What is Distance Education?
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About Distance Education

Distance education at ECC provides flexibility to your learning and studying. Unlike traditional, campus-based classes, distance education is a form of learning where you are not always physically present at school. Distance education classes offer the same level of quality instruction as face-to-face classes and cover the same course material. The only difference is that part to all of the course is completed online!

Types of Distance Education Courses




Online Courses are completed fully online — meaning there are no on-campus meetings. Online Courses use ECC’s Learning Management System, CANVAS, to deliver content and to assess your learning.



Hybrid Courses are partially online — meaning there are some on-campus meetings. Hybrid Courses use ECC’s Learning Management System, CANVAS, to deliver content and to assess your learning.For hybrid classes, look for the class footnote in the Schedule of Classes for on-campus meeting dates and times.


What Do Classes Look Like?

Just like a traditional face-to-face class, an online class is taught by an accredited instructor. In online classes you will have regular lessons each week — the only difference is that they are delivered electronically using the Internet and other software tools.

When you take an online class, you log in to an online learning management system called Canvas access and complete all — or part of – your class lectures, assignments, interactive activities and tests to fulfill the course learning objectives. The same learning objectives, content and textbooks are used for all ECC classes whether it’s fully online, hybrid or on-campus.

These days, online learning can be just as or even more engaging than a traditional course, since your instructors will use the latest technological tools and teaching methods. More instructors are using multimedia and tools that increase social interactions in class. This makes learning more fun, as people get to know one another and support each other in their online course. Think of it as your new class community!

What's a Learning Management System (LMS)?

Online and hybrid classes at ECC use what is called a Learning Management System (LMS). An LMS ia an online platform. It's a self-containted system where your instructors can post their course materials, assignments, and announcements. Currently the LMS is Canvas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Surprisingly, distance education courses require as much – if not more — work and time as traditional classes. At ECC all online classes pass a quality standards review, and instructors must take courses that teach them to use the best instructional practices in distance education. The assignments you do will often require a lot of interaction and deep inquiry. But even though online classes can be demanding, you still have the flexibility to work in your pajamas at home if you wish!

Of course, in order to do well in an online class, you should determine if you have the time and skills needed to be successful. Some people actually prefer to learn online versus on-campus because they enjoy using technology, are comfortable with more reading and writing, are self-motivated and can manage their time very well.

Yes. All distance education classes fulfill the same educational requirements as traditional on-campus classes.

Yes! All distance education classes fulfill the same transfer requirements as traditional on-campus classes. Please check with your Counselor to make sure a class is transferrable.  

At this time, if you do not physically live in California you are not permitted to take fully online courses from El Camino College.

ECC does not have the required permission for students from other states to take courses at ECC. This permission is required to maintain eligibility for students of that state to receive federal financial aid.

Until further notice, ECC is not filing for authorization to operate in other states. We recommend that if you are seeking community college courses look for classes offered from an institution in your own state. More information about “State Authorization”.

Students in online courses communicate with their instructor and classmates electronically via Canvas course website. The instructor posts such things as lectures, assignments, announcements, and other information to the site. The class may respond with questions, comments, etc.

Please see the Skills for Success page for technology requirements

In order to succeed in a distance education course, you must be self-motivated and be able to work well independently with minimum supervision. You do not meet regularly with your instructor in the classroom, so you must be able to manage your time effectively and stay on track with your coursework. It’s also important that you have strong reading and writing skills. Please see Skills for Success for more information.

Distance education courses are every bit as challenging as on-campus courses. In fact, surveys we’ve conducted reveal that some students find distance education courses more difficult.

Some instructors require students to be online at a particular time to take quizzes or exams, or to participate in chat sessions. You may contact your instructor for details.

It’s very important that you get in touch with your instructor as soon as possible if you’re having trouble. You may contact them by phone or by email. Our full-time instructors hold weekly office hours, so you can visit them in person, if you wish. Contact information for your faculty will be in your syllabus.

If you find you need help with the course material, check out the Tutoring Program administered by the ECC Learning Resources Center (LRC). Tutors help students prepare for tests, learn new concepts, improve study techniques, and answer questions about assignments. Free tutoring for ECC students is available each semester. All LRC tutors are highly trained and certified. Visit the Tutoring webpage for more information. Also Canvas assistance is offered through Canvas Assist, which is located on the Distance Education webpage, or the Learning Resource Center webpage.

If for some reason you cannot access your course, email or call your instructor or the Distance Education helpdesk. We will get in touch with our Information Technology Services department and find out what the problem is. In the future we hope to have a “Technical Help Number” students can call, but until that time, we will contact ITS on your behalf.

You may. Your instructor will give you information about the text materials you’ll need for your course and how to access them. They may be available in the El Camino College Bookstore. They can ship your books to your home or you can pick them up in the store.

Yes, but in order to receive a “W” (Withdrawal), you must withdraw before the deadline. Consult the current ECC Schedule of Classes or visit the ECC WebServices site (MyECC) for more information. Please note that dropping a course is your responsibility. Your instructor is not responsible for dropping you from your course!