As a student of Sentara College of Health Sciences, you’ll learn on campus, online, or both, depending on which program or course you choose. Sentara College embraces a concept called “distance education,” which provides students with the flexibility to learn remotely, at a time and place that’s convenient for them.
As a student, you’ll be able to study on your own before coming together with classmates to discuss the material. This combination of online and on-site instruction is also called “hybrid learning,” and most of our programs and courses are delivered in hybrid format. The exceptions are our Clinical Nurse Leader MSN and our RN to BSN Programs, which have no on-campus requirements, so these students can learn entirely online.
What is Distance Education?
Distance education is a method of teaching and learning that takes advantage of technology to extend the reach of the classroom, allowing you the freedom to work and study in the environment that best suits your personal needs. In a distance education course, you will complete part or all of your coursework in an online format through video lectures, readings, and discussion boards.
One of the many advantages to distance learning is that you will have the freedom to pursue much of your coursework on your own schedule. Although the pace of the course will be dictated by your instructor, you will have the freedom to complete assignments in the evening, morning, or even catch up on some reading during your lunch break. This flexible experience allows you the opportunity to continue your career while pursuing your education.
Distance Education Courses at Sentara College
If you are an RN to BSN student or a Clinical Nurse Leader MSN student, your coursework will be entirely online. As a registered nurse, you can complete your Bachelor of Science in Nursing or Master of Science in Nursing without the classroom component, learning in a fully online environment that allows you to continue your career.
All other programs at Sentara College are offered in a hybrid format that takes the best of both worlds – combining rigorous lab and classroom training with an online component. The combined format complements your traditional education and allows you the freedom to complete a portion of your coursework outside of the classroom.
Is Distance Education for You?
As a student in a hybrid learning or fully online program, you will have access to a range of resources to support your education and make sure that you get the most of out of the online components of your course. Your instructor will always be available to answer your questions via email, discussion boards, and even via text or phone call for more immediate concerns. And you’ll always have access to the same library resources and the same services within our Center for Student Success as students who are on campus.
Distance education may not be for everyone, so it is important that you take the following online assessment and consider your ability to successfully complete an online course.
Learning Basic Computer Skills
If you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of basic computer functions, we can help. A resource from Microsoft called Digital Literacy is available to assess and teach basic computer concepts and skills.
Whether you are entirely new to computing or have some experience, this curriculum will help you gain a fundamental understanding of computers. From using the internet to sending email or creating a résumé, the Digital Literacy Curriculum helps you develop the essential skills you need to begin computing with confidence.
What do I Need to Take Distance Education Courses?
Students in distance education courses must have access to the following technology:
- A PC running a currently supported Microsoft Windows® Operating System or Mac OS X with the operating system’s minimum requirements for processor, memory, and hard drive. See the Microsoft Support Life Cycle or Apple website for minimum requirements
- At least 10.0 GB of free hard drive space (additional space may be needed for multimedia files)
- A webcam is required
- Recommended equipment: External storage (either hard drive or flash drive), webcam, speakers, and microphone. Wireless connectivity is recommended for mobile devices
- A Microsoft Windows® Operating System (Vista, or Windows 7/8/8.1) or Mac OS 10.5 or later
- Microsoft Office 2007 or later, Office for Mac 2011 or a more recent version
- A current antivirus and antispyware application that is updated regularly
- Internet Explorer 9.0 or later, Safari 6.0 or later, Firefox (Final Release Channel), or Chrome (Stable Channel)
Free Software Downloads
Many of the software requirements for distance education courses are available for free. You may be able to find what you need here:
- Adobe® Reader® DC or a more recent version
- Adobe® Flash Player 11.0 or a more recent version
- Java 8.45 or a more recent version
- Microsoft Silverlight
- Respondus Lockdown Browser
Internet & Email Requirements
- An internet service provider (ISP)
- An email address and account. Please note: All students will be issued a Sentara.edu account for use within their courses
Technology Requirements Notes
- Sentara College of Health Sciences uses a Learning Management System called Brightspace to deliver online coursework. Students will need to maintain personal computer systems to comply with Brightspace technical requirements. The Browser Support Requirements for Brightspace take precedence over these requirements in the event of conflict.
- The Internet Browser "Microsoft Edge" in Windows 10 is currently not supported and is known to not work for multiple applications. We recommend that you use Mozilla Firefox as your internet browser for coursework. Having difficulty? Please use our Help Desk to request help for any problems you may encounter as you make the transition into distance education.
Please use our Help Desk to request help for any problems you may encounter as you make the transition into distance education.