What to Expect

Online education courses are similar to face-to-face courses in quality, objectives, credits and learning outcomes. They use a different methodology by using the Internet, instead of or in addition to a classroom. Students who are good candidates for online learning are self-motivated and good managers of their time. 

Expect to have assistance from your instructor. Online learning does not mean that you are on your own. Your instructor is available to assist and guide you in your learning and answer your questions throughout the course. Each course will have a syllabus which outlines the assignments, requirements and the grading criteria for the class. You may also e-mail the instructor and request a sample syllabus for the course that you are considering. Note that the final syllabus may be different, but the sample gives you a good idea of what will be expected.

Online classes ARE NOT completely self-paced or correspondence courses. Assignments may be due daily or weekly, based on the schedule in the syllabus, and most instructors do not accept late submissions. Just like the classroom, you may not be able to "make-up" late work, and your grade may be affected if you don't participate over the course of the prescribed time frame.

You must be an active learner not passively waiting for your teacher to remind you to do your homework, checking on your progress every day and telling you what you are missing each week. A successful online student will take the responsibility for his or her own learning: completing work on time; e-mailing the instructor for assistance; keeping the instructor informed of any personal issues and learning assistance you need; communicating with other students in the class; keeping up with readings, case studies and web links; logging into the course daily for updates, e-mails and information concerning the course; and completing the course on time.

Students are often surprised to find that they feel they get to know their teachers and classmates better online than in a classroom, due to the number of e-mails and contacts, more active class discussions and interactions online than in a traditional classroom setting. This rich communication environment may take some getting used to, and effort is required to develop proficiency in the use of online discussion tools.

As you think about becoming a UW-La Crosse Online student, it may be helpful to know the following details about our programs.

Studying Online

  • In most cases, UW-La Crosse Online programs are completely online, which means students do not have to come to campus. Course content varies, but usually includes online lecture, videos, interactive animations, discussion boards, and more. Students submit regular assignments including homework, projects and papers, through the Web interface. Most courses also integrate secure online exams.

  • Online learning can require a lot of written communication. Because you will be learning at your own location and during the times that you prefer, e-mail may be your primary means of communicating with instructors and other students. In addition, most courses will ask that students engage regularly in online discussions, blogs and debates.

  • Online students take an active role in their education. A greater degree of flexibility also means that you’ll need to be disciplined in your approach to your studies—it will be up to you to make sure you log on to your course and meet your own deadlines, because your professor won’t be in the room to remind you to do so.

  • Technology plays an integral role in online learning—it’s what makes this all possible. To get started in a program or course, we recommend that students have basic computer skills, such as the ability to send e-mail, navigate the Internet and install software.

Course Schedules

  • Schedules will vary by course. Online courses at UW-La Crosse run from three to sixteen weeks. Course specifics will always be provided in the course syllabus or other course material supplied by the instructor.

  • Most courses have built-in deadlines along the way to make sure that you progress at a manageable pace.

Technical Support & Student Services

  • UW-La Crosse Online students have access to technical support M-F, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. If you are experiencing any difficulty accessing course materials, or if you have questions, ITS Support can help you.

  • UW-La Crosse uses Desire2Learn (D2L) as our course management system. Visit the D2L Web site if you haven't used it before.

  • UW-La Crosse Online provides a wide range of Student Services. Your instructor will be available to answer questions and guide you through your experience as a student. However, online students should be comfortable learning independently, taking the initiative to ask questions and receiving instruction at a distance. Services available can be found at the Student Life Web site.