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How Online Learning Works

Online classes are taught by the same outstanding faculty members who teach at the SCC and SFCC campuses. An online student is no different from a student taking classes on campus. Your diploma and transcripts look the same whether you take your program in an online, hybrid, web-enhanced, or face-to-face format. You also apply to college the same way. Once you select your program, apply at either SCC or SFCC

There are various ways to take classes other than in-person. These are referred to as modalities or modes of instruction. Some common definitions are below. 

  • Online: A course that uses web-based tools and where 100 percent of the instruction and interaction between instructor and student is done online. (Proctored exams still allow for this classification.)

  • Hybrid: A course that replaces some, but not all face-to-face time with web-based tools.

  • Web-Enhanced: A face-to-face course that does not replace any face-to-face seat time, and access to web-based tools is required.

While not self-paced, most classes allow you to work on your own schedule throughout the week. Some classes require that you login at certain times, so be sure to check the class description and notes before registering.

Online degrees are offered at SCC and SFCC. You can take classes from both campuses online, and your classes are all in the same online system. 

Explore the program pages for detailed information about the online program(s) you are interested in. Contact the Counseling Center for assistance selecting the right program for you.

Determine if Online Learning Works for You

Online classes are offered during the same quarterly sessions, cost the same tuition and fees, and carry the same credits and accreditation as on campus classes.  This means they carry the same academic rigor, expectations, and transcript impact as any other credit bearing college class.  However, some special considerations should be made:

  • Your success in online classes are 100 percent dependent on you, the student, to be self-motivated, organized, and able to maintain a schedule where you can keep track of and meet due dates and deadlines.
  • Without dedicated classroom space, it is up to you as an online student to ensure you have adequate space to complete your work independently with minimal distractions.
  • Online instruction includes text, videos, discussions, web-conferencing, peer collaboration and more. It’s your responsibility to read and view all materials provided by your instructors and to follow their directions. Each online instructor teaches and communicates differently. You should be prepared to spend more hours on classwork than you would for on-campus classes.   
  • Without the physical presence of an instructor available to you, it is your responsibility to contact your instructors with questions and requests for clarification.

Specific hardware and software requirements may vary by department and course. At minimum, you need the following:

Computer and Hardware

  • A desktop or laptop no more than five years old
  • Windows 7 and newer or Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 2Ghz Processor
  • Webcam
  • Access to a printer is recommended

Note: While smartphones and tablets are a nice supplement for completing some course requirements in the Canvas mobile app, you should not plan to complete all course requirements this way. You need access to a computer on a regular basis. Canvas mobile device specifications can be found here.

Reliable Internet Access



Specific technology skills may vary by program and course. Training for online learning tools such as Canvas will be provided, but you are expected to have basic computer skills. Before taking an online class, it is recommended that you are able to:

  • Download and install software applications
  • Create, save and manage files including extracting Zip files
  • View PDF documents
  • Use e-mail applications including sending and receiving attachments
  • Use a web browser proficiently
  • Multitask with web browsers and software applications
  • Use Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Use a webcam and microphone
  • Take screenshots
  • Identify your web browser and operating system version

Students from all states are welcome to apply! Spokane Community College (SCC) and Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC) are members of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA). This allows us to offer distance education to students in member states without seeking individual approval.

If you will be taking online classes from outside the state of Washington, please visit our Out of State Students page before applying.

Get Started

Online students must complete the same admissions requirements as on campus students.  Once you know which school you will be attending online classes through, complete the application online here.

About a week after applying, you should receive an ID number and instructions for activating your student ID in the school system, ctcLink.  Keep the password safe as it is your login credentials for Canvas, where your online classes are.  

You also will receive instructions for completing admissions requirements like placement testing, advising and orientation. Work with the Admissions Office if you have questions or problems.

To begin applying for financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA here:  Financial aid must be applied for the specific campus you will be attending online classes through.  You may only receive financial aid via one school at a time.

Check your “To Do List” in your ctcLink Student Center regularly to find out what additional paperwork the Financial Aid office will need to process your FAFSA and award your aid. The sooner you get your paperwork submitted, the quicker your financial aid will be processed. Work with the Financial Aid office if you have questions or problems.

Contact Karen Sandall at 509-533-7070 to get connected.

Once your Student Success Coach has contacted you, you’ll be placed in the online student community where you:

  • Qualify for priority registration in your online classes.
  • Receive support and assistance from the Success Coach.
  • Gain access to resources and information pertinent to online learning.
  • Socialize and network with other online students.

Meet Your Student Success Coach 

  1. Look up program pages for requirements to discover which classes fulfill degree or certificate requirements
  2. Talk to your program advisor or a counselor advisor about course selection
  3. Search for online classes here

For step-by-step instructions on registering for classes in ctcLink see our Register for Classes page