Welcome to the Online Degree Programs in Sustainable Food & Farming!
Bookmark this page as an index of helpful information for online students in both the associate and bachelor degree programs.
ESTABLISH YOUR ACCESS TO SPIRE AND OTHER UMASS SOFTWARE SYSTEMS
What is Spire?: Spire is the UMass Amherst student information system that provides direct secure web access to student administrative data, such as class schedules, classroom assignments, grades, billing, registration or transcript holds, and financial aid status. Students should log into SPIRE using their NetID and password. A student’s class schedule and grades are only available on SPIRE (they are not mailed to students and cannot be given over the phone). Students can use SPIRE to print an unofficial transcript. For help using Spire, visit the Spire Help Page, or call (413) 545-9400.
Receive Access Credentials to UMass Email and Spire: All students in credit classes are provided both a UMass Amherst email and a SPIRE account. Additionally, students enrolled in online classes will have UMassOnline access for their classes. The username for these three platforms will be the same, known as the student’s NetID. The campus Information Technology (IT) office will send new students their NetID, their SPIRE ID (the student’s permanent eight digit identification number) and temporary password in two separate emails. The first email includes your NetID and Spire ID. The second email includes the student’s temporary password, which will be the same password for their Spire account and UMass email.
Activate Your Spire and Email Accounts: You must activate your accounts before using them. To do this, go to www.spire.umass.edu and click "Activate Your Account" on the right side of the screen. To resolve issues with Spire or email access, visit the Spire Help Page, or contact the UMass IT Helpdesk at (413) 545-9400.
YOU MUST CHECK YOUR UMASS EMAIL DAILY: All official UMass and Stockbridge correspondence, with important information, will be sent there. You are responsible for checking this email frequently.
PREPARE TO ENROLL FOR CLASSES
Manage Your Math and English Placement Exams: If you are required to take Math or English courses, you'll need to first take placement exams.
How to Enroll for a Class: Once you are matriculated and added to the University's Spire database, use the link to enroll for classes as a "Current UWW (University Without Walls) Student." To resolve enrollment issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Review Your Degree Requirements:
Contact Your Online Sustainable Food & Farming Advisor with questions related to online class selection, graduation progress, internship course registration, etc:
- If you are in the Associate Degree program, your advisor is Renee Ciulla, email@example.com or 413-687-1392
- If you are in the Bachelor Degree program, your advisor is John Gerber, firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-545-5301
Plan of Study Tracker Forms: You can make a plan of study and track your own progress using the form for your degree program
Current Online Course Offerings and Schedules for Stockbridge Sustainable Food & Farming (For summer and winter semesters, an enrollment appointment needs to be requested)
Search for Other UMass Online Classes: It's a good idea to check with your advisor before selecting other classes
GET TECHNOLOGY HELP AS NEEDED
UMass Information Technology Help Desk: For support using SPIRE, your NetID, email, campus technology, and hardware/software discounts
Blackboard 24/7 Help Desk: For support of online course needs, including issues logging in, submitting a paper, or taking a test
SELF-ENROLLMENT PROCEDURE AND DATES
All students use SPIRE to self-enroll in online (UWW) classes once they have an enrollment appointment for the appropriate term. To resolve enrollment issues, email email@example.com
To Enroll in a Fall or Spring Class: An enrollment appointment will be automatically assigned to you prior to the opening of registration. This will enable you to log into SPIRE and enroll in classes during your assigned time. For detailed instructions, please visit the page on Enrolling in Classes Using Spire.
To Enroll in a Summer or Winter Class: Log into SPIRE and request a UWW Enrollment Appointment by navigating to Main Menu > Enrollment > Summer/Wtr/Non-deg Enroll Appt. Once you have your enrollment appointment, you can enroll in your classes by navigating to Main Menu > Enrollment > Add Classes/Shopping Cart. For detailed instructions, please visit the page on Requesting an Enrollment Appointment.
Enrollment in Fall classes begins in early June; for Winter classes in late October; for Spring classes in mid-November; and for Summer classes in mid-March. Go to the UWW Academic Calendar for exact registration dates for each term. Registration ends at the end of Add/Drop for all classes. Withdrawals are available for an additional period of time, proportional to the length of the class.
Returning students should check SPIRE before registering to see if a hold has been placed on their account by the Bursar’s Office, Health Services, IT, etc. Holds must be lifted by the office that placed them; contact that office to resolve the hold. Students must clear holds placed on their account before they can enroll in classes.
HOW TO DROP OR WITHDRAW FROM CLASSES
Financial Aid Warning: Add classes before dropping classes. If at any point you withdraw from ALL of your classes, the system will withdraw you from your academic program, and any financial aid you have received may be affected. Depending on the terms of your students loans, this could trigger a requirement to begin repaying loans immediately.
Refund amounts depend on the timing of your withdrawal. See the UWW Refund Policy. For questions about drops and withdrawals, contact the UWW Registration Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET TECHNOLOGY HELP AS NEEDED
UMass Information Technology Help Desk: For support using SPIRE, your NetID, email, campus technology, and hardware/software discounts, click the link or call 413-545-9400, M-F, 8:30am-5pm.
BlackBoard Help Desk: For support of online course needs, including issues logging in, submitting a paper, or taking a test
University Without Walls (UWW) Registration and Records Office: For help with enrollment status, to enroll in or drop UWW courses, order copies of transcripts, and make enrollment appointments in SPIRE, email email@example.com, or call 413-545-3653, M-F, 8:30am-5pm.
Bursar’s Office for UWW: For information on financial obligations, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (413) 545-2368, M-F, 8:30am-5pm.
BLACKBOARD FAQ AND SUPPORT
Blackboard is the main online technology powering your online classes.
Is my computer setup to use Blackboard? The 24/7 Help Desk has tool, Check Browser, that checks your browser to make sure you have all the proper settings and features to use Blackboard. If not, you’ll receive information on how to fix it or you can call the Help Desk and they will assist you. To access this feature, go to the 24/7 HelpDesk site, click on Tools on the top right and select Check My Browser.
How do I log into Blackboard? To login to your course you will need to use your campus NetID and password. Head to UMass Amherst’s Blackboard login page (https://uma.umassonline.net). Click the, Log in with NetID. When a new window opens, enter your NetID and password. After you have entered your NetID and password, click the grey arrow. Bookmark this page in your browser for frequent use.
Student Orientation & Resource Area: Learn about Blackboard at your own pace, viewing content about participating in online courses and Blackboard Learn. The site prepares students for online classes with documentation and video tutorials on how to use Blackboard and online course technologies.
60-Minute Webinar About Blackboard: Our new New Online Student Orientation Webinars offer a more guided experience to learning online and using Blackboard. Course facilitators are available to assist you along the way. Register at the link.