How Distance Learning Works

If you do not see the video
test your system at
and install necessary plugins.

(Adobe Flash is required to view the video. Alternatively, there is a video transcript available.)

What Is Distance Learning Like?

Distance learning offers convenience and flexibility for students with busy lives. While there are deadlines, students can work at hours convenient to their schedule. It is an attractive prospect for students who have many other commitments and obligations. Distance learning also requires discipline. To be successful, students must be self-motivated and responsible in their independent studies.

At Empire State College, the Center for Distance Learning (CDL) has been offering convenient distance education of the highest quality since 1979. Through this flexible program, students do their work at times and locations that are convenient for them. They communicate with advisors and course instructors by means of e-mail, telephone, and through discussion areas online. They can also order textbooks and register for courses online.

At CDL, you progress at your own rate, taking only the number of courses each term that suits your schedule.

You can work on your coursework and interact with instructors during the evenings or on weekends. Center for Distance Learning courses are completely self-contained, including research papers, online tests, projects and other methods to assess work. In general site-based exams are not required.

Empire State College offers individual courses and full degrees through distance learning. Students work with an advisor to develop an individualized degree program that builds upon their interests, life experiences, needs and goals. The college also believes that new learning should be built on credit gained from learning from work or volunteer experiences.

Students work through courses under the guidance of an instructor who maintains regular contact with them by telephone and through discussion areas in their online courses. Faculty are specialists in the course content and are available to help you in your studies, evaluating assignments and monitoring your progress through a course.

How Will You Be Evaluated?

Students at Empire State College receive both a grade and a narrative evaluation identifying what and how well you learned, based upon the course's criteria for evaluation. If you prefer, you may choose a narrative-only option with no grades. You must choose which option you want when you register.

It Isn't Easy

Many think that distance learning is a breeze. In actuality, distance learning courses are demanding, requiring the discipline of systematic study, concentrated reading and carefully thought-out, written assignments. Students need to set aside substantial blocks of time for study. For example, with a 4-credit course, a minimum of 10 hours of study time per week should be invested.