Ever heard of distance learning? No? Well, you’ve probably heard of online classes. Tomato, to-mah-to. No matter how you say it, we’re talking about the same thing.
Distance learning is defined as an online course that a student attends similar to a face-to-face class, only you don’t have to enter a classroom. You’re assigned an instructor and a syllabus with tests, quizzes, reading, and homework, but school takes place exclusively on your computer. You can learn at home, the library, your favorite coffee shop—wherever you get Internet access—on whatever schedule works best for you.
“We work with students and faculty to make the online experience the best possible experience for all students,” says Joshua Ogle, director of Instructional Media at RCC. Orientation sessions are available on campus to help students get acquainted with the tools and expectations of online coursework.
Instructional Media staff is also available as an ongoing resource for distance learners, offering tech support with everything from logging in to using Blackboard (RCC’s distance learning program) to resetting passwords and more. There is also a student support tab in Blackboard containing video tutorials and other helpful resources.
While distance learning is convenient, it may not be right for everyone. The students who have the most success with it feel comfortable with computers and are good at managing their time. Distance learning is especially helpful to students with certain time constraints, such as daytime jobs or conflicting classes.
“If two classes are offered at the same time as face-to-face, students can take one of them online after hours and still get both classes on their schedule,” Joshua says.
All students and prospective students are welcome to peruse the RCC course catalog for more information on upcoming distance learning courses.