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Distance (Online) Learning at Rappahannock Community College

Distance Learning student sits at desk computer

Distance Learning is an education format (course, certificate, degree or other) that allows a student to complete all or most of his or her program online. Distance Learning courses receive the same credit as a student who completes the program on campus.

Contact an RCC Navigator today to learn more about Online Courses at RCC at 804-333-6730 or We’ll help you every step of the way.

RCC’s Technology Department will help ensure that you have the right hardware and software you need to succeed in online learning. Please review these Computer Requirements to help you succeed. We’ll help get you connected — and stay connected — so you can succeed.

Student Canvas Overview Video LinkWhat to Expect from an Online Class

Taking online classes at Rappahannock Community College will be different from taking a class in-person.

Canvas will be the where you will receive and submit assignments, complete quizzes and some of your exams, and interact with your professors and fellow students using a discussion board or other online collaboration tools.

Review the video for an example of how a course in Canvas may be structured and function.

Nearly all of your interaction with your professor will be over email, and the majority of your lecture material will be through videos or reading material. Be sure to check your student email often to ensure that you are up to date on your class.

For more detailed information on the email we use, please visit our Student Helpdesk Email guide.


Attendance in an Online Class can take many forms, from participating in a Discussion to viewing and attending a live online lecture. Your professor will outline what is considered attendance in the syllabus for your Online Class.

For more information about attendance in your classes, you can see the  under the Attendance Standard section.


Zoom is the main tool used for collaborating in real time in online classes.

ALL Students, Faculty and Staff have a Pro (fully featured) account with Zoom through the VCCS.  To use this account, you must be logged in with your VCCS account – requires a special process as shown in the document.  Simply using your email to create an account does NOT use your VCCS account.

For detailed help please see our Zoom Help Desk page

View this video for an introduction to the Zoom tool:


All online courses require two (2) proctored activities. These are often two tests (ex. mid-term and final exams).  These may be taken at no cost at any RCC Testing Center. If you need to take a test at an off-campus (non-RCC)  location, please use the Distance Learning off-campus request form [PDF]

Automated proctoring is currently provided by the Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor at no additional charge.  Click on that link or contact your instructor for more information.  Optional online live proctoring using the Proctor-U service does charge a fee to the student by the company.  Please click on Proctor-U for more information.

Types of Online Learning Courses at RCC

There are several different types of Online Learning courses at RCC, each one has a special way of working.  Explore the options below and see which option best fits the way you learn.

Most online courses are taught through Canvas — an online course management tool.

These come in two different types:

  • Online On Your Time – aka “Asynchronous” – you work online generally at your own time and pace to complete classwork within posted schedules and deadlines.  There are no set dates or times for class meetings, although some may be offered as options.
  • Online Scheduled Time – aka “Synchronous” – the class is conducted online with class sessions meeting at set times on specific dates.  Class sessions are not optional.  Most work is done outside of class, on line, at your pace to complete classwork within posted schedules and deadlines.

Hybrid courses are a blend of on-site and distance learning courses. These courses use a significant amount of time with course learning online and, as a result, reduce the amount of classroom time.  Some schools may call this a “hi-flex” model.  One day a week is typically set out for in class lecture and exercises or lab work with the remainder of classwork being done online outside of class.

Interactive video (IV) courses are more like traditional courses. Class attendance is required; students and faculty interact over high-speed communication lines and televisions.  Your instructor will be at your location for one half of all class sessions and at the other location the other half (for a typical class with two locations).  These are currently being updated to the latest teleconferencing technologies in use throughout the business and scientific world.

These online courses are taught through the Canvas online course management tool. These typically follow the “online on your time model.” Shared Services Courses are RCC courses offered in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) or other Virginia community colleges, using shared resources to offer lower enrollment classes to a wider student base. Click here for more detailed information.

National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements

Rappahannock Community College has been approved to participate in the National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements .

Policies and Requirements for Distance Learning Courses

  • Student Academic Grievance Procedure
    Students who wish to file a complaint are expected to follow the Student Grievance Process for Academic and Non-Academic. This procedure defines the rights of students in settling problems and differences through an orderly grievance procedure.
  • Filing a Complaint to SCHEV
    As a last resort, students may file a formal complaint with the State Council for Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV), this includes all distance learning students from SARA states. Detailed information about SCHEV’s formal student complaint procedure, the types of complaints they will not address, or to file a written “Student Complaint Form” with the agency can be found on the SCHEV website, under Student Complaints. FERPA Regulations

SkillsOnline LogoSkillsOnline is Rappahannock Community College’s new professional development & workforce training Internet portal,
offering skills-based courses needed to succeed in a 21st-century workplace. With nearly 3,500 self-paced and instructor-led courses, SkillsOnline is an affordable, efficient way individuals can learn skills and prepare for certifications online to advance in their careers or get a better job. Courses are offered any time and anywhere over the Internet.  Employers can use SkillsOnline to train workers, provide industry certification, meet compliance requirements, and offer professional advancement.

SkillsOnline Courses Available in 17 Industries:

Accounting & Bookkeeping | Business Process | Clean Energy | Computer Applications | Environmental Sciences | Health | Hospitality & Food Service | Information Technology | Logistics and Operations | Marketing | Materials & Manufacturing | Medical Services & Nursing | Mining & Chemicals | Networks and Systems | Programming | Project Management | Safety & OSHA Requirements

Simplified registration and an orientation plus an online discussion board make it easy to get started. Free online help is available at any time, including free skills and career assessment tools for students and veterans.

Tuition is very affordable and can be paid via credit card or purchase order. Most courses cost between $99 and $125, while some industry certification preparation courses are priced accordingly at higher rates. Transcripts are maintained online and can be accessed at any time.

Professional development courses in science, engineering, and technology management are offered through Technology Ed .

Courses are delivered through a distance learning platform that allows students the opportunity to study at their own pace and receive a certificate of completion that can be used to satisfy certification requirements (CEU or PDUs) or career development needs.

The Center for Legal StudiesThe Center for Legal Studies (CLS) was founded in 1980 to offer legal studies courses in conjunction with hundreds of colleges and universities nationwide in the following formats: live lecture, online, DVD, and text-only. The curriculum is updated by CLS to remain current and on pace with the newest trends in the legal industry. Recognizing the state-of-the-art technology and ease of use, online courses created by CLS were awarded top honors by Thomson West Publishing International.

EVERY Online Course is available EVERY Session.


JER Online lists over 1000+ affordable, non-credit Continuing Workforce Courses and Certificates. We are always adding “more courses — all the time “to a growing inventory.” Students who enroll in JER Online courses are either individuals, employees of a company, consultants, freelancers or those seeking new career choices. Start anytime or on a fixed-time schedule and access your course anytime from anywhere for fast completion. JER Online offers discounted pricing for employee group enrollments. As an added value and bonus, students will have access to their online courses for one year, post course completion (applies to self-directed corporate developed courses only). Enroll today.


According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, health information technicians are one of the 10 fastest growing allied health occupations. This program is a self-paced, interactive, learn-at-home process that has been designed by experts with over 35 years of experience in the MT field. Your goal is to complete the course and pass your final exam. Course is available through JER Online.