How it Works

Learning online at UALR

With more than 300 online courses offered each semester, UALR students have the opportunity to receive a high-quality college education anytime and anywhere. The courses are developed using the latest technology with the help of our instructional designers, and taught by the same award-winning faculty who teach face-to-face courses on campus.

How It Works (FAQ)

Am I ready for online courses?

To succeed in an online learning environment, you need:

  • A quiet place to study
  • Allotted study time each week
  • Regular access to required equipment*
  • Sufficient skills in time management and communication
  • To be self-motivated and disciplined

What are the basic requirements for online courses?

*Technical requirements include:

  • A computer
  • A stable, broadband Internet connection
  • An updated Internet browser
  • Microsoft Office or OpenOffice
  • Java and Macromedia Flash Player

Read more about the system requirements at our Blackboard student support site.

Note: Students taking online courses should have predictable, regular access to and control of a computer as your instructor assignment dates may vary. Some courses may also require additional equipment or software. Check with your instructors and course syllabi to determine specific requirements for your online courses.

What does an online classroom look like?

Most online courses are accessed through Blackboard, UALR’s learning management system. When you log into Blackboard, you’ll see links to your current courses, as well as announcements and other helpful resources. Each course has its own homepage, where you’ll be able to manage assignments, watch video lectures, communicate with your instructor, participate in discussions with your classmates and use other digital tools for an engaging learning experience.

How can I keep track of everything?

MyUALR is every student’s digital tool belt. From registration and financial aid, to courses and communication, online students have everything they need to be successful without ever stepping foot on campus.

  • Blackboard offers several tools that help students stay on track and organized. The calendar tool keeps all your assignments and tasks in order, and you can easily import it into your personal calendar applications. You can also check your current grades, announcements from your instructors and online resources through the Ottenheimer Library. >> Want more Blackboard tips? Visit the Blackboard student support site.
  • BOSS is the one-stop, online system for access to your university record and where most students conduct business from accepting financial aid to registering for classes, paying their bill, and checking grades. >> Have questions about BOSS? Contact IT Services at 501.916.5073 or
  • Gmail and other Google Apps are available to every UALR student. Whether you need to communicate with your instructors, schedule important dates, review or share your notes, or collaborate on group projects with your classmates, it can all be done through your UALR Gmail account. >> Need help with your email? Visit the IT Services email support page.

How much time should I commit?

Online courses are often based on a weekly schedule rather than a daily one, but the requirements of some instructors will vary. A good rule is to devote at least 2-3 hours of study per credit hour each week. For example, if you’re taking a course that’s worth 3 credit hours, you should spend 6-9 hours of study time each week on the material.

Credit hours Study hours (per week)
3 credit hours (1 course) 6-9 hours
9 credit hours (3 course) 18-27 hours

Note: Because accelerated courses are condensed to half a semester, they require twice as much study time per week as a semester-length course. Online students enrolled in accelerated or graduate programs should be prepared to spend about 6 hours a week on coursework per 1 course credit.

How many courses should I take?

Online learning is just as intensive as learning face-to-face, so it’s important that you don’t overwhelm yourself. After all, one of the perks of taking online courses is having the flexibility to balance your education with other commitments, such as your family and work.
The following chart suggests the number of credit hours recommended based on the hours you plan to work while in school:

Employment hours per week Recommended credit hours per week
40 hours 3-6 credit hours
30 hours 3-9 credit hours
20 hours 6-12 credit hours
<20 hours 12-18 credit hours

How much does it cost?

While tuition rates vary by program and may change over time, the UALR Bursar’s Office publishes the most current rates on its website.

The standard tuition rate and mandatory fees are the same for both online and face-to-face courses. Students in online courses are also assessed a Distance Education Technology Fee of $25 per credit hour.

>> Do you have questions about tuition and fees for online courses? Contact the Bursar’s Office at 501.569.3450 or

What online resources are available to me?

Blackboard Support
Blackboard student support offers a variety of resources for users including tutorials, links to helpful resources, and answers to students’ frequently asked questions. Students may contact Blackboard support specialists using this form (, and are encouraged to bookmark the Blackboard support site for easy access.
>> Visit the Blackboard student support website

Information Technology Services
The IT Services Assistance Center helps students with issues related to accessing the network on campus, logging into UALR systems (Blackboard, myUALR) or UALR email.
>> Contact IT Services

Ottenheimer Library
Students who take courses online have access to the Ottenheimer Library. Through the library’s website or Blackboard, students can take advantage of different research databases, scholarly journals, e-books and other research materials.
>> Search the database

The OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Online students who need help with their writing have a valuable resource at their fingertips through The OWL, UALR’s Online Writing Lab. OWL assistants provide quality feedback and problem-solving strategies for students’ writing assignments.
>> Learn more about the OWL

More Student Resources
Online students have access to most of the student resources offered at UALR, either by phone or email.
>> See a full listing of student resources