FAQ Online Learning

Students at computers
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Our goal is to deliver an exceptional student experience. Whether you're learning in one of our classrooms or learning through one of our UVA online learning programs--SCPS is here to help support you along your journey. When you enroll in an online course, you'll experience a collaborative environment where you'll interact with your instructor and other students who live not only in Virginia, but also in other parts of the country or around the globe. This student diversity adds to the richness of online learning, as participants share their differing opinions and experiences.

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Who is the ideal online student?

Typically our online students are working adults who seek to continue their education without sacrificing their commitments to their career and family. They turn to online learning as a convenient way to achieve their goal of  enhancing their skills or advancing in their careers. Online students are usually mature, independent, and self-motivated. They typically possess the ability to manage their time wisely. These qualities help ensure a successful online experience when face-to-face time with other students and instructors is limited.

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous classes?

Synchronous classes are held at a predetermined time and web-based location.  Although located in different geographical locations, you and your fellow classmates will meet online for your classes. Asynchronous classes occur 24/7 with no need to worry about meeting times, making it convenient for you to fit continuing your education into your busy schedule. SCPS offers courses that support many different types of learning environments, it's best to consider which is best for you.

I am not a technical person, will I have trouble adapting to an online class?

Taking an online class does require that you have access to a computer that meets some minimal standards. However, most newer computer should easily meet these requirements. As far as feeling comfortable in an online class, most students who are nervous about their technical aptitude find that online classes are quite intuitive. Many of the tools used in online classes are tools that most people use to complete daily tasks on their computer.  You'll need to be able to use email, use the web for research and course access, and participate in threaded discussions. Instructors, as well as, a highly qualified technical support team are available should students have any issues.

What kind of time commitment is required to succeed in an online class?

The time spent working in an online class is dependent on the type of student you are, how engaged you are, and how well you manage your time. Typically, it is recommended to set aside at least 3-4 hours a week of “in class” time, with another 10-15 hours for class readings, writing, and other assignments. The course syllabus will specify the instructor’s requirements for how much and how often you will need to log in to your online class, as well as the expectations for class readings, writing, and assignments.

How will I connect with my fellow classmates and the instructor?

SCPS strives to provide our students with tools that are not only easy to use but also technologies that you may already use in your workplace or at home. In our online learning environment UVACollab students will be able to interact and collaborate with tools such as these:


  • email
  • video conferencing
  • instant messaging
  • discussion forums
  • blog, wiki, and media gallery tools
Is an online class the same quality as a traditional UVA class? If I enroll in an online program will I receive a UVA degree or certificate?

You can expect the same quality and standard of excellence as you would with any traditional UVA program. When you finish your degree or certificate program, you will have earned a UVA credential that is employer-recognized.