Welcome to eLearning!
On this page you will find the answers to frequently asked questions about eLearning (distance) education, including information on the software and study skills that you will need to be successful in eLearning courses. Click on each question to see its answer.
What is eLearning?
eLearning courses are courses that are primarily or entirely delivered outside of a physical classroom. There are several types of eLearning courses.
- Blended courses are online courses with some mandatory in-person meetings. UAOnline identifies these courses with a special note and by listing both the online teaching method (e.g., Blackboard) and the physical classroom location.
- Asynchronous courses are completely online without mandatory live class meetings. Generally, such courses let you login at any point during the week to complete your work. These courses generally use Blackboard so UAOnline lists their location as "Distance Ed BLKBD."
- Synchronous courses are completely online and have mandatory live class meetings. These courses use Blackboard and software known as Collaborate. UAOnline lists their location as "Distance Ed COLL."
Is eLearning right for me?
eLearning classes require you to manage your time carefully and to pay careful attention to due dates set by the instructor. You may find that online classes require you to spend more time on coursework than in-person classes in order to master the material. eLearning classes are not for everyone.
To find out if eLearning classes are a good option for you, take this Online Learning Readiness Questionnaire.
If you’re still unsure about eLearning courses, make an appointment to meet with a Mat-Su College academic advisor.
What are the technical requirements for eLearning?
In general, you will need reliable access to a computer. Some courses may also require headphones and a microphone, especially synchronous (i.e., live) courses that use Collaborate.
The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) maintains a detailed list of technical requirements for eLearning classes. They also have a page to test if your web browser is properly configured for eLearning courses.
What courses are offered through eLearning?
To view only eLearning courses offered through Mat-Su College, select Mat-Su College as the campus site when searching for courses in UAOnline. You may narrow the search further by selecting the option of eLearning courses only.
I've just enrolled in an eLearning course. What now?
- If you are a student who is new to the UA system and has not used Blackboard or email before, you will need to find your UA username and password. Do this by visiting me.uaa.alaska.edu. If you have problems recovering your username and password call UAA IT Services Call Center at 907-786-4646.
- Access Blackboard by clicking the Blackboard link at the top of the Mat-Su College website. After logging in, you will see courses you have taken or are registered to take. You can click the title of a course to see any material posted by your instructor. Note: Your eLearning courses may not show up in Blackboard’s list of courses until the first day of the semester. Course instructors set the date when they make their courses available to view, but the course must be available to view on the first scheduled day of classes.
- Read the course syllabus immediately (it is typically posted in the course Blackboard). The syllabus will outline the course's technical requirements, policies, deadlines, assignments, etc. Make sure you have access to any technology listed in the syllabus.
- Contact your instructor with any questions the syllabus doesn't answer. You can email your instructor from within Blackboard, typically by clicking the "Email Your Class" link or the "Contact Your Instructor" link in the course menu.
- Check your email early and often. Email from the University and from your instructor will only be sent to the email address you have set as preferred in UA Online.
- Obtain required materials for the course. As with an in-person course, you are expected to have the textbook and other materials as soon as the class begins. You will need to order books from the campus at which your course is being taught. If your online class is offered by Mat-Su College, you can order your materials online. Also, check your syllabus to make sure that you have any required hardware, such as a microphone.
- Make sure you login to Blackboard on the first day of the semester!
How do I access my University email account?
You can access your University Gmail account by clicking the "UA Mail" link at the top of the Mat-Su College page. Your email address will be your UA username followed by: @alaska.edu.
What is Blackboard and where can I find help for it?
Blackboard is an online learning space where instructors will post course materials (syllabi, handouts, lectures, videos, etc.), and where students obtain course assignments and readings, engage in discussion forums with classmates, view video lectures, or take exams. Each class has its own dedicated area within Blackboard.
You have options for help with Blackboard:
- The UAA IT Services provides live telephone help for Blackboard, Collaborate, and your university Gmail account. Visit the UAA IT Services Call Center page for hours and contact information.
- The Blackboard website has a student manual. Blackboard also has short video tutorials on many of its features (click here for a complete list). The most immediately useful topics:
What is Collaborate and where can I find help for it?
Collaborate (Blackboard Collaborate) is software used to conduct live online class meetings or to view recorded lectures. Collaborate meetings and recordings are generally accessed through Blackboard.
There are support options available to get you up and running with Collaborate:
- Review the Mat-Su College Blackboard Collaborate Quick-start Guide.
- View a detailed video showing the different functions of Collaborate. A transcript is available here.
- UAA IT Services provides live telephone help for Blackboard, Collaborate, and your university Gmail account. Visit the UAA IT Services Call Center page for hours and contact information.
What study skills do I need to succeed in an eLearning course?
eLearning courses can present unique challenges. Here are some Atomic Learning video presentations that you may find helpful (note you will need to login with your UA username and password):
Do eLearning students have access to advisors and disability support services?
Yes. All UAA students have access upon request to an academic advisor through UAA’s Advising and Testing Office. Students who have declared a major will be assigned an advisor within their discipline. It’s highly recommended that you talk to an advisor before you sign up for a course (eLearning or campus-based).
UAA’s Disability Support Services office is a resource for both campus-based and eLearning students.
Can tutoring resources be accessed online?
Yes. Both eLearning and on-campus students have access to valuable online library and tutoring resources.
All Alaska residents have access to Live Homework Help via Tutor.com. This service provides online tutors from noon to 2 AM Alaska time. Live Homework Help provides tutoring services with most subjects covered in Mat-Su College course material.
Can library resources be accessed online?
Yes. Mat-Su College provides a rich array of online resources, including access to tens of thousands of ebooks and many thousands of newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals.
A convenient interface to all of these resources is provided by the QuickSearch box at the Alvin Okeson Library. Off-campus users of library resources will be asked to login with their UAA username and password.
eLearning students who need help with research or library use can email the Alvin Okeson Library.
In order to view PDF files on your computer, you must have a PDF reader program installed. If you do not already have such a reader, you can download a free reader at Adobe's website: Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Software