Our Distance Learning program allows you the opportunity to achieve your educational goals through the use of fully online classes and hybrid classes. The fully online environment provides students with the flexibility of taking courses from any place at any time. Hybrid courses will require that students attend a portion of the class in person and a portion online.
Using Canvas, an online learning management system, you will obtain course content, complete assignments and exams, and communicate in a virtual classroom setting. Course material can be accessed on a regular basis and details on how the system will be used in your course will be provided in your instructor’s syllabus.
Courses may not appear in Canvas until the first day of the semester. Please remember this when you first log in if you do not see the class you enrolled in immediately appear in your list of courses.
Please note that students living outside of California or Nevada (based on their mailing address and physical presence) are prohibited from taking online classes at Sierra College.
Three Considerations Before Enrolling in an Online or Hybrid Course
1. Course Expectations
- Online courses are just as rigorous and demanding as on ground courses.
- Students are expected to establish and maintain high levels of involvement and interaction throughout the semester.
- Online courses take as much time as on campus courses.
- Students need to have basic computer skills.
- Must live in California or Nevada.
2. Technology Requirements
- A personal computer or device that can access the Internet and run all necessary software
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
- Related software for specific courses
- Review the Canvas browser guide on browser requirements.
If you have any technology questions, contact Student Tech Support, which provides FREE assistance and service for all Sierra College students to access and use Sierra College computer tools.
3. Tutorials and Skill Development Course
Before you sign up for your first online course, consider completing the tutorials below and/or enrolling in our Skill Development 10 course.
- Tutorial 1: Organizing for Online Success (Approx. 12 minutes)
- Tutorial 2: Online Study Skills and Managing Time (Approx. 12 minutes)
- Tutorial 3: Communication Skills for Online Learning (Approx. 13 minutes)
Course on How to Be a Successful Online Student
Consider enrolling in our Skill Development 10 course, which is designed to help students develop skills for success in the online classroom. It covers: learning styles, time management, study habits, goal setting and motivational techniques; and explores the computer tools used at Sierra College, including Canvas.
Resources for Students
Technical Help with Online Class
Contact Student Tech Support, which provides FREE assistance and service for all Sierra College students to access and use Sierra College technology. You may also use the Canvas Student Guide to find answers to other Canvas-related questions.
In partnership with Tutor.com, Sierra College offers students free 24/7 online tutoring with live, one-to-one assistance in several subjects, including math, science, history, English, economics and business.
If you need help with the subject matter of your course, you can access the online tutoring service via a link in your course navigation menu, or if it’s not available there, you can join the Online Tutoring Center Canvas shell to access it there.
Questions or problems connecting? Contact Jennie Longmire at email@example.com.
Visit Counseling to schedule an appointment online.
Online Library Tools
- Online Library and Academic Support
- Access to Journals and eBooks through Discover
- Access A-Z Databases
- Access to Many Textbook Titles FREE through VitalSource
State Authorization (Out-of-State Policy for Online Courses)
The United States Department of Education regulation 4 C.F.R.§ 600.9 © requires each state to apply for and receive authorization to provide online/distance education programs to out-of-state students.
In order to maintain compliance, students living outside of California or Nevada, based on their mailing address AND physical presence, are prohibited from taking online classes at Sierra College.
Incorrect Mailing Address Issue
If a student’s mailing address is incorrect, or if a student has recently moved to the state of California, they can log in to mySierra, the student portal, and update their mailing address. Once the address has been updated to a California address, the students will be able to enroll in online classes at Sierra College.
Each student taking a course must use their unique mySierra secure log-in and password to access a course in Canvas. This password authentication that uniquely identifies the student ensures that they are in fact the student registered for the course, completing the material and receiving the academic credit.
Resources for Distance Learning and Hybrid Faculty
Distance Learning Policies and Standards
A course shell within Canvas, the institution’s online learning management system, is automatically created with each new course generated through the Banner registration system.
These Canvas shells can be used to develop:
- Fully Online Courses: This is an asynchronous course and does not require the student to attend campus. All instructional aspects of the course including lectures, assignments, projects, discussion board activity, assessments and communication options are presented in the online format.
- Hybrid Courses: These blended courses are taught utilizing both the traditional and online classroom. Specific percentages of time used for each format is approved through the curriculum review process. Lab courses are often taught as a hybrid course with the lecture portion being delivered online and the lab component conducted in the physical classroom.
- Web-Enhanced Courses: All courses can be enhanced using Canvas. Instructors utilizing Canvas are able to use all of its features, including the lecture and assignment areas, communication, gradebook and discussion boards to display content for their on-ground course sections. Canvas is only used to supplement a regularly scheduled on-ground course so that students have additional access to course material and the ability to communicate online.
Each instructor teaching a course section in any modality automatically has a Canvas account generated and linked to their unique mySierra secure log-in and password. They then have the ability to develop the course in the online, hybrid or web-enhanced format depending upon how the section is offered.
- Faculty Resources Guide for Online Teaching [Canvas login required]: Offers links to distance learning live help sessions, online training schedules, faculty discussions, Canvas tutorials and more
- How-to Videos for Faculty from Sierra Distance Learning [videos require login]
- Streaming Video Options from the Sierra College Library: Offers films through three online streaming collect
- Canvas Instructor Guides (from Instructure)
- Short How-to Canvas Videos (various topics from @ONE)
Additional Resources for Online Teaching
- How to Request Camtasia Screen Recorder and Video Editor for Personal Computers
- Online Network of Educators
- Sierra College ProDev Community
- Sierra College Distance Learning (Administrative Procedure 4105)
- Universal Design for Learning Guidelines
- Sierra College Course Material Accessibility Guidelines
- Canvas Accessibility Report Video Training [video; requires login]
- California Community Colleges (CCC) Accessibility Center
- Canvas Accessibility Group: Ask questions, start a discussion and find answers
- How to Make Google Docs Accessible
- Microsoft Accessibility Checker
- WebAIM Content Guidelines
- Faculty Services
- Open Educational Resources (OER) - Teaching, learning and research resources in the public domain
- Screencasting - Free tool to record your screen with a voiceover or webcam
- Streaming Video and DVDs - Sierra College offers films through three online streaming collections and DVDs, which can be embedded into Canvas