Distance Learning FAQ

Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions

How do Distance Learning classes differ from regular classes?

In a distance learning course, academic expectations are similar to a classroom course: Reading the assigned text, taking quizzes and exams, doing extra credit if needed, participating in class discussions, watching videos, doing some outside research, writing papers, and consulting with your instructor if you need help. The difference is that many of these activities can be performed at a distance, in the comfort of your own home and on your own computer. For example: You may participate in electronic discussion forums (like class discussions, but not in real time), do research (on the Internet), talk to your instructor (e-mail or phone), discuss topics with other students (electronic forums), take quizzes (on-line), and submit assignments (electronically). Detailed guidance is provided in the Student Handbook or on the course Website to assist you and clarify expectations for every course. Included will be course goals and objectives, assignments, due dates, grading criteria, extra credit options, contact numbers, etc.

I work full-time and have kids; how will the Distance Learning program work for me?

By taking classes online, enrolling in a telecourse, or participating in an independent study course, students can get the education they need with the flexibility of working around their busy schedules.

Is the course work easier online?

The course requirements and learning objectives are comparable to that of a classroom course. Students who enroll in an Internet course may find their learning enriched because of the resources available online and accessibility to the instructor as well as student-to-student communication. The instructor may take their students on a "virtual" field trip or require a writing assignment that will take students to the state capital, to an elected representative or to a major corporation online.

Do Distance Learning courses cost more than classroom courses?

No. The registration fees for online courses, Telecourses, Cablecast courses and Independent-Study courses are the same as a class offered on campus at Coastline.

What are the differences between Internet, Independent Study/CD-ROM, Cablecast and Telecourses?

Information on the different course types can be found in the Course Types section of the Distance Learning website. Online courses are primarily completed through the course website. There are instances when students will be required to take an exam in person with the instructor or a proctor. Independent Study courses follow a student handbook and generally mail in coursework. Cablecast and Telecourses follow a student handbook, view videolessons, and submit coursework through the mail. Independent Study, Cablecast and Telecourses offer select online services.

I live really far away; will I have to come to campus?

In most cases, you will not be required to come to campus, depending on the requirements set by your instructor. Most coursework can be conducted online or with a combination of media materials. Often students will be required to complete exam(s) in person with the instructor, through the Assessment Center or with a proctor, for those who live outside the Los Angeles or Orange County, CA area. Refer to the Proctor Agreement for more information.

If I don't live in Orange County (CA) can I still take a Telecourse?

Yes, you can choose to purchase a complete DVD set of the videolessons or view the videolessons online (please note, these options are not available for all telecourse offererings).

If I don't live in Orange County (CA) can I still take a Cablecast course?

Yes, you can choose to purchase a complete CD-ROM set of the videolessons or view the videolessons online.

What equipment/software do I need to take a Distance Learning course?

To view a telecourse or cablecast course though the Coastline College Cable channel, you need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable and live in Costa Mesa (Channel 27), Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Midway City, Seal Beach, Stanton, or Westminster (Channel 95). Select telecourses are available for purchase through the Coastline Bookstore. Select telecourses are available for online viewing through the course website.

I don't have a computer with Internet access; can I still take an Internet class?

Students who do not have a computer with Internet access (or have a slow computer or who experience computer problems during the semester) can use the computers available at the Information Commons in the Garden Grove Center. Another alternative is to check out Coastline's telecourses.

I don't have e-mail; can I still take a Distance Learning class?

Upon applying at Coastline College, you will be assigned a Coastline student email account (via gMail). This will become the email address students must use when communicating with their instructor.

Do I need computer experience to take a Distance Learning class?

While you do not need to be a computer expert, you do need to know how to:

  • navigate the Internet
  • use e-mail
  • download a program from the Internet and install it
  • conduct a search on the web

If a student is self-motivated, can follow instructions from the computer screen and likes to figure things out on his/her own, an online course will be an enriching educational experience.

Since I am not in a classroom course, do I have an instructor and how will I keep contact with him/her?

Each distance learning course has an assigned instructor of record. You will find contact information, such as an email address and phone number, on the course website. Although you are not in a classroom, you can still seek guidance from your instructor when needed.

I am registering late and the class I want is closed, can I petition the course?

Coastline College has a wait list for closed classes. If a class is closed, you may register yourself on the wait list anytime on or after your registration appointment. If a seat becomes available in the course, the next student on the wait list will be notified through their student gMail account. Students will then have 24 hours to register and pay for the class or they will be dropped from the wait list and the next student in line will be notified. More information about how the wait list works can be found here: http://www.coastline.edu/admissions/waitlist-information/

I may need an early grade report; can I get one with a Distance Learning course?

Yes, you can get an early grade. You will need to finish the coursework early, enabling your instructor to issue the report. Please give your instructor ample notice and keep in mind their office hours. You will find an Early Grade Letter Request on the Coastline College Website

General Questions About Courses

I've enrolled in a Distance Learning class; now what do I do?

Students who are officially enrolled will be able to view select elements of their course website ONE week before the official start date. These include: How to Begin, Learning Outcomes, Grading Rubric, FAQs, and the Letter of Agreement. All other course components, such as the syllabus and course lessons will be available for viewing the first day of class.

How do I know what books to buy and how will I get them if I am out of the area?

The Coastline Bookstore is located at 11460 Warner Avenue, Fountain Valley CA 92708. There students will find course text(s) and materials arranged by subject and can be identified by the course reference number (CRN), and instructor name. Students have the option to order books and materials using the Coastline Bookstore website, http://www.coastlinebookstore.com.

When can I start my online course?

Students who are officially enrolled will be able to view select elements of their course website ONE week before the official start date. These include: How to Begin, Learning Outcomes, Grading Rubric, FAQs, and the Letter of Agreement. All other course components, such as the syllabus and course lessons will be available for viewing the first day of class.

There are three different listings of when I should watch my videos; do I have to watch all of them?

The Coastline College Cable channel schedules multiple broadcast options of telecourse and cablecast courses. You are not required to view all broadcast times, but can pick one each week that best fits your schedule or choose to record the lesson on your VCR/DVR.

To view a telecourse or cablecast course though the Coastline College Cable channel, you need to subscribe to Time Warner Cable and live in Costa Mesa (Channel 27), Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Midway City, Seal Beach, Stanton, or Westminster (Channel 95).

Select telecourses are available for purchase through the Coastline Bookstore. Select telecourses are available for online viewing through the course website.

Can I talk to other students in the class?

Yes. Most courses have a Discussion Forum where students and instructor can communicate as if in a classroom (though not in real-time). A few classes also hold live chat sessions (real-time) throughout the course.

What if I miss a class?

Each course is different. You will want to make sure to read and understand the course requirements as set up by the instructor. Most courses will allow you to work ahead or catch up as you go along. Primarily, there will be a week by week schedule of readings, assignments, quizzes, and exams. Be sure to review your online course thoroughly to ensure that you are keeping pace.

Students enrolled in a telecourse, cablecast course or independent study course will follow the same structure as outlined in the required Student Handbook.

When my student handbook says a quiz is due by Tuesday of week four, what exactly does that mean?

Students enrolled in a telecourse, cablecast course or independent study course will follow a structured schedule outlined in the required Student Handbook. On the left side of the Assignment Section pages there are dates listed for each week (running Monday Sunday). If a quiz or assignment is due by Tuesday of Week 4 and the dates for the week are 9/17-9/23, then the quiz or assignment would be due on 9/18.

I get off work at 5pm and the Distance Learning office closes at 5pm; what do I do about turning in my assignments and quizzes?

You may mail your assignment in to the Distance Learning office, or a white mailbox is conveniently located outside the Coastline College Center front door for students who cannot bring in course work during office hours.

I am taking an online course; can I still submit my quiz on a scantron?

No. Online classes are completed strictly online. Students enrolled in a telecourse, cablecast course or independent study course have the option to complete quizzes via scantron or online. One advantage of completing a quiz online is that you will receive immediate feedback upon submitting the quiz.

If I submit my quiz online, how will I know my score?

Upon completing an online quiz, depending on how the instructor has the parameters set, students will be able to view their results immediately. The score will also appear in the Student Summary section.

If I submit my quiz on a scantron, how will I know my score?

Depending on the course, you will receive correspondence in the mail regarding your total score, if you fill out the scantron completely and correctly. Please include name, student ID number, and quiz name/number in the spaces provided. In addition, progress reports containing scores for all assignments, quizzes and exams completed are mailed to students twice per semester for all courses except Internet courses.

What if I am late turning in a quiz or an assignment?

Students turning in late work will not receive any feedback from our office, and it will be graded during the time the next quiz is due. Depending on the instructor you may have points reduced or you may not receive any credit at all.

I can't make it to my midterm/final on the date that is scheduled in my telecourse, cable, or independent study student handbook; what should I do?

Students enrolled in a telecourse, cablecast course, or independent study course may be required to attend a live onsite exam(s) administered by the instructor. Refer to the current semester student handbook for specific information. If you are unable to attend the scheduled exam, students may schedule an alternate exam date with the Assessment Center.

Technical Questions

I tried to submit my quiz, but the website is not responding; what do I do?

While we make every effort to assure that the websites and content are always available, there is the possibility that influences beyond our control can prevent students from accessing the site. If something such as this occurs we will make accommodations on a case by case basis after conferring with the instructor (if necessary). If you find that you are unable to access an online quiz or assignment, please contact the Distance Learning Department as soon as possible.

Every time I try to get into one of my courses, I get a message that says, "An error has occurred in the scripts on this page." What is wrong?

This may be an indication that your browser software is not up-to-date. We recommend using the latest version of a reputable browser such as Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Apple users may wish to use the latest version of Safari.

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