Congratulations, you have made an informed decision to participate in online classes. We want to welcome all of you who are interested in taking an online class at Los Angeles Valley College.

Each lesson in this series includes a variety of instructional aids, activities, and resources that will help prepare you as a successful online learner.

In our first module, you will be introduced to the world of online learning.

We will show you:

  • How the online environment works
  • The difference between an online classroom vs. a traditional classroom
  • The difference between an online course and a hybrid course
  • The benefits and limitations of each type
  • The art of finding the right online course
  • The importance of earning online credit from an accredited institution

What is Online Learning?

In general, online learning refers to any form of learning that takes place through the Internet. Whether you are a part-time or full-time student, online learning can fit into your lifestyle.

Online learning has changed the face of learning over the last several years as it offers people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds the opportunity to take an online course. Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) offers a number of online courses in every discipline to fulfill the demands of today’s students of the Greater Los Angeles County and beyond.

Online vs Classroom

At Los Angeles Valley College, exactly the same content is taught in online courses as in the traditional courses that meet on campus. All online courses are developed by LAVC faculty.

In a traditional classroom, students are required to attend their classes in- person. They learn by listening, reading, writing and doing other activities designed for the course. Online courses are different because students are not in the same location as their instructor or other classmates.

They read and work on their own to acquire information. In fact, you might never meet your instructor from an online course or see your classmates in person. However, there are some professors who do require students to attend an orientation session or take exams on campus.

How does it Work?

In an online course, your instruction is delivered over the internet rather than in-person. Online students log into a learning management system, or LMS, a virtual portal where students can view their online class materials. In fact, you can think of it as a virtual classroom. The current LMS used at Los Angeles Valley College is called Canvas.

With Canvas, your instructor will:

  • post all the course materials
  • conduct online discussions and perhaps other activities
  • receive your assignments
  • post your grades

Additionally, it is where your instructor will expect you to:

  • read all the course materials posted there
  • participate in activities
  • submit your assignments

Accessing Canvas is easy, you can log in using any internet capable device: a computer, tablet, even your smart phone! This means that you will be able to "go to class" whenever and wherever you'd like, as long as you have an internet connection.

Is Online Learning for you?

Every student should ask themselves this question when considering taking an online course. While the name of your course might be the same, there are many differences in the structure and requirements of an online course. In online classes, your virtual classroom becomes an active learning environment. You must work on your own to acquire information. You are required to take part in your class by interacting and participating in course material and delivery.

Students who are most successful in online courses are those who are self-motivated, self-disciplined (able to make and stick to a study schedule), and who have good technology skills.

Once you are in an online class, we recommend that you take an online tutorial, available on the Virtual Valley Student Resources web page.

What is the Difference Between an Online Course and a Hybrid Course?

A hybrid course combines online learning with face-to-face class sessions on campus with your professor and your classmates. The campus sessions meet on a regular basis. However, you do spend less time in the actual classroom than you would in a regular class.

Finding an Online Course

A schedule of online classes is posted on the LAVC homepage as well as the Virtual Valley page.

If you are not already a student at Los Angeles Valley College, or have not attended in the last year, you are required to complete an application. You can apply either online or in person at the college Admissions Office. You will be given a registration appointment and information about assessment and counseling if necessary.

LAVC Academic Advisors and Counselors are available to help with your decision in course selection and registration.

The Art of an Online Course Selection

The following are important questions when making your decision regarding an online course:

  • What is the class like?
  • What is the instructor like?
  • What types of support are provided?
  • What type of course/Learning Management System is used?
  • What is expected from me?
  • What is the Accreditation status?

The Importance of Accreditation Status of a College

Los Angeles Valley College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

Online courses offered through accredited universities and college ensure that they meet high standards of quality. More importantly, courses taken from accredited colleges and university are transferable to other accredited colleges.

In order to be accredited, the school is evaluated based on criteria such as curricula, faculty, course offerings, facilities, financial resources, and support services. Accreditation in the United States is provided by federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental bodies approved by the U.S. Department of Education.


You have been introduced to some of the basics of online learning. We have discussed how online learning works, its differences with traditional learning, and how to find and sign up for an online course. Please continue reading as you move forward in your quest for online success.

Help Links

Canvas Live Chat Assistance 24/7
Class Login

Canvas Login Instructions

  1. In a web browser, go to
  2. LoginID/UserID: Your 9-digit student ID number (example: 881234567 or 900123456)
  3. Password: Same as your SIS password (where you registered for the class). Show me.