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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

Technical Requirements for Online/Hybrid Learning

Students will need a laptop (PC or Mac) or access to a desktop computer in order to receive the best compatibility and functionality when taking courses at DeSales University. Tablets and mobile phones can be used as supplemental technology but will not have the same capabilities as a full computer.

Requirements for PC

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. 

Requirements for Mac

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. 

Other Requirements

Hardware: Specific courses require different hardware.  It is the student’s responsibility to find out what hardware is needed to participate in the course. Common hardware includes:

  • Computer speakers or headset:  Many courses include videos or audio lectures which require use of speakers or a headset
  • Microphone or headset with microphone:  A microphone may be required if your course includes live audio chat over the Internet.  You can purchase a computer headset with microphone at most office supply or electronics stores.  A USB headset works best with Mac.
  • Webcam: A camera may be required for video conferencing, secure online testing, and presentation assignments. Cameras that come integrated with laptops work well. External cameras can be purchased online or at office supply and electronics stores.

Software:  Specific courses require different software.  It is the student’s responsibility to find out what software is needed to participate in the course.  MS Office is usually the standard for word processing but any program that will save files as a PDF will work. Adobe Acrobat Reader or some other program that reads PDF files is also often a requirement.

Plug-ins:  A plug-in is a software application that can easily be installed and used as part of your web browser.  In most cases, you will be prompted to install plug-ins as needed.  Some necessary plug-ins may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Java (version 7 or higher)
  • Microsoft Silverlight
  • Flash Player (version 11 is recommended)
  • Apple QuickTime

E-mail:  Students enrolled in distance education or online courses are required to use their DeSales University e-mail.  Please view the DeSales University e-mail policy

NOTE: The Blackboard app is available for mobile devices. Information on the application can be found at

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