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Distributed Learning

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve compiled a list of the questions we get asked the most often.

Online Course Approval 

Distributed learning courses use technology to facilitate learning, whether on- or off-campus, in real-time or at student discretion. Courses may be 100% Online (e.g., DWEB - Web 100% Asynchronous or DWEBS - Web 100% Synchronous), Blended (e.g., BWEB – Over 50% Web Delivery), or offered through Web Conferencing or Streaming Video.

The Office of Academic Programs coordinates the development and revision of degree programs and courses. If you are interested in creating a new online course or converting an existing face-to-face course to online format, please refer to the Academic Proposals Program System (APPS), a secure, web-based submission and approval system that facilitates the review process for adding or changing any University of South Carolina academic course or program. You should also refer to the Committee on Curricula & Courses requirements for distance education delivery before submitting a new course or course change request. It is also recommended that you work with an instructional designer to ensure the course meets quality assurance standards and best practices and that all course materials are accessible for students with disabilities.

If distributed learning delivery is being requested for the first time, the course must be submitted as a course change proposal via APPS for approval. Then, each time the course is to be taught, the Special Topics Course form must be submitted.

Online course evaluations are handled by academic departments just as with traditional, face-to-face courses.

Online Course Scheduling

The Office of Distributed Learning no longer schedules courses. Faculty and staff wishing to request course additions, changes, and cancellations for distributed learning courses will need to use the form provided on the Office of the Registrar’s website. Additional resources are also provided in the scheduling toolbox and any questions about scheduling distributed learning courses should be sent to


Online Course Design

You may want to consult an instructional designer to ensure the course meets quality assurance standards and best practices and that all course materials are accessible for students with disabilities. Our staff can also assist with course production needs (recording lectures, editing audio and video files, creating transcriptions, providing closed captioning, and hosting content). If you would like to know more about how the Office can assist you in preparing and delivering online courses, call us at 803-777-7210 or email to schedule a consultation.

The Instructional Design team compiled components from several courses to create a Model Course to give you an idea of how to create a distributed learning course.

You may self-enroll in this model course by logging into Blackboard with your username and password and following the steps below:

  • Click Courses to the right of My USC at the top of the page
  • In the Course Search box on the left, enter the following text: Distributed Learning Sample Course
  • Click Go
  • Click the down arrow next to the course ID (DIS-LEARN- SAMPLE)
  • Click Enroll
  • Click Submit

The Quality Standards for Online Courses are based on the following nationally recognized standards: Blackboard Exemplary Course Rubric, Quality Matters Rubric, Aurora Institute (formally iNACOL), and SUNY Online Course Quality Review Rubric (OSCQR). The standards can be used in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:

  • Faculty conducting a self-review of their course.
  • Faculty designing their online courses.
  • Instructional Designers assisting faculty with designing courses.
  • Instructional Designers conducting a review of a course.
  • Internal peer reviews by units.

QSOC Checklist with Guidance [pdf]

QSOC Checklist [docx]

QSOC Review Instrument [docx]

Test Proctoring

We provide three flexible test proctoring options for paper and computer test formats.

  • ProctorU (Online Proctoring Service)
  • Testing Center at our Office on the USC Columbia Campus (located at 1716 College Street)
  • Approved Testing sites (USC System Campus or Off-Campus Site)

For additional Information, see our test proctoring page.

Contact Shannon Carson at or 803-777-7210 to receive detailed information to access test proctoring services including ProctorU’s services.


Course Production Studios

Contact the Office of Distributed Learning at (803-777-7210 / to reserve a course production studio.

Contact the Office of Distributed Learning at (803-777-7210 / to discuss the recording options that may be best for you.

Technical Questions

Contact DoIT for Blackboard support (803-777-1800 / You may also find DoIT’s quick help guide useful. 


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