​What is O​nline Learning?

​If you have not taken online class before or didn't like the experience you had with an online course several years ago, we invite you to learn more about what it is like to take online courses at Findlay.

What is an online course?

In a traditional classroom, you often learn by listening, reading, writing, and doing other activities designed by your instructor. Online courses are different because you are not in the same location as your instructor or the other students. In fact, you probably will never meet your instructor or fellow students in person.

Attending an Online Class

In online courses, students "attend" class by logging into the University's learning management software (LMS) called Canvas. All of your assignments, class lectures, notes, and interactions with your instructor and classmates will be done there. You complete assignments according to the class schedule and will communicate with the instructor and classmates using e-mail and online discussion forums.

This class format is very flexible for busy schedules. Students can often log on to the course at any time of the day (or night). Computer skills and determination are necessary to be successful. Students need keyboarding skills and must be able to write so that others can understand.

Synchronous Vs. Asynchronous Classes. What's the Difference?

When you are considering taking online classes, make sure and ask if the classes are held synchronously or asynchronously. This is important to know upfront while you are considering your options.


The word synchronous means working together at the same time, and in the online learning world, chat rooms and online conferences are good examples of synchronous communication. It could also meet that the classes meet at a set time and day. This is a great option, but for some, it is not ideal because of busy personal and work schedules.

Asynchronous classes don't typically have set time and dates for classes. They may have a set 'office hour' for the faculty member when they are online to answer questions in real time, or set a discussion time with the class occasionally, but generally the classwork can be completed on an individual's personal schedule. Discussion forums and email are two examples of how asynchronous communication is employed in online learning. It is very helpful to communicate in this way, because students have plenty of time to formulate thoughts. By communicating via email, students are able to respond in detail to a question or topic that they might have answered incompletely in a real-time conversation. This time lag in communication helps students internalize information by giving them time to research certain ideas or merely extra time for contemplation. The main disadvantage to asynchronous communication is time lost waiting for a response.​

Findlay's online programs​ are all conducted in an asynchronous format, with time allotted to real-time interaction on a class by class basis.

Interaction and Feedback

Online students may have more contact with their fellow students online than they would in the regular classroom. There are many ways for students to interact online: discussion boards, e-mail, group activities, etc. It can be fun to meet students. It can also be a great way to broaden your learning experience.

Students may also receive more personal feedback than they would in a traditional classroom. Your fellow students might read and respond to your work. Your instructor might give you more comments (both formal and informal).​