How do distance learning courses work?

Women using computersWelcome to distance learning at CCRI! There are many advantages to education at a distance, including the convenience and the self-confidence you build through achieving goals independently.


Distance learning courses are the same as traditional on-campus courses in the following ways:

  • Registration process, cost, and access to services and resources
  • Academic calendar
  • Learning outcomes and academic rigor
  • Assignment deadlines

Distance learning courses are different from traditional on-campus courses in the following ways:

  • There will be fewer (but not necessarily no) on-campus requirements
  • Your course experience will be managed through a learning management system (such as Blackboard)
  • You will have more personal responsibility for your success


Online courses

Online courses are courses that have 80 to 100% of the class instruction delivered using a learning management system, and have a maximum of three required on-campus class meetings a semester. These courses may have on-campus proctored tests in addition to the on-campus class meetings.

Online courses have a course ID that is in the 600's (for example, COMI 1100-610).

Hybrid courses

Hybrid courses are courses that combine online and on-campus instruction with reduced class seat time for students. Less than 80% of the course instruction is delivered online, and there will be more than three required on-campus classes in a semester.

Hybrid courses have a course ID that is in the 700's (for example, ARTS 1001-700).

How it works

Getting helpYour course experience will be managed through a learning management system (LMS), which you will access using your browser with a login id and password. Through this system you will access course materials, submit assignments, and interact with the professor and other students in your course. Most (but not all) online courses at CCRI will use the Blackboard LMS.

You will spend more time working on your own in an online course. The time you would spend on-campus in a traditional course will be replaced with some form of online lecture (this might be an additional reading, a PowerPoint, a video, discussion board posts, or some other activity). You should expect to spend at least nine hours per week reading, writing, and doing other work for your course. Online courses are as much work, if not more work, than on-campus courses.

Your instructor will provide course materials and activities for you through the LMS. These materials might be in the form of text documents, PowerPoint presentations, videos, or other online learning activities and resources. You might be required to use a discussion board, upload assignments as attachments, and take tests and quizzes online. How the course is designed will vary with the instructor and the subject.

Next steps

To learn more about distance learning at CCRI and to ensure that you're fully prepared, visit the Orientation page. If you're ready to begin now, you can search for courses from the Course Offerings page.

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Last Updated: 12/18/17