Distance Education Mission, Vision & Core Values

Vision Statement

The Distance Education Division will be a global leader of educational excellence, innovation, training, delivery and support of online, hybrid, and web-enhanced instructional formats within and beyond the Pasadena Area Community College District.

The Distance Education Division will:

  • Offer greater access to education via alternative delivery approaches to the present student population, local school districts and businesses, and currently underserved communities within the College’s district.
  • Broaden the College’s outreach beyond the District, include out of state and international markets.
  • Foster lifelong learning opportunities to meet the changing needs of students throughout their academic and working careers.
  • Enhance, maintain and promote extensive online academic student services to support student retention and success.

Mission Statement

The Distance Education Division is dedicated to supporting and promoting the College’s mission and goals of equitable student learning and achievement, academic excellence, and workforce development by delivering high quality distance education programs and support services that meet federal, state and accreditation requirements.

To achieve its mission, the Distance Education Division will:

  • Provide services to support the technological requirements of the faculty and student body.
  • Ensure that student instruction, services and support comply with accessibility needs and requirements.
  • Support the development and assessment of learner-centered online and hybrid AA, Transfer, Career & Technical Education (CTE) and Continuing Education courses.
  • Create opportunities for faculty training and development which focus on new trends and effective practices in online technology and pedagogy.
  • Serve as a liaison between the Division Departments and other campus stakeholders regarding Distance Education policies and procedures.

Core Values

The Distance Education Division is guided by the following values:

  • Leadership in technological and instructional innovation
  • Commitment to best practices in distance education for student success
  • Dedication to open communication and collaboration among key stakeholders
  • Transparency in the decision-making process
  • Professionalism and integrity
  • Excellence in support services
  • Cultivation of lifelong learning and development

Definition of Online Learning

Distance Education is an approach to learning where instruction takes place outside the traditional classroom setting. Instead of teaching face-to-face, instructors use electronic or a blend of face-to-face and electronic delivery methods to develop and furnish content for instruction and interaction with students.

At PCC there are two modes of distance education instruction:


An online distance education course is delivered via the Internet using a campus-supported Learning Management System (LMS). No on-campus meetings are required. Students are required to use a computer with Internet access as the primary technology and may be required to use other available technologies to acquire and learn course content. Through regular effective contact, instructor and students interact to complete assignments and assessments and to demonstrate Student Learning Outcomes. An online course will be designated as Online in published campus materials.


A hybrid distance education course replaces some face-to-face class time with online instructional time. Any distance education course that requires students to attend on-campus orientations, assessments, scheduled class meetings, or other required activities is a hybrid course. A campus-supported Learning Management System is used to provide course content replacing face-to-face time. Students must have access to a computer and the Internet. A hybrid course will be designated as Hybrid in published campus materials.

*If instructors use the LMS to post materials and engage in discussion but do not replace their classroom time with online instruction, this is a web-enhanced course and is not considered a distance education course.

Purpose of Online Learning

Distance education courses support Pasadena City College’s mission to increase learning outcomes and expand the College’s instructional outreach to the community. By offering courses which utilize the latest technology in electronic delivery methods, students have access to a greater array of opportunities for learning through individualized, learner-centered instruction and more options for accessibility of course content. 

Principles of Online Learning

Fundamental teaching and learning standards for undergraduate education also apply to teaching online and hybrid courses. This means that the following principles, based on Chickering and Gamson’s best practices for undergraduate education, should inform distance education courses:

Principle 1: Establish and maintain Regular Effective Contact.

Regular effective contact is a California requirement for distance learning which states that instructors must keep in contact with students on a regular and timely basis both to ensure the quality of instruction and to verify performance and participation status. 

Principle 2: Create opportunities for student-centered learning.

In distance education, instead of being the sole source of content knowledge, the role of the instructor is as a facilitator. Students should be encouraged to interact not only with the content and instructor but also with each other in order to understand, research and come to their own conclusions about the course material.

Principle 3: Create opportunities that have practical real world applications.

The activities in distance education courses should be authentic, that is, based on tasks that students would have to perform in various setting outside the classroom. Students should also have chances to enhance their knowledge about the world through critical thinking and reasoning skills.

Principle 4: Provide support for each student’s learning process and autonomy.

Distance education instructors should engage all types of learners by providing content and assessments that respect and accommodate the different needs, learning styles and strategies of each student. In addition, instructors should provide support for students in time management and academic skill development.

Principle 5: Ensure all course content is readily and easily accessible to all students.

Instructors should make certain that their courses meet all the necessary accessibility requirements(508 compliance). They should also create course content and assessments that are user-friendly in terms of technology and provide alternate means of access to the course material should there be problems with the Learning Management System.