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Online Learning at DeSales


Every bit as rigorous as our on-campus courses, our online instruction is presented in a way that is unique to the online environment and considers your need for work-life-study balance.

Exciting, Convenient Learning

Because the quality and content of our online courses identical to their on-campus counterparts the outcomes and goals of online courses remain the same. However, the teaching and learning tools can be somewhat different. In addition to convenience, many students enjoy the many new collaboration and education opportunities presented in the online environment.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Classes

In synchronous courses, faculty and students all share the same virtual learning space at the same time. It's a similar experience to the traditional classroom experience, only instead of going to class, the classroom comes to you. In asynchronous courses, you, your instructor, and classmates share a virtual learning space, but you'll go online and participate at times that are convenient for you. At DeSales, online courses can be synchronous, asynchronous or a blend of both, optimizing the ways in which you can learn online.

Flex Classes: In Class or Online

online Flex courses - Photo by malcolm garret from Pexels

Flex classes are designed for students who enjoy the experience of live-time, instructor-led classes but can't always physically get to campus.

It's perfect for those students who normally attend class on campus but occasionally can't make the drive when life happens.

Courses are offered in Center Valley with students being able to participate synchronously from anywhere in the world via the internet. 

Attendance, either in the physical classroom or remotely, is required at the scheduled meeting time. Remote participation in a Flex course requires the use of a webcam and microphone. 

Is Online Learning Right for You?

Are you ready to start your online learning journey?

I have easy access to an Internet-accessible computer.
I have a dedicated study area free from distractions.
I can make 6 to 10 hours per week available for my online course.
I am comfortable communicating my needs to others.
I am able to work both independently and on teams.
Exploring new concepts fascinates me.
I once read a book just because I wanted to learn how to do something.
I have been successful in setting realistic goals and accomplishing them.
I am a good reader.
I am a good writer.
I am willing to share my ideas.

 Are you ready?

If you answered "Yes" to 7-11 statements, welcome aboard! An online course is probably good for you.

If you answered "Yes" to 4-6 statements, an online course may work for you, but you will need to make a few adjustments in your schedule and study habits to succeed.

If you answered "Yes" to less than 4 statements, an online course may not be best for you at this time. Please contact your academic advisor and the course instructor.

Blackboard Learn™

DeSales' Blackboard Learn™ puts you in touch with group forums and collaborations to study and course materials--and everything in between--all available right at your fingertips.

Getting started with DeSales' Blackboard Learn™:

  • Log into MyDSU, then find/click "Blackboard" from the Applications section to the right.
  • Blackboard can also be accessed directly by visiting
  • Students gain access to Blackboard Learn 7 days before the course start date.

The Blackboard App allows students to access content whenever and wherever they'd like. Download it from your device's app store by searching "Blackboard."

Technical Requirements

Personal Computing Requirements for All Students

To take courses at DeSales University, students need a laptop computer (PC or Mac) with the capabilities listed below. Chromebooks, tablets, mobile phones, and desktop computers can be used as supplemental technology but are not a substitute for a full-function laptop computer.

Instructors may require students to bring their laptop to class for exam administration or other instructional purposes. If a student is experiencing a hardship in obtaining a laptop computer, contact Brian MacDonald at

Minimum Requirements for Windows Laptop Computer

  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows 8.1 or higher 
  • Browser: Google Chrome (version 69 or higher), or Mozilla Firefox (version 59 or higher). Pop-up blocking should be disabled in all browsers. 

Minimum Requirements for Mac Laptop Computer

  • Operating System: Macintosh OS X 10.13 (High Sierra) or higher 
  • Browser: Safari (version 12 or higher), Google Chrome (version 69 or higher), or Mozilla Firefox (version 59 or higher). Pop-up blocking should be disabled in all browsers. 

General Laptop Computer Requirements

  • Headset with microphone
  • Webcam
  • Wifi capability

Universally Used Computer Applications

  • Blackboard Learn: Blackboard is the online home for all DeSales courses. May be accessed from the MyDSU portal on the Applications tab.
  • Zoom Video Conferencing: Many activities in the fall, including instruction, will require access to Zoom. May be accessed from the MyDSU portal on the Applications tab.
  • Respondus LockDown Browser with Monitor: The Respondus software is used to provide academic integrity for online exams. A link to the Respondus LockDown Browser is available within your courses in Blackboard. Respondus Monitor requires the use of a web camera, either internal or external.
  • Microsoft Office 365 and DeSales Gmail: Information may be found on the MyDSU portal
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader DC or other software that can read PDF format files. Free download:

Mobile Apps

As a supplemental technology, students may find it beneficial to download and use the mobile apps associated with Blackboard, Zoom, and Panopto (software used for video content).

Program- and Course-Specific Technology Requirements

Specific academic programs and courses may require additional computer hardware and software. It is the student’s responsibility to be familiar with the information in the syllabus for each of their courses and any program-specific guidance.

New Student Orientation

New to DeSales online learning? Join us for a brief, online session to help you get started.

As an online learner at DeSales, we want you to be successful. This is why we encourage all new online students to login to our live online learning introduction session. It only takes about 30 minutes and gives you a preview of the technology you'll be using as a student.

During the session, the group will discuss several helpful resources for students enrolled in online and/or on-campus courses which also have an online instruction component. Resources range from hardware and software-based communications solutions to research and reference aids that are provided by the Trexler Library. 

See the schedule at