Distance Course Formats
You may have different types of interaction with an instructor, tutor, marker or other students in your distance or online learning course, depending on the format.
The amount of instruction in your course may also depend on the length of the course. Your course may be term-based (typically 12 to 13 weeks in length) or continual-intake, in which you can register and start at any time and are given a specified number of weeks to complete.
Important course or tutor information will be sent to you by email prior to your course start date. Check your myBCIT email account to access this information.
BCIT correspondence courses are self-directed courses, in which you work at your own pace, interacting rarely or not at all with an instructor. You may be required to submit assignments that are marked and returned and also to complete a mid-term and/or final examination or other form of final student assessment. Self-directed courses can be term-based and therefore last 12 weeks.
The other type is continuous entry, a flexible option that allows you to register and start at any time. All continuous entry courses have a set course duration in weeks, which starts on the registration date, and in which the course must be completed. Some courses have a duration of one year. Many courses allow for re-registration, which provides students additional time to complete their course work.
Guided learningGuided courses are most commonly used to prepare for a qualifying exam. Learners order sets of course materials and have a term (12 weeks) in which to prepare for their final exam or evaluation. Assignment due dates are also scheduled. Help from an instructor via telephone and e-mail is available during a set time each week. The courses often encourage or require group work that occurs by telephone conferencing or computer technologies.
Online courses provide for rich interaction between you and your instructor, between you and other students, or both. Online courses often have weekly scheduled learning activities or assignments in which you may work in collaborative groups or participate in discussion forums. Individual contact with instructors follows a pattern similar to that in a classroom.
Online courses have fixed start dates; students will not have access to the course before then. Your password and log-in ID for your course will not work before that date. Usually, expectations for frequency of communication with your instructor are established at the beginning of the course; for example, your instructor may respond to your e-mail and bulletin board postings within 48 hours.
Additional complementary course content and resources are provided online.
Part classroom; part online - learners participate in course activities as a group in the classroom, then work in project teams online. This is the perfect solution for those who cannot attend an evening class for a full 13 weeks.
To compare online learning with traditional classroom activities, see Is Online Learning for Me? [PDF, 13 KB].