Online learning is a lot like face-to-face learning, except you can access your classroom anytime, anywhere, from nearly any device. A simple Web interface makes it easy to access courses, connect with instructors and classmates, check your grades, and get support when you need it.
In addition, the online UW Data Science programs feature an innovative Virtual Lab that lets you remotely access software tools and programming languages such as R, Python, SQL Server, and Tableau via a virtual desktop—saving you the time and expense of purchasing and installing these applications on your own computer.
Click the screen below to discover six reasons you will love learning online in the UW Data Science master’s and certificate programs.
A genuine University of Wisconsin education
Your online Master of Science in Data Science and online Graduate Certificate in Data Science is the same recognized and respected UW education granted to students who attend courses on campus. It offers you the same accredited, first-class education, renowned faculty, and rigorous standards that the University of Wisconsin is known for and that employers highly regard.
Want an inside look at a UW Data Science course? Preview lectures, assignments, and discussions, in this Course Inside Look: Foundations of Data Science.
Online, but not alone
Many students are surprised to find that they get to know their instructors and classmates better online than in a traditional classroom. You will receive personal attention from your instructors as they deliver lessons, direct you through activities, and answer your questions. You will feel connected and supported as you engage with other students through email, chat, video conferencing, discussion boards, and more.
“The best part of my experience at UW thus far has been interactions with the professors. During my first programming class, I was relieved to know that the professors were more than willing to meet on Skype, provide feedback, hold office hours, and even help troubleshoot problem areas within my code. This type of support has continued throughout my courses. I also appreciate the online flexibility, because for my job, I occasionally need to travel to clients for projects.” – Halee Mason
Frequently asked questions about online learning
Why might someone take an online course?
Online courses offer greater flexibility than classroom-based courses. Students still have deadlines and due dates, but there is never a specific time you need to be online. This makes it much easier to earn your degree while still having time for work and family commitments. Online learning also eliminates the need to drive to campus, find a place to park, and hike to the classroom.
Do I need to be proficient in using a computer?
Online learning requires only basic skills, such as attaching a Word document to an email or posting photos on Facebook. However, the technical nature of this program requires familiarity with computer hardware and software applications. If you experience an outage or technical issue with the online learning management system, technical support is available throughout the day and evening hours.
Do I ever need to come to campus?
No, you never need to come to campus. However, you are welcome and encouraged to participate in the graduation ceremonies at your home campus.
Do I ever talk with instructors?
Yes, instructors are available by email and phone. Some use Skype. There is also an “Ask Your Instructor” discussion board within each course. This allows students to post questions and everyone can see the answer. Some instructors give online “office hours” as well.
Do I have to be logged into my course at a certain time?
No, you do not have to be logged in or participating at any specific time. UW Data Science students live in all parts of the country, and it would be difficult to get everyone online at the same time. However, your courses will have deadlines. For example, a discussion post might be due on Friday. But some students may write their posts on Tuesday and some may wait until Friday. This allows students great flexibility for their busy lives.
How do I take tests?
Tests are taken online inside the Canvas learning management system. Some exams/quizzes may have time limits. When you log in and click “start,” the clock timer will begin and allow you the designated amount of time. You will be given a window of time in which to complete each test (for example, Tuesday through Friday), and you will be able to log in and take the test when it best fits your schedule.
Are there group projects?
Some courses offer opportunities to work with fellow adult learners. Groups tend to work via email or Skype. There may be an extra piece of technology inside a course to assist with a group PowerPoint presentation or other special situation. We provide any tools like this that are necessary inside the course. Many students enjoy this group work and have formed friendships with their online colleagues.
Do I have to use the same computer every time I do schoolwork?
No, you will have a user ID and password that are unique to you. You can use these to access courses from nearly any device—desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone—so long as you have Internet access and adequate processing capabilities.
What are the technology requirements for this program?
Course content is accessible from virtually any device—desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Some software applications you will use in this program require a desktop or laptop computer to run. Visit our Technology Requirements page for details.
What if I have technical difficulties?
If you experience an outage or other technical problem with your computer or with our online learning management system, our technical support team works generous hours to make sure you get back up and running fast.
Have other questions?
Enrollment advisers are available Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT.