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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Distance Education?
Are distance education courses as good as face-to-face courses?
What is it like to take a course totally online?
What degrees AWC currenlty offer online ?
How are online courses delivered?
Internet & Computer Requirements
Basic Internet Skills Requirements
Can I apply for financial aid?
I am ready to take an online course. What do I do next?

What is Distance Education?

At Arizona Western College (AWC) - instruction is delivered at a time and/or place that is convenient for the student. Many of AWC courses are offered by means of a variety of distance education delivery systems: Two-way Interactive Television - to sites throughout Yuma and La Paz Counties, professionally produced telecourses via its two cable television stations – channels 74 & 75, and/or totally over the Internet (online).

Are distance education courses as good as face-to-face courses?

AWC distance education courses are taught by the same qualified faculty who teach the on-campus courses. Sometimes, online courses are a better or more immersive experience that traditional face-to-face courses. Additionally, Arizona Western College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; 30 North LaSalle, Suite 2400; Chicago, IL 60602-2504; 312-263-0456.

What is it like to take a course totally online?

While both traditional and distance education instructions are about learning the two methods of delivery are very different. The majority of online students will tell you that they learn more in an online environment, and that demands of an online course are by far more demanding that a face-to-face course. The content of online courses is just like face-to-face courses- weekly assignments, papers due at set dates, quizzes and exams, and interactivity/participation. Perhaps the primary difference is that the overriding responsibility of learning lies with you; the online student. Being a successful online student takes self-discipline and self-enforced time management.

Most online courses are entirely asynchronous or at least the major portions of the online course are asynchronous. Asynchronous means that you do not have to be at a computer at a specific time. In other words, you can participate and interact in your online course without the simultaneous interaction and exchange of your student peers and/or instructor. Usually, asynchronous courses do require you to login weekly to post responses to discussion or message boards, submit assignments, and basically contribute to the course. You, the online student, determine the days and times in which you will engage your online course. Beware! Online courses are not self-paced. Be ready to do weekly work and make weekly contributions.


What degrees AWC currenlty offer online ?

 In the following majors, many of the required courses are offered online:

Business Administration
Criminal Justice
General Studies

To check online courses availability click here (Under “Only Show” check the box “Web Courses”).

How are online courses delivered ?

AWC uses Blackboard, a learning system that enables students and faculty to participate in classes delivered online or share online materials and assignments to complement face-to-face teaching. For more information about Blackboard please click here


If I take an online course what kind of Internet connection and computer do I need?

To participate in an online course at AWC it is highly recommended to have High speed Internet connection either cable or DSL will work.  You will need to satisfy the computer hardware and software requirements described below:



  • Pentium III processor or higher

  • 256 MB RAM.

  • 56 kbps modem (dial up connection)

  • 400 MB free disk space

  • CD-ROM

  • Anti-virus software (current)

  • Current version of a Web browser (Java Enabled).

Highly Recommended:

  • Pentium IV processor or higher

  • 1 GB RAM or higher

  • 1 GB free disk space

  • CD-ROM, Mouse

  • Internet connection (High Speed)

  • Anti-virus software (current),

  • Printer

  • Current version of a Web browser (Java Enabled)

  • Backup device (Blank Data CD or USB flash drive)

  • Windows XP (or higher)



  • Mac OS 8.1 or better
  • 32 MB RAM
  • 65MB virtual memory
  • 604 PowerPC (200MHz or better)
  • Internet access
  • Internet Explorer MacIntosh Edition web browser (free download available)
  • Java Enabled

In addition to these requirements, students who enroll in any online or Web-enhanced course must be competent in basic computer skills, the Windows or Mac operating systems, web browsers, email, and Microsoft Office or comparable Word Processing program. Windowa Media Player, RealOne browser plug-in, Apple QuickTime, Macromedia Flash are highly recomended. For free downloads and computer tune up please visit our solutions page

Basic Internet Skills Requirements

Distance Learners need to possess some basic computer skills to succeed. You may find it necessary to enroll in a Basic Computer Skills course prior to your first online course. AWC offers a 1-credit Online Orientation Course to assist students with transitioning into the online environment. That class is called ORI-102 First Course, and is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Check off the skills you can perform.

  1. I can proficiently navigate through the WWW, use search engines, and perform assorted e-mail and word processing tasks.
  2. I know how to use a word processing program like Microsoft Word.
  3. I know how to Copy and Paste from one screen to another.
  4. I know how to "bookmark" (add "Favorites") to my bookmark file.
  5. I am familiar with organizing my e-mail, bookmarks, and word documents into files and folders.
  6. I am familiar with using threaded discussion boards and/or chat rooms.

Test your computer skills by attempting to do each of the above.

Can I apply for financial aid?

Yes! You may be eligible for financial aid. For more information click here.

I am ready to take an online course. What do I do next?

First, you need to be admitted to the college. For more information click here. You will not need to come to the college campus. Everything you need is available here on our Web site.

Online Registration and Payment is now available on WebAdvisor!

You may also contact the college by calling 1-888-293-0392 just tell the operator that you want to talk to an advisor. If you would like to request information to be emailed to you click here for Request for Information.

Arizona Western College would like to provide you with the best possible personalized service. Complete this form and one of our Advisors will contact you within the next few days to answer your questions as well as provide information and application materials based on your specific needs and goals.

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