Distance Learning

Distance Learning - FAQs

Click on your question below: 

  What is the definition of distance learner at WSSU?
  What does it mean to be a student in an online course?

  How does participation work in an online course?

  Can I apply online?

  Can I take DL courses if I am not a Distance learning student?

  Can WSSU on-campus students enroll in Distance learning courses?

  Do I have to come on campus for online (web) courses?

  Why do I need a Banner ID and PIN?

  Can on-campus students pay the DL tuition if they enroll in a DL course?

  How are online courses delivered?

  How do I access Blackboard?

  How do I access my Blackboard courses?

  What if I do not have any classes in Blackboard?

  How do I take exams in an online course?

  Are there tips for succeeding in online courses?

  So are online courses self-paced?

  Is an online course like a correspondence course?

  What kind of equipment do I need to take online courses?

  Do online courses limit the number of students who can enroll?

  How do I apply for financial aid?

  What is meant by "Financial Aid Award"?

  I tried to register and was not given access. What should I do?

  Will I get a bill?

  Where is the Student Accounts Office located and what are their hours of operation?

  Does the University have a payment plan?

  Is there a late registration fee?

  Do I need to validate my schedule?

  When am I officially registered?

  What is validation?

  How are funds applied?

  Do I have to pay all fees at once?

  How can I withdraw from the university?

  What if I take a course via UNC Online?

We know that there are many reasons why adults return to college. To help us help you contact any of our personnel to assist you.



Q1:  What is the definition of distance learner at WSSU?

A distance learner is a student who is a declared major in a distance learning program. You are not a distance learner simply because you take one or all your classes online. You must be declared as a major in distance learning program.

Q2:  What does it mean to be a student in an online course?

In many ways, taking an online course is like taking a face-to-face course. Both feature individual assignments and cooperative group projects, and both require you to take exams to show that you are learning the course material. The instructor and students interact using various online applications including but not limited to: e-mail, Blackboard, wiki, blog, chat, and Illuminate.

Q3:  How does participation work in an online course?

Online courses also allow certain flexibilities not offered in face-to-face courses. Many online learners find that this structure permits them to complete work and assignments at times best suited to their learning styles and scheduling needs, e.g., early mornings, late nights, mid-day, family commitments, etc.

Unlike many face-to-face courses where you attend class, listen to lectures, and can choose not play an active role in discussion, online courses require your participation. Keeping up with reading and other homework is very important. It will be harder for you to contribute meaningful, timely comments to the online discussions if you fall behind. By setting aside specific times each week for engaging in course participation activities you can stay on top of the course work.

  • Discussion: You will be asked to participate in online discussions with the instructor and other students. The discussions, in which you will post responses to a topic chosen by the instructor and respond to other students' comments, play a central role in the learning experiences. Students who might find raising their hand in an in-class discussion difficult, find it easier in an online course to participate in discussions.
  • Team projects: You may also be asked to participate in team projects. Team members will rely on you to participate and contribute to the projects.
  • Course assignments: You will be expected to complete the same amount of work required in a face-to-face class. You are responsible for keeping up with the workload and maintaining active online participation.

Q4:  Can I apply online?

Yes. Admission requirements and applications are based on the type of student you will be.

Q5:  Can I take DL courses if I am not a Distance Learning student?

Yes, some courses are offered in an online format for the non-DL student. The sections designated for on-campus, a.k.a, traditional students are labeled W1 for Web courses (online). Be aware that most general education courses are in high demand and often fill up quickly.

Q6:  Can WSSU on-campus students enroll in Distance Learning courses?

Yes, students that designated as traditional or on-campus students by their choice of major will be billed on-Campus tuition and fees for all classes. Online course sections are designated as follows:

Section Section Explanations
W(letter) Web course section for distance learning students
WA Web assisted course - requires occasional on campus visit
W(#) Web course section for traditional/on-campus students
EW Web course section for Evening/Weekend students
60 and above Site-based distance learning course, various locations

It is important to note that courses with sections designated as "W(#)" are open to on campus students and are delivered completely online.

Courses with sections designated as "WA, A1, A2, and EA" are web assisted and will require travel to campus for some face-to-face instruction

Q7:  Do I have to come on campus for online (web) courses?

If a course section is WC,WD,WE, EW or W1 there will be absolutely no requirements to attend any aspect of the course on campus. If a course with these designations require an on campus visit as a requirement please notify the Director of Distance Learning immediately. 

Q8:  Why do I need a Banner ID and PIN?

Once you submit your application for Admissions, the Admissions Office will create and provide you with a personal, secure BANNER Student ID (Banner ID) and Personal Identification Number (PIN). Your ID and PIN will allow you to monitor the progress of your admissions application. They will also be used to complete other university processes online, e.g., checking your financial aid status, accepting your financial aid awards, registering for New Student Orientation, updating your personal information, registering for courses each semester, checking your grades, and a variety of other tasks. You can access BANNER from the WSSU Current Student Page and clicking the Banner Rams Online link.

Q9:  Can on-campus students pay the DL tuition if they enroll in a DL course?

No, tuition is charged by program or major. Thus, be sure to check the correct enrollment status and program. Campus based students pay campus based tuition. Students who are coded as distance learners pay the DL tuition rate.

Q10:  How are online courses delivered?

Online courses are delivered via the web and Blackboard. Blackboard is a web-based software system used to organize course materials for access over the Internet for both face-to-face (on campus) and online courses. It provides tools and facilities for course management, content management and sharing, assessment management, and online collaboration and communication.

Q11:  How do I access Blackboard?

Navigate to blackboard.wssu.edu

Q12:  How do I access my Blackboard courses?

To access Blackboard, you will need an WSSU email account. Your username is  is your WSSU email address without "@rams.wssu.edu" (Example: email = jblue114j@rams.wssu.edu, the username is jblue114). Your password is the same as your WSSU email password.

Q13:  What if I do not have any classes in Blackboard?

If a course you are registered for does not appear in Blackboard the course may not have been made available by the instructor as yet. If this is the case by the close of business on the first day of class, contact the instructor immediately to request the course be made available.  Please give the instructor a 24 hour response time.

Late registration can delay your enrollment in your Blackboard course up to 12 hours. You should check daily since class rosters can change as students add/drop, etc. If, after contacting your instructor, you are still unable to access your course(s) and your Banner registration shows that you are registered for the course, contact the Blackboard help desk at by calling 1-866-518-3956.

Q14:  How do I take exams in an online course?

Most instructors post tests online via Blackboard. Some online instructors may employ proctors. Contact the course instructor to determine the testing requirements.

Q15:  Are there tips for succeeding in online courses?

Online course offer a number of flexibilities. You can log on when it is convenient for you, but there are some things to consider:

  • Although most aspects of an online courses are asynchronous (i.e. people are not online at the same time), there are deadlines. You will need to submit individual assignments on time.
  • You will need to add to discussions and reply to other students' comments.
  • Check the read me first and announcement button every day to check for new developments.
  • Complete some work each day.

In addition, there are certain skills that are essential to being a "successful" online student. These are:

  • General Computer Skills:  Use Help Menus, understand file extensions, properly shut down or reboot a computer, know the difference between closing, minimizing or quitting a program, and use the right-click features of a mouse.
  • File Management/Word Processing/Printing Skills:  Use Windows Explorer to navigate through files and directories, organize, save, copy and paste files into directories, edit, copy, paste or select text and/or objects, change font sizes, types, and styles, save, print, and preview document, and change print parameters such as page orientation, margins, etc.
  • Browser/Internet Skills:  Use basic commands to surf the Internet, compose, send, receive, reply to and forward email, attach documents to email, and use Search Engines such as Google or Yahoo.

The more comfortable you are with using a computer; the better off you will be in navigating your online course!

Q16:  So are online courses self-paced?

No, most online course are not self-paced. Your instructor will give assignments that require you to communicate with other students just as you would in face-to-face courses. Most online courses require you to complete work, quizzes, and assignments by designated due dates. If you register for an online course, expect to finish the course on the instructor's timeline, not yours.

Q17:  Is an online course like a correspondence course?

No, correspondence courses allow student to work at their own pace and can allow as much as a year to complete the work However, online courses try to capture the excitement and learning environment of a face-to-face classroom in the online course. Most institutions require student-to-student and student-to-professor interaction, and completion of work on a regular schedule.

Q18:  What kind of equipment do I need to take online courses?

The technology requirement of the online course will depend on the nature of the course. Please refer to the course syllabus, and the institution's web site for the detailed information on technology requirements. All online courses require access to a fast, reliable connection to the Internet.

Q19:  Do online courses limit the number of students who can enroll?

Yes, like traditional classes, online courses have limited seating. You should register as soon as possible to increase your chances of securing your desired course. Many courses fill up before the registration period is complete. Also, the registration occurs in "real-time", so spaces can disappear right before your eyes.

Q20:  How do I apply for financial aid?

Visit the WSSU Financial Aid web pages for instructions.

Q21:  What is meant by "Financial Aid Award"?

Financial Aid awards that can be used toward payment of tuition and fees and include: Employer payment contributions, (these payments MUST be followed up with Billings and Receivables by the student to ensure payment has been received before your TMS is complete.), Pell Grants, SEOG, Institutional Scholarships, Perkins Loans, State Grants, Stafford Loans ( If a loan request is on file with the Financial Aid Office), and outside scholarship awards (for which proper documentation must be provided). Any questions on this process can be answered by the Billings and Receivables office at 336-750-2800.

Q22:  I tried to register and was not given access. What should I do?

Problems that could prevent registration include, non-continuous enrollment, accounts blocked for non-payment, academic difficulty, incorrect PIN number, clearance from advisor, Browser incompatibility, incorrect exit term (expected completion term), attempting to get into a section not designated for your status, etc . Please use the listing below to resolve any problems.

Non-Continuous Enrollment Registrar: 750-3330
Account Locked Technology Support Center: 750 - 3431
Incorrect PIN Number Advisor/Program Coordinator If already accepted, go to Banner Rams On Line to get access
Reset PIN Number Technology Support Center: 750-3431
Browser Incompatibility Technology Support Center: 750-3431
Incorrect Term New Students: Admissions: 750-2070 or Readmission: Registrar: 750-3330
Enrollment Status Problem Advisor/Program Coordinator
Financial Aid Financial Aid Office: 750-3280

Q23:  Will I get a bill?

Generally bills are posted online and view your account summary in the Banner RAMS Online system to determine how much you owe and to pay (validate) online.

Q24:  Where is the Student Accounts Office located and what are their hours of operation?

Student Accounts office is located in Suite 200 in the Thompson Student Center. Office hours: Mon., Thurs., & Friday 8:00am – 5:00 pm; Tues. & Wed. 8:00am – 6:00pm; Cashiers window 8:30am – 3:30pm 

Q25:  Does the University have a payment plan?

Yes. The University's Payment Plan is administered by Tuition Management Services (TMS).

Q26:  Is there a late registration fee?

Yes. A late registration fee is charged after the first day of registration. Students dropping and/or adding classes during the drop/add period should report to the Student Accounts Office for adjustment of tuition and fees.

Q27:  Do I need to validate my schedule?

Yes. All students are required to validate their classes thru the Student Accounts office even if you are receiving a full financial aid award or if you are enrolled in the payment plan. Classes will be purged for those students that are not validated by designated deadline for the given semester.

Q28:  When am I officially registered?

You are officially registered when you have been validated by the Student Accounts office.

Q29:  What is validation?

Validation is the process by which all students must secure their classes and confirm enrollment for the upcoming semester through the Student Accounts office. If this process is not complete, your classes will be purged as you are not officially enrolled in the university.

Validation simply means covering all or an acceptable portion of your required educational costs. Since your funds can only be applied toward tuition and feels with YOUR permission, one of the following activities must be completed to authorize Billing and receivables to apply available or paid funds toward tuition, fees, or other costs:

  • Calling the Billing and Receivables office to inform them of the source of funds that covers fees,
  • Signing and mailing your tuition and fee statement to the office
  • Visiting the Billing and Receivables office to authorize fund use.

Q30:  How are funds applied?

Validation can occur by three methods:

  • Payment of tuition and fees in full
  • Full or partial financial Aid award (if partial, student is responsible for the balance and must contact Billings and Receivables to verify money owed)
  • Full or partial scholarship, businesses, or other organizations paying tuition/fee cost
  • Enrollment in the Tuition Management Payment Plan (TMS).

Fees paid by third parties must be received by the Student Accounts office (unless authorized arrangement has been made with the B&R office) by the required payment dates. If payments are scheduled to arrive after the first day of registration, arrangements should be made to pay appropriate fees or the registration will be canceled. Individuals falling in this category may wish to consider participating in the TMS plans to hold classes and prevent cancellation of courses (purge).

Students on the payment plan and financial aid awards may validate by telephone through the early payment date printed on the registration bill. After that date, validation by telephone will not be accepted.

Q31:  Do I have to pay all fees at once?

All tuition and fees are due and payable at the time of registration unless the student is enrolled in the University payment plan administered by Tuition Management System (TMS) or has approved financial aid that is forthcoming.

Q32:  How can I withdraw from the university?

Students should refer to the Withdrawal Policy and the Withdrawal without Financial Penalty dates.

Q33: What if I take a course via UNC Online?

UNC Online allows WSSU students to take online courses at other UNC institutions. These courses are for transfer credit, will appear on the student's transcript as transfer credit, and will not count toward the student's overall GPA. Students should consult with their academic advisor before enrolling in a course via UNC Online.


Winston-Salem State University

601 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27110

Phone: (336) 750-2000

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