About Distance Education

What is an “Online Class”?

An online class is remote learning where teaching takes place over the Internet. Online classes are offered asynchronously and synchronously.

Asynchronous classes do not have a scheduled meeting time or location. Instruction occurs anytime and anywhere. Internet access is required. Students access course content, complete activities, and take assessments without contacting their peers or instructor in real time. Asynchronous classes are ideal for self-disciplined learners wanting more control over time and location of their learning.

Synchronous classes have a scheduled meeting time but no meeting location. Synchronous classes utilize a web-conferencing platform at scheduled meeting times. Students must have Internet access, a webcam, and a microphone – most laptops are equipped with these. Synchronous classes offer real time feedback and can be recorded for asynchronous viewing/review.

Although online classes offer virtual instruction and a specific location is not required, some instructors do require proctored live or on-campus testing. If proctored testing is required, it will be noted in Student Planning so students will know this before choosing to register for the class. Students should read the additional notes for each course section in Student Planning. Additional notes are available by clicking on the title of the section.

What is a “Hybrid Class”?

A hybrid class offers part of the class face-to-face (either on campus OR online synchronously) and part of the class is online work outside of scheduled class time. The hybrid class is a blend of scheduled class time and asynchronous online learning. It is important to know when you are registering for a hybrid class that the meeting time listed is only a fraction of the credit hour or contact time listed. You will be expected to do a substantial amount of the learning in an online setting. Please read the description of the course in Student Planning, noting the scheduled face-

to-face time, the location of the face-to-face meetings, and the contact hours. Instructor may require live or proctored testing.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is MCC’s learning management system. It is an online system where instructors maintain courses. Students use Blackboard on a regular basis to access their online and hybrid courses. Many traditional, or face-to-face, courses also utilize Blackboard for syllabi, grades, and other class information. All students have access to their Blackboard courses through MyMCC.

What Courses and Programs are available? Read about finding online courses and programs here.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Classes:


  • Convenience – within established due dates for a course, work on your schedule.
  • Flexibility – Online classes can be fun!
  • Build computer skills that can enhance any portfolio or resume.
  • Save time and fuel.
  • Avoid traveling in inclement weather.


  • There may not be regular face-to-face interaction with the instructor or other students.
  • Online learning takes real self-discipline. Students must set their own schedule to ensure they meet class deadlines.
  • There are no guaranteed immediate answers to questions in an asynchronous format.
  • Students need to have good computer skills and troubleshoot technical problems.
  • On-campus testing may be require

Distance Education Course Evaluation Rubric

Muskegon Community College Distance Education Advisory Committee evaluates all new online and hybrid courses, as well as existing courses for which a new instructor is assigned. This rubric was adapted from the Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric.

MCC DEAC Course Evaluation Rubric