Distance Education is not a new concept. It has been practiced for many of years in different forms. There is no universal definition of distance education but it typically has the following characteristics:
◊ Separation of learner and instructor
◊ Interactive communications (usually on the discussion board in a course management system - Blackboard)
Most of the distance education courses at Montgomery College are delivered over the Web using the Blackboard course management system. These types of courses are called Fully-Online courses. Students sign on to Blackboard where they "meet" their instructor, access the syllabus and other course materials, participate in discussions, collaborate with other students, take quizzes and exams, and turn in assignment. Not all, but some, online courses do require students to come to campus to take exams.
Courses which are held both on-campus and online simultaneously are called Blended courses. Students who take blended courses will still go on campus to meet their instructor and classmates just like a regular on-campus class, but they will also do some of the course work online via Blackboard. Some of the blended courses use Elluminate Live! Chat, a videoconferencing software that allows instructor and students to have live audio and video conversations online.