Online education student using an iMac with charts on the screen, at North Park

Online Education

How Does Online Education Work?

At North Park, you will be exposed to many different learning experiences, including classes with an online element.

The Center for Online Education (COE) manages Canvas, North Park’s Learning Management System (LMS). The COE also:

  • Fields online learning requests
  • Offers training and assistance
  • Communicates information about Canvas changes, issues, and maintenance

About COE

Canvas Help Wiki

Online Education Basics

If this is your first time taking an online college course, you undoubtedly have some questions about how online learning works. We can answer all of your questions and explain why online education at North Park is a flexible and rewarding option for all learners.

The main difference between online and an on-campus classroom is how the content is delivered. Instead of attending class on campus, you use a password-protected website to access lectures and readings, interact with classmates, complete assignments, and take tests. Another important difference is that online courses are asynchronous, meaning you don’t have to be at your computer at a set time. You can access course materials and participate in discussions when you want and where you want. It is truly learning-on-demand.

Types of Courses

When you are taking an on-campus course, your professor may choose to use our LMS to post content and coursework online. You will attend class as you normally would, but then utilize the LMS as instructed by the professor

When you take a hybrid course here at North Park, that means that 25-75% of your course work is put in an online format but you are still required to attend scheduled class sessions. You will use our LMS more heavily than you would in an on-campus course, but with elements of the in-class experiences.

Online courses at NPU are conducted completely online and are taught by the same professors who teach the traditional face-to-face classes. Rather than attending class at NPU, you will log in to the LMS to participate in forums or access assignments and course content.

Online Orientations

Undergraduates taking Online/Hybrid Courses

If you are enrolled in an online or hybrid course please take advantage of the CANVAS 101S tutorial. This online tutorial will help you become better acquainted with Canvas as well as give you information on expectations and best practices for success in an online or hybrid course environment.

New Student Online Orientation

This orientation is for new Graduate and School of Professional Studies students who are seeking a degree at North Park University. Throughout this orientation, you will be introduced to a range of topics from technology needs as a returning student, academic planning, financing your education and ensuring you are supported as a student here.

Your Online Orientation will be conducted on North Park’s Learning Management System (LMS) called Canvas. You will be given a brief introduction to Canvas, but for a more in-depth tutorial you will be directed to our Introduction to Canvas for Students Tutorial (CANVAS 101S) at the end of this orientation.

This orientation is a zero credit, pass/fail course.


Many on-campus courses use Canvas, North Park’s Learning Management System (LMS), to enhance the classroom learning experience. When you register for an online/hybrid course at North Park, you’ll be able to login securely to the LMS with your North Park account username and password and participate in your virtual classroom. Please keep in mind that all your course communication will go to your North Park student email unless you set up email forwarding in your O365 account. Students don’t need to purchase or download any additional software to access the LMS. Students will need a computer with high-speed Internet access and a web browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Canvas Training Information

Introduction to Online Learning (CANVAS 101S)

All students can easily go to their Canvas Dashboard to access the CANVAS 101S training tutorial without having to enroll or request to be enrolled. As a reminder, this training is completely online and is full of tutorials and videos for how to use Canvas from the students’ perspective. We hope that it will be beneficial. To manage what courses you see on your Dashboard, visit this Canvas Guide. 

Access Canvas Now

Is Online Education Right for You?

Online education has some terrific advantages, namely the ability to earn a valuable degree on your own schedule from any geographic location. However, online education may not be for everyone. Online courses require a significant amount of self-motivation. Online students are expected to complete each week’s assignment on schedule and be a regular presence in the discussion boards.

Some people prefer not to take online courses because they feel that they express themselves better in a real-time, face-to-face context. On the other hand, many enjoy the online environment better than classroom interaction, because online courses require everyone to participate. This ensures a diversity of perspectives that could get lost in a classroom setting, where it’s easier to “hide in the back.” Also, written opinions often elicit a deeper level of thought than live discussions.

Don’t assume that online courses are somehow easier than face-to-face classes. In fact, the workload for online courses is often greater than traditional classes, because students have to read the equivalent of an in-class lecture on top of the normal reading assignments. The rest of the assignments are the same and are graded with the same expectations of quality, thoughtfulness, and full effort.