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How do online classes work?

Taking a college course online might sound intimidating if you've never taken an online class before. This page will answer many questions you may have and will give you some tips.
How do online classes work? Just like any other college course, in an online class, you will be expected to:
  • do assigned readings,
  • complete homework assignments,
  • participate in online discussions, and
  • take tests/quizzes
All of this will be done in Canvas, UW-Green Bay's digital classroom. Students will use Canvas to submit assignments, receive instructor feedback, and check grades.  
How will I know what I need to do and when?  You will be given a syllabus containing instructor policies, assignments, due dates, and any other pertinent information. Students should reference the syllabus and Canvas for due dates. 

There will be due dates throughout the week so students should not plan on doing everything in one night. 
How much time will an online class require? Expect your online course to require as much time as any other course would, but keep in mind that you'll have weeks instead of having an entire semester or school year.

You may need to spend more or less time on coursework depending on:
  • Whether or not you've taken an online course before and how comfortable you are with online course formats
  • How familiar you are with course material
    • Ex. you'll probably get through a sociology course's material more quickly if you've taken a sociology course before than if you hadn't taken one
What will I need in order to take an online course? You will need a computer with access to the internet (high-speed is recommended). 

You may also find it helpful to have Microsoft Office. Students taking a course through UW-Green Bay can download it for free


  • Do. Not. Procrastinate. - It might be tempting to push coursework aside since you're not physically sitting down in a classroom, but don't do it! It's easy to fall behind and it's hard to catch back up. 
  • Create a routine - Set aside a window of time to dedicate to your class
  • Manage your time wisely & stay on task - You might be juggling a lot of different things while you're taking an online course, so make sure you give yourself enough time to get everything.