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How Does Online Learning Work?

Earn your accredited college degree on your schedule and at your own pace with the Online Campus at Columbia College.

At Columbia College, we give online students the freedom to access their courses when it is convenient for them, no matter what time of day or night it may be. Students will meet weekly assignment deadlines, but are not required to meet the instructor or other students at a certain time online or in person. When and how often you study is entirely up to you!

Online Campus Information

Student taking notes at computer Online courses at Columbia College are held in five, eight-week sessions per year. Sessions begin in January, March, June, August and October. Select from 27 accredited online degree programs and more than 600 accredited online classes offered each session. Whether you're interested in science, sociology, law, psychology, mathematics, English, history or a variety of other available online degree programs, your academic options are plentiful at Columbia College.

In addition, all of our online courses meet the same academic and accreditation standards as our in-seat or land-based courses and degree programs.

Two classroom components

Online courses at Columbia College have two main components: the syllabus and the discussion forum. At the beginning of each session, students will receive a detailed syllabus for every class that covers in-depth the overall expectations for the course. The discussion forum is where the bulk of student-to-teacher and student-to-student interactions take place. Not only do instructors check the discussion and offer almost immediate feedback, the students also will benefit from the diverse perspectives and opinions offered from both the instructor, as well as fellow online students.


Testing for Columbia College's online degree programs happens in a variety of ways. Some course instructors have their tests proctored by an approved person while other instructors use less structured evaluation methods.

Assignments, quality discussion postings and research papers are a large part of most online coursework at Columbia College and will most directly affect a student's final grade in any given course.

More information

For more information about distance education at Columbia College, please visit our Online Campus User Guide.

You also can test your individual readiness for the Columbia College Online Campus with the Technology IQ Quiz as well as the online Self-Assessment Quiz.