Distance Education/Online Learning Center

Distance education is defined as instruction in which the instructor and students are separated by distance and interact online within the college’s course management system (CMS). Online learning offers the same content and rigor as traditional face-to-face classes, but in a flexible and convenient online format. You will complete assignments and interact with your instructor and classmates regularly, just as you would in a traditional classroom, but in an online course you have the freedom to participate from any location with internet access and at the time of day that is most convenient for you.

To determine if online learning is right for you, consider your answers to the following questions:

  • Are you very comfortable with using a computer for email, internet use, and word processing?
  • Do you have regular access to a computer with high speed internet access?
  • Do you have strong time management and study skills?
  • Are you a self-motivated learner?

If you answered yes to these questions, online learning may be for you!

Distance education courses:

  • are academically equivalent to traditional on-campus courses.
  • allow students to fit college classes into their busy schedules.
  • offer the flexibility to complete coursework from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • save the time and expense of traveling to campus.

Courses With Online Components


These courses are 100% online. Online courses are taught through the college’s CMS with no face-to-face meetings; instruction, interaction, and assignment submission all take place online. Students enrolling in online courses must have a valid Southwestern College email address and regular access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection.


Hybrid courses offer a mix of both online and on-campus instruction. Required face-to-face meetings are included in the schedule of classes and follow a predictable pattern. The online portion of the course uses the college’s CMS and also follows a predictable pattern. As in fully online courses, students enrolling in hybrid courses must have a valid Southwestern College email address and regular access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection. They must also commit to both the online and on-campus portions of the course.

Synchronous online courses have all regularly scheduled meeting days/ times and meet via video conferencing, such as Zoom.  

Synchronous online courses have some regularly scheduled meeting days/ times and meet via video conferencing, such as Zoom.  In addition, these online courses may also require the following:  coursework, such as content review, participation and homework activities, and assessments, to be completed outside of virtual class meetings.


These are traditional, face-to-face courses that meet 100% on campus but use the college’s course management system to give students access to class materials, grades, activities, and/or resources.

Additional Online Information


In accordance with federal regulations, Southwestern College may not permit students residing outside of California to enroll in online classes.  Please contact Admissions and Records for more information.  


Students new to online learning or the college’s course management system are encouraged to participate in an orientation. Orientations are provided at the start of each semester, and an online video version is available.  See the Online Learning area of the college website for details about orientations, online learning support, and additional resources.

Many online courses are transferable to four-year colleges and universities. However students are advised to consult a counselor regarding transfer institutions policies and restrictions for online coursework.


Need help?  Contact the Online Learning Center!

This center supports students, faculty, and staff who work, learn, or teach in SWC’s course management system.

  • Get in Touch with the OLC
    • Email OnlineLearning@swccd.edu
      • Faculty can place a request for common Canvas tasks in SWC's ServiceNow system
    • Call (619) 482-6595
    • Visit  (3rd floor of the Library building) for Canvas open lab and support

  • After Hours Support
    • Canvas Live Chat:   24 hours/7 days a week (Students and Faculty)
    • Canvas Phone Support: 1-833-507-7237  (Faculty)