomodate students across Canada and around the world. The information taught in our courses is universal. Students taking Ecological Plant Knowledge courses (Natives or Ornamentals) will become deeply familiarized with their own ecosystem and its plant communities.

The ground is frozen, what should I do about a soil sample?

When completing the course in the winter, before the ground freezes solid, collect a 1 cup soil sample from an area you'd like to have the soil tested for. You can keep it in a plastic bag in the freezer until needed for the course. This article describes how to take a soil sample: https://www.finegardening.com/article/how-is-your-soil-texture

 

Tip:

The soil can crust over with frost/ice but just below the surface, with a good spade or pick the soil is usually dig-able; also, closer to buildings the soil freezes last.

 

Can other schools coursework be used for prerequisites?

Q: Can I send proof of completing programs that included SketchUp Pro and horticulture to act as my prerequisites for the Ecological Landscape Design program?
A: No, we do not accept other education programs as equivalent prerequisites for the Ecological Landscape Design Online course.

Q. Do studies at Dalhousie fulfill the prerequisites for these courses?
A. Courses done at other institutions (not Gaia College curriculum) are not accepted to count for a prerequisite course.

Where can I find more info on a course description?

Q: Am I able to see a detailed syllabus? I wasn't able to find one on the website
A: A detailed course calendar is available in the online classroom once the course starts. In the meantime, you can view the course outline associated with each course on the course overview page.

Q: Do you have a Course Outline available?
A: Yes, the course outlines are within the course overview of our website, on the tab marked 'Overview and Outline'.

Q: Are printed materials available or provided for your courses?
A: No, we are unable to provide printable versions of the slideshows from our courses.


Q: How long is the course?
A: Courses run 14 weeks.

Q: How often is the classwork? I would like to organize my time.
A: Each of the online classes have specific weekly hand-in dates which you will see when you start the course. Other than that, it is up to you to organize when you do your work; we recommend a regular daily routine (early morning, before work - last thing at night, before bed). We recommend a minimum of 6-10 hours per course per week, depending on the course. Specific information is available in the 'Studying Online' tab of each course. 

Each of the classroom courses will have their own format.

 

 

Are there any special supplies needed?

Q: Is the Mac book Pro a sufficient device for the Landscape Design Basics with Sketch Up Pro?
A: The Mac book Pro would be sufficient in ‘brain power’ to do the work. However, we recommend an additional screen to have a larger workspace to work with.

Q: Are there supplies and/or materials that are required to complete assignments in the Organic Master Gardener / Organic Horticulture Specialist course or for any of the other courses that are offered?
A: No gardening supplies or tools are required to complete the assignments other than having a shovel on hand to take a soil sample. All course materials and resources are supplied as part of the course fee. If there is a textbook that is required to be purchased for a course, that information can be found on our website, under your course 'Text' tab.

 

Number of courses per semester

Q: Can I take more than one course at a time?
A: Yes, you can take more than one course at a time.

Q: What is the maximum number of courses to take per semester?
A: This depends on the student's availability. It is important to consider that each course may require 6-10 hours per week. We often advise a maximum of 3 courses per semester. However, we have had some students take more than that with good results. 

Technical access

Q: Can I access the online resources even after I finished the course?

A: Yes, you will have access indefinitely to the resources of this course. Once the course is closed, you will get transferred into the Alumni course where the most up to date resources are made available. This may take some time...please be patient.

Q: I've downloaded Google Chrome but I'm having trouble installing it on Windows 10, can you help?

A: Follow this link (or copy and paste this link information into your browser window) [https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/6315198?hl=en] for instructions on installing Google Chrome from the download.

Q: Though I am logged in...it will not allow me to access the online course

A: Please try this first: Turn off your computer (Log out) of our website and then log in again.

Q: I am registered, but I can't get into my course. Is there a problem?

A: You will be able to access your course on the course start date. The first module is about introductions and getting to know the system. You will have time to get familiarized with the online platform.

Technical Skills

Q: Are there any special technical skills required to complete the course(s)?

A: No, most of our courses are complete units ready for the first time gardener. These are 'college' level courses and students need to be computer-savvy (email, log-in/log-out, typing skills [recommend 50wpm], downloading/uploading files, etc.), able to converse well in English, and able to dedicate the time needed to read, understand, and problem solve the coursework each week in a timely manner.

 

Course and payment options

Q: Can I use RESPs at Gaia College?
A: Yes, Gaia College is on the Certified Educational Institutional list for RESP eligibility. You can find the list here

Government of Canada: Certified Educational Institutions

or contact them by phone at 1-800-267-3100.

Q: Are your fees Canadian dollars?
A: Yes, all our fees are listed in Canadian dollars.

Q: What payment options do you accept?
A: We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Cheque, or Money Orders (we do not accept down payments or payment installments), and E-transfers. Payments made by Cheque, Money Order or E-transfer will have to be verified before access to your course is granted. E-transfers should be sent to payment@gaiacollege.ca.

Q: Are your courses tax deductible? Do you issue a T2202A?
A: We issue a T2202A for tuition paid directly to Gaia College. Students that register with another education partner need to contact that education partner. If you didn't get one after your course starts, check your junk folder or trash folder.

Q: When do you send out T2202As?
A: We send T2202s at the beginning of the calendar year for the previous year by email or regular mail in accordance with CRA's guidelines. You can read more about CRA's guidelines here

Q: Do you have sponsorship, grants, or bursaries?
A: We are proud to offer the Heide Hermary Memorial Bursary. There are also options you can check out through WorkSafe BC, WorkBC, or BC Center for Women in The Trades, but we do not do the paperwork for you and your employer may be the one doing the paperwork.

Q: Do you have International Student funding or visas available?
A: No, we do not. Our courses are online and available worldwide 3 times a year; and, may be completed from your own home.

Q: Are your courses eligible for student loans? 
A: No. There are options you can check out through WorkSafe BC, WorkBC or BC Center for Women In The Trades but we do not do the paperwork for you and your employer may be the one doing the paperwork.

 

How much time do I have to complete the diploma?

Q: Is there a timeline on how long I would need to complete the other courses in order to obtain the diploma as well?
A: No, there isn't a timeline for completing the diploma. You can find the diploma requirements here: Diploma Requirements

Classroom Courses notice

New classroom courses are not currently being scheduled as we focus more on online delivery and ways to make our curriculum more accessible. 

I've finished my course. Now what?

Q: I've finished my course. Now what?

A: Congratulations! We know how much work that was. Certificates of completion will be mailed within a month of your course ending. If you've completed all the requirements for the Diploma, you can apply for that now here: https://www.gaiacollege.ca/diploma-in-organic-land-care.html.

Please make sure your contact information is current in our system, so we send the Certificate or Diploma to the right place. All this usually takes up to a month. If you haven't heard from us by then, call or email info@gaiacollege.ca 

Also remember to keep in touch. You can send us a Testimonial to use on our website and social networks or share your projects with us on social media or let us interview you for a newsletter profile.

What can I do with my diploma?

Current job titles in the labour market include: 

Organic Gardener, Organic Landscaper, Organic Landscape Maintenance Worker,  Organic Plant Grower,Organic Market Gardener / Farmer, Organic Landscape Designer, Rainwater Harvest Consultant, Organic Gardening Educator, Organic Turf Specialist, Organic Soils Consultant, Living Soils Consultant, Organic Garden Consultant, Organic Garden Designer, Organic Master Gardener, Organic Land Care Practitioner, Organic Land Care Professional, Permaculture Designer, Permaculture Consultant, Edible Garden Designer, Edible Landscape Designer, Ecological landscaper, Ecological landscape designer, among others.

You can read our Why a Diploma in Organic Land Care to find out more about what people are doing and what organizations they're associated with. 

The following are professional organizations that recognize our courses:

  • Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA)
  • National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP - USA)
  • BC Society of Landscape Architects (BCSLA)
  • International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
  • Master Gardeners of Ontario Incorporated (MGOI)
  • Integrated Pest Management Canada (IPM Canada)
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)
  • Canadian Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL)
  • Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC)
  • WorkSafe BC

I need a transcript

Q: I need a transcript for my new employer. Can you send that to me?

A: We don't provide transcripts. We issue certificates of completion for successfully completing a course and can provide necessary information for continuing education credits. We can send a copy of your certificate to a professional organization (there is a $25 fee for a duplicate certificate as outlined in our Policies section). Please contact us or email info@gaiacollege.ca if you require a duplicate certificate. If you took the course through an educational partner (Royal Roads University) then you will have to contact them. 

Course planning

Q: I am planning on completing my Diploma, and was wondering which online courses are available in which upcoming term?

A: We have planned our online courses up to the Fall of 2022. 

 

 Course Name

Winter 2021

Spring 2021

Fall 2021

 Start Date

January 11

May 10

September 13

Finish Date

April 16

August 13

December 17

Business Skills for Land Care Professionals

 Yes N/A Yes

Ecological Landscape Design

Yes  Yes  Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 2 - Ornamentals

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Growing Food

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Landscape Design Basics with SketchUp Pro 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Living Green Infrastructure

 N/A N/A   Yes

Organic Horticulture Specialist

Yes

Yes

Yes

Organic Master Gardener

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rainwater Harvesting and Management

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Art of Online Facilitation

 N/A Yes  N/A

 

 Course Name

Winter 2022

Spring 2022

Fall 2022

 Start Date

January 10

May 19

September 12

Finish Date

April 15

August 12

December 16

Business Skills for Land Care Professionals

 Yes N/A Yes

Ecological Landscape Design

Yes  Yes  Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 1 - Natives

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Ecological Plant Knowledge 2 - Ornamentals

 N/A  Yes Yes 

Growing Food

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Landscape Design Basics with SketchUp Pro 

Yes

Yes

Yes

Living Green Infrastructure

 N/A N/A   Yes

Organic Horticulture Specialist

Yes

Yes

Yes

Organic Master Gardener

Yes

Yes

Yes

Rainwater Harvesting and Management

 Yes Yes  Yes 

Art of Online Facilitation

 N/A Yes  N/A

Can I retake a course?

You may retake an online course taken since January 2020. There is a $200 administration fee. You can view our Course Retake Policy under our policies