Class Formats

How Does an Online Class Work?

While face-to-face learning takes place in a classroom with four walls, an online course takes place in a digital classroom contained in our Learning Management System, Canvas. Canvas allows users to access course materials, assignments, discussions, and enables collaboration online. Zoom is an online meeting tool that provides real-time (synchronous) interactions. It is used for lectures, discussion, office hours, and group collaboration. Students can access their courses online at any time and from anywhere through a web browser or mobile app. All course materials are accessed with your UIS NetID and password.

What to Expect in an Online Course at UIS

Just like any college courses, online courses at UIS vary by instructor and department. UIS faculty teach both on campus and online.

The majority of UIS online courses are asynchronous, which means you decide when to enter your online classroom and do your work. Some courses may require synchronous meetings that require all students to meet at the same time. Every course will contain a syllabus with details about the course design, materials, assignments, calendar, and expectations.

Your instructor will provide a learning path that includes readings, lectures, assignments and deadlines. Your success in an online course depends on you. You will be responsible for completing assignments and meeting deadlines. How often you log in to your online course will depend on the design of the course and your time management plan for completing your work.  Expect to enter your virtual classroom multiple times each week in order to keep up with your work. Generally, synchronous meetings are limited in number and recordings are provided for later viewing. However, we strongly encourage participation in any synchronous meetings, as they provide connections to both your instructor and your classmates.

Faculty use a variety of tools, methods and strategies to present their content, including:

  • Books and journal articles (hard copies and digital)
  • Websites and Simulations
  • Multimedia enhancements: videos, audio, images, charts, and graphs
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Asynchronous discussion forums
  • Synchronous web conferences
  • Projects and other authentic assignments
  • Group work
  • Much more

Course sizes generally range from 15-40 students.

UIS Information Technology Services keeps an updated list of computer purchase recommendations for students.

Course Availability

Each semester courses become available at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of classes. Some instructors may choose to open courses early.

Courses for the previous semester close on the Friday prior to the first day of each new semester.