What to Expect

An Online Course…

  • Is highly interactive. In order to be successful in your course you will need to be in the course daily. Be prepared to read, write, take exams, discuss ideas with classmates, possibly listen to and watch content. Group projects and synchronous participation may also be incorporated.
  • Is not easier than a face-to-face course. Online courses are designed to be rigorous and offer rich learning experiences. In order to do well, you will need to be organized, involved and prepared.
  • Takes time. For a 3 credit hour course, be prepared to spend 9-12 hours per week (3-4 hours per credit hour), checking announcements, interacting with content, completing assignments and studying.
  • May have required face-to-face or synchronous online meetings. Be sure to check the notes section when registering for courses, to make sure you are available for any required meetings.
  • Follows the same university calendar as face-to-face courses and are held to the same academic standards.
  • Must be made published in Canvas in order for you to access the content. Most instructors do this on the first day of classes or a few days before. If you cannot access your online course on the first day of classes, contact your instructor.
  • Might require a textbook. You can find out what books are required by visiting the TWU Bookstore online. Learn more in the “Support Services” section to the left.


Know your technology skills and study habits. If you are not familiar with these things about yourself, go through the SmarterMeasure Assessment.

SmarterMeasure is an online tool to provide you with information on your ability to succeed in distance education courses. Distance education courses are not any easier than traditional courses, are usually not self-paced and often contain more information than corresponding face-to-face courses. To be successful in distance courses, information about your personal strengths and weaknesses may be helpful. The purpose of SmarterMeasure is to help you learn more about skills and traits that have been shown to help students become successful in distance education.


Computer Requirements, Services and Software

  • Learn about the recommended specs for personal laptops.
  • Each TWU campus offers computer labs, student technology and study services.
  • Microsoft Office 365
    • Microsoft Office 365 is productivity software that provides convenient access to Microsoft applications on the go. Office 365 is free for active students, staff and faculty. Pioneers are automatically enrolled for this service. In addition to web-accessible applications, Pioneers may download and install Microsoft Office on up to five devices. Learn how to get started using Microsoft Office 365.

Internet Connection and Web Browser Information

  • Have access to the Internet via an Internet service provider of your choice.
  • Wireless network connection is available on all TWU campuses. Learn about Wireless Network (TWU Wifi).
  • Have several web browsers installed on your computer.
  • For compatible web browser information, please consult the browser support website for Canvas.
    • Canvas no longer supports any version of Internet Explorer. All users are encouraged to use the latest version of internet browsers by Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and/or Safari.
  • Each internet browser features a cache or history of visited sites. This feature allows frequently visited pages to load more quickly since repetitive information is stored. However, the cache can become full. Clearing the cache empties the stored information and allows web pages to load new or different items. Users can clear the cache on any internet browser anytime they encounter issues on the internet.

Technical Difficulties

  • In case your home computer isn't working, have a back-up computer that you can go to such as one at:
    • the local library
    • a university computer lab such as TWU Labs.
    • a friend or family member’s home
  • If you experience a technology failure and won’t be able to turn your assignment in on-time, communicate that to your professor as soon as possible!
  • Back-up your work on an extra jump-drive, CD or external hard drive.
  • If you have problems with Canvas or other technical issues, contact the Technology Service Desk.

Technology Service Center

The TWU Technology Service Center is comprised of a Service Catalog, Knowledge Base Articles, and Questions with Answers. TWU Technology Ticketing is also incorporated. To access all Knowledge Base articles, including TWU specific, use the Sign In option in the top right corner. You will need to sign in with your TWU username and password.

  • Technology Service Catalog provides a directory of technology services available. Services are categorized by faculty, staff, and student. Each service entry provides a description of the service, links to related services, and knowledge base articles as well as a "Request Service" button option to submit a ticket to the TWU Technology Service Desk.
  • Knowledge Base contains articles about TWU resources. Many articles are steps to complete a process.
  • Questions and Answers is a database of frequently asked questions and answers.

Page last updated 11:35 AM, August 29, 2019