Resources for online learners
Online doesn't mean on your own
The University of Akron provides personal ongoing educational support to online learners across the nation throughout their entire tenure at the university. From your first inquiry about a program to your final semester, student services staff members are consistently on hand to guide, advise and assist you.
This overview summarizes the types of services we offer and describes how those services can help you achieve your educational goals:
- The Help Desk provides a wiki that is updated with articles and web-based tutorials to assist you with technical questions. You can also submit an online support request if you experience a technical problem while using Brightspace or any of the university electronic resource.
Academic support services
- Academic Advisement Center | The Academic Advisement Center is available to educate, advocate, and empower you to make effective academic and career decisions.
- Accessibility | The University of Akron recognizes its responsibility for creating an institutional atmosphere in which students with disabilities have the opportunity to be successful. Any student who feels he/she may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Office of Accessibility - 330-972-7928 (v), 330-972-5764 (tdd) or email@example.com. The office is located in Simmons Hall Room 105.
- Adult Focus is an academic support service for adult learners. Any student, regardless of age, whose primary life roles and responsibilities exist independent of the University and take precedence over the role of student in times of crisis or stress is considered to be an adult student.
- Bookstore | Buy books online through UA's online bookstore.
- Inclusive Excellence | The Office of Inclusion and Equity directs the University’s outreach efforts to support our diverse population of students, faculty, staff and community members.
- Library | Search electronic journals, periodicals, books, magazines, and even contact a librarian. These tasks can all be accomplished online with UA's online library.
- Tutoring. Online tutoring via eTutoring is provided through the Ohio eTutoring Collaborative. Students have access to online tutoring in: anatomy & physiology; calculus; chemistry; math (through calculus ii); and writing. Visit the Bierce Writing Commons for more about eTutoring and other tutoring options.
Student support services
- Career Services | The professionals in Career Services strive to place you into an internship or full-time position that aligns with your career goals. Services include career exploration, resume review, job search assistance, interview training and more.
- Counseling Services | A culturally diverse staff of licensed psychologists and doctoral trainees provide psychological counseling and psychotherapy, career counseling, testing services, outreach and consultation to the university community. This site provides electronic resources and videos for study skills, test taking skills, and career development.
- Financial Aid | To take advantage of the many sources of aid available, it is important for you to be informed. The electronic resources on the financial aid site help to simplify the financial aid process and answer many frequently asked questions. Phone counseling services are also available.
- Scholarships | UA offers thousands of scholarships and awards annually. With the largest endowment of any public university in northern Ohio, UA is able to give many talented students the chance to study. Learn more.
Get ready for online learning
To be successful in an online class, you must be self-disciplined and willing to interact with your classmates and instructor regularly. You must have access to a computer with Internet access and you must be capable of using computers and the Web for basic activities such as sending email and completing online research.
Do you have the time available to commit to online learning?
While one of the lures of online learning is that you have the flexibility to complete your assignments when they are convenient for you, most students find that online learning takes more time than the traditional classroom.
Do you have the necessary computer skills and hardware and software?
Even the best students will not succeed in the online environment if they don't have the necessary tools. Rest assured, you don't need to be a computer wizard to succeed. Lower on this page, we describe the software we use, and you can view videos to get a feel for it.
Some students in online courses report that online courses require more time and are more challenging than a traditional college course. Many online students also report that they learn more and work harder. In an online course, the responsibility for learning is solely your responsibility—you will need self-discipline and self-directed time management skills to be successful.
Take the time to put together the schedule and expectations for each of your classes. Your instructors have been working hard to make adjustments for the schedule change and the migration to online.
Prioritize your work. What due dates are coming up first? Make a smart decision about how to best spend your time. As best you can, create a schedule for yourself that mimics the schedule you have been using this semester.
Learn how to manage your time better!
However, online students also report that the first class is generally the most difficult. Not only will you learn the course material, but you will also learn how to communicate in an online learning environment and how to manage your time. The mechanics of online learning will become automatic after you complete your first online course.
In a traditional classroom, your questions can usually be answered immediately. You or your classmates can then ask for clarification or ask follow up questions. In an online learning environment, you often communicate asynchronously. You can ask questions, but there may be delays between each step of the communication process. For this reason, if you have difficulty moving forward without direction, online learning may pose a challenge.
New to online learning? No problem. Here are some tips to succeed in an online course.
You are not alone! You will be able to communicate with your fellow students and your instructor through email, discussion and possibly even web conferencing. Your instructor will post instructions for the available and recommended communication tools. Collaboration is a large component of most online classes. Collaboration is a proven strategy to improve learning. Your participation in class communications will be key to your success!
Take care of yourself
Stay healthy by getting adequate rest, nutrition and exercise. Keep a growth mindset as you adapt to new circumstances. Your success has as much to do with your effort as it has to do with your ability.
The instructor may post new content every week, and you may have activities to complete. How will you do that? When? Online students have more freedom to plan, but also more responsibility to remember to plan. Look at your calendar and add your online course hours to your calendar every week.
Team up with your friends and classmates
Find ways to connect with your friends and classmates to help each other stay accountable for getting your work completed. Find ways to meet with student groups online in WhatsApp, Facebook groups, GroupMe, Microsoft Teams, etc. For student access to Microsoft Office 365
Manage your environment
Find a space that is comfortable and allows you to focus. This can be your home base for coursework.
Consider using the "Do Not Disturb" function on your phone or computer as if you were in class on campus.
Learn how to study better here!
Technical support is available
The Information Technology support desk, firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-972-6888 (available daily from 7:30 a.m to 6 p.m.) , can try to help you resolve any computer problems.
How do you know whether to contact the Support Center or your instructor?
- If you need help with the course subject matter such as writing a paper, contact your instructor.
- If you need help submitting the paper you wrote to that instructor, or you cannot log in, contact the IT Support desk.
In some cases, you may need to contact a software vendor for the best technical support. For more information, check out learning resources.
Completing activities and assignments
Always check your syllabus and communicate with your instructor, but here are common ways you may submit assignments:
- Essay assignments are usually submitted to a designated assignment folder in Brightspace.
- Brightspace is the software UA uses to run courses remotely. Lectures, discussions, chats and tests are presented through Brightspace. Login to Brightspace
- Overview of Brightspace
- Learn how to set up and use these resources: Brightspace Resources for Students
- Need help in Brightspace? Call Brightspace support at 1-877-325-7778 at any hour. There is also an online chat option in Brightspace. View numerous Brightspace tutorials.
You have access to ALL University resources
You can use the tutoring services, the library, the writing lab, the Office of Accessibility and the academic advisement center. Academic Support provides links to all the academic support resources available.
Software for online learners
This section offers tips and advice for Brightspace, WebEx, Office365 and Panopto — software we use to teach remotely.
WebEx is video conferencing software that your instructor may use to meet virtually. Similar to Google Hangouts and Apple Facetime, WebEx allows for screen sharing, messaging and other activities that can bring the classroom environment online.
Your instructor will share a link in your Brightspace course or, will send you the link via email. When joining a meeting, no login is necessary, though you may need to download an app for your device.
Tip: For the best experience, find a quiet location with reliable internet connection and privacy to participate in online course meetings. This will be a great opportunity for you to experience the collaborative learning of a classroom environment.
Cisco WebEx provides 24/7 direct support for their product. If you have questions or would like immediate help with WebEx, please call them at 1-866-229-3239. They also maintain support resources here: Webex Help Center
Macs, Windows PCs, iOS and Android devices and Chromebooks (running ChromeOS 65 and later) are supported. A full list of supported operating systmes and browsers is available here: https://help.webex.com/en-us/9ehuwu/Web-App-Supported-Operating-Systems-and-Browsers
Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription service from Microsoft that brings together the best tools for the way people collaborate today. By combining best-in-class apps like Excel and Outlook with powerful cloud services like OneDrive and Microsoft Teams, Office 365 lets anyone create and share anywhere on any device.
As a member of The University of Akron, will be able to access Office 365 for free. Students can use Office 365 for up to one year after graduation. Office can be installed on your Mac or Windows PC or, on your iOS, Android or Windows Mobile device.
Panopto is a popular tool that many instructors use to record lectures. If your instructor is using Panopto, you will find the link(s) in your Brightspace course content. No software is required to view the lectures though some faculty may ask that you install the software on your Mac, PC, iOS or Android device to submit a “virtual” presentation to the class. Tips on getting the most from Panopto lectures can be found at the Panopto Support site.