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Definition of Online Courses

Effective Winter Quarter 2007 | Adopted by Instruction Cabinet, Spring 2006

This document is intended to clarify, for the purposes of quarterly schedule development, the definition of online courses, and to distinguish them from hybrid or web-enhanced courses. While departments may offer other courses that mix face-to-face instruction with other modes, only courses that meet the definition below may be designated as online courses in the quarterly schedule and promoted as part of the college's online programming*.

Definition of Online Courses

An online course is defined as one for which all regularly scheduled classroom time is replaced by required activities completed at distance and managed online.

  • A standard definition provides predictability for students and for the course scheduling process.
  • This definition is in line with community standards and our peer institutions.
  • Online courses allow students to take courses from geographically remote locations, without any need to come to campus (for instance while deployed in the military)

The following parameters further define online courses:

  • Online courses require no fixed-schedule visits to the Highline campus or other pre-determined location.
  • Visits to particular sites, for instance for tests, internships, service learning, interviews, field research, or other curricular activity may be required, but the location and scheduling of these activities is flexible.
  • All activities can be completed geographically remote from the Highline campus, but the student is responsible for arranging a location suitable to the course requirements.
  • Online classes will utilize a course management system or equivalent technology.

To accommodate variations in course content and delivery modes, exceptions can be made to the above guidelines. However, to ensure predictability for students, these exceptions will require approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Requests should briefly state a rationale and should be copied to the division chair.

Scheduling process

Department coordinators are responsible for scheduling online courses and ensuring that they are properly designated in the quarterly schedule.

  • Division chairs must be notified of courses scheduled as online each quarter.
  • Online courses incur the standard Technology Fee.


* Any course that replaces face-to-face class time with an online (or other) component must so indicate in the quarterly schedule. Department coordinators and division chairs must be notified of such scheduling variations.