Summer Session Online Course FAQs

Summer Session online classes are 100% online. You will not have to visit campus to complete an online course. While online courses allow students flexibility in their schedules, they are also highly structured with clear expectations and due dates.

Students have many opportunities to practice and demonstrate what they are learning individually and in groups through discussion forums, writing assignments, projects, and video conferences. 

    Technology Requirements

  • You need access to a computer (desk or laptop) and a reliable internet connection for the duration of the course. You need a web camera and microphone (most laptops have them built-in). Many courses have online instructor office hours, so having a camera and microphone will help you connect with instructors.

    For most courses, no advanced technology or additional software is needed. 

  • YouTube & Google 

  • All UCSC online courses rely on YouTube and Google for videos and other course materials. If you are taking an online course in a country that blocks YouTube or Google, please email us at, and we will provide accommodation.
    One way to make sure you have complete access to your online course and other online resources at UCSC is to install and use the university's VPN (virtual private network), which allows you to use the internet as if you were on UCSC's campus. Follow the steps here -

  • Time Commitment

  • You will spend about seven hours each week watching lectures, reading course texts, completing quizzes, writing papers or studying for exams, posting to discussion forums, or working on projects with your classmates. You should assume about 35 hours total for a five-week course. 

  • Add/Drop/Withdraw from Course

  • Online courses are bound by the same add/drop/withdraw deadlines as all Summer Session classes. See our Summer Academic Calendar.

  • Sections & Discussion Forums

  • Sections and discussion forums are your opportunity to apply what you learn from the lectures and reading materials while interacting with your classmates to test your ideas.

    Most courses have discussion forums, and a few courses have synchronous discussion sections that meet roughly 1-3 times over the summer session.

  • After Enrolling

  • After enrolling in an online course:
    Start checking your UCSC email.

    A few days before your course begins, instructors will email instructions to your email account.
    When you enroll in your courses, you will not get any automatic or immediate emails from the faculty. They will message you closer to the start date. In your portal, if you see that you are enrolled in a course you can be confident that you are, in fact, in the class.

    Most courses are hosted on Canvas. You do not need to sign up for an account as you can log in with your CruzID and Gold Password at directly. See Canvas Getting Started Student Guide.

    Please note: MATH 19A, 19B, 23A are hosted here - /

    If you add or drop an online class, it can take 24-48 hours for the course to be added or removed from your Canvas account.

  • Midterms & Final Exams

  • In most online courses, midterms and final exams are timed, open book, and based on written or project work. These exams can be taken anywhere.

    In a few courses, exams are proctored by ProctorU, a video conferencing tool that allows students to take online proctored exams from just about anywhere. There is a per exam fee of roughly $20. Check with your instructor to determine whether your course will utilize this service.

  • Time vs. Pace

  • One benefit of an online class is that you can often complete the online portions of the course (readings, lectures, and quizzes) any time of the day or night.

    Online classes do have weekly deadlines for assignments, and occasionally exams are scheduled at times when students have more flexibility (e.g., early in the morning, late at night, or on weekends).

    Course due dates are modeled on a typical summer session 2-day schedule: assignments are due roughly twice per week, and assignments are available 3 days before they are due.

    Enrolled students will be expected to have access to a computer with a stable internet connection throughout the full session. 

  • Accessing Library Resources Remotely

  • To access library materials, login through the campus VPN available here:

    You will need to download the campus VPN software, and then login with your CruzID and Gold password. Once logged in via the campus VPN, you can navigate to the library homepage for immediate access. No barcode or library account creation will be required.

  • Course Evaluations

  • Course evaluations are done completely online at the end of your course. Evaluations are sent to your email.

    Evaluations are extremely important: instructors, teaching assistants, departments, and Summer Session value your feedback and use it to make real change.

If you have additional questions or concerns, email or book a time to talk to our staff or a current UCSC student about remote learning or online courses.