Online Frequently Asked Questions for FAU Online Classes

How do online classes work?

Online students regularly log onto a virtual portal where they can access course materials; view their syllabus and grades; monitor their progress on lessons; and contact professors, classmates and support services. Standard learning activities related to online learning include posting on discussion boards, completing group or individual projects, taking quizzes and writing papers. Students have the flexibility of choosing when and where work is completed, but are required to submit assignments by the designated deadlines.

Is online learning right for me?

Keep in mind that, Online learning is student-centered learning. Instructors serve as your guide and facilitator, your level of motivation will determine academic success. Online learning requires you to be disciplined, proactive and prepared to take advantage of opportunities for engagement with instructors and other students. Online learning is not for everyone. If you feel that the structure of classroom lecturers are crucial to your academic success, online courses may not be the best choice.

Do students have the option of taking classes on-campus and online?

Yes. Many students at FAU take a mixture of online, blended and on-campus courses based on availability and personal schedules.

What is the typical workload for an online class?

The time you spend on online classes will vary. No two professors are the same, therefore class formats will differ. Most online learners spend about 10-20 hours a week on coursework.

Are there specific login or online participation times?

Many online classes require conference calls, online chats or Skype calls that have a specified meeting time. Additionally, online students should anticipate weekly due dates for assignments, that will also require them to participate in the online course throughout the week.

How is the material available online?

Online classes are delivered using a learning management system, called Canvas. Students log into Canvas and can select their course sites. Once a student is in their course site, they can access lectures, PowerPoint, emails, assignments, readings, documents, videos and discussion boards.

What are some of the challenges when taking online classes?

Your success as an online student is truly dependent on your self-discipline. Because students are not required to be in class at a specific time, you must be motivated to get your work done on your own. If you have a family or you are working while taking online classes, setting an established schedule is paramount.

If at any time you don’t understand an assignment, it is imperative that you ask questions for clarification, so you don’t fall behind. Our instructors make themselves available to students, you may reach out via emails, discussion boards and during virtual office hours.

How are online classes graded?

Online courses are graded like classroom courses, critical thinking is required. Students leave the course with a keen understanding of the subject matter and the ability to apply their knowledge in their respective profession. The typical assignments include reading the course text and additional materials, active participation in online discussions, writing papers and quizzes or tests.

How are online exams proctored?

Our students mostly take virtually monitored exams online, where a proctor watches via webcam or where computer software detects cheating by checking the test-takers’ screens. Tests may be timed, and do not typically allow for open-book responses. Learn more about FAU’s Code of Academic Integrity.

In rare cases, an online course may require proctored exams. If they do, online students may need to visit a local testing site, with an on-site proctor.

When can I start taking online classes?

Our academic year is composed of three 12-week semesters (fall, spring and summer). We admit new students each term. Visit our Academic Calendar for additional details.

Can I go on vacation while taking an online class?

Online courses usually require weekly logins and assignment submissions. If students are unable to complete these participation requirements, they are encouraged to contact their professor to discuss the next steps.

What technical skills do students need before taking online courses?

To be successful in our online program, students need to know how to:

  •  Send and receive email messages
  •  Use a mouse and keyboard to select and start programs as well as to enter information
  •  Create and submit files in commonly used word processing program formats such as Microsoft Office Tools
  •  Download and install “plug-in” software
  •  Connect to the Internet and use a web browser to find information on the Internet
  •  Use presentation, graphics, and spreadsheet programs
  •  Create and manage folders on a computer
  •  Manage security settings on your computer through an Internet browser software and firewall

Is there any special software that I need on my computer to take online classes?

The online courses at FAU are primarily web-based. No special software is required in order to access or complete the courses.  However, you will need a current browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome) and possibly a few plug-ins. Log in and take a look at the Minimum Standards of Technical Equipment Guide provided by online professors. Please keep in mind that certain colleges may have additional software requirements based on major.

Can I access FAU’s library facilities, if I’m taking online classes?

The library puts a high priority to support online students. Below are great resources that will assist you in navigating the library from where you are.

General Library Information for Online Students

Useful tutorials to assist you as an Online Owl

The Distance Learning Libguide

Go mobile with library app! Search the catalog and our eResources.

What if I have technological difficulties?

Canvas Tier 1 support is available 24×7, 365 days a year. There are multiple ways to get support for Canvas-related issues or questions. Call the toll-free number (855) 691 7827 or call the FAU Help Desk at 561-297-3999

If you are logged into Canvas, click on the Help icon at the bottom left corner, under the global menu. You will be able to chat with a Canvas representative by clicking on “Chat with Canvas Support” or you can choose to “Report a Problem,” which will submit a ticket to Canvas Support.

You can also search the Canvas guides or visit the Canvas Community and ask a question.