Online Learning Frequently Asked Questions 

1. This is my first time taking a fully online course. What can I expect?

Online courses are very different than face-to-face courses. Instead of attending lectures on-campus, you will access all course content and interact with other students and your instructor via the Internet. Usually, all assignments (exams, papers, discussion boards and other learning activities) will be administered, submitted and evaluated virtually via the Internet. If you are enrolled in a fully online course, it will most likely be possible to complete the course without coming to campus. Nevertheless, as an FAU student you are entitled to the same resources enjoyed by students enrolled in face-to-face courses.

2. Do online courses have assignment deadlines or are they self-paced?

Almost all for-credit online courses at FAU have the same semester start and end dates as for-credit face-to-face courses. Additionally, online courses at FAU are not self-paced. As an online student, you can expect to have assignment deadlines and that your course will be as rigorous as the same course given in a face-to-face format.

3. What course management system does FAU utilize for online course delivery?  

FAU currently uses Blackboard, a virtual learning environment and course management system. To log into Blackboard, click the following link: http://bb.fau.edu. Note: You log into Blackboard using your FAUNetID and associated password.

4. Are there academic support services available to help me succeed in my online course?

The Center for Learning And Student Success (CLASS) offers eTutoring for select online courses. As an FAU student, you also have access to all academic support services offered on campus. As a distance-learning student you are also assigned an eLearning Success Coordinator who is in place to assist and coach you throughout your online learning experience.

5. I have a learning disability and I want to take an online course. What is my next step?

It would be best to reach out to Student Accessibility Services (SAS). The SAS office provides comprehensive support services for students with disabilities. The expert staff in the SAS office will be able to advise you as to whether or not an online course is right for you. They will also be able to give you an overview of the support they provide should you decide to enroll in an online course. 

6. How do I register for an online course?

During an open registration window, you can register for online courses through FAU Self Service. For step-by-step registration instructions, please visit the website of the FAU Registrar. It is recommended that you meet with your advisor before the open registration window to discuss course selection and whether or not you should enroll in an online course.

7. I enrolled in an online course and I need help getting acclimated to the online learning environment. Who do I contact?

Patrick Dempsey, the eLearning Success Coordinator in the CLASS office, is in place to assist you throughout your online learning experience. He can assist you with general college success strategies, provide coaching to improve your academic performance, connect you to various university resources and ensure that you are knowledgeable about required educational technology. Patrick can be reached at pdempse2@fau.edu or 561-297-3590.

The Center for Learning And Student Success also offers a variety of workshops to help you get acclimated to college-level courses and the eLearning environment. For more information on workshop dates and times, please call Patrick Dempsey, eLearning Success Coordinator at 561-297-3590 or pdempse2@fau.edu.

8. Do online courses deliver the same value as traditional courses?

All courses offered at FAU are taught by credentialed instructors. In fact, many online courses are designed and taught by the same instructors who teach on-campus courses.  Online courses at FAU are just as rigorous as face-to-face courses. Students in online courses are assessed similarly to students in face-to-face courses. Since most fully online courses do not require you to attend face-to-face class meetings, online courses give you more flexibility so that you can efficiently balance other obligations as you complete your coursework. 

9. I want to enroll in an online course. Where can I find a list of the online courses offered during the upcoming semester?  

T he Center for eLearning offers an online course catalog. You can search for fully online courses, mixed-mode courses or video streaming courses. To access the online course catalog, click the following link: http://www.fau.edu/cel/catalog/.

10. What is the difference between fully online courses, mixed-mode and lecture capture courses?

Fully online courses can be completed in their entirety from any location with the appropriate technology. All content will be delivered and all assignments will be uploaded via the Internet. It should be noted that some fully online courses may require students to take exams at a secure testing location or use remote proctoring software. To find out if such requirements apply to your fully online course, please contact the instructor or department that sponsors your online course.

Blended courses are also known as mixed-mode courses. If you are enrolled in a blended course, you may be required to attend some on-campus lectures/exams while completing the reminder of the course requirements online.

Offered primarily by the FAU College of Business, lecture capture/video streaming (LCVS) courses can be completed in their entirety from any location with the appropriate technology. However, unlike most fully online courses, LCVS instructors will lecture every week on campus just as if they were holding a traditional face-to-face class. LCVS students have the option of attending the lectures (space is limited). The lectures are captured and recorded, which enables students who do not physically attend the lectures to view them at their leisure through Blackboard. For more information, please contact the FAU College of Business.

11. How do I know if the distance-learning format is right for me?

Although online courses have some distinct benefits, they also pose some distinct challenges. In fact, many students find that they devote just as much time—if not more time—to their online courses as they devote to their face-to-face courses. If you are self-motivated, have good time-management skills and sound technology skills then a distance-learning course may be right for you. If you are uncertain whether you are prepared to take an online course or are currently enrolled in an online course and want to discuss success strategies, please contact the eSuccess Coordinator at esuccess@fau.edu. 

12. Do I have to own a computer?

No, you do not have to own a computer to successfully complete an online course. As an FAU student, you will have access to all on-campus computer labs. If you are a distance-learning student who never comes to campus, it may be more difficult to successfully complete an online course without owning a laptop or desktop. It is strongly recommended that you review the syllabus and/or contact the professor before the course starts to get an understanding of specific technology requirements.

It should be noted that completing an online course without a laptop poses some unique challenges. For example, some online courses require that you take tests on your computer in a private location. This may be difficult if you do not own a computer. Other courses may require you to have an audio enabled webcam. 

13. Do all online courses have a lecture component?

In general, professors teaching fully online are not required to give traditional lectures. Some professors may post recorded lectures and/or provide PowerPoint presentations. Other professors will choose other methods to deliver the course content.

14. Can I take on-campus and online courses simultaneously?

Generally, FAU students can easily take online, mixed-mode and on-campus courses in the same semester. However, there are a few caveats. First, not all required courses are offered online. Second, students enrolled in fully online degree programs may not be able to take face-to-face courses. Please check with your advisor and/or college for specifics.

15. I am a commuter student and have taken all of my courses on campus. I want to sign up for some online courses. Should I take more than one online course?

If you are self-motivated, have good time management skills and are technologically savvy, you may be able to successfully take more than one online course. That being said, you will still have to adjust to the online learning environment. Therefore, it may be best to try out the online learning environment and enroll in only one online course. It is strongly recommended that you meet with your advisor to discuss if an online course aligns with your strengths, schedule and degree program.

16. I’m an on-campus student taking an online course. Will I be able to meet with my professor if I need assistance?

Yes. Professors teaching online at FAU are required to be available for their students. It is common for professors teaching online to have virtual office hours. It is also common for professors teaching online to communicate regularly with students via email.

17. Is there technical help available once I am enrolled in an online course?

Yes. The FAU Help Desk provides technical support to all FAU students. To submit a ticket, visit the following website: https://helpdesk.fau.edu/. The eLearning Success Coordinator can also meet with you to help you understand any of the educational technology required for your online courses.

18. Can I order my books online through the FAU Bookstore?

Yes. You can order and rent books online on the FAU bookstore website. To find your required course materials, please click here to visit the FAU bookstore website. Please note that it would be best to print/view your course schedule before visiting the website. 



 Last Modified 11/8/16