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Online students

A page within Records and Registration

At UW-La Crosse, we strive to serve and deliver quality instruction to our online students as well as our on-campus students.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which programs does UWL offer online?

UW-La Crosse offers a variety of online degree programs, including undergraduate and graduate programs.

How to register for an online class?

If you are not a current student, or if you were a student and have been gone for a semester or more, you will need to first re-apply to come back. 

Once you are re-admitted, you can register for the upcoming term through your WINGS Student Center. Directions on how to register are on the WINGS Help page. If you are in a collaborative program, you will also need class permission numbers from UW Extended Campus before you can register.

Students who are in an on-campus program (most undergraduate majors) may also review search tips on how to find online classes. Please note that many courses in on-campus programs are not offered online.

If you are already in an online program, your required classes will be offered online. 

How to apply to an online program?
  1. First review the online programs that UWL offers. An online program is a program that schedules all of its courses to be taken online. Each program will have certain admission requirements that should be met in addition to admission requirements that UWL sets. If you have questions about those requirements, contact the program director or the UWL Admissions Office.
  2. Apply to the program you are interested in through the UW System application. For an online graduate program, follow the information on the program website about how to submit additional materials required for the application. 
  3. Connect with the Admission office if you have questions about your application status. Email the program director if you have questions about your application for an online graduate program. 
Synchronous vs asynchronous online courses

Synchronous online classes are online classes that have regularly scheduled times when the class is expected to meet online via a video conferencing software such as Zoom. Additional homework and other class materials may be assigned outside of those scheduled meeting times.

Asynchronous online classes are online classes that do not have regularly scheduled meeting times. Students should develop a routine that fits around their other responsibilities to ensure they are keeping up with assignments and participating in the class.

Both types of classes have start/end dates and follow UWL's academic add/drop policies. Instructors of both types set expectations of what students need to accomplish to be successful in the class, such as meeting deadlines for assignments, logging into the learning management software (Canvas) regularly, or participating in discussions.

UWL's Online Learning resources provide more information about these two different modes of instruction. Current UWL students new to asynchronous instruction may enroll for free in an orientation/introduction to learn strategies for being successful in an online class.

What is Canvas and how does it work?

Canvas is the main learning management system that UWL faculty use to teach online courses and to facilitate learning for hybrid and in-person courses.

ITS offers help logging into Canvas.

Tips on how to customize your dashboard, submit assignments, participate in discussions, and more are also available online.

How does Commencement work for online programs?

Students graduating from a UWL online program may participate in UWL's Commencement if they choose. Please note that students are not required to participate. Information about the ceremony is on the Commencement page.

Whether or not you are participating in Commencement, you should submit your intention to graduate through your WINGS Student Center so that the Dean of your College knows you intend to graduate soon.

Students finishing their last class or requirement over the summer participate in the Spring Commencement. Students finishing at the end of the Winter Intersession participate in the Fall Commencement. Students who want to participate in an off-season ceremony (for example, someone finishing in Spring or Summer who wants to participate in the Fall ceremony) should still submit an intention graduate in the term in which they finish their requirements (in this example, Spring or Summer). Then contact your College Dean's office for approval to participate in a different ceremony.

I have more questions about how online learning works.

For more information about online learning at UW-La Crosse and for helpful tips on how to make online learning work for you, check out the resources and FAQs at UWL's Online Learning site.

Online Program vs Online Course

Online Programs:  All required courses in the program must be taken online. UWL offers a number of degree programs that are entirely online.

Online Course: An individual course offered online. Online degree programs are made up entirely of online courses. However, on-campus degree programs are not required to offer courses online. Departments with on-campus degree programs may schedule some or none of their courses online on a term by term basis, depending on demand and whether they have the resources to offer a course online.