Student Online Learning

UWL Online Courses

Why aren’t all my online classes synchronous? expanding section

UWL instructors may elect to offer in-person, online asynchronous, and online synchronous classes. Given variations in courses and disciplines, some classes may be offered in different formats while others may not. Asynchronous classes are student-centered and widely used in higher education; in fact, before 2020, most online classes at UWL were presented in an asynchronous format.  

What are some benefits of online asynchronous classes? expanding section

Online asynchronous classes provide students increased flexibility and convenience. You do not need to block off time to attend class and can pace out course work to fit your schedule. You can go back and study course content whenever you are confused or have questions—this gives you more control over your learning. As a bonus, students in online asynchronous classes develop time management skills that can help them succeed after they graduate.  

How will I interact with my professors in an online asynchronous class? expanding section

Your instructors are available to meet with you one-on-one and answer your questions just as with any course. In some cases, you might have more direct contact with faculty in discussion forums, feedback, office hours, email, optional synchronous sessions, etc. 

How can I thrive in an online asynchronous class? expanding section
  1. Plan and manage your time. Create a routine for the day.  Being at home or in your room all day is difficult because of all the potential distractions.  One of the good things about going to class is you have a dedicated time that you have to be there. Create that time in your daily schedule.   
  2. Create a workspace if possible, a place where you can set your routine and a bit of consistency.  
  3. Adjust your expectations and your approach. You may be used to hearing lectures, taking notes, asking real time questions, and interacting with your peers.  In an online asynchronous environment, you may do all these things but in a different way. If your professor provides you with pre-recorded lectures, or curates content from other sources, you will need to listen in the same active manner you do during a face to face lecture. Take notes, physically take notes.  Don’t watch the videos like you would watch a YouTube video during your study break.  Be active during the process by drawing pictures, writing down questions to ask your professor during office hours and to your classmates during online discussions.   
  4. Be active – don't just go through the motions to get the content done.  Learning online in an asynchronous manner, you may be tempted to complete tasks in the shortest possible time. Students that thrive in online environments actively engage with course content, with peers, and with the instructor.
FAQ expanding section

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 Monday through Friday, 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 utilizes Canvas as its Course Management System. Refer to the Canvas site for more information and support.

  • 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 website.



General Questions About Online Programs

What's online learning like and how is it different from face-to-face learning? expanding section

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. Instruction is delivered primarily asynchronously (i.e., where the teacher and learner are not physically at the same place at the same time). Students work with materials either on their own or in discussion groups. They interact directly with each other and with the faculty typically through e-mail, threaded discussions (online discussion boards), chat and web-based whiteboard facilities, and sometimes through voice or video communication during synchronous sessions. UW-La Crosse Online offers a highly personal and interactive learning experience.

What courses do you offer? expanding section

To view online course offerings:

  1. Log into WINGS or go to the UWL searchable timetable.
  2. Go to the the "class search" area. 
  3. After you click on class search select the semester or term you would like to take an online course. 
  4. Click on "additional search criteria" near the bottom of the screen. Your options for searching expand.
  5. Hit the drop down arrow in the "mode of instruction" box.  Then select "online" and you should find the online courses offered for the semester you chose.
How do I receive and hand in assignments? expanding section

UW-La Crosse uses Canvas as our course management system. All readings, work sessions, assignments and other tasks are pre-specified and monitored on a continuous basis. Most written assignments and exams will be received via  Canvas and will be submitted using Canvas. Access to grades and feedback from instructors are provided online.

How do I interact with my instructor and peers? expanding section

Students interact with their instructor on a regular basis using e-mail, threaded discussions or online chat rooms. Students post comments on questions in response to their instructor or to their peers. Students can read and post comments any time during the day. On some occasions, discussions may also take place in 'real time' through Canvas 'chat' facilities. Chat participants talk to each other 'live' by typing messages back and forth.

How much time should I reserve? expanding section

Time varies depending on such factors as pace of reading and typing, and prior knowledge of the subject. The total time to complete an online course (e.g., studying materials, attending lectures online, interacting, completing assignments) is usually equivalent to that of an on-campus course. You have the extra flexibility to 'attend class' (e.g., read materials, watch lectures on your device, interact in web-based discussions and complete assignments) whenever you want during the week.

What time are online asynchronous classes held? expanding section

You can participate in course discussions at any time, day or night, wherever you have an Internet connection. Not all of your course work requires you to work online-much of your writing, and project work can be done offline. Most people enter the online classroom multiple times each week to participate in discussions, but there is often no set class schedule so you can "attend class" any time of day.

How will I be graded? expanding section

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. Grading takes place in a similar manner to traditional, classroom-based education. The only difference is that most assessment activities are web-based. You often complete assignments and take exams online.

Who is teaching? expanding section

Our courses are usually taught by the same professors who teach on campus - typically faculty members of UW-La Crosse, with postgraduate degrees and distinctions for their research and expertise in the subjects they teach. They follow the same curricula, standards and accreditation as our courses on campus.

How many people are in a class? expanding section

This varies depending on the course, but the number is usually not much different from what you would expect from most traditional classroom settings

Do classes have specific start and end dates? expanding section

Yes, most online courses operate on a semester or intersession (J-term, summer) schedule. Though you can complete course assignments during the hours that work best for you on a day-to-day basis, you will be required to finish the course within the allotted time period.

What if I have a concern or complaint about a course? expanding section

If you have a concern or a complaint about an online course you are encouraged to first bringIf you have a concern or a complaint about an online course you are encouraged to first bring that to the attention of the instructor. If you are uncomfortable speaking to the instructor about it, or, if your concern is not resolved after speaking with your instructor, you can contact the instructor's Department Chair or the Office of Student Life.

The Student Academic Non-Grade Appeals process can be found in the Student Handbook.

For academic appeals you can review the appeals and petitions for academic matters section of the UWL catalog.

Will I have to be admitted to UW-La Crosse to take courses? expanding section

Anyone taking a course from UW-La Crosse must be admitted either as a degree-seeking or non-degree-seeking student. Please visit the Admissions Office for more information.

How and when do I enroll in online courses? expanding section

Registration information and timetables can be found at our Records and Registration Web site.

How do I get my textbooks? expanding section

You rent your books for online courses through UWL's Textbook Rental Services, just like you would for any on-campus courses.

How can I access the library? expanding section

Students taking UW-La Crosse online courses are provided access to the same resources as traditional on-campus students. This includes full access to UW-La Crosse's Murphy Library.

Is financial aid available? expanding section

Students who are admitted to UW-La Crosse and are enrolled at least half-time can receive partial aid. Full-time students are eligible for full financial aid consideration. Please visit Financial Aid for more information.

What student services are available? expanding section

Through UW-La Crosse Online, you have access to all the services a student on-campus receives and expects from an academic institution. Please visit Student Life for services available.