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Distance Education

What is distance education?
Distance education at COA involves taking classes via the Internet through a “Course Management System” called myCourses. All curriculum Internet classes at COA use myCourses. Distance education is a convenient way for adult learners to begin or continue their education, by “attending” their classes at home, work, or any other location that has a computer connected to the Internet. Each student is required to complete the online orientation and pass the Online Preparedness Exam with a 90 or higher before becoming eligible to register for online classes. This orientation and exam is located in myCourses.

What equipment must I have access to for a distance education course?
You must have access to a modern personal computer that is connected to the Internet. You must have an up-to-date web browser. It is recommended to use Internet Explorer, or Firefox, when logging into myCourses, as some problems may occur in the areas of exams and discussion boards. Any other additional unique software required for a course will be listed on the course schedule beneath the particular course you are taking.

Any student who does not have access to the requirements listed above is welcome to use the open computing laboratories located on each COA campus.

Do I have the learning styles, and technical skills to succeed in an Internet course?
Distance education courses are best suited to individuals who are: motivated and disciplined to work independently, able to set goals and work steadily to meet them, able to manage their time effectively, responsible self-starters, willing to direct their efforts, and proficient at reading for comprehension.

Internet courses also require a certain amount of computer expertise, including: having the ability to navigate the Internet, being able to check and send e-mail, being able to send attachments, being familiar with myCourses, and being able to compose and edit documents using a word processor.

What is the difference between an Internet course and a Hybrid course?

Internet Course- A course in which all instruction is delivered online is an internet course. Students may be required to take proctored assessments at a location approved by the Distance Education Coordinator. Internet courses are listed on the course schedule with an I course type.

Hybrid Course- A Hybrid course is a course which instruction is delivered in a combination of an online and traditional setting, and requires students to meet face-to-face as determined by the course. Evaluations or assessments do not affect the status of a Hybrid course. Hybrid courses are listed on the course schedule with an HY course type.

How do I register for a course?
Students can register for classes:

  1. In person, at one of the three COA campuses.
  2. By contacting Admissions or your advisor once you have been assigned one.
  3. Online by logging in to myWebAdvisor and clicking “Register/Drop Sections.”

What is the cost of a distance education course?
Tuition for a distance education course is the same as it is for an on-campus class. Tuition charges at all North Carolina Community Colleges are subject to change, effective at the beginning of each fall semester.

How do I login to myCourses?
Visit the Student Portal text link in the upper right area of the home page. You need to establish your own  password the first time you login.

Once you have set your password, you should verify you can login to myCourses by going to myCourses.albemarle.edu. Key in your username and password in the appropriate boxes and click the login button. A myCourses page will open which lists each Internet course in which you are enrolled. Simply click on the link for the course you wish to access, and the main page for that course will open.

How does an Internet course work?
You cannot enter your Internet course in myCourses until the first day of class. A few Internet classes do not start until part way into the semester, or are second half classes, that do not begin until the second eight weeks of the semester. Be sure to check the schedule and your registration receipt closely, to be sure of when your classes start.

You must login and complete at least one assignment prior to the 10% date to remain enrolled in an online course. You will be required to participate in each class which could include taking quizzes/tests, participating in discussion forums, submitting paper, reporting on web research projects, etc.

Most instructors tell their students in their welcome announcement, or in their posted course syllabus, the days that they will be posting assignments, so the students do not have to go in every day to look.

How will my instructor contact me?
Your instructor will normally contact you by sending you an email message. COA students are issued a free email account through Gmail. Once you have established your password you can log in:  https://mail.google.com/a/my.albemarle.edu. Use the same username and password to login to myGmail as you used for myCourses. Help and information can be obtained by clicking on the “Support” or “Help” tabs on the login page.

What if I need technical help?
If you have questions concerning assignments, grade book, re-setting quizzes/tests, etc. the best option is to contact the course instructor.

If you are having technical problems involving logging into myCourses, or using any of the myCourses features, the best course of action is to call the 24/7 technical assistance service, called Presidium,  which COA has subscribed to. The number (1-866-590-9237) provides live assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Agents can tell a student such things as whether they are loaded into a course or not, if myCourses is down for some reason, and provide information on how to use myCourses.

Another option for technical help is to contact the COA Distance Education Coordinator, or the COA Director of Management Information Systems, to ask for assistance at coasupport@albemarle.edu.


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