Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online course?

UNK Online courses are offered electronically through the Internet allowing you to attend class anywhere there is a computer and Internet access -- at home, at school, or at the library. You also choose when you want to take the course - before work, after work, or after the kids are in bed or in school. Online courses are similar to traditional courses in that they are instructor-led where the instructor develops the curriculum, conducts the class, gives the assignments, answers questions, leads discussions, and assigns grades. You will be expected to begin the first week of class and work regularly throughout the semester. Online courses are highly interactive with faculty and students communicating through email, discussion forums, and chat groups.

Is online learning for me?

As UNK online courses offer flexibility and convenience, many of them are quite demanding and may not be the best option for all students. To succeed with online courses, you must enjoy the written word since communication with your instructor and classmates is by email, discussion groups, and chat sessions. You must be highly motivated and self-disciplined in arranging your time for studying and completing assignments in a timely manner. You also need a solid set of computer skills such as using a word processor, being able to download and install software, and being familiar with email and a browser.

Also please note that by enrolling in an online web course, certain information, such as email address, mailing address, etc. may be released to other class members to facilitate learning in the online environment. If you do not wish to have such information made available to others, then you may wish to take the course in a more traditional setting. Such information would be available to other students in the class, or in other sections of the same class through a secure network but would not be accessible to the general public.

How much time is involved with an online course?

Since you are not required to attend class, there is a misconception that online courses are "easier" than traditional face-to-face courses. This is NOT true!!! The rigor and depth of information for online courses is similar to traditional courses. Even though you are not attending class, the time required is similar to a traditional course. For a normal 3 credit hour online course, you can expect to spend 9-12 hours per week depending on the course.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of an online course?

The advantages are:

  • Convenience - you may take your course anywhere there is a computer and Internet access - at home, at school, at the office, or at the library. If you are like many of the online students who are off-campus, non-traditional students with full-time jobs, it is difficult for you to commute to campus because of your professional and personal commitments. With the online courses, you do not need to drive to campus to take the course.
  • Flexibility - you may do your coursework whenever it is convenient for you. If you are working full time, you may want to log on before work, during your lunch hour, after work, or late at night. If you have children, you may want to do your coursework when the kids are in school or in bed. The beauty of online courses is YOU choose when you want to show up for class.
  • Personal attention - many faculty indicate that more interaction occurs in their online courses than in their comparable face-to-face sections. This interaction allows for more one-on-one learning and personal attention.

The disadvantages are:

  • Under estimating workload - Students underestimate the amount of work required for an online course. They often think that an online course is "easier" than the traditional, face-to-face course which is not true. Students can expect to spend 9-12 hours a week for a normal 3 credit hour online course, depending on the course.
  • Lack of preparation - Students may not be technologically prepared for an online course. It is important that students have general computer skills and knowledge and when they do not, they may become frustrated.

What computer skills and technologies are required?

Basic computer literacy is required to be successful as an online learner. It is highly recommended that you have a good understanding of your computer and its functions. If you have no or limited computer experience, you may want to delay taking an online course. General computer skills include knowledge of browsers, ISP's, installation of software, and word processing. Refer to the computer requirements below to determine if you would be a good candidate for an online course.

View minimum hardware requirements for taking an online course or program.

If your hardware is not at this level, you will not be able to take an online course.

Web Browser - A browser is the tool that lets your computer "read" the pages on the World Wide Web. Since you're reading this on the UNK eCampus website right now, your computer is running a browser; however, the most recent version of Mozilla Firefox is recommended for online courses.

Word Processing - Because most of your work is written, word processing software is required.

Email - Your course communication via email is through your UNK email account.

Internet Service Provider - To participate in online web courses, you must have access to the Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You will pay a monthly fee depending on the type of connection you subscribe to. It is recommended to have High Speed DSL or Cable Modem.

What are the online course requirements?

Online course requirements will vary from course to course. To find out what the course requirements are, refer to the UNK Online Course Schedule.

How are tests given and will I need a proctor?

Some of the courses may require written assignments in lieu of tests, some courses will require you to take a test online without a proctor, while some courses will require the test to be taken at a proctored site. If that is the case, then you are responsible for finding the proctor. A proctor verifies that the test is administered under the proper conditions, and it is usually someone who is employed full time in education. A list of approved proctors may include local college testing centers, college or public school teachers, guidance counselor/counseling staff, school principals, or school superintendents.

How do I get started?

Get started here.


Undergraduate Admission

Graduate Admission

What is the cost of an online course?

View tuition rates and additional fees.

Need Help?

For course-related questions, use the Blackboard e-mail system to communicate with your instructor.

For technical (computer and software) questions, contact the Information Technology Services Helpdesk at 308-865-8363 or e-mail unkhelpdesk@unk.eduThe UNK Help Desk is now available 24 hrs. a day/7 days a week to employees and students for Blackboard, email, and other computer-related issues.

What is netiquette?

  1. Netiquette is the use of proper etiquette while communicating on the Internet. If you're like many people, this may be your first experience with an online course. You may have taken some courses before, and you may also have had experience with some form of electronic communication, but an online course is a new area of social interaction, and as such it has its own rules for interacting with others. These suggestions are intended to be an overview of appropriate etiquette for interaction in this new environment.
  2. Think carefully about the content of your message before sending it. Did you say just what you meant? How will the person on the other end read the words? Once sent to the group, there is no taking it back. Be sure to check your grammar and spelling of a message since your audience might not be able to decode misspelled words or poorly constructed sentences. It is a good practice to compose and check your comments in a word processor before posting them.
  3. Remember there's a person on the other side. Ask for feedback if you're not sure how your ideas and comments will be taken. If you disagree with what someone has said, please express your opinions respectfully to professors and to students.
  4. Tone down your language. Given the absence of face-to-face clues, written text can easily be misinterpreted. Avoid the use of strong or offensive language and the excessive use of exclamation points. If you feel particularly strongly about a point, it may be best to write it first as a draft and then to review it, before posting it, in order to remove any strong language.
  5. DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS. This is difficult to read and can be regarded as shouting.
  6. Inappropriate or derogatory comments are unacceptable and subject to the same disciplinary action that they would receive if they occurred in the physical classroom.
  7. Participate in the online environment, it's not enough to show up!.
  8. Be persistent. If you run into any difficulties, don't wait! Send a note immediately to the instructor of the course listed on the syllabus. Most problems are easily solved, but we have to hear from you before we can help.
  9. Share tips, suggestions, and questions. Taking online courses is a new frontier. There are no dumb questions, and even if you think your solution is obvious, please share it! Someone in the course will thank you for it.