Online Courses and On-Campus Classes

How do online classes compare to on-campus classes?

Online classes developed and offered by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are fully accredited, count toward degree requirements, and are academically equivalent to the same class offered on-campus.

How are online classes similar to on-campus classes?

Online classes are similar to on-campus classes in the following ways:

  • The calendar for registering, adding, dropping and withdrawing from an online class is the same as an on-campus class.
  • Whitewater instructors teach all of our classes, online and on-campus. 
  • Like an on-campus class, an online class will have a syllabus, identifying the resources and requirements for completing the course. In both formats you are expected to complete the assignments by the deadlines established by your instructor.
  • Interaction between students and faculty is an important part of the learning experience.  In both online and on-campus classes you will have the opportunity to communicate with your instructor and participate in class activities with your fellow students.
  • Reading typically plays an important role in the learning process in traditional classrooms.  It is also important in online classes.  In most cases online students will need required textbooks.

How are online classes different from on-campus classes?

Online classes are different from on-campus classes in the following ways:

  • Online classes do not meet on campus unless noted on individual course pages.  Instead, a virtual classroom space has been created for each class in D2L, the campus course management system.
  • Communication in online classes occurs through electronic means such as email, discussion forums, and chat rooms.
  • Online classes require the student to assume a higher degree of responsibility in the learning process.  Because online students do not sit in classes to hear lectures, they must acquire basic course concepts in other ways. In the virtual classroom, faculty will identify readings, research activities, quizzes, and projects which assist the student in grasping course concepts.  It is each student's responsibility to plan sufficient time during the week to devote to virtual classroom activities.

How does an online class work?

In many ways, online classes work the same way as on-campus classes.  First, students must be admitted to UW-Whitewater. You then can register online during open registration. Classes begin the first day of the semester or academic period.  Students are expected to log into the virtual classroom at the beginning of the first week of classes to begin their online orientation and course work..

How do I communicate with my online instructor?

You will probably use a variety of ways to communicate with your instructor, including email, online discussion forums, and chat rooms. Students may make appointments for a face-to-face appointment with their instructor.  Your instructor's contact information can be found in the course syllabus, and the instructor will explain to the class what the preferred modes of communication will be.

How do I communicate with other students in my online course?

Depending on what your instructor prefers, you may communicate with your fellow students with the same methods that you use to communicate with your instructor, i.e., email, online discussion forums, and chat rooms.

How is my progress in an online course evaluated?

Your instructor will use many of the same evaluation strategies that are used in on-campus classes. You will be able to submit written papers and assignments online, and you may also take quizzes and exams online. Your participation in discussion forums and other class activities may be recorded and might form part of your grade. Check with your instructor to find out exactly how grades will be assigned for your online course.

Do I have to come to campus for exams?

Maybe. Most faculty evaluate student work through a variety of other means.  However, there may be some cases when an online class requires that you take a proctored or supervised exam.  If there is any required on-campus participation for your online course, this will be noted in your course information.

This document was modified from materials created by the University of Oklahoma.