Distance Education

The Distance Education program at Southern Union offers students the opportunity to choose quality, affordable courses that conveniently fit their lifestyle. Courses offered by distance education are the same quality as those taught traditionally in a classroom setting. Tuition and fees are equivalent to those for traditional courses, except for the addition of remote final exam proctoring fee required in all online, virtual, and some hybrid/blended courses. Students may enroll in distance education courses in the same manner they enroll in other classes. Distance Education classes follow the same semester timelines as other courses.

Three primary forms of distance education courses are available at Southern Union: hybrid/ blended, online, and virtual.

  • Hybrid: A hybrid course is a combination of online and classroom-based courses with a majority of the course content delivered electronically. Testing may be required on campus or proctored remotely using a variety of digital means, which may include using a lockdown browser, monitoring with a webcam and microphone, and using an online proctoring service for the final examination.

  • Online: The entirety of the course content is delivered electronically through the college’s learning management system (LMS). There are no required on-campus meetings. Tests are proctored remotely using a variety of digital means, which may include a lockdown browser, monitoring with a webcam and microphone, and using an online proctoring service for the final examination.

  • Virtual: The virtual classroom uses a shared online space where students and in- structors interact in real-time (synchronously). Online content delivery with regularly scheduled class meetings through online conferencing software such as Zoom, Canvas Conferences, or Google Meet is required. Attendance at meetings is not optional. Tests are proctored remotely using a variety of digital means, which may include using a lockdown browser, monitoring with a webcam and microphone, and using an online proctoring service for the final examination.

Students enrolled in distance education courses should have access to a reliable off-campus computer running an updated operating system and capable of downloading any software applications necessary for completing their course. Computers must be equipped with a working webcam and microphone, and connected with high-speed internet service. A list of required technology and technical skills for distance education students is located under the Distance Education webpage at www.suscc.edu. The use of mobile devices for completing course requirements is not recommended. At times it may not be possible to use a mobile device for certain requirements (see the list of minimum technology required for online learning on the Distance Education webpage at www.suscc.edu.)

Distance education courses are not self-paced, and assignment deadlines are scheduled throughout the semester. Completing courses by distance education requires computer lit- eracy and reading comprehension (see the list of minimum technical skills required on the Distance Education webpage at www.suscc.edu).

Canvas Learning Management System and Other Course Technologies

The Canvas Learning Management System is utilized for all Southern Union courses. Canvas is used entirely in the delivery of many distance education courses. In a traditional classroom, Canvas does not replace regularly scheduled class meetings; instead, it is used as a supplement to the class. Students in any Southern Union course may be required to use Canvas and other forms of technology to complete course requirements.

Every Southern Union campus has an open computer lab in the Learning Resource Center (library) with Internet access for students’ use during operating hours. The College provides high-speed Wi-Fi service on each campus for students to connect their personal computers while completing coursework. Laptops are available for loan on an individual basis. If you are interested in applying for a laptop loan, complete the Student Technology Request form available on Southern Union’s website.

Students may access the Canvas LMS through a link at www.suscc.edu and use their SUSCC student email address and password to log in to Canvas. For more detailed login information, click on the Online Services link on the SU webpage. After registration, a link for each course in which the student is registered will appear in Canvas by the published first day of class for the semester. Students are responsible for accessing Canvas courses on the published first day of class.

Security in Online Courses

Upon enrollment in any college course at Southern Union, a user account is created in the Canvas LMS for students to use to complete course requirements. Each student is issued a unique student number and email address to use in accessing student accounts. It is the student’s responsibility to keep this information secure and avoid sharing login information with anyone. Students are advised to change the default password for additional security.

For more information about security in Distance Education, please refer to www.suscc.edu and click on Programs of Study/Distance Education, or contact the Distance Education office at (334) 745-6437, extension 5516 or 5378.

Students Residing Outside of Alabama

Many states have regulations that require Southern Union to seek authorization to offer distance education courses to students who reside in those states. To assure that Southern Union meets these regulations, the college is a member of NC-SARA (www.nc-sara.org). At this time, all of the United States, except California and some territories, have entered into a reciprocity agreement through NC-SARA. Students residing in a location that is not an NC-SARA member should contact the Distance Education department before enrolling in online classes.

Professional Licensure Notice

Students who reside outside of Alabama and are seeking professional licensure (for exam- ple: nursing, teaching, cosmetology, radiologic technology, etc.) in a different state should be aware that Southern Union cannot confirm whether a course or program of study meets requirements for professional licensure in that state. Therefore, the student should contact the appropriate state licensing board to determine whether Southern Union’s course and/or program meets requirements for licensure in that state.

Video Conference Courses

Video conference courses use remote conferencing technology that allows students to enroll in a course hosted on another campus. Interactive video conference courses are conducted like traditional courses with regularly scheduled class meetings. The video conference system enables users at multiple locations to interact as if the instructor and all classmates are in the same room.