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.

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 and interact through the assistance of communication technology.

Course Categories

Fully Online ​Course (FOC)

A Fully Online Course is delivered exclusively over the internet using a Learning Management System. There are no class meetings on campus and all assignments and examinations are submitted online in an asynchronous manner. You must have ready access to a computer with Internet. Students enrolled in an online course should possess apt computer skills.

Proctored Online Course (POC)

All assignments and examinations in a Proctored Online Course will be submitted online in an asynchronous manner but you will be required to take tests at a proctoring facility. Your instructor will provide proctoring accommodations at COD. Off-site proctoring services could be available at the discretion of the instructor. Contact the individual instructor to learn more about their off-site proctoring policy. You must have ready access to a computer with Internet. Students enrolled in an online course should possess apt computer skills.

Hybrid Course (HC)

Hybrid Courses meet both on campus and online. Some of the traditional face-to-face on campus meetings are replaced with online activities. The schedule of classes will indicate the times and dates of the meetings you are required to attend. Access to a computer with internet access is required.

Web Enhanced​ Course (WEC)

Web Enhanced Courses are traditional face-to-face 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. Access to a computer with internet access is required.

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