NPC Distance Education Student Guide

Welcome to the online resource site for Northland Pioneer College Distance Education students and students who are interested in enrolling in distance education classes. Please read the information carefully because it contains details to help you become successful in your distance education classes.

What is Distance Learning?

In the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, Congress defines distance learning as the “use of one or more technologies to deliver instruction to students who are separated from the instructor and to support regular and substantive interaction between the students and the instructor, either synchronously or asynchronously.” Distance learning includes interactive video courses, interactive audio courses, web-enhanced or web-assisted courses, blended or hybrid courses, and online courses. Distance Learning is characterized by:

  • Physical distance and/or time separation of the student and instructor during the majority of the class
  • The use of educational technology to bring the student and instructor together to deliver the course content and learning assessment
  • Asynchronous and/or synchronous two-way communication between student and instructor using learning technologies
Northland Pioneer College (NPC) uses electronic educational technology to deliver courses and to enhance communication between students and instructors. NPC-supported distance learning platforms include:

Is Distance Education for Me?

All courses delivered at NPC will provide the highest quality learning opportunities for students, regardless of course delivery method. While the course curriculum and learning objectives of distance education courses are the same as their face-to-face counterparts, the learning experience is very different. To determine if distance learning is right for you, see how many times you answer "yes" to the following questions. The more often you do, the more likely it is that distance learning may work for you.
  • Are you disciplined enough to complete your coursework including homework on your own schedule while still meeting the course's deadlines?
  • Are you able to work independently with minimal in-person interaction with others?
  • Are you able to communicate with others online or through other electronic means?
  • Are you proficient at using a computer to visit websites, send email and participate in online discussion groups?
  • Can you learn the material you want to study primarily through written instructions without much interaction from the professor?
  • Will you be willing to dedicate as much time to your distance learning program as you would to a traditional classroom program?
  • Does your schedule allow you to focus on your coursework every day?
  • Will you be motivated enough to complete the program even if you never speak to another student or professor aside from email and discussion forums?
If you answered "yes" to most of the questions above, then you should consider the benefits of distance learning. One of the greatest benefits is the flexibility that it offers. Because you do not have to go to classes at a certain time, you can study when it's more convenient for you and you may not need to quit your job to fit your studies into your schedule. You will also save time by not having to commute to campus.

Learn to Learn Online

The following links have many great resources on how to study effectively online:
Some basic computer and Internet skills for online learners:
  • Cut, copy and paste within and between documents
  • Use spell check
  • Set page numbers and set headers/footers in a document
  • Attach and open a document to a message
  • Paste text from your word processor into an email message
  • Print a document and a webpage
  • Open and close document and directory windows
  • Save and find files that you create on your hard drive 
  • Send and receive email
  • Find a web page using its address or URL
  • Follow links from one web page to another
  • Use the forward and backward buttons on the browser
  • Bookmark pages to access them later
  • Use an Internet browser to view websites - e.g., Mozilla Firefox (recommended), Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, etc.
  • Use a search engine to find information on the Internet - e.g., Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.
  • Download documents or software from the Internet
If you don’t have these skills, please consider taking ICT 095, a 0.5-credit hybrid course that prepares you for online learning.

Before My Distance Class Begins

You have registered for a Distance Learning Course and want to know how it will work? First, please remember that your course will be using electronic technology and may not meet on a certain day and time at a certain location. Before the course begins you will need to:
  • Contact your instructor via e-mail to let him/her know you have registered for the course
  • Remember - your distance learning course will begin the first week of classes and will have weekly assignments
  • Log into the course site if your course will be meeting on Moodle or Jenzabar (MyNPC)
  • Read and become familiar with the information located in the course site
  • Purchase a copy of the course textbook if required (Textbooks need to be ordered through the Online Bookstore earlier than the first week of class)
  • Read and review the appropriate tutorials below. Choose the distance learning platform that you will be using for your class (contact your instructor if you are not sure)

Distance Education Tutorials

Student Resources


NPC Distance Education Guidelines