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Online Courses and Programs

ESU offers a variety of exciting and engaging online courses and programs. ESU faculty and staff work very hard to create and develop online courses that offer the same high quality and engaging learning experience as our traditional classroom courses.

Courses are offered in different formats so you can choose the format that best suits your career, goals, and schedule. Some courses are synchronous, others are asynchronous, and some are a mix of the two. In synchronous courses, you'll have specific meeting times not unlike a face-to-face course, but you'll be meeting your class in a virtual room. This allows you to listen, see, converse, and learn in real-time. Asynchronous online courses do not have specific meeting times, which means you have more control over when and where you complete your coursework. No matter the format of your course, you may interact with your professor and classmates in a variety of ways: real-time chatrooms, virtual classrooms, email, Skype, phone, discussion forums, or one of several other options. While you may not meet face-to-face for class, these technologies will ensure that you still make personal and meaningful connections with your classmates and professors.


ESU academic advising faculty members and technical support are readily available for assistance by email and phone. Contact our Admissions Office today at (570) 422-3542 to get in contact with an academic advising faculty member and learn about the application process. Visit our Admissions page and learn more about ESU, how to apply, financial aid and scholarships, preparing for school, and the Graduate College. Some other helpful links are:

What to Expect

Some common questions about online education and distance learning are:

  • What does the online classroom look like?
  • Will I be in a class by myself?
  • Do online courses take more or less time than traditional courses?
  • Will I take tests and how?
  • How do I hand in assignments?

Hopefully the information below will help answer these questions for you. If not or you have other questions please contact us.

The Online Classroom
Students access online classrooms by logging into Desire2Learn (D2L). D2L is the learning management system ESU uses for its online learning environment. Students can find course material, participate in collaborative discussion boards, complete class activities, find assignments, interact with professors and peers, submit assignments and projects, take quizzes, and much more on D2L online courses. Students can access their online courses on D2L 24/7. D2L is also a portal to Blackboard Collaborate, ESU's official real-time, interactive online classroom for professors to use in their classes. Many professors teaching online courses use Blackboard Collaborate, whether for synchronous class meetings, virtual office hours, or to provide recorded videos for you to watch anytime, anywhere.
Interaction with Peers and Professors
When you take an online course at ESU, you'll be joining other students taking a real class. You may find yourself with professionals and peers from down the street or across the globe. To facilitate communication with classmates and your professor, we utilize a variety of communication tools so that you can easily and readily interact. These communication tools include, but certainly are not limited to: email, Blackboard Collaborate, discussion boards, automated notifications via text message, phone, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Whichever tools your professor uses, you'll likely have many opportunities and several outlets for interacting with everyone in your class.
Flexible Schedule
ESU online courses are built to fit into busy schedules with flexibility in mind. With the D2L platform, you'll be able to access your course anytime, anywhere. While most online courses offer more flexibility than traditional courses, do keep in mind that some online courses have a scheduled meeting time. However, these courses usually meet just once a week and typically at night unlike most face-to-face courses which meet 2 or 3 times a week during the day. Whether your online course does have scheduled meeting times or not, it is important to keep in mind that you do still need to complete coursework by the due dates set by your professors.
Time Needed
There is not a set time for the amount of hours you will need to spend per week for any course. The general rule for college courses is that you will probably spend around three hours a week per credit. For example, if you are enrolled in a three credit course, you will probably spend around nine hours a week on the course. Graduate level courses will likely require more time.
Submitting Assignments and Taking Tests
Different professors may have different methods for assignment submission and testing, but most will have you submit assignments electronically on D2L and also use D2L for testing.

Technology Needs

Students enrolled in online courses are required to have daily access to a PC with Windows XP or newer or a Mac computer with OS X. Your computer should have a high speed internet connection. While you may be able to access some portions of a class via smartphone or tablet, a computer is more likely to be compatible with all portions of a course.

Your computer should also have speakers or headphones. Some online courses may also require you to have a microphone or a webcam.

What to Consider Before Enrolling in an Online Course

  • You will need to have access to a computer and a high speed internet connection.
  • Basic computer skills including computer operation, typing, and internet navigation are needed to take an online course.
  • You will have more control over your learning in an online course. To be successful you will need to be motivated and able to work independently.
  • You need to be able to set aside time each week to work on your coursework.
  • As much of the communication will be done through written word, it is important to be able to express yourself through writing.
  • Online courses typically work well with busy schedules since you can access your online courses and coursework anywhere and at any time.
  • You can take online courses and traditional, on-campus courses at the same time.
  • Students who aren't as comfortable participating in a traditional classroom often participate more during online courses.