How It Works

online learning student at computer

Is Online Learning Right For You?

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Online courses are ideal for students who cannot participate in classes on campus but still want to further their education. Online courses are not self-paced, but they are a flexible and convenient option for many students.

Northampton offers two types of online learning courses:

  • Internet-only courses are offered 100% online and have section labels that begin with "W" or "V" in the course catalog. Sections labeled with "W" begin at the start of a semester and "V" sections, unless otherwise indicated, begin 6 weeks later.
  • Hybrid courses combine online interaction, assignments, and assessments with some on-campus meeting times. These courses include some of the science courses in biology and chemistry. Hybrid courses are denoted with sections beginning with "T" for Bethlehem Campus and "7" for Monroe Campus in the course catalogue.

To take online courses at NCC, you will need a computer with an Internet connection and an email account. Please note that NCC cannot take responsibility for any technical problems that you may experience during the semester. You may use the computers that are available at any of the college's campuses.

Some courses used additional web-based supplements, such as MyMathLab® and Blackboard Collaborate®. Students will receive information from their instructors on how to use these programs.


As part of the NCC's initiative to improve student success and academic integrity, all online students are required to verify their student identity. Federal regulations require that all institutions must verify that the student who registers in an online learning course is the same student who participates in and completes the course.

All online students are required to create a biometric password using a tool called Biometric Signature ID (BioSig-ID). This password cannot be replicated by someone else. At various points throughout the course you will be prompted to validate your identity.

Look for the BioSig-ID image  in your weekly learning content.

BioSig Logo

BioSig-ID Enrollment Process:

MANDATORY - All students must watch the process explained in this video.

  • Check that you have these items ready:
  • Government Photo Identification (High School Photo ID for students under 18 is acceptable)
  • Reliable internet connection
  • Smartphone or mobile device with front/rear cameras and text messaging or QR code app
  • No smartphone or mobile device?


How does online learning work at Northampton Community College?

NCC uses the Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS) to deliver its online courses. A LMS is software that allows for course development and delivery via the Internet. You access the LMS through the Internet, so you must have access to the Internet. You also need a username and password that you will receive after officially registering for the class.

What is different about taking a course online compared to a traditional on campus class?

Generally, online courses are set up as units with assignments from each unit due by the end of the week. It will help you have a positive experience if you do not let yourself get behind. Online courses are as much work as on-campus courses, and it may take additional time to do the coursework. However, the convenience of working at home and on your schedule may be well worth the extra effort.

Reading assignments are still based on your textbook, which you can purchase at the bookstore. Quizzes or tests, and other written submissions, are done online. Some of the quizzes (multiple choice or true/false) are automatically graded, meaning you receive your grade immediately. Your instructor will grade and return essay tests or learning activities that require typing the text from a word processing program. Note that the system keeps a record of your assignments, including the time and date submissions were made and graded.

Discussion is an important part of many classes. These are not "live" discussions, but more like a bulletin board where there is a record of all postings. You are expected to not only make your own comments but to also respond to other student's ideas and opinions. You may email your instructor any time you have a question or comment as well.

Are there any requirements?

To take online courses at Northampton Community College, you will need the following:

  • A computer
  • An Internet connection
  • An email account (Note: You will receive a free NCC email account and it is strongly recommended that you use this account. NCC emails can be forwarded to personal accounts, if preferred.)
  • An internet browser

You will need to be able to type on the computer to complete papers, emails and online discussions. If you cannot type, we recommend you learn how to type before enrolling in an online course. You must also have proficient reading and writing skills. The majority of communication in online learning courses is done in writing.

You should be comfortable using a word processing program such as Microsoft Word. You should be familiar with sending email and using basic functions such as "copy" and "paste."

Be able to utilize the NCC MyNCC email system for communication with your instructor and class.

Be able to budget your time and priorities. Online learning courses are NOT self-paced. They follow the semester calendar as far as registration, mid-terms, finals, etc. Homework and other assignments, tests and quizzes are due on a regular basis.

Is online learning the right choice?

Most online learning students juggle busy schedules, work full- or part-time, have children, or can't easily get to campus. Online learning is for students who are motivated, work well independently and are comfortable using a computer. Check with your advisor to make sure the courses offered fit into your curriculum.

Do I get credit for taking a online learning course?

Yes. All online learning courses here are fully accredited and are taught by NCC faculty. They are transferable and there is no difference on your transcript between an online learning course and a traditional classroom course.

When will I be expected to attend class?

With the exception of late-start classes, Online courses start on the same day as on-campus courses. Attendance and participation are measured by how often you log into the course Web site and by completion of required learning activities, assignments, quizzes and tests. You can access the course at your convenience to complete your coursework each week following your class syllabus. Generally, online students do not have to be online at a specific time for coursework.

How do I find out about online degrees and certificates offered at NCC?

NCC offers several degrees and certificates that can be completed through our online course offerings. Click on the program title to view information or use the email link to send an information request to the contact person.

How do I access the online course schedule at NCC?

Visit the Course Search. From here, browse through all our academic areas or search for the specific course you need.

How do I enroll in an online course(s) or an online degree or certificate program?

Students who would like to register for a course should follow the registration procedures listed on the Registration page.

Do I have to come to campus to complete any course requirements?

Although most course work can be done from home, some courses may have required labs or other on-campus meetings. A few courses may also have mid-terms or finals on campus.

Do I have to take a placement test?

NCC uses placement tests to assess skills in reading, writing, mathematics and English as a second language (ESL). * The results are used to place students into courses where they will have the best opportunity to succeed. Courses are available for students who need developmental work as determined by placement testing. For more information, visit the Placement Testing page.

Do the classes have proctored testing, or testing at campus?

Certain online courses require proctored testing, meaning that an exam must be taken under the supervision of a proctor. During the semester a link will be provided to see a list of courses requiring proctored testing and other courses that may involve special requirements.

If you are unable to come to campus to complete a proctored exam, you may be able to arrange for alternative testing arrangements. You will be responsible for any costs involved.

The proposal should be mailed at least two weeks in advance of the exam to: the Office of Online Learning, Northampton Community College, 3835 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, PA 18020-7599. The form may also be faxed to the Office of Online Learning at 610.332.6595.

How much does it cost to take an online course?

Find out more information on the current tuition.

Can I use financial aid for online courses?

You can contact the Financial Aid Office at 610.861.5510 to discuss your financial aid options.

What kind of support services can I expect as an online student?

The college offers a variety of support services for online students, including services through the Learning Center and the Library. Online Learning students are eligible to receive the same support services as students who attend classes on-campus.

How do I order textbooks?

Textbooks may be ordered through the college bookstore. Visit the bookstore for information about how to order textbooks in our online bookstore.

How do I contact the Admissions Office?

You can contact the Admissions Office at 610.861.5500.

How do I contact the Registrar's Office?

You can contact the Registrar's Office at the Bethlehem Campus at 610.861.5494 or the Monroe Campus at 570.369.1800.