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Distance Education Online Learning FAQs

Answers to your questions about online learning


What is Online Learning Like?

Online learning includes the same high-quality instruction and course content provided in our on-campus courses, but in a format that addresses the academic needs of students who are seeking further education but are unable to participate in on-campus courses and programs. You can come to class whenever it's convenient for you. You choose when and where you participate in class. Learn at home, at work, or wherever you have access to a computer and the Internet. While your course will follow a semester-like schedule with both a start and an end date, you will have no "live" classes to attend. Instead, you decide when to participate in weekly lectures, coursework, and discussions. Instructor scheduled due dates give you necessary structure, but allow you great flexibility. You will no longer have to commute to campus, take off work, or arrange for childcare in order to attend class.

What Can I Expect When Taking an Online Course?

The instructor is usually a full-time faculty member and is willing to personally assist you. He or she develops the curriculum, conducts the class, gives the assignments, answers questions, leads discussions, and assigns grades. You can enter the course site 24 hours a day / 7 days a week from wherever you have access to the World Wide Web. The course web site will contain syllabus, lectures, threaded discussions, e-mail groups, and academic resources. You'll probably want to logon at least once a day. Classes rarely have more than 25 students. Each course has a specific begin & end date. Courses begin the first day of each semester (unless noted otherwise). You'll spend an average of 10-15 hours a week on coursework. Most courses have weekly assignments that can be submitted online. Most Exams can be taken online depending upon the course. Students are of all ages, and most are working professionals. You have direct, one-to-one communication with your instructor and fellow students.

Can I Start My Class Anytime I Want?

NO. Each course has a specific begin & end date. Courses begin the first day of each semester (unless noted otherwise). However, students can enter the course site 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

How Does Online Learning Work?

Internet courses offered by Emporia State University are hosted by a web-course system called Canvas. Each course has its own secure Canvas web site that contains all the content and tools for the course, including course materials, a course calendar, course announcements, as well as assignments and assessments. In Canvas you can take turns posting and reading messages between students and instructors on the discussion boards, open course specific documents, send completed assignments to your instructor via the digital drop box, and take your tests online. Getting Started with Canvas Post Enrollment Information - Includes information on what you need to do before class begins, your responsibilities as an Internet student, and instructions for accessing your course site.

What is Canvas?

Canvas ( the online courseware system adopted by Emporia State University. Students can access all course materials including assignments, lectures and exams from Canvas. The system also allows students and instructors to interact online via online discussion groups and virtual chats.

What Determines Success in an Online Course?

Responsibility, commitment, and discipline to keep up with the flow of the process, motivation to learn independently, and access to and ability to use appropriate equipment.

What Kind of Computer Equipment Do I Need?

Our online courses requires that you maintain a minimum level of hardware and software.

Do I Need to Maintain an ESU Email Account?

Yes. All Emporia State University students enrolled in Distance Education distance courses are required to maintain an email account through Emporia State University. Gmail mailboxes will be 25GB, which provides 250 times more space for emails and attachments.

What If I Need Help?

Taking an online course can be a challenging experience for students. Not only is the learning environment more isolated than the traditional classroom, but an online course may require more motivation and effort to successfully complete. At Emporia State University, we are committed to providing resources to help make the experience as trouble-free as possible. ESU's Information Technology offers a variety of services to students in regard to technology and computing, assistance with Stumail and Canvas, as well as providing various online tutorials. If you need further assistance, you can contact the IT Help Desk directly at 620-341-5555 (local), 1-877-341-5555 (toll free), or