Distance education

Student studying at laptop with headphones in library

Welcome to the distance education support page!

This page gives you information to do well in Mat-Su College distance education courses.

Types of online classes

Distance education classes are taught partly or entirely online. There are several types of distance education classes. When viewing a class's details in UAOnline you will see these listed for "Type of Course":

  • In Person and Online: a class that has some face to face and some required online instruction.
  • In Person or Online: a class that lets students choose to participate either online or in person. These usually have live meetings at a set time. Typically you could attend in person one week, and online another.
  • Online - No Set Time: the class is entirely online. There are no required meetings at set times.
  • Online - Set Time: the class is entirely online. There will be live class meetings at regular times.

What courses are offered online?

To view or register for online classes, go to the UAOnline class search and choose the type of distance education course you want under the "Type of Course Delivery" menu. If you need help with this, UAA has created video instructions and text instructions on how to search for classes, including online classes.

Mat-Su College has its own searchable schedule. If you pick "Online" from the "Delivery method" drop-down menu, you'll see only online courses. You can then make note of courses' course registration numbers (CRNs) and register in UAOnline.

Differences between distance and in-person classes

Taking classes online has benefits and drawbacks.

Here are potential drawbacks for some students.

You may have to use phone or email to contact your instructor since you won't see them in a physical classroom. Courses with no set meeting time require you to carve time out of your schedule to do coursework. You may find that in online classes you spend more time on coursework compared to in-person classes. As such, distance education classes are not for everyone.

To find out if distance education classes are a good option for you, take this Online Learning Quiz.

If you're unsure about distance education classes, make an appointment to meet with a Mat-Su College academic advisor.

Do distance education 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  recommended that you talk to an advisor before you sign up for courses.

Mat-Su College's Disability Support Services is a resource for both campus-based and distance education students.

  • If you don't know your UA username and password, find them. Do this by visiting me.uaa.alaska.edu. If you have problems finding your username and password call UAA IT Services Call Center at 907-786-4646.
  • Visit Blackboard by clicking the "Blackboard" link underneath the "Quick Links" menu near the top of the Mat-Su College website. After logging in to Blackboard, you will see courses you have taken or are registered to take. Click the title of a course to see any material posted by your instructor. Courses that aren't ready yet will be marked as private.
  • Read the your course syllabus (it is typically posted in a course's Blackboard). A syllabus outlines the course's requirements, policies, deadlines, assignments, etc. Make sure you have access to any technology listed in the syllabus.
  • If you have questions that the course syllabus doesn't answer, contact your instructor.
  • Check your email early and often.
  • Get any required materials for the course. As with an in-person course, you will be expected to have the class 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.
  • Make sure you login to Blackboard on the first day of the semester!

What are the technical requirements for distance education?

In general, you will need access to a computer. Some classes may also require headphones and a microphone, especially "Online - Set Time" classes that meet on Zoom.

The University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) maintains a list of requirements for online courses.

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.). It can also be used for class discussions, exams, and so on. Each class has its own dedicated Blackboard site.

You have several options for help with Blackboard.

The Blackboard website has a student manual.

The University of Alaska Anchorage IT Services Technical Support Center provides live telephone help for Blackboard, your university email, and other tools you are expected to use as a student. Visit the UAA IT Services Call Center page for hours and contact information.

How do I access my University email?

Your email might go to two different addresses:

  • Your alaska.edu email account: even if you have told the University you prefer to use a different address, some email will still come to your alaska.edu account. You can check this account by clicking the "UA Mail" link underneath the "Quick Links" menu near the top of the Mat-Su College website.
  • A "Preferred email address," such as a personal address, that you've told the University to use. To see or change your preferred email account in UAOnline, follow these steps:
    1.  Log in to UAOnline
    2. Click on the "Personal Information" tab
    3. Select "Update Address(es) and Phone(s)" or "Update Student Preferred E-mail Address"
    4. Enter your preferred email address

Can library resources be accessed online?

Yes. Mat-Su College Library has online resources, including tens of thousands of ebooks, newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. The QuickSearch search box on the library website lets you search all these. Off-campus users of library resources will be asked to login with their UA username and password. Distance education students who need help with research or library use should contact the Mat-Su College library at mwmuer@alaska.edu.

Can tutoring resources be accessed online?

Yes. Both distance education 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. These tutors can help with most subjects covered in Mat-Su College courses.