Online Learner FAQs

Are online courses easier than on-campus courses?

Many of our successful online learners find they spend as much or even more time on their coursework than on-campus learners. Once you develop your study habits and get into a regular routine, you will know the amount of time it takes for you to successfully study for and complete your assignments.

Will these online credits transfer to another institution?

Your credits may transfer based upon articulation agreements with other institutions.

How many credits do most people take at one time (in one semester)?

The number of credits varies based on the program and your circumstances. The average for a full-time online student is 12 credits.

How much time does an online program take to complete?

Many of our e-degrees offer full- and part-time coursework. Check our e-degrees page for specific course outlines, which will let you know exactly how much time the program will take, when it begins, and how many credits per semester you will have.

How much time will I spend per week in an online class?

You should expect to spend at least 8 to 10 hours per week per course.

Are there certain times when I need to be online?

Most of the courses are asynchronous which means everyone is not online at the same time but learners do need to meet the due dates as set by the instructor.  Some instructors may hold synchronous sessions which means all students are logged in at the same time.

What are some guidelines for communication?

You will find some great tips for online communication in our Online Etiquette (Netiquette) section. Also, staying in regular contact with your instructor is important as is checking your email daily.

How do I get started on my online course?

We know it can seem overwhelming, but do not worry! We will send you all of the information you will need to access your coursework and connect with your instructor. After receiving this information it is vital that you commit to checking your LATI email daily as well as logging into the course several times a week.

When do online courses start?

Most online courses begin in either August, January, or May to correspond to the beginning of Fall, Spring, or Summer term.  Check with your course instructors for more information on specific courses.

Do I need a photo ID?

Some programs require that you obtain a Lake Area Tech student ID. Please check with your program for specific requirements. You can obtain a LATI Student ID by coming to the orientation day or you can stop by the bookstore when you are on campus.

Do I need a parking pass when on campus?

Online students do need a parking pass while they are on-campus for class activities and labs. Your instructor will provide you with a parking pass when one is required.

How do I access student email?

Once you are enrolled, you will receive a welcome letter that details all of the information you will need to access your LATI email through our website at After receiving this information it is vital that you commit to checking your LATI email daily.

What does it take to be a successful online student and how will I know if it is for me?

There are several points to consider before deciding to become an online student. You will find many of them in the Is Online Learning for You? and Tips for Success sections.

Is there an instructor?

Absolutely! All of the LATI e-degree programs are taught by one or more program instructors so rest assured, you will be receiving instruction from a top-notch LATI instructor! After acceptance, you will receive a letter from him or her complete with their contact information.

Do I have to be “computer saavy”?

You do not need to be an expert, but you will need to know how to navigate the Internet, log on to the course webpage, operate any course-specific software, and access your email account. More program-specific information will be mailed to you upon acceptance.

I do not have a computer at home? Can I still take an online course?

All of our e-degrees at LATI require a computer with an internet connection. In these cases, you may consider Lake Area Tech’s Lease-To-Own laptop program. The program allows a student to lease (payments are due each semester) a laptop that has all of the required software installed. Computer requirements can be found here.

What do I do if I need help or have questions about online issues at LATI?

We have you covered! If you have a program question, go ahead and contact your program instructor using the contact information he/she provided in your welcome letter. If there is a tech problem with LATI’s computer system, please feel free to contact the Help Desk here. If you are unable to reach your instructor and need help with eLearning or My Portal, give our Innovation Center staff a call. Jason’s number is (605) 882-5284 extension 305 and Shawn’s is extension 389

How do I find out what is required of me in an online class?

Browse through the What is Online Learning? section and you will get a good idea of what online learning is all about. Our instructors are also very willing to talk to prospective students. Here are options to find out more:

  • contact the program supervisor by phone or email
  • set up an appointment for a campus tour to learn more about LATI and visit with program instructors in person.

If you make the decision to apply (and we hope you do), specific information will be mailed to you upon acceptance into the program.

Do I ever come to campus?

You do! LATI’s e-degrees are a unique blend of online and on-campus learning. As an e-degree student, you will complete most of your classes through our online eLearning or My Portal systems but you will also come to the LATI campus for crucial hands-on training, labs, and/or clinical experience.

How is the class taught?

Each program will have its own nuances, but generally speaking, online learners will receive a syllabus at the beginning of the course that will explain the assignments, deadlines, and expectations of that course. The courses may include written instructional documents, videos or audios of lectures, and/or demonstration videos relative to completing the assignments. Sometimes standard classroom textbooks and printed materials are used in combination with the online course materials. In addition, email, forums, electronic bulletin boards, and chat rooms may be utilized during the duration of the course. Students receive course assignments electronically and once they are completed, they are submitted electronically. Tests will be administered online.

Is there a set schedule?

Yes. In your syllabus or materials for each course, you will be provided with all of the assignment deadlines, which you will be expected to meet. Of course, you will be able to work at your convenience, but you must complete and submit assignments on time.

How are exams administered?

Tests or exams will be administered online or by paper with a proctor. The dates for tests will be provided in your syllabus or in the class schedule. They will need to be completed at the time assigned.

How will I find out course info?

After acceptance into the program, you will receive a welcome letter that will detail all of the information you will need to get started with your coursework. You will be given log in information to the eLearning/MyPortal site where you will be able to access everything. In addition, you will receive an LATI email address. Please check it daily to ensure you are receiving all program-related communication.

Do I need special software to take online classes?

Yes, depending on the program. The required software for your program will be installed on your laptop if you lease from LATI. If purchased separately, the software could possibly cost you thousands of dollars. In addition to the laptop, you will also receive tech support through LATI. Information on Lake Area Tech’s Lease-To-Own laptop program is available here.

How do I access my classes (eLearning and MyPortal)?

Upon acceptance, you will receive a welcome letter, which will include log in information that will allow you to access your online course and course information. In addition, you will receive a Lake Area Tech email address that you will need to check daily for communication from your instructor.

What kind of support services can I expect as an online student?

Plenty! As a Lake Area Tech online student, you will receive all of the support that on-campus students get. First and foremost, tech support is offered to all online learners. Your computer is your key to success, so that contact information will be essential. You will also find support through our IT and Innovation Center staff.

For a problem with LATI’s computer system, please feel free to contact the Help Desk here.  If there are technical problems with your non-LATI computer or internet connection, we are unable to assist you. You may need to contact your internet provider for assistance.

If you are unable to reach your instructor and need help with eLearning or My Portal, give our Innovation Center staff a call. Jason’s number is (605) 882-5284 extension 305 and Shawn’s is extension 389.

In addition, general support services are available to all online students. You’ll find a list of links in the Support for Online Learners section.

How much does an online program cost? How much is tuition? Are there extra fees?

An estimate of tuition and fees is listed on the individual e-degrees pages. Just click on the program you are interested in and select the costs tab on the right.

Can I talk to somebody before registering for an online class?

Yes, we highly recommend you visit with one of our admissions representatives. They are your first line of admissions communication and will be able to answer your questions and/or direct you to the right person, depending on your need. Call us anytime during business hours at 1-800-657-4344 and ask to speak with an admissions rep.

How do I know which books and supplies I will need for each course and how do I order them?

We make it easy for you! Once you are accepted and granted access to the My Portal site, you will see which textbooks are required of each course. A quick call to Stax - the LATI bookstore - with a credit card is all it takes to get your textbook(s) in the mail to you!