Readiness for Online Learning

Readiness for Online Learning

What does online participation look like?

Classroom/On Campus

  1. Attend class to keep informed of course expectations
  2. Use the library to conduct research for your class assignments
  3. Participate in class discussions
  4. Collaborate with instructors and other students
  5. Participate in role-plays and case studies
  6. Ask questions
  7. Hand in assignments
  8. Complete quizzes and exams
  9. Network/socialize with classmates

Online Learning

  1. Use of Canvas
    • To access your courses, view syllabi, read communications from your instructors and review grades.
    • Use the Inbox in Canvas to contact your instructor and keep track of all communication inside of Canvas.
    • Review the Course Schedule weekly to keep track of the assignments due each week.
  2. Use Electronic Library Resources to conduct research for your online class assignments.
  3. Participate in discussion forums: read, respond, and post to discussion forums.
  4. Collaborate via email, announcements, discussion forums, chat rooms, Google Docs, and web conferencing tools.
  5. Participate in scenarios, role play, and simulations: read, respond, and post messages through an online discussion.
  6. Ask questions: send email and/or post questions in online discussion.
  7. Submit assignments via dropbox in Canvas and post replies to discussion board.
  8. Complete quizzes in Canvas.
  9. Network and socialize with classmates: read, respond, and post messages via email and/or through an online discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online course?

A course where all content and teacher/student interaction occurs online unless otherwise required by the instructor of record or by the program as stated in the Dynamic Schedule. Online classes are no different than traditional courses in terms of rigor and content. They do offer a substantial degree of scheduling flexibility to the student. Students can pursue their education from their home or other off-campus locations. 

How are hybrid courses different?

Hybrid courses blend online and face-to-face delivery methods. Seat time is reduced with a substantial portion of the content being delivered online. Refer to the Dynamic Schedule for a special note on what is required.


All courses have been developed to meet specific course learning objectives. Accelerated courses will not differ in content and rigor due to the shortened timeframe for completion. In order to be successful, students should be aware of several strategies including being motivated and managing time effectively.  


Students will devote an appropriate amount of time each week to course assignments and material. Students will be expected to submit assignments, take exams/quizzes, participate in discussions and review readings each week. Students can estimate that an 8-week course will require 15-20 hours per week for a three-credit course, 10-12 hours per week for a two-credit course and 5-6 hours per week for a one-credit course.

How do I find out if online classes are a good fit for me?

Be sure to take a moment and complete the Online Readiness Survey to find out if online classes are a good fit for you.

What is Canvas and why do we use it?

Canvas is the online learning environment instructors will use to upload the syllabus, add content, communicate course expectations and important information, and add grades for course assignments. Visit the Canvas website

How do I receive a preview of an online course?

Students can receive a realistic preview of the online experience through the Guide to Online Learning (self-enroll). This course was designed to give you a sample experience of an online course offered in the online learning environment. This online preview includes information on the online environment (i.e. Canvas), online tools, as well as resources and tips for being a better student at Mines regardless of whether you choose to take online courses. This is only a sample, once you start taking online courses, you will notice that every course is a little different. Differences in courses are due to the different instructor expertise and course design. For example, courses in computer science will look different from those in space resources.

Additional information about the online learning environment. 

How do I participate in an online course?

Students will participate in the course by submitting an academic assignment, taking an online exam, participating in an online discussion, collaborating on a project or any other related assignment. Refer to your course syllabus for specific course information. Students can estimate that an 8-week course will require 15-20 hours per week for a three-credit course, 10-12 hours per week for a two-credit course, and 5-6 hours per week for a one-credit course.

How do I contact my instructor?

Students will contact their instructor using the Inbox in Canvas. The inbox makes it easy for students and teachers to communicate and keep track of all of the different kinds of communication going on inside of Canvas, whether it’s a conversation about an assignment, within a group or with another user. For information on how to communicate, please view this Canvas video

How do I obtain support for my online courses?

Support for content related items (quizzes, assignments, discussions, etc.) should go through your instructor first. Support for technical issues in Canvas is offered in a variety of ways: phone, chat, email and help tickets. Visit the Technical Assistance page for more information.  

What are the technical specifications for online courses?

Technology requirements vary depending on the type of course you are taking. The requirements for each course type are outlined on the Required Technology page. Although you may find that some courses do not specify a particular type of technology many courses (regardless of the delivery method) now include a web-based component to enhance instruction.

How do I connect to the online learning community?

Students can develop a connection to the online Mines community by engaging with various groups (Graduate Student Government) and organizations (Multicultural Engineering Program). Visit the Student Support section on the Services and Support page to learn more about several organizations you can join today!

General Resources

students studying at table


Tutoring, Writing Center, Library, bookstore, software access and more.

student and recruiter talking at career fair


Tech help, Disability Services, Career Services, Veteran Services, Blastercard, counseling and more.

young family meeting Blaster


Online student organizations, alumni connections, Dean of Students and more.