Distance Learning

Frequently Asked Questions

Is online learning right for me?
Review an overview of Distance Learning classes and the skills and personal attributes necessary for a distance student, to help determine if you will be successful taking an online class.

Since I am taking a Distance Learning course, will I ever have to come to a Reynolds campus? What if I live more than an hour away?

Some course may require an on-campus meeting and/or on-campus or on-site labs and clinicals. Any on-campus meetings will be listed in the section notes of the schedule of classes. Clinicals and additional labs will be listed in the course syllabus.

What if I miss the meeting?

If you missed a meeting because of a work or personal emergency, you must immediately contact your instructor to discuss any possible options.

Will I have to make any other trips to the campus?
You will need to take all proctored tests at a campus Testing Center. For selected courses, you may also have clinicals, labs, special seminars or presentations scheduled for on-campus. If you live outside of the Reynolds service area, you may request to have a proctor at the community college in your area administer the tests/exams. Contact the Center for Distance Learning at the start of the semester if you need to make this kind of testing arrangement. 

How do I find out who the professor is for my class? 
There are various ways to find out instructor information: Check the schedule of classes for your professor's name. Check the staff directory for office telephone number and email address. Call the Center for Distance Learning during regular office hours or send an email to

How do I register for Distance Learning courses? 
You register for Distance Learning courses in the same way that you register for on-campus courses. See Steps to Register.

Do Distance Learning courses cost more than on-campus courses? 
The tuition and fees for Distance Learning courses are the same as on-campus courses. See Tuition and Fees under Pay for College.

What if I want a meeting with my instructor? 
Most questions can be answered and advising/instructional coaching can be done by email or telephone. You may request an appointment to meet with your instructor on-campus, if your instructor is located in the Richmond area.

I can't find my Blackboard Username and Password, who should I contact?
Students can find their logins through MyReynolds. Click on Look up your Username and set your password. If you need additional assistance, call the Reynolds Information Center at (804) 371-3000 or 1-800-711-1628.

This is my first Distance Learning class, how can I best prepare for online education?
All students who are new to distance learning are expected to complete CDL001: Orientation to Learning Online before the start of their first online course(s). CDL001 is a unique Orientation module that prepares students for learning at a distance. The orientation located within the general orientation to the college: Go2Reynolds. For Go2Reynolds:

  • Click on Create Account
  • Enter the required information
  • Create your own password
  • Locate the link for CDL001
  • You can return to this account as often as you like to view all of the video options on the student dashboard.

You can complete CDL001 on your time and at a distance. The Orientation helps you to understand how typical online courses are structured, paced, and facilitated. You will have the opportunity to interact with a facilitator and with other students, as you prepare for learning at a distance.

Special Features of CDL001: Orientation to Learning Online:

  • The module can be completed at your own pace.
  • The learning activities require a total time commitment of 4-6 hours.
  • The entire module is delivered online.
  • The module is facilitated.
  • The module allows students to interact with other new distance learners.
  • CDL001 “teaches by doing”; students learn how to use Blackboard tools while gaining study skills, time management skills, and other essential information necessary for independent learning.
  • Students who successfully complete CDL001 receive a “Certificate of Completion” to share with their online instructors.

How do I Add, Drop, or Withdraw from a Distance Learning class?
Students can drop from classes in MyReynolds by the drop date for the semester. Students can only withdraw from a course by completing the appropriate forms and submitting them to Enrollment Services. See the academic calendar for the last date to drop or withdraw from a course. 

My Blackboard Username and/or Password is not working, what should I do?
See Technology Support. You can also call the Reynolds Information Center at (804) 371-3000. 

How do I get help with my course work?
Your professor is the first and primary aid with your course work. Your professor may recommend that you seek tutoring or other assistance from the Academic Support Center.  For assistance with general course information, you may also contact the Center for Distance Learning at (804) 523-5612 or 1-800-711-1628.

If you have difficulty in reaching your instructor, contact the Center for Distance Learning at (804) 523-5612 or 1-800-711-1628.

Are Distance Learning courses easier than the on-campus courses?
Students enrolled in Distance Learning courses will most often find them more demanding than learning in the traditional classroom. Distance Learning students must be independent learners who have strong critical thinking, organization, reading, writing, and time-management skills. You can anticipate spending at least 10 hours each week engaged in course related activities and study for each course.

How do I enroll as a Credit Student?
All students should follow the school's enrollment process. See Steps for Admission under Get Started.

Shared Services Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions [back To top]

What is Shared Services Distance Learning?
Shared Services Distance Learning (SSDL) courses are Reynolds courses offered in partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA-ELI). These courses allow students to earn Reynolds college credit while taking an online course with a NOVA instructor. Through SSDL, students now have the opportunity to take other online courses that are not currently offered at Reynolds. SSDL students will have access to all the services provided by Northern Virginia Community College, in addition to the resources available to all Reynolds students.

The SDDL course will appear on the student's Reynolds transcript and the student will be able to use his/her financial aid to cover the cost.

How do Shared Services Distance Learning courses work?
For the Reynolds SSDL student, selecting and enrolling in an SSDL course is the same as registering for any Reynolds course. SSDL courses will appear in the Reynolds course schedule and students will be able to go to  myReynolds to access the Student Information System to register. SSDL courses will have a special section note in the schedule. SSDL courses will be available the first day that the class begins and students will see the SSDL course in their My Blackboard Courses list when they log into Blackboard on that day. The students will work through the course in accordance with the syllabus and instructor's course policies. Proctored exams are required for each SSDL course and can be taken at any Reynolds testing center.

Student will have to follow the NOVA (ELI) calendar for drop, withdrawal, semester break, and course start and end dates.

Why should I enroll in a Shared Services Distance Learning course?
Through Shared Services Distance Learning, you will be able to enroll in courses that are not usually offered at Reynolds. You may have the opportunity to focus on a special interest, while at the same time completing degree requirements for Reynolds.

Do I have to physically go to Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) while enrolled in a course?
No. All course work, except for proctored activities (tests, exams, etc.), is done online. Proctored tests/exams may be taken at any Reynolds testing center or at any testing center at any other VCCS college. Students are required to follow the NOVA (ELI) procedures for securing approved proctors for any other testing site.

Is there an additional cost to take these courses?
No. Tuition for courses offered through Shared Services Distance Learning are offered at the same rate as courses offered at Reynolds. For more information on tuition rates, you can consult the tuition and fees schedule at

Will my financial aid still work on these courses? / Can I still use my financial aid to purchase the texts for these courses?
If you enroll in a Shared Services Distance Learning course, your financial aid will be applied in the same manner as aid for any other courses offered at Reynolds.

How many Shared Services Distance Learning courses can I take at one time?
You may enroll in as many Shared Services Distance Learning courses as you wish up to 18 credits. However, it is important to speak with an academic advisor to ensure that you have considered the workload for online courses and that the courses you select can be used towards Reynolds graduation requirements.

Do Shared Services Distance Learning courses count towards the 25% completion requirement to graduate from Reynolds?
Yes. Shared Distance Learning courses are courses offered through Reynolds and are treated as courses that meet the residency requirement for graduation.

Who do students contact if they need assistance with Shared Services Distance Learning courses?
There is a special SSDL Reynolds liaison located in the Center for Distance Learning. You can contact the SSDL Reynolds liaison at or by telephone at 523-5612.

How do students know which courses are in the Shared Services Distance Learning program?
SSDL courses will appear in the Reynolds course schedule and students will be able to go to myReynolds to access the Student Information System to register. A SSDL course will have a special section note in the schedule that identifies it as an SSDL course.

Will students have two, different, Blackboard logins?
No. SSDL courses are delivered in Blackboard, a course management system that is shared by all 23 Virginia community colleges. Your Blackboard login will be the same for courses taken at any VCCS college.

Are Shared Services Distance Learning courses available for audit?
Yes. Students must enroll by 11:59 p.m. on the day before the course begins. Also, there must be a vacant seat in the class. There are no late adds allowed.

How do I purchase the textbooks for Shared Services Distance Learning courses?
Textbooks for SSDL courses can be purchased from the Reynolds college bookstore. If you are not using financial aid for book purchases, you may also purchase books online from the Reynolds college bookstore or from the NOVA bookstore.

How do I participate in the advertised Shared Services Distance Learning benefits: online tutoring, career counseling, Enrollment Services coaches, 24/7 help desk, and virtual student social activities?
Once registered for an SSDL course, students will receive a welcome letter that explains how the SSDL course from NOVA (ELI) will work, the online orientation that the student is expected to complete, and the student support services available to them. Because SSDL students are also Reynolds students, they continue to have access all Reynolds support services. Because of the special content of some SSDL courses, tutoring for those courses may be available only through NOVA (ELI).

What is Proctor U? / How do I use Proctor U? / Is there a fee to use Proctor U?
ProctorU is a virtual proctoring service that allows students to take proctored exams from anywhere using a webcam and a high speed internet connection. This service connects the students to a real person they can see and hear. This person will walk students through the exam process and assist if students run into any problems. The student is required to present a picture ID and the proctor asks some additional questions to authenticate the student's identity. If there ever is an incident that breaches the integrity of the exam process, the proctor will file a report with the college contact/instructor.

To use this service, the student will go the ProctorU website and follow the steps to set up a NOVA ProctorU account and to make an appointment to take the exam. (If the student sets up a Reynolds account, the NOVA (ELI) exam will not appear in the list of courses/exams for scheduling.) ProctorU is not an option for some SSDL courses. The course syllabus will indicate if ProctorU is an option. A fee is required and payable to ProctorU.

What other ways can I take my proctored exams?
SSDL courses require proctored testing during the semester. Students can be proctored at any Reynolds testing center location or other VCCS college testing center. For other locations/proctors outside of the VCCS, students must complete an ELI Proctor Request form and submit it to for approval.

My distance learning courses through Reynolds don't require proctored exams, why do the Shared Services Distance Learning courses?

Proctored exams are required by NOVA. Students enrolling in SSDL courses must follow the course policies set by the college that is providing the instruction. For any SSDL course, you will either need to take the test at a Reynolds college testing center or complete the proctor form and submit it to for processing to obtain approval for another proctor site.

If you have not found an answer to your question, contact the SSDL Reynolds liaison at or by telephone at 523-5612.