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.


  • Learn about the recommended specs for personal laptops.
  • Have access to the Internet via an Internet service provider of your choice.
  • Have several web browsers installed on your computer.
  • For compatible web browser information, please consult the browser support website for Canvas.
  • Know your technology skills and study habits. If you are not familiar with these things about yourself, go through the SmarterMeasure Assessment in the next section.
  • In case your home computer quits 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 Open Access 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 you can!
  • Back-up your work on an extra jump-drive, CD or external hard drive.
  • If you have problems with Canvas, contact the Technology Service Desk.


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.

Page last updated 3:30 PM, May 10, 2019