Frequently Asked Questions About Distance Learning

Do I need any special skills or software to take an online course?

To succeed as an online learner, you'll need good study skills and good computer skills. Also, you must have the self-discipline and self-motivation to work independently on a flexible schedule without getting behind. And you must be very comfortable using e-mail, the Web, and word processors.

Successful online learners have reliable access to a home computer with high-speed Internet. In addition, for some online classes, you must have specific software applications on your computer. For details, see what you need to succeed.

What is the difference between "credit" and "noncredit" online classes?

With credit online classes, students can earn college credit toward one of Durham Tech's degree, diploma, or certificate programs. Credit online classes begin and end according to the academic calendar. Some credit online courses are transferable to four-year colleges and universities.

Non-credit online classes, offered through the college's Continuing Education department, provide a wide range of opportunities to advance your career, to prepare for entering or re-entering the work force, or to learn something new. There are online and hybrid programs that allow students to earn a credential in health fields, such as Medical Coding or Nursing Assistant. See the list of non-credit online and hybrid offerings, and be sure to check out the wide array of online courses available through Ed2Go and the American Management Association (AMA).

How is a hybrid class different from an online class?

A hybrid class combines classroom learning with online learning. Unlike a fully online class, hybrid classes require regular, weekly class attendance on campus.

In a hybrid course, a significant portion of the class learning activities are online, which reduces the amount of time spent in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. However, for a hybrid class, students are also required to attend weekly class meetings at the days, times, and locations listed in the class schedule.

If I take an online class, will I have to come to campus?

Some online classes require attendance at an on-campus class orientation at the start of the semester. For other online classes, the orientation is done online. To find out whether your class has an on-campus orientation session, see the Distance Learning Orientation page.

Prior to registering, you will likely have to come to campus to meet with an advisor. (For details, see the Advising and Registration page.)

But once your class is underway and the orientation is done, the class will take place online, and can be done from anywhere you have internet access.

Do I have to be online at a certain day or time?

Most online courses do not require you to be online at a specific day or time. However, you are required to "keep up" with the weekly class schedule and to complete assignments before the due dates. For most online classes, you can choose the time of day or night you want to log on to work on an assignment, but you must complete it and "turn it in" by the specified date and time.

What classes are offered online?

The schedule of online classes is posted on the Distance Learning website two to three months prior to the start of the semester.

How do I register?

See how to register for and begin an online course.

After I’ve registered, how do I start my class?

See After registering... what's next?

How much do online classes cost?

Online courses cost the same as classroom-based courses. For details, see tuition and fees.