Online Learning

College of the Desert offers courses in a variety of formats beyond the traditional on-campus course. If you are an independent learner, self-motivated, and well organized, with consistent access to your own computer and internet access, then online education may be a good option for you.

If you require immediate feedback on work, need to ask lots of questions of your instructors, or are not independent and disciplined, then online education is probably not a good fit for your learning style.

At College of the Desert, some classes are offered fully online—you will likely not meet your fellow students or instructor face-to-face. Some classes are offered as hybrid—you meet some class sessions on campus but other work is done online. The schedule of classes clearly states what type of class you are signing up for, so make sure you understand the difference and whether you are ever expected to be physically on campus for class sessions or exams.

Some “myths” about online courses:

They are easier than a traditional class.

In fact, online classes are often more challenging than their on-campus version because you have to read more material (rather than listening to a lecture) and you have to be more disciplined about accessing the course as needed. DO NOT take an online course believing that it will take less time or be easier: it is not!

Online courses require A LOT of writing! Because “discussions” are usually written comments in an online course, you should be proficient in Standard English and comfortable with your ability to express yourself in writing. If you struggle with writing clearly, online courses are not the best fit for you.

There are no due dates and assignments can be turned in whenever.

Just like a traditional class, there are due dates/times for assignments. You are often required to turn in work or participate in online discussions several times a week. While you often have more flexibility in when you do the work, there are always clearly noted due dates for work in an online course.

Online classes can be managed with minimal computer skills or Internet access.

In order to succeed online, you need to be competent with varied computer applications and have regular Internet access. You cannot successfully complete an online course using your smartphone or the public library’s wi-fi connection.

There are no rules about attendance and participation in an online courses.

Just like a face-to-face course, there are official college policies about attendance and participation in an online course. Learn more in our Desert Community College District’s Distance Education procedures.

If you are not afraid of hard work, are an independent learner who is comfortable with your reading and writing skills and has consistent access to a computer and the internet, then online courses may be a good fit for you!

Self-Assessment and Readiness Tools

In order to be successful in an online class, first you must understand what is expected of you. Second, you must be honest with yourself about whether you have the skills and resources in order to be successful. To find out more and decide whether online learning is right for you, explore the "Are You Ready?" section and the "Online Student Readiness Tutorials," a series of interactive modules to help you better prepare for online learning.

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