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Online Frequently Asked Questions

Do I ever have to come to campus?

Some courses or programs require either face-to-face or proctored exams.  If a proctored exam is required, you should coordinate with your professor to ensure satisfactory arrangements like the location are made.  Additionally, some graduation requirements may necessitate coming to campus.  We strongly encourage you to read all course syllabi completely, speak to your professors and academic department, and review graduation requirements to keep apprised of any requirements.

Are online courses self-paced?

Generally online courses are not self-paced. While online courses will offer you the convenience of arranging study times and locations around work and family needs, most professors provide specific dates for completing assignments and taking tests. In addition, some professors require participation in online discussions at specific times. It is important for you to closely read the syllabus for assignment information and deadlines.

Are online course easier than on-campus courses?

No. You will have more flexibility in an online course, but you will be required to learn the same material and meet the same course objectives. You will be required to study most of the material on your own and most communication with the professor will be through email. This means that you may have to wait for an answer to your question. There are challenges to taking an online course, but you can succeed by being self-motivated and responsible. The amount of time you need to spend preparing and reviewing material for an online course depends on your study habits.

Will I be able to get help if I run into difficulties?

Yes!  We want you to succeed and there are many places to find help. The Sources of Assistance webpage lists some of the offices that students most frequently contact.  You should also work closely with your academic advisor.  On the academic advisor page, you can find information on how to identify your academic advisor.  Though you are only required to meet with them once a semester to prepare for the next, an academic advisor is an extremely useful resource all year long.  For technical issues, please see the Student Technical Support page.

You can receive help on course material from the following sources:

  • Your professor is the main source of information on the course. The syllabus will list how to contact them including email and/or phone.  Contact your professor as soon as you need assistance; waiting could impact course performance.
  • The course syllabus outlines the professor's expectations and provides direction to help navigate the course.
  • Most courses provide a discussion board where you can post questions and topics for other students. In addition, some courses offer a live chat feature where you can converse with your fellow students.

Do I need to buy a textbook?

For most courses, you will need to purchase a textbook.  Check the course syllabus for specific requirements.  Textbooks may be purchased on the APSU Bookstore page for APSU students or the RODP Bookstore page for Regents Online Degree Program students.


What hardware is required to participate in an online course?

It is highly recommended that you have DSL/ high speed internet connection. Your computer should meet the minimum requirements as laid out on the minimum requirements page.  We do not recommend the use of iPads for accessing your courses.

Do I need any specific software to participate in an online course?

Course content is delivered through Desire2Learn which is accessible through any web browser.  Distance Education staff recommends Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.  Additionally, in order to complete some assignments, you may need software for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations.

What do I do if the computer kicks me out during a test?

This happens occasionally. Try to access the test again. If you are able to continue your test, please do so. If technical difficulties prevent you from completing a test, you should notify your professor immediately. The professor is able to permit you back into a test. Do not wait until after the deadline for taking the test to notify your professor.

When will I be able to access the material in my online course?

Online courses begin on the same day as traditional courses. The Academic Calendar provides information about when classes begin each semester. If you are not able to access one or more of your courses on the first day of class, please contact the following: