Division of Continuing Studies
Military Outreach

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Military Outreach

What is Distance Education?


East Carolina University offers online distance education degree programs that allow students to access their coursework 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the internet. At ECU, online courses are taught by the same faculty as our campus classes and the readings, assignments and exams mirror the on- campus section. These programs include structured, well-designed courses and special instructional techniques to help you succeed as an online student.


The course outline and schedule of assignments that an on-campus student would normally get the first day of class are located in an online website devoted to the course during the first few days of the semester. 


Students and instructors can communicate in text-based discussion forums where students can “talk” with each other about the coursework and respond to various topics posted by the instructor. Some courses include real-time chat sessions where students interact with their instructor and classmates online at a scheduled time.


Assignments and homework are submitted online electronically via email or the class website, usually on a weekly basis. Many instructors give their tests online.  Students will have a particular “window of opportunity” to login and take tests. Some instructors may require students to secure a proctor to administer tests.


Most courses are taught using a course management system such as Blackboard, Moodle, or Sakai and are posted in a user friendly format.  These course management systems typically have tabs or folders in which instructors can post course information, course materials and assignments for students to access easily. 



Online learning is a great choice for many people, particularly those with full-time employment and family obligations.  If you are interested in earning an East Carolina University degree or certificate, but commuting to campus is not an option or if traditional college classes do not fit into your busy schedule, then online learning might be right for you!


A successful online student taking Internet courses learns to…


  • Be comfortable using technology, computers and navigating the Internet.
  • Manage time well.
  • Be self-disciplined and avoid procrastinating.
  • Invest 6-9 hours each week on each course.
  • Be very organized.
  • Enjoy working independently.
  • Follow written instructions carefully.
  • Actively participate, share ideas and ask questions in online discussions.
  • Be flexible and open-minded about the online experience.


Online courses offer a large degree of convenience and flexibility, but it’s important to note that these courses require the same level of commitment and effort as attending a class on campus.