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Learn the difference between instructor-led and self-directed

Throughout the online certificate and course site, there are icons that indicate whether a course is led by an instructor or if the coursework is self-directed . There are some important distinctions in how these courses work.

There are several similarities:

  • Students can participate at any time of the day or evening. Classrooms are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • There are no live real-time requirements or meetings.
  • There is a start date and an end date, and all coursework must be completed within that timeframe (some exceptions may apply).
  • Quizzes, self-assessments, and exams are used to assess student learning.

View the chart below to learn the differences:

Self Directed
  • There are weekly assignment deadlines to help students stay on pace with the course completion date. (Perfect for students who want a little help staying on schedule!)
  • There are no weekly assignment deadlines. the only deadline is that students complete all work in the 5–6 weeks of the allotted time. (Perfect for students who have excellent time management skills!)
  • Students must participate in weekly online discussions.
  • There are no discussion requirements
  • Most materials are supplied by the instructor and are covered by the course fees.
  • Some courses require the student to purchase external materials, such as a textbook.

Still have questions about which format is right for you? Contact our program manager, Jason Hubbard, to learn more. Call (920) 424-1129 or email