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Frequently Asked Questions About Online Classes

Q. How is an online course different from a regular, face-to-face course?
A. Courses that meet completely online allow all students equivalent learning opportunities and outcomes.

According to the Higher Learning Commission definition, 75% or more of instruction occurs online. Methods of examination (e.g. exams, quizzes, assignments, and tests) also take place online.

Students access all fundamental and/or supplemental course materials (e.g. PowerPoint presentations, handouts, research journals, articles, and notes) online. Students work in community online as they interact with one another and with the professor via discussion boards, group projects, email, and other online approaches that foster communication and cooperation.

Q.  What is the difference between web-enhanced, hybrid, and online classes?
A. Hybrid: This approach combines traditional face-to-face classroom instruction and online instruction. Less than 75% of the coursework occurs online to replace a portion of traditional class time.
Web-Enhanced or Supplemental: Students access supplement course materials and assignments (i.e. PowerPoint presentations, handouts, research journals, articles, and notes) online.

Q. Do students in the same online course need to be online at the same time?
A. Some online courses may be taught in a synchronized environment via Collaborate which requires mandatory, online class meeting times. This will be stated in the course description. Lectures usually will be recorded.

Q. Will I be required to come to campus?
A. Not necessarily. There may be an exception for an orientation or final exam, and hybrid or web-enhanced courses do require you to be on campus for the face-to-face classes.

Q. Are there computer labs on campus that I can use if I am taking web-enhanced, hybrid, or online classes?
A. Yes, there are several computer labs on campus and one that is open 24 hours.

Q. What are the technology and system requirements for online classes?
A. Click here to view technical requirements

Q. What if I need to have adaptive software or equipment?
A. We have Read Write Gold software available for our students. Blackboard is fully committed to ensuring that our platform contains no barriers for users with disabilities and is both usable and accessible by everyone regardless of age, ability, or situation.

Please see the Accessibility Resource Center to inquire about modifications that are individual based.

Q. How much time should I expect to spend on an online course?
A. You can expect to study 1-2 hours for every hour "in class" or credit hours taken. For example: A three credit hour course requires students to be engaged in the course or meet for three hours each week; homework may take 1-2 hours each session, making a total of 6-9 hours per week dedicated to one course.

Q. What classes are offered online and when do they start?
A. Go to the online catalog and use Advanced Search. Choose Location, then Online.

Q. Are there fees associated with taking online courses?
A. Yes. $25/credit hour.

Q. How do I enroll in a course?
A. Visit Beeline to enroll online or talk to your advisor.

Q. Where do I get my textbooks?
A. The bookstore will have all of the information and supplies needed for your course.

Q. What if I have a problem with Blackboard, my username, email, or password?
A. Contact CIDT with any questions about Blackboard and IT for questions about your username, email, or password.

Q. How do I drop or withdraw from a course?
A. If you need to add/drop a course after you have registered, you may do so at any time during early registration. If you have any questions, please stop by or contact the Office of the Registrar at 563-333-6202 or at

Q. Will I be able to ask questions if I take a class online?
A. Definitely. The instructor's contact information will be in the syllabus.

Q. What Internet browser is recommended?
A. Firefox or Chrome

Q. What kind of academic support services are available for online students?
A. Visit the Student Success Center for study groups, supplemental instruction, and tutorial support. They're available to all St. Ambrose students in a low pressure setting at no cost. Please call 563-333-6331 for more information.

Q.  How do I get my User ID and Password?
A.  They will be mailed to you after you register for the online or hybrid course(s). Information Technology can assist you with any questions related to your credentials or changes that need to be made.

Q. How do I access the online class and content?
A. Course material will be posted in your Blackboard Course. Go to, enter your SAU ID and password, and then choose your class. The content will be on the left side of the page.

Q. How do I use Blackboard?
A. Click to learn more about Blackboard.