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FAQ for Students

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Online classes often come with their own set of questions and problems. Here we have compiled those questions we get most often and documented answers and help tutorials to help keep you focused on your studies and not the little things that can trip you up. If you have a question that isn't answered here, email us and we will get it added to this page.

Help Videos to Answer Your Questions

Here you'll find help with common questions that students have regarding online classes. Topics can range from basic technical help to Blackboard use to general advice.

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Introduction to Blackboard Playlist

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General Questions About eLearning

What is eLearning, online education, & distance education at UAA?

UAA uses "eLearning", "online", and "distance education" almost interchangeably. These terms refer to courses that are offered in an online setting and do not require students to come to a campus classroom for the course. Some UAA courses are "blended" courses which means that up to 50% of the course requires students to come to a campus for classes, labs, meetings, etc. 

Am I required to come to campus for an eLearning online course?

UAA has divided courses into 3 categories: eLearning Courses, Blended Courses, & Traditional Courses. eLearning courses have no location based delivery which means students are not required to come to campus for class. Students can complete these classes from almost anywhere with reliable internet connection. Blended courses usually have a component where students may be required to come to campus but for no more than 50% of the class time.

Keep in mind that some online courses do require proctored exams. Students will need to establish an approved proctor site near their location to take their exams in this case.

Will the instructor be available to their students during the course?

Online courses still have an instructor that is available to students for questions and help. The course syllabus should list the contact information for the instructor as well as available "office" hours. While instructors are available for students to contact, online courses will require the student to show more initiative in contacting the instructor with questions and need for help. 

Are there other students in my online course?

There are other students in your course but interaction between the students will vary. Some courses utilize discussion boards and group projects to increase awareness of the "class". Other courses will focus more on solo work. Students do have access to instructor and student emails in the course in Blackboard.

Can I work at my own pace when I take an online course?           

Online courses vary in pace and deadlines with UAA. UAA online courses operate on a semester schedule and most of the courses will have weekly or biweekly deadlines for assignments, exams, or papers. Some courses might allow students to work at their own pace but this decision is left to how the instructor has set up the class. The syllabus will dictate the schedule and pacing of the course.

Do online courses require less work than an on-campus course?           

No, expect to do a similar amount of work and spend the same amount of time on your online course as you would for a traditional course. Some research shows that online courses may require more work and time to complete.

How much technology knowledge do I need for an online course?           

You should be able to know how to access the internet, navigate web pages, check and respond to email, and attach files to email. You will want to be familiar with word processing software and media playing software (YouTube, Windows Media Player, etc.) as courses often use these programs to complete assignments. Some courses may require knowledge on specific software - please check with the course syllabus for more specifics. As most UAA online courses heavily use Blackboard, you will want to become familiar with it as well.

If you feel that you may benefit from additional help with Blackboard, see these resources:

Questions Regarding Current Students

How do I look up online courses offered each semester?

You can view UAA online courses by semester under our Students tab to the left. You can also search for online courses at UAOnline for any UA campus. Select Class Schedule & then complete your search by term, campus, & subject. If you are only interested in online courses, make sure you select "eLearning Courses Only" at Type of Course Delivery as this will only search for online courses.

Watch this tutorial video on how to search for online courses at UAOnline.

How do I register for UAA online courses?

Course registration is completed through UAOnline. You will need to log in with your university username & password. Select Student Services --- Registration --- Register/Add/Drop Classes. 

How do I obtain my username for UAOnline, email, & Blackboard?

UAA students are given a 9 digit student identification number as well as a username. To look up your student ID #, username, or to reset your password, please visit the UAA "Me" site. Note that you will use your username & password to access UAOnline, Blackboard, and your university email account.

How do I order textbooks for my UAA online course?

Online courses will still require a textbook & possibly other course materials. You can visit the UAA Bookstore website to look up the materials for your course(s). You will need to have your course details (subject, section number, or CRN) on hand to search. If your course is through another campus (UAF, KPC, Kodiak, etc.). please view the list of campus bookstores at UAOnline to look up your course materials.

How do I view my course? Where do I go to "take" my course?

UAA Blackboard will be the primary method of managing your online course. The instructor will post announcements, the syllabus, assignments, & other materials to your course link within Blackboard.

When will my course show up on Blackboard?

Your course will be available in Blackboard once your instructor has made it available for students to view. This should be done no later than the first day of the semester. Some instructors will make their course shell available before the semester begins to give students time to "look around" the course. If you do not see your course on Blackboard by the first day of class, please contact our office at (907) 786-1730 or eLearning@uaa.alaska.edu.

Do eLearning students have access to an advisor?

Yes, all UAA students have access upon request to an academic advisor. Please visit UAA's Advising Office to determine your advisor according to your declared major.

Can eLearning students access the UAA library?

Yes, UAA's Consortium Library has many resources available online. These can be accessed using your university username & password.

Can eLearning students access services for disabled students?

Yes, UAA's Disability Support Services office is a resource for both on-campus students & online students. 

Questions Regarding Proctored Exams

What is a proctored exam?

A proctored exam is an exam that is taken in a supervised setting with an individual who ensures student and exam integrity. A proctored exam requires that the student set up a proctor site/person approved through the UAA eLearning office. 

How do I know if my course requires proctored exams?

Your instructor and course syllabus will let you know if the course requires proctored exams. The course syllabus or schedule should also tell you how many proctored exams there are and the schedule for completing the exam(s).

How do I set up a proctor for my exams?

If you are enrolled in a UAA online course with proctored exams, virtual proctoring services (RPNow) will be available and should be considered as your primary proctoring choice. You can find more information by visiting our Online Testing Services with RPNow website. You will also find information, and an RPNow Practice Test, deployed in your online course in Blackboard. If you are unable to use RPNow, please visit the UAA Testing Center website for information on scheduling an appointment with their team.

How do I make appointments for my proctored exams?

Students are responsible for making their appointments directly with their proctor. For students testing in Anchorage, contact the UAA Testing Center for more information.

 

What happens when I submit my proctor request form?

After you submit your proctor request form, our exam distribution technician will process your information and record what exam site you will be testing with. Preapproved sites are already set up with our office and are automatically added to our roster.

If you selected an alternate proctor site, then our staff will contact your listed proctor for verification. Alternate proctors are not approved until a staff member has verified that our guidelines will be met.

After I submit my proctor form, what should I do next?

Once you have submitted your proctor request form, you should contact your proctor site directly for appointments. Many testing centers require appointments be made in advance - especially for busy weeks like midterms and finals.

For any students testing in Anchorage, please contact the UAA Testing Center team for scheduling information.

What is allowed while taking my proctored exam?

Exam instructor, course, and exam will have different guidelines as to what is or is not allowed whiled testing. You will need to consult your syllabus and course content in Blackboard to verify what you are allowed to use during the exam.

Also, keep in mind that each test center has their own policies as to what is allowed at their facility. Please be respectful of your testing site's policies.

Questions Regarding RPNow

Who can use RPNow?

RPNow is available to online or blended courses with the University of Alaska Anchorage campuses. Instructors must allow the use of RPNow in their course before a student can request to test with RPNow.

What equipment and technology do I need to use RPNow?

You will need to have a computer (Windows 8.1+ or MAC 10.12+), a secure internet connection, a compatible internet browser (preferably Chrome), a microphone, and webcam (preferably external) to use RPNow.

How do I request to use RPNow instead of testing at a traditional testing center?

If your course is eligible to use RPNow, students will submit a proctor form and select RPNow as their testing location and list their address. Testing environments must meet UAA eLearning guidelines.

Can I use RPNow at a local coffee shop or computer lab?

Environments need to be private and isolated. You may check out an individual study room at a library but are not permitted to test in open/common areas. Computers labs and public environments, like coffee shops, are not appropriate testing locations.

What’s an acceptable testing environment for RPNow?

The testing environment needs to be void of anything that comprises academic integrity or provides an unfair advantage. Students will need to remove prohibited testing items from their desk area and place approved resources in a neat pile.

Do I contact UAA eLearning to schedule appointments?

Students who use RPNow do not need to schedule appointments with UAA’s eLearning Testing Center. Appointments can only be made, verified, and attended by the student taking the exam by presenting a valid photo identification (i.e. Driver’s License or Student ID). Membership cards are not valid forms of ID.  Federal law prohibits RPNow from accepting military and CAC ID’s. Testing outside of the set dates will require instructor approval.

How will I get the password for the exam?

RPNow will allow students to insert the password once the complete the authentication sign in process. The password will never be revealed to students.

 Am I allowed to take breaks during the exam?

Restroom breaks while testing are not permitted; exams must be completed in one sitting unless otherwise specified by your instructor.

Are there additional costs for RPNow?

There are not additional costs and fees associated with the use of RPNow.

Can students who use RPNow access services for disabled students?

Yes, UAA's Disability Support Services office is a resource for both on-campus students & online students.

How do I learn how to use RPNow?

A practice exam, a student setup guide, and policy and procedure documents will be available in the course under the menu option of RPNow. Students will be able to take the practice test multiple times.

Is there a different login for RPnow?

No, students access RPNow within their Blackboard course.

Who do I contact if I am experiencing technological issue with RPNow?

RPNow provides 24/7/365 technical support for faculty and students. Students can contact support through a chat feature while the student is taking their exam. Students will need to have a phone available while they are taking the assessment. The phone should remain powered off unless RPNow’s technical support directs the student to call for further support and help.

What if I don’t have a webcam or microphone?

Students will have the option of checking out an RPNow compatible laptop from the UAA Consortium Library. These are available to the student for purpose of accessing their exams, and may not be taken out of the library. The library staff will arrange a study room for them to use for the duration of their exams.


eLearning: Distance Student Services
(907) 786-1730 | Tollfree (855) 582-2337 (AK Only) | Fax: (907) 786-1008 | uaa_eLearning@alaska.edu | Mon–Fri, 8a–5p