How Online Learning Works
Course delivery: Asynchronous vs Synchronous

Most Marshall Online courses are offered asynchronously meaning all the content is offered 100% online. There are no scheduled meeting times. You log into Marshall’s learning management system, Blackboard, to work and complete assignments by due dates at times that are convenient for you. In contrast, synchronous courses require scheduled instruction times. You learn and engage with your instructor and classmates in a live, virtual experience. Courses will readily be identified on the delivery style.

Technology requirements

You will want to make sure that the computer you will use to access your online course meets the minimum hardware requirements provided on the Marshall University IT Recommended Hardware page. You should regularly update your personal computer, antivirus software, browsers, and plug-ins (e.g., Java, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash) to ensure Blackboard will run smoothly. Antivirus software is available for free to Marshall students.

IT Services

The IT team provides support for tech issues related to accessing courses, university software and systems, and resources. For tips, student IT guides, software, and wireless setup instructions please visit IT Service Desk, Students.


Marshall Online courses take place in our learning management system, Blackboard. Faculty and students participate and collaborate in course content, materials, discussions, and assignments to create a meaningful and engaging learning environment. All work is completed in the web-based system.


Each of your courses will have a syllabus that will serve as your guide to the course. Generally, the syllabus will include course expectations, policies, assignments, and due dates. Your instructor should make class syllabi and any changes necessary available to you via Blackboard. They may also email you this information.

Academic Calendar

Marshall Online programs and courses generally follow the traditional Academic Calendar.  You will want to review each of your course syllabi for any individual exceptions.

Part-time vs full-time

We understand that online students have busy lives and demands. At Marshall Online you decide how many courses you would like to take. Many students choose part-time enrollment, 1-2 courses at a time while others take a full load with 9-15 hours. You decide what works best for you.

Note: full time and part status vary depending upon your classification as an undergraduate or graduate student and may determine financial aid eligibility.


Depending on your program of enrollment, as a Marshall Online student you may not be expected to come to campus but know that you are always welcome to campus. There are numerous opportunities to Experience Marshall for a formal visit.

State Authorization

All institutions offering post-secondary education through distance programs who have students in other states must be sure that state laws where those students reside are being followed. Even though the university may not have a physical presence in another state, it must honor the state’s jurisdiction. For additional information, please visit State Authorization.

Financial Aid

Marshall Online students are eligible to apply for financial aid. The process for applying is the same for all students and starts with completing the Free Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is completed annually and should be completed as early as possible. Keep in mind there may be deadlines or priority dates for certain types of aid and not all programs may be eligible for aid.  For questions about the application, program eligibility or to get help completing the FAFSA, Marshall’s Office of Financial Assistance is staffed with experts to assist you.