Online and Distance Education

Moodle Frequently Asked Questions

How do MWSU online courses work?
The vast majority of distance education courses at Missouri Western State University are offered 100% online. Some courses are a blend of online instruction and face-to-face instruction. A few distance education courses are offered via synchronous video-conferencing.

Fully online courses allow students to complete college courses at times and places that meet their schedule and environment. Students are generally able to complete assignments from anywhere there is an Internet connection and can do so with some flexibility of when the work is done.

Blended courses require occasional face-to-face meetings for instruction and/or interaction with other students that is most effective in a face-to-face situation.

Synchronous video-conferencing is where students are at multiple locations participating with the instructor and other students through video-conferencing.

Online courses will utilize a Learning Management System (LMS). For Fall 2017 and Spring 2018, online courses will use an LMS known as Moodle. This LMS is hosted by a hosting service known as Moodlerooms. However, Missouri Western State University has issued an RFP for an LMS and may be changing to a different LMS or hosting service by Summer 2018.

Using an LMS, you can connect with your instructor and peers, watch videos, review lessons, participate in discussions, take quizzes and exams, complete assignments and more. Although online courses allow some flexibility regarding when students complete assignments, online courses follow the same semester schedule as face-to-face courses and have assignment due dates and test dates according to a calendar created by each online instructor. Missouri Western online courses are not self-paced.
What is Moodle?
Moodle is the LMS (Learning Management System) used by Missouri Western State University for many online courses.

Course materials, assignments, and communications with the instructor and other classmates are available through a course web site, which you can access through an Internet Service Provider.

Courses designed for the Internet usually involve:
Reading assignments and textbooks
Writing papers
Submitting assignments via e-mail
Online discussion with classmates and the instructor
Group activities
Online exams

Streamed audio and/or video lecture materials may also be included in an online course. Some instructors may require or make it optional for students taking an online course to come to MWSU and attend a class session and/or view additional supplemental materials.
Where do I log into Moodle?
To access your online courses in Moodle, go to You may access Moodle through Goldlink.
How do I know if I am ready to take an online course?
Please read "What to expect with your distance education course" which will provide valuable information regarding whether or not distance education courses are right for you. It is probably best to speak with an advisor before registering for an online course, but you can take a short assessment that may help you understand if online learning is right for you. Online Distance Education Readiness Assessment
Are online classes self-paced? Do online courses have deadlines?
Missouri Western's online classes are not self-paced and are as demanding and rigorous as traditional face-to-face courses. Each course has a beginning and end date, and are actively led by an instructor which will provide deadlines for assigned homework, reading, and online discussions. The Instructor will provide specific instructions for submitting assignments either through the course web site, e-mail, regular mail, or fax. You will be expected to complete all online course activities by the specified due date.
Do I have to sign on at a particular time?
Most courses allow you to sign in at any time of the day or night. You will still need to meet the course due dates and deadlines and will need to plan your schedule accordingly. Many instructors in use Zoom for online office hours. For more information on Zoom, click here.
What skills do I need to succeed in an online class?
You must know how to operate a computer, download and upload files, search for information using a web browser, have an active MWSU e-mail account, send documents as attachments, create PDFs, save and transfer movies, use of Google applications, and know how to use an e-mail listserv.
What are the technical requirements for using Moodle?
You are required to have access to a computer with an Internet connection when enrolling for online courses. Click here to see the basic computer requirements for Moodle. You may also come to campus and use one of the computers in the MWSU computer labs if it is convenient. For locations of the computer labs on campus, please visit Academic Computing Services.
Which browsers work best for Moodle?
Moodle supports the last two versions of a browser release. For the best user experience, use the newest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer. We recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Safari. We have seen some minor issues with Internet Explorer. For the most up-to-date information on browsers, please go to Moodle Broswer Support.
I have a disability, is it possible to get accommodations for an online course?
To request accommodations for an online course, you must first contact the Accessibility Resource Center at (816) 271-4330 or
Does Academic Integrity apply to online courses?
Online assignments are subject to the same standards of integrity that apply in traditional face-to-face classes. It is cheating to copy from others or from outside sources on any online assignment, quiz or exam (unless otherwise specified by the instructor). Your online instructor may use Turnitin Antiplagiarism software to verify that submitted work is your own. For more information on Academic Integrity, please see the Student Handbook.
What resources are available online from Missouri Western's library?
Many library resources are online and available to all enrolled students at Missouri Western. Currently, there are over 70 electronic databases that are available online. For more information on what our library has to offer, please visit the library website.
Once I'm registered, am I able to access my Moodle course?
Online classes become available one week before the start of the semester. At that time, you can log into Moodle and access the course syllabus. Most instructors do not release the course content until the semester officially starts. If you register late, your course may not be available for 24 hours. If it is the first day of the semester and you still do not see your course(s), please contact the Help Desk at 816-271-4555.
How do I get my books and course materials?
You are responsible for getting your textbook and course materials for your online course(s). Textbook information can be obtained from the Western Bookstore. You can also obtain textbook and course materials from the course syllabus, available inside your Moodle course one week before the start of the course. Textbooks can be purchased from the Missouri Western University.
By using the computer, how may I communicate with my instructor and other class members?
You will access the course web site, online message boards, e-mail listserv, and the instructor's e-mail address to stay informed regarding assignments, syllabus changes, exam dates, and to communicate with other classmates online. Your instructor will most likely give you instructions on how to communicate and find course announcements. Most instructors will require students to submit their homework assignments through the course web site or via e-mail. Instructors usually try to respond to your e-mail questions in 24 - 48 hours.
I have attempted to contact my instructor several times without a reply. What should I do?
If you are unable to contact your instructor, please contact the department.
Do I need a Missouri Western user ID and password to access the Internet and the library's online resources?
For electronic access to over 70 MWSU library databases your user ID and password are the same ID and password you use to check your Missouri Western e-mail account. Visit the MWSU Library at
Do I have to use my Missouri Western e-mail account?
All official information (mid-term grades, access codes, etc.) the university sends out to you, by electronic means, goes only to your Missouri Western e-mail account. Some instructors will only communicate with students through their Missouri Western e-mail accounts as well.
If I have difficulty with assignments, whom do I contact?
If you have difficulty with your assignments, you should first contact your instructor for help. The Center for Academic Support may also provide assistance with your assignments. You should always start your assignments early in case a problem or questions arise. This will give you enough time to e-mail your instructor or contact the Center for Academic Support for assistance. Online courses are dependent upon web servers to be up and running at all times. However, unexpected outages to web servers and computers, as well as student's internet service providers may be down unexpectedly due to factors beyond the control of Missouri Western. You may not be able to connect to the course web site to work on your assignments in such instances. It is always important to work ahead.
What happens if I cannot connect to the Internet?
You should do the following:

1. Contact your Internet Service Provider to see whether the problem is theirs or not.

2. If it is not a problem with your Internet Service Provider, then you should contact the Information Technology Office Help Desk at (816) 271-4555 for assistance. The Information Technology Office will also be able to tell you if there are any problems with the course web site.

3. If you are unable to solve the problem with the Information Technology Office, or if the problem will take more time to solve, contact your instructor. Inform the instructor of your situation, and make arrangements to complete your work in another way. It is usually best to find another computer that you can use to complete the work (i.e. at a friend's house, work, the library).
Where can I get help with my Moodle Login?
Contact the Help Desk at 816-271-4555 or visit them in the Hearnes Center. Check the Help Desk Hours.
Where can I get help with Moodle?
There are many resources available to help you learn to use Moodle. They can be found at Moodle Help website. Also, there are several Moodle help links to assist you. If you are not able to get your questions answered from these resources, please send email to e-mail or call (816) 271-4210.
Can I access Moodle courses on my smartphone or tablet?
Yes! Read the Mobile apps guide for smartphones (iOS and Android) and the Tablet guide for iPads and Androids. Moodle apps are free in iTunes and Google Play. Please note: Although Moodle works on mobile devices, there may be an occasional lesson or quiz that is better viewed on a computer.
Why is my course not showing when I log into Moodle?
If you just registered, it may take up to 24 hours before your course appears in Canvas. If you do not see your course after 24 hours, please contact the Help Desk at 816-271-4555. For all other Moodle technical questions, you may send an e-mail to or contact the Instructional Media Center at (816) 271-4210.
How can I email my instructor privately?
Once you are logged into Moodle, click the "Course Tools" link and scroll down until you locate the "Quickmail" block. Click "Compose New Email" select your instructor from the "Potential Recipients" list and then click "Add"; type a subject in the "Subject" box; compose your message and send.
What do I do if I cannot access my Moodle course?
If you cannot get the Moodle login page to open, or if it is telling you that you have an incorrect user ID or password, contact the Information Technology Office Help Desk at (816) 271-4555. For all other Moodle technical questions, you may send an e-mail to or contact the Instructional Media Center at (816) 271-4210.
What if I need assistance with my computer skills?
There are many great tutorials and free resources available on the Internet to help you with basic computer skills. Here are a few you may start with: and If you need assistance with Moodle, please review this site for tutorials, guides and tips:
What do I do if I experience non-technical computer problems during my online course?
You need to first contact your instructor for non-technical questions. The instructor will help you resolve the problem or help you contact the person who can.
How can I complete the course/instructor evaluations online?
Your instructors will tell you when evaluations are available to complete. Please make sure you complete the evaluations because your feedback helps the instructors and the university to continually improve the distance education program at Missouri Western. Evaluations will be available toward the end of each semester.
What are the 5 Steps to Online Success?
1. Know Your Course – Embrace the syllabus, familiarize yourself with the course requirements, purchase your text and required course supplies, learn how to navigate Moodle (MWSU’s Learning Management System).

2. Communicate – Engage in course conversations and discussions with your instructor and peers. Are you confused? Ask your instructor for clarification. Use appropriate netiquette for all your communications.

3. Manage Your Time – Procrastination is the downfall of many online students. Don’t fall victim to procrastination; plan your study times and stick to them. Set goals for yourself. You need to be self-disciplined and self-motivated.

4. Be Tech Ready – You need to have basic technical skills to succeed. These include creating and editing documents, navigating the internet and file management. If you type fewer than 25 words per minute you may find the online environment frustrating.

5. Be Persistent – Recognize when you are having technical or academic issues and seek assistance. Missouri Western has many student support services available to assist you.