Distance Education/Online Learning Center

Online learning is a flexible alternative to onsite, in-person learning. You'll get the same high-quality instruction and interaction with classmates, but without the challenges of scheduling, commuting, and parking on campus.

Distance education courses:

  • are academically equivalent to in-person classes, with the same content and workload.
  • are not self-paced; expect regular due dates for academic work.
  • help students fit college classes into their busy schedules.
  • are available in a variety of formats to help students build schedules that work best for them.

Online Learning Options

Southwestern College offers a variety of online class formats to meet your needs:


An online class is entirely online and asynchronous, with no required class meetings in person or via videoconferencing. Online classes use Canvas for aynchronous instruction, interaction, activities, and assignments. While there are weekly due dates, online classes offer flexibiilty in where and when these activities are completed. Southwestern College uses 500-level section numbers for online sections (501, 502, etc.).


A live online class meets at set dates and times, which are published in the class schedule. All of these class meetings take place through videoconferecing in Zoom - there are no in-person requirements. While instruction, discussions, and activities happen in Zoom, Canvas may be used to provide class communication, resources, activities, homework, and grades. Southwestern College uses 400-level section numbers for live online sections. 


A hybrid class is a mix of online and live formats. The online part is asynchronous in Canvas, just like an online class. The live part has set meeting dates and times, which are published in the class schedule. Both components are required for all hybrid classes.

This hybrid class is a mix of required online learning in Canvas and required in-person class meetings in a campus classroom or lab on listed dates and times. Southwestern College uses 600-level section numbers for in-perosn hybrids. 

This hybrid class is a mix of required online learning in Canvas and required virtual class meetings using Zoom videoconferecing on listed dates/times. Southwestern College uses 700-level section numbers for live-online hybrids. 

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.  

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.


Students new to online learning, Canvas, or Zoom are encouraged to participate in an orientation. One-hour orientations are provided at the start of each semester, and self-paced options are also available. See the Online Learning area of the college website for details about orientations, Canvas resources, online learning support, and additional help.


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
  • Call (619) 482-6595
  • Visit 64-344 (3rd floor of the Library) for Canvas open lab and support

After Hours Support