Distance Education


Distance Education

As a student of Sentara College of Health Sciences, you’ll learn on campus, online, or both, depending on which program 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 are delivered in hybrid format. The exceptions are our Clinical Nurse Leader MSN, RN to BSN, and Certificate in Cardiac Electrophysiology Programs, which have no on-campus requirements. 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 a CEP, RN to BSN, or Clinical Nurse Leader MSN student, your coursework will be entirely online. As a working professional, you can complete your education without a 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.

To see authorizations and compliance disclosures by state and program, please click here.

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.

Ready to Learn Online ?

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.

Access the Training

What do I Need to Take Distance Education Courses?

Students in distance education courses must have access to the following technology:

Hardware Requirements

  • A PC running a currently supported Microsoft Windows® Operating System or Mac OS 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

Software Requirements

  • A currently supported Microsoft Windows® Operating System or Mac OS
  • Microsoft Office 2007 or later
  • A current antivirus and antispyware application that is updated regularly
  • A currently supported web browser, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome

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:

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.

Having Difficulty?

Please use our Help Desk to request help for any problems you may encounter as you make the transition into distance education.

Accreditations & Certifications

Sentara College holds multiple accreditations. That means our programs have passed the rigorous standards of independent accrediting bodies. These accreditations provide assurance that your education will be of the highest quality and will be respected by institutions and employers in the field.

Sentara College of Health Sciences has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Sentara College of Health Sciences is certified to operate an institution of postsecondary education in Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Sentara College of Health Sciences is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)(abhes.org).

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