What does online learning mean?
Online learning is course instruction delivered electronically. When you register for a class, you will be added to the course in Canvas, the Learning Management System (LMS) used by the University of Missouri system campuses. Online class materials and activities will be shared electronically in Canvas rather than in a traditional classroom setting on campus. Depending on the instructor, you may use Zoom (online video conferencing), emailed or linked reading materials, recorded videos, and/or conversations in discussion boards. The needs of the class will determine how educational content is delivered.
Most online courses are asynchronous, meaning while there are set due dates for assignments, students can access course materials and requirements at the time most convenient to them. A synchronous online class requires students to log in at specific times. Talk with your advisor about asynchronous and synchronous options.
I'm anxious about learning online. How do I get started?
It is natural to be nervous about a different method of "going to class" than you you may have experienced before. Many of the same skills for success in traditional face-to-face classes will help you be successful with online classes.
What is Canvas?
Canvas is a learning management system (LMS) for faculty and students. You can find your courses, class grades and other resources from your instructor in Canvas. A few tips:
- See the Canvas Student Guide for detailed help pages.
- To ensure you are getting instructor notifications and announcements, confirm your notification preferences in Canvas.
- Communicate promptly with your instructor if you need accommodations in terms of due dates, quiz times or accessibility concerns.
- Be relatable—if you haven't already, consider adding a picture to your Canvas profile so other students can recognize you. See: How do I add a profile picture in my Canvas user account?
- If you have trouble accessing a link in Canvas, confirm that you have allowed your browser to open pop-ups. See How do I allow pop-ups for Canvas on my browser?
- To ensure you can use Canvas from your device, see What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas?
I do not have a computer at home, can I still access my course?
Canvas has robust mobile applications that allow you to access your course from a mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet. Because it may not be ideal to do all of your course work on a mobile device, be sure to communicate with your instructor regarding the hardware and connectivity you have to ensure you will be able to access the course materials. See What is the Canvas app? To download and learn more about the Canvas Student app, see Mobile Guides - Canvas Student. Mobile browsers (which load the internet pages on your device) are not fully supported by Canvas.
How do I complete my courses if I do not have reliable internet access?
Students near their UM-System campus have access to computer labs and Wi-Fi service. Public branches have Wi-Fi and/or computers available for public use, and may have Wi-Fi hotspots available for check out. Many coffee shops and restaurants offer free Wi-Fi for customers.
Start with these links to explore options for internet providers and affordability in your home (this is not an exhaustive list):
- BroadbandNow: Find the internet providers in your area.
- Affordable connectivity programs through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- Explore additional programs to help make internet service more affordable.
What is Zoom and how do I use it?
Zoom is a video conferencing tool, which means you can meet with your instructor, adviser or other students using a web camera and microphone. Zoom allows you to see and hear each other, as well as send typed chat messages. You can access Zoom from your computer browser or from a mobile device (phone, tablet). Some instructors may have synchronous/live meetings (meaning everyone logs in to Zoom at the same time), or may record a lecture for you to view later. For more information on using Zoom, please check out the links below.
- Getting started: Zoom Quick Start Guide
- Installing Zoom on your computer
- How to Install Zoom on Your Mobile Device
- Joining a Zoom meeting
- Using best practices for Zoom meeting participants