FAQs - Online Classes

This FAQ is divided into three sections: Questions from ... 1) Everyone, 2) Students in Online Classes and 3) Students in Web Enhanced Classes.

Questions from Students in Online Classes

Keep in mind that this entire site has answers to frequently asked questions in a descriptive presentation so explore the site now and return throughout the semester as you need to.

Question: Do I have to attend the mandatory orientation session?
Answer: Yes, it is "mandatory."

  • When you research online classes through eServices, the class description will include details for on-campus meetings, like a mandatory orientation, on-campus tests and final exam. Don't enroll for classes if you cannot attend these meetings.
  • If you cannot attend, you could be dropped from the class as a "no-show" and another student will take your "seat" who did attend the orientation meeting.

Question: Is taking a class online easier than a "regular" class?

  • Some students think an online class is even more demanding than a face-to-face class.
  • You have to stay motivated and stay on top of your work for the class.
  • The workload in an online class is usually identical to an on-site class on the same topic.

Question: What is an 'online class'?
Class lectures, activities and assignments are offered through the Internet.

  • Instead of meeting in a classroom on campus, the lectures, handouts and resources are posted online or provided through the computer. 
  • Use your student ID and password to access your course material and see your current grades.

  • Most online classes have assignment deadlines due each week.
  • Online classes are NOT self-paced where you submit homework any time during the semester.
  • Pay attention to your instructor's time deadlines, for example, Saturday at midnight.

Question: How do I prepare for an online class? 
Suggestions include:  

  • Set aside time each week to login.
  • You should plan to spend at least the same amount of time you would spend in a face-to-face class on campus. For a one unit class offered on campus, you have 1 hour plus 3 hours of study per week! Online, that means four hours.
  • BASICALLY in a one unit class you'll spend a minimum of one hour a week looking at some of the class lectures and resources, checking on assignments, and reviewing your graded work. And you’ll spend another three hours on reading, practice activities and homework preparation plus contributing to online discussions, and submitting homework. 
  • For a three unit class expect nine hours of online reading lectures, studying, and preparing assignments.

Question: Do I have to log on at a particular time?
Answer: No, probably not.

  • ou will have deadlines to submit homework through D2L features, but WHEN you complete that work is usually up to you.
  • Some instructors will have live lectures or office hour times. This requirement should be included in the online class schedule so you know before registering for the section that has 'synchronous' time requirements.
  • Your instructor will set a deadline for submitting assignments, homework or projects. It’s important NOT to procrastinate about your homework until the last minute then rush to submit assignments at the deadline.
  • Know what alternative options are available to submit assignments if you cannot access D2L. Does your instructor accept email with attachments or faxed copies? Be sure to use the appropriate subject line for email messages or add a cover sheet for faxed assignments.
  • If you have trouble connecting your home computer to the Internet, D2L or the course website, then your assignments will be probably be late. Plan ahead for technical difficulties! Use an on-campus computer lab or your local city library to submit homework.

Question: Where do online classes meet?
Other than a face-to-face orientation meeting for some classes, most online courses don't really "meet" face-to-face.

  • Some online courses do require taking tests on campus. This requirement should be included in the online class schedule so you know before registering for the section that has on-campus testing requirements.
  • Online classes interact regularly through the Internet using a web browser like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome.
  • Most online classes use the Los Rios eLearning web server and the Desire2Learn learning management system. Some online classes use textbook publisher sites instead of D2L.
  • Course materials and tools are course web pages, discussion boards, news items, email, and more.

Question: How much time do I have to spend online?
Plan for online work, textbook work, research and writing.

  • For a one-unit class, plan on learning activities taking a minimum of 4 hours a week; for a three-unit class, a minimum of nine hours a week.
  • Your instructor will be providing documents and resources online so that you can access them any time.
  • There MAY be assignments that MUST be done online but these will vary in how much time they take.
  • The online resources are often a fantastic addition to the course that could not be provided in other ways.
  • Drop by the library and talk with the reference librarians about your project or homework. They will often have suggestions for the best online sources.
  • Online searches are full of distractions. Balance your class time activities against the fun resources you find.