Introduction​ to Distance Education

In its truest form, distance education is where a course is offered fully online and students and instructors never meet face-to-face. In a broader sense, distance education has evolved to mean courses where students and instructors may meet face-to-face occasionally or in a virtual environment for office hours or tutoring sessions. Some courses require students to come to campus for an initial meeting or the proctoring of exams. Hybrid courses take a mixed approach where students come to campus for some sessions and work while the rest of the course happens in a virtual space. In addition, many traditional, on campus courses take a web-enhanced approach and utilize technology, include the college's learning management system, to deliver content and resources to students. Hyflex courses allow students to choose the modality of attendance, either in-person or online depending upon their needs. 

College of the Desert has clearly defined parameters for how courses are categorized, and as both the federal government and state also have guidelines for these categories, it is import for COD faculty to understand the differences in the type of courses being offered to students and the expectations associated with each. There are serious consequences for students if a course fails to meet specific requirements, which will be discussed in the "Federal and State Guidelines for Distance Education" section of this course.

The following definitions from the Board of Trustee's Administrative Procedure 4105 guide distance education at COD, which governs distance education offerings at College of the Desert:

Definition: Distance education means instruction in which the instructor and student are separated by distance or time and interact through the assistance of technology.All distance education is subject to the general requirements under Title 5 as well as the specific requirements of articles 55200 and 55204. In addition, instruction provided as distance education is subject to the requirements that may be imposed by the American with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. Section 12100 et seq.) and section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 Section 794d)

Course Categories

 Online ​

A course in which 100% of instruction takes place entirely online with no mandatory face-to-face meetings, synchronous visits, and/or campus visits. 

Online Synchronous

   A course in which 100% of instruction takes place entirely online with             mandatory scheduled virtual meetings. 


   Hyflex courses meet on campus for all scheduled hours with a live zoom                     component and a fully asynchronous component as attendance options.
   Students may choose from among the three attendance options. Choice of
   attendance option may change weekly dependent upon the student need. 

Proctored Online 

Assignments and examinations in a Proctored Online Course will be submitted in an asynchronous manner. Students may be required to take tests at a proctoring facility. The instructor is responsible for arranging proctoring accommodations at COD. Off-site proctoring services (other than at a COD location) are arranged by the student and are subject to approval from the instructor. 


A course that provides instruction both online and face-to-face with at
least 25% of course hours scheduled as mandatory on-campus meeting.
Mandatory meetings are regularly scheduled and the dates are posted in the
schedule of classes. Students are informed of mandatory meetings in the
schedule of classes. All remaining course hours are schedule entirely online
with no additional mandatory meetings. 

Web Enhanced​ 

Web Enhanced Courses are traditional in-person classes that make routine use of the Learning Management System. These courses hold all their meetings on campus. The instructor will post required course materials and/or activities online and may require assignments be turned in online. 

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