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Distance Education FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Distance Education

College of The Albemarle’s (COA) Distance Education offers a convenient way for adult learners to begin or continue their education by attending classes from home, work or any location with an internet connection. Online classes are available through a learning management system called MyCourses (also known as Moodle).
You’ll need access to a modern, internet-connected personal computer with an up-to-date web browser. We recommend Chrome® or Firefox™ for using MyCourses, as there have been some technical issues with exams and discussion boards when using Internet Explorer®. Additional required software will be listed on each course schedule. For more information, see our answers to frequently asked technology questions.

If you don’t have access to a computer, you’re welcome to use the computer labs located on both COA – Elizabeth City and COA – Edenton-Chowan, as well as the computers available at COA – Elizabeth City and COA – Dare libraries.

Computer Lab Hours and Locations

Recommended Minimum Computer Requirements

Distance Education courses are best suited to those 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 own efforts
  • Proficient at reading for comprehension

Online courses also require a certain amount of computer expertise, including the ability to:

  • Navigate the internet
  • Check and send email
  • Send emails with attachments
  • Compose and edit documents using word processing software
  • Become familiar with MyCourses

Visit our Online Learning Readiness Quiz to assess your current aptitude for taking an online course.

They are all different types of instruction. Below are descriptions for each:

  • Internet (online): Courses in which 100 percent of instruction is delivered online with you, your classmates and your instructor interacting online from separate locations and times
  • Hybrid: Courses in which greater than 50 percent but less than 100 percent of instruction is delivered online using a combination of both online and face-to-face settings
  • Blended: Courses in which less than or equal to 50 percent of instruction is delivered online using a combination of both online and face-to-face settings
  • Web Conferencing: Courses taught live at a scheduled time using an online web conferencing platform such as Zoom™ or Collaborate™
  • Face-to-Face: Courses in which 100 percent of instruction is delivered in the classroom and may use the LMS to post supplementary instructional materials
Visit the admissions web page to apply online, or contact the Admissions Office for an application packet.
There are three ways to register for classes:

  • In person at either COA – Elizabeth City, COA – Edenton-Chowan, COA – Dare, or COA – Currituck
  • By contacting Admissions, or your advisor
  • Online using the MyService website
Tuition for Distance Education courses are the same as on-campus courses. Tuition charges for any North Carolina community college is subject to change, effective at the beginning of each fall semester.

Tuition and Fees

Prior to the first day of class, visit the course schedules web page, locate your registered classes and use the “Textbook Info” link to view a list of required textbooks. You can then visit the bookstore to order your books online.
Once you’ve activated your accounts, return to the MyCourses* site and sign in with the same username and password. Due to audit requirements, courses will be visible the first day of classes starting at 12:15 a.m., at which time you’ll be able to view your current semester’s courses. Log in to MyCourses from the student portal or directly through the MyCourses web page. Use the username and password set when activating your COA accounts. If you have reset your password since activating your account, use the new password. Usernames are usually your firstname_lastname (john_doe, jane_doe). Once logged in to MyCourses, you’ll have access to the COA 101 Introduction to MyCourses (Moodle) for Students course and the Academic Support Center’s MyCourses web resources.

*New students will have access to MyCourses one week before the start of their class.

If you have questions concerning assignments, grade book, resetting tests and other issues, the best option is to contact your instructor. You can also check the MyCourses web resources or visit the online academic resources web page for more information.
Visit Tutor, a free online tutoring assistance program that provides unlimited access to a network of tutors 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Tutors are available via audio and chat, and appointments can be spontaneous or scheduled. Written assignments can also be “dropped off” for review. You can receive help with writing, mathematics, reading, science, business, Spanish, nursing, allied health, computers and technology. The Tutor link can be found in any of your MyCourses classes.
If you have technology-related questions, visit our frequently asked technology questions page to find your answers quickly. If you have technical difficulties activating your accounts or signing into Gmail, reset your password. To submit Distance Education specific questions, log into COA Help Desk support or click “myHelp” on the tool bar located in MyCourses and submit a support ticket (choose “10: Student Support and 10: MyCourses), or email [email protected] to get help with MyCourses.
If you need face-to-face assistance with navigating MyCourses or understanding how to use a particular software application, lab assistants are available at COA – Elizabeth City and COA – Dare libraries and in room 302 in the Workforce Development building at COA – Edenton-Chowan. Distance Education offices are located at COA – Elizabeth City on the second floor of building B, room B 217 or B 223.

Computer Lab Hours and Locations

You won’t be able to enter your online course through MyCourses until the first day of class. Some online classes don’t start until partway into the semester, or are second-half classes that don’t begin until the second eight-week half of the semester. Be sure to check the schedule and your registration receipt for class start dates. You’ll need to log in and complete at least one assignment prior to your course’s 10 percent completion date to remain enrolled. You’ll be required to participate in each class, including taking quizzes and tests, participating in discussion forums, submitting papers and reporting on web research projects. Most instructors will post announcements and list assignments on the course syllabus. Please be sure to check your course announcements and email account regularly.
Your instructor will normally contact you by email. You’ll be issued a free email account through Gmail that you’ll need to monitor. Once you’ve activated your COA accounts and established your password, you can log in to Gmail and MyCourses using the same username and password. If you have technical difficulties activating your accounts or signing in to Gmail, reset your password.
Library databases can be accessed by visiting our library web page. You can also access the library through MyCourses on the menu at the top of the page.
GCF Learn Free

The technology section offers tutorials for basic computing and various operating systems. The Microsoft Office section has tutorials for Word, Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher (Office XP, 2000, 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013). The mobile applications section offers applications to help you learn through your smartphone.

The college offers a free version of Microsoft Office for all students and employees, and you can install your copy on up to five devices. Visit Get Office 365 to download the software, then use your COA email account to register your copy.
If you’re having an issue with MyLabsPlus, keep in mind that your access code is case sensitive, so be sure to enter letters in the appropriate case. Another common issue arises when purchasing from somewhere other than the bookstore, and accidentally getting a MyLabs access code rather than a MyLabsPlus access code (you’ll need to buy the “Plus” version).

If you’re still having issues, please contact the Pearson help desk (MyLabsPlus is supported through Pearson) at 888-883-1299 or 800-677-6337, available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Pearson’s Student Support for MyMathLab

MyCompLab Resources


  • Rust, Shellee

  • Director, Distance Education

  • COA – Elizabeth City: B 217

  • 252-335-0821 ext. 2380