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What You Should Know

Online learning can be a rich and engaging experience for those who wish to achieve their educational goals while balancing career and family commitments.  Many find this to be the most convenient way in which to gain the education necessary to enhance their skills or advance in their career.  Successful online students must be independent, engaged in the content and learning environment, and have strong time management skills.  While online courses are not for everyone, SCPS’ dedicated staff, faculty, and technical resources ensure that students have what they need to succeed.

Focused Learning

Online learning combines focused learning with the convenience and flexibility for working professionals to “go to class” from their home or work. Classes are offered online in real time (synchronous) or 24/7 (asynchronous), making it convenient for you to fit continuing your education into your busy schedule.    

Online classes provide an engaging and interactive environment for the student who is self-motivated and can communicate effectively through reading and writing.  Don’t expect to hide in the back of “the classroom”.  You’ll need to complete the required class readings and assignments and come prepared to participate in discussion forums, student-to-student collaborations, and student presentations.

Online learning isn’t any easier or less time consuming than learning in a classroom.  You’ll need to devote several hours per week to attending class online, in addition to completing assignments and class readings. The actual number of hours will depend on the specific course.  Some classes, by the nature of the subjects, may require more reading and writing. 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. 

Getting Started for Success

To ensure your success in an online class, you’ll need to have basic computer and word processing skills. You’ll need a computer and access to the Internet (high-speed access is recommended). Learn more about the minimum standards to learn online.

Online classes are delivered though the Canvas learning management system. Visit the Canvas Support for Students page for a list of helpful information on getting started with Canvas. Your instructor may also have additional software requirements, which will be shared prior to or on the first day of class.

Online classes follow the same academic calendar as the classes offered in our Academic Centers. You need to be ready to “attend” class on the first published day of the class, and continue attending sessions through the final day of class. It is your responsibility to ensure that everything is ready for you to log in on the first day of class. This includes setting up your UVA email account in order to have access to electronic resources at the University, including Canvas and your online class.