Distance Education Modalities


office suppliesDistance education at Suffolk Community College can refer to any of three types, or modalities, of courses:

  • Online Courses
  • Blended Courses
  • Distance Learning Classroom Courses

Online Courses

Online courses, the most common of the three modalities, are fully online distance education courses. They are also called asynchronous DE courses because they are not conducted in real time; that is, the faculty members and students are separated by time and distance. The course content, assignments, and all communications and interactions are conducted within a secure course management system (CMS) over the Internet. Online courses are developed and taught by faculty who are accessible to their students on a scheduled basis; however, neither the faculty member nor the students are required to be "present" in the CMS or on-site at any specific date and time.

Blended Courses

Blended courses are those for which some portion of the coursework is completed online and some portion of the coursework is completed on campus. These are growing in popularity with our members because our faculty enjoy working with students face-to-face as well as at a distance. Plus, meeting students in person and requiring on-campus exams give faculty a stronger sense that the students are doing their own work.

For the online portions of the course, the coursework is conducted within a secure CMS just like fully online classes. For the on-campus portions of the course, the faculty member must identify to students—in advance of registration—on which specific dates and times the students must attend the on-campus meetings. For example, in a science course, students might complete the lecture portion of the course online but meet on campus to complete the laboratory assignments.

Distance Learning Classroom Courses

Distance learning (DL) classroom courses are synchronous on-campus courses held in a classroom equipped for live interactive video transmissions to one or more of the SCCC campuses. In DL classroom courses, each location is staffed with an audio-visual professional assistant for technical support at the beginning and the end of each transmission and for assistance during the transmission as well as with non-faculty staff assistance to distribute, collect, and fax materials at remote sites and to proctor tests/exams at the remote sites, as required by the instructor.