Distance education is any type of learning where students and instructor are separated by time and/or place. It can be delivered using a variety of methods or technologies including modem/on-line computer, video tape, public broadcasting, satellite, or other media. Southwestern offers distance education by modem/on-line computer instruction through Southwestern On-Line, over the Internet, as well as selected telecourses and teleconferences through Ed-Net satellite.
A distance class is fully online; there is no face-to-face instruction time.
A hybrid class uses an online component to replace some of the face-to-face instruction time. There are specific meeting dates and times for hybrid classes, but there is also the expectation that students will spend a significant amount of class time online.
A web enhanced class does not replace any face-to-face instruction time, but it does include an online component for additional work and resources to use outside of class.
Online classes are similar to face to face classes in the sense that there is a real instructor and fellow students involved in the learning process during the college term. Grades, lectures, due dates, assignments, group discussions, textbooks, tests, college credit, are all a part of online classes as well. The main difference is that the classroom is a web site that can be accessed from anywhere in the world, and that lectures are read instead of listened to; discussions are typed instead of spoken. Many courses have a weekly schedule so the student needs to go to the class web page several times a week to see if there is anything new that pertains to their studies. Discussions and communication with the instructor takes place in web-based message areas (like e-mail), chat rooms, Internet e-mail, and threaded conferences (sorted by discussion topic rather than sequentially).
Tuition is individually set by each college and will vary per credit hour. There may be additional fees that may apply. There is also a per class fee for Southwestern distance classes, which covers the cost of technical support. You will be informed of the exact cost when you register for classes.
The deadlines for on-line are the same as face-to-face. You are responsible for dropping your on-line course by the end of the second week or you will be charged for the course.
Many students wish to complete their coursework ahead of time. Contact the instructor to see whether this is possible. Others wish to extend their completion beyond the end of the class. Again, contact your instructor to see if special arrangements are available.
No. That's the beauty of it. You can log on to your class at any time of the day or night and participate in the class. Discussions, with the exception of chats, do not happen in real time, so if you ask a question, it may be a day or two before you get an answer. Most classes are structured on a week to week basis so as long as you log on at least two or three times during the week, you're OK. Some instructors may have more stringent requirements.
Many Southwestern classes will transfer as degree requirements or electives to four-year institutions. Ultimately, the decision rests with the transfer institution. In many cases, Southwestern has articulated agreements for specific courses and programs. Contact the Counseling Center for more information.
Grading is most often based on assignment grades, participation in class discussions, and test grades.
Tests usually consist of web page forms which allow multiple choice, fill-in blanks and essay text boxes. There may be a way to review skipped questions once the test is finished but using the "Back" button is not recommended. Tests can be timed and are usually offered only during specific days or even prearranged hours of a day. The instructor will give explicit instructions as to how and when the tests can be taken.
Note: To receive financial aid, you should be enrolled in a degree or certificate program.
Student services available to on-campus students are accessible to distance education students. Some services are not available via distance technology. For example, to access tutoring, you may need to come to campus or to one of our outreach centers in Reedsport or Coquille.
It is advisable to contact a Southwestern counselor to make sure the classes you choose will apply to your selected certificate or degree. Our counselors will also help you decide on a program or choose courses that will meet general education requirements. Most distance learning courses qualify for financial aid and veterans benefits. Contact Southwestern's Financial Aid Rep at the Student First Stop Center at 541-888-7337 for more information.
Financial Aid and Waivers: Southwestern On-Line and OCCDL students are eligible to receive Title IV limited financial aid assistance. Credits for these courses will be included in the enrollment status at Southwestern. The total number of on-line course credits must be less than 50% of the current term enrollment status and must be less than 50% of the total credits for the declared degree goal. Credits in excess of these limits will not be funded by title IV financial aid at Southwestern. Contact the Financial Aid Rep at the Student First Stop Center for further information at 541-888-7337.