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Guide to Online Learning

Guide to Online Learning

This guide is designed specifically for students in courses using Canvas and provides information to ensure your success in your online learning activities. Below you will find the essentials for getting started with online learning, including preparing for the semester, what to expect in the online portion of your courses, getting started with Canvas, technology requirements, and resources available to you.

To verify the delivery method of your courses (face-to-face, online or hybrid), you can access your schedule by logging into WebAdvisor, select Student Self-Service & Registration (New Version) under the Registration section, then select the Student Planning option. Learn more about the Student Self-Service & Planning registration system.

Things to Do Before the Semester Starts

Learn About Pioneer Portal

Pioneer Portal is the official business and communication system for TWU. Pioneer Portal can be used to:

  • Accept your financial aid
  • Register for your classes
  • Pay your tuition
  • View your official schedule
  • View your final grades
  • Identify your Student ID#

Know Your Deadlines

Make sure you are aware of important university dates and deadlines. Access the University Calendar for more information.

Get Your Parking Decal

For those who will be driving and parking on campus regularly, it is best to purchase your parking decal before classes begin.

For online learners, you may or may not need a parking decal. If you are coming to campus once a month, 4 times a semester, etc., you would likely purchase a Parking Day Pass. For current parking changes, visit the Parking Update page to get the latest information.

Purchase Your Books

Books can be purchased online and shipped to your home. There is a great search feature that will identify what books you need based on the courses you are taking. Visit the TWU Bookstore.

Get Your Student ID

Your Pioneer Student ID signifies your status as an active member of the TWU community, serving as your official student identification card and much more. 

Note: Students taking only online or hybrid courses will receive a Student ID in the mail, after the 12th class day. It will not have your photo on it, but it will say "distance learner" and will entitle you to student discounts wherever they are available, as well as for services if you come to campus.

Learn About Student Resources Available to You

TWU offers a variety of resources and services that will help you academically and in your personal wellbeing. If you don't find what you are looking for on the Student Resources page of this guide, you can also view the resources and services page provided by Student Life.

Review the TWU Policies and Guidelines for Distance Education

All students are responsible for knowing and adhering to TWU guidelines and policies. Review the Policies and Guidelines.

What to Expect: Online Course Myths

Myth: Online Courses are easier than face-to-face courses.

The Truth: Online courses are not easier than face-to-face courses. 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. All online courses offered at TWU are held to the same academic standards as face-to-face courses.

Myth: Online Courses are self-paced and can be completed at your own convenience

The Truth: Online courses are not self-paced and may require face-to-face synchronous online meetings. In order to be successful in your course you will need to be in the course daily. Deadlines for assignments will be established by instructors and follow the same university calendar as face-to-face courses. 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. Online courses are highly interactive so you should be prepared to read, write, take exams, discuss ideas with classmates, possibly listen to and watch content.


Myth: Online Courses do not require textbooks.

The Truth: It is up to the instructor to decide if a textbook will be required. You can find out what books are required by visiting the TWU Bookstore online.

Page last updated 9:07 AM, July 29, 2020