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Online Learning

Online learning is an educational process that takes place when the students and instructor are not physically in the same place. Using a computer and an internet Service Provider (ISP), a student can work on coursework where it is most convenient. Even though online classes may be more accessible to a student’s schedule, the content and workload are the same in the online class as in a face-to-face course.

In an online class, the instructor teaches and facilitates the learning environment. Students can participate in virtual classroom meetings, review course materials online, and interact with other students and the instructor via email, chat rooms and threaded discussions. In the online classroom, students initiate their own learning, so they need to possess a high degree of self-motivation and self-discipline.

Online courses are similar in structure to classroom courses. The courses have syllabi, required books to purchase, weekly assignments, projects, papers and tests. Students complete exercises and solve problems either alone or in small groups. They interact with classmates and instructors through online communication tools instead of face-to-face. Online students should call the Information Technology Department at 325-942-2911 with their campus ID number to set up a technology access account.

For online coursework, students should possess basic computer skills. They should be able to:

  • Send and receive email
  • Attach, send and open documents from email or internet sites
  • Participate in online chats
  • Research topics using web resources
  • Use internet library databases

For more information, please read the computer requirements page.


The educational technology tool used for ASU online classes is a course management system (CMS) called Blackboard. A CMS is a web-based “frame” through which instructors can communicate with students, distribute information and facilitate the exchange of ideas, information and resources. Blackboard offers students easy and immediate access to discussion forums and chats, course materials, assignments and resources, announcements and course calendars.

Most online courses are asynchronous, or designed so that students can conveniently complete their work during a given timespan anywhere that has internet access.