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 live class meetings. These courses likely use Blackboard and a live meeting software, such as Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate. UAOnline lists their location as "Distance Ed COLL."
Is eLearning right for me?
eLearning classes, especially asynchronous ones, require you to manage your time carefully and to pay careful attention to due dates set by the instructor. You may find that in online classes you spend more time on coursework compared to in-person classes. You may also have to use phone or email to contact your instructor since you won't see them in the classroom. As such, eLearning classes are not for everyone.
If you’re unsure about eLearning courses, make an appointment to meet with a Mat-Su College academic advisor.
What are the technical requirements for eLearning?
You will need reliable access to a computer at least several days a week. Even if your class has no live meetings, there may be discussion board posts, announcements, and emails that you will need to regularly check.
On top of regular access to a computer, synchronous (i.e., live) courses that use Zoom or Collaborate may require a webcam or at least a microphone.
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.
I've just enrolled in an eLearning course. What now?
- 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.
- Get 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 email 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, Zoom, Collaborate, and your university email account. Visit the UAA IT Services Call Center page for hours and contact information.
- UAA's Academic Innovations and eLearning has a student help and support page.
- 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 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:
- View Blackboard's official help for Collaborate.
- Watch a "Collaborate Ultra for Students" video made by an instructional designer at UAA.
- UAA IT Services provides live telephone help for Blackboard, Collaborate, and your university email account. Visit the UAA IT Services Call Center page for hours and contact information.
Do eLearning students have access to advisors and disability support services?
Yes. All students have access to Mat-Su College academic advisors or UAA academic advisors. 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 tutoring. See the Learning Resource Center website for hours and subjects.
All Alaska residents have access to Live Homework Help via Tutor.com. This service provides online tutors from 8 AM or noon to 2 AM Alaska time, seven days a week. Live Homework Help covers most subjects offered at Mat-Su College.
Can library resources be accessed online?
Yes. Mat-Su College provides online access to tens of thousands of ebooks and thousands of newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals.
Students can search most of these resources using the QuickSearch box at the Alvin S. Okeson Library website. Most of these resources require that students login once with their UA username and password.
eLearning students who need help with research or library use can email the Alvin S. Okeson Library for one-on-one help from a librarian.