Taking Classes Online

Professor: You'll be able to meet with your professor one-on-one during virtual office hours using web conferencing. Your professor will make his or her availability known for email, phone conversations, and office hours at the beginning of the course.

Classmates: You will be able to engage with your classmates via web conferencing, through email, or whatever collaborative tools you choose to use. Often classes have message boards and discussion rooms exclusively for student engagement.

Assignments: Often course assignments are turned in by uploading files or submitting content through the learning management system. Your professors will make the submission guidelines and deadlines clear at the beginning of the term.

Tests: Tests can be administered through our learning management system using a focus-only web blocker. Sometimes tests require a proctor, which can be completed at most higher ed centers. Your advisor and/or professor will help you set those up.

Some courses occur in real time. You can log in during your appointed class times from anywhere you have a secure high-speed internet connection and a compatible computer or mobile device. Think of this as a "traditional" college class, except instead of a classroom you will join via web conference.

You may be able to go back and watch missed lectures, or watch them again to study or understand a point. Often in this type of class, you will participate in live discussion and Q&A in real time.

I really liked the archive feature that allowed me to go back and re-watch lectures if I did not fully understand the first time.

Zach Traywick, ODU Online Student
Zack Traywick '15 BSET, Civil Engineering Technology, Construction Management focus

These more time-flexible courses have no (or very few) live online meetings. 

You'll use online tools to watch lectures and videos within set timeframes. These classes may require some live meetings to check in, in which case you'll use web conferencing tools.

This class format works well for busy adults, who excel in time management. These asynchronous classes still follow ODU's regular semester schedule, so there are deadlines for registration and coursework must be completed within the semester.

Your courses may have a blend of both regular meetings and independent study time. These courses are highly customized by the professor to allow you to have the best learning experience possible for the specific subject.

Certain programs like teaching and nursing require a hands-on training component that can sometimes be completed at a physical location near you. You may even be able to work out a solution for this requirement that involves your current workplace. You and your professor or advisor will work together to identify a suitable solution that satisfies your program's requirements.

Our Master of Engineering Management program is available to military servicemembers via portable media, such as DVD or CD-ROM. This option helps our military students stay on track with their education while deployed.

Course content is organized into learning modules with defined learning objectives and assignments to help you plan timely completion and return of course work. Courses must be completed within a specific time frame. For example, engineering management courses by portable media have a 90-day term.

There are no live online class meetings. If needed, you can communicate with faculty, advisors, and support staff using email and/or online discussion boards.


  • A computer capable of playing CD-ROMs or DVDs is required. You should have administrator permissions to install a video player, if necessary.
  • proctor must administer tests and exams.