Online Studies

This page provides general information and a walkthrough of the process for an Online Studies subject.

You and your classmates progress through an online subject at the same pace, following the posted timeline. Some of these subjects start every month, while others are semestered. (For full details of start dates, see the Centre for Distributed Learning calendar.) These subjects are supported with Internet access to an instructor via e-mail, discussion groups, and synchronous chat. As a student, you have up to 14 or 20 weeks to complete your subject depending on whether you registered for a continuous intake subject (20) or a semestered subject (14).

Equipment requirements for participating in an on-line course are:
  • Operating system: Windows Vista or MAC OSX 10.6 (or higher)
  • Browser: Firefox 3.6 (or higher) or Internet Explorer 8 (or higher) or Safari 5.0 (for MAC only).
  • Software: At a minimum, you will need word processing software to prepare assignments.
  • Internet Connection: High speed connection is preferred. However, a dialup connection using a 56.6 kbps modem will also work unless otherwise specified in course materials.
We strongly recommend that you have some experience using Microsoft Windows, a web browser, and e-mail.


A self-assessment is available on this website. We strongly recommend taking the self-assessment before enrolling in a Distributed Learning subject. Important considerations highlighted by the self-assessment include:
  • You won't have in-person access to an instructor or other students
  • You require strong study skills and self-discipline
  • Serious commitment of your time and energy


Register for your subject in one of three ways:
  • Online
    Whether you are a new or returning student, you can pay by VISA, MasterCard, or American Express on our website, at:

  • Telephone
    If you are paying by VISA, MasterCard, or American Express, you can register by telephone by calling 416-493-4144. Please have your subject code and credit card ready.
  • In-Person
    If you wish to pay by cash or debit card (VISA, MC, AMEX also accepted), you must visit one of our three main registration offices to register:

    Newnham Campus
    1750 Finch Avenue East (at Don Mills Rd.)
    York Campus
    70 The Pond Road (Keele St. and Finch Ave.)
    King Campus
    13990 Dufferin St. (at Bloomington Sideroad)
Regardless of the method of registration you choose, payment is due in full when you register. At the time of registration, please ensure we have your updated mailing address and contact information.

Please review the Transfer and Withdrawl policy at

Welcome Letter

After you register for your subject, the Centre will mail a letter directing you to our website to view your information package. You can view this letter here:

Information Package (online)

Your information package will provide instructions to download any necessary software, and identify your user ID and password to access the online subject materials. Also included are:
  • Subject outline containing evaluation criteria and textbook information
  • Faculty contact information
  • Technical Support contact information
You will have access to this information at all times through the Centre for Distributed Learning website.


For most subjects, you will be required to purchase text materials. These can be purchased in person, or ordered via telephone from the bookstore and sent to you by courier. The bookstore can be reached by telephone at 416-491-5050 ext. 2561, or on the web at:

Subject Website

Your subject website contains the online portion of your online subject. This may include some or all of the following components:
  • Discussion forums
  • Instructor-led chat sessions
  • Multimedia presentations
  • Links to relevant information sources
  • Group work

Communication with Your Faculty Member and Classmates

After retrieving your information package, all contact with your instructor and classmates is electronic. Subjects and instructors vary in their usage of discussion groups and real-time chats. Often, e-mail is only used as an alternative communication channel in deference to discussion groups.


Most online subjects require assignments to be completed within standard applications such as Microsoft Word. Assignments are submitted via the subject website or e-mail, and returned in the same manner.

Assignment schedules are determined by the instructor at the subject outset, and are posted on the subject website. Instructors typically return assignments within one week of submission.

Tests and Examinations

In a growing number of Seneca's online subjects, most testing is done online, and only the final exam is written in- person. Other subjects require all tests and examinations to be written in-person.

Like Correspondence students, you have two options for writing your tests in-person. If you live within 100km to a Seneca College Test Center location you will write your test there. Please check the web site for the specific information about locations, times, etc. Students must provide photo identification and proof of registration (registration receipt) before writing any test. In most online subjects, in-person tests must be written within certain periods (approx 5-7 days each). If you you live further then 100kms from a Seneca College Test Centre location, you may identify a proctor. Guidelines and suggestions on how to arrange for text/exam proctoring are outlined in your Information Package. Once you have identified a proctor, tests and exams are administered by your proctor and marked by your assigned faculty member.

Final Grades

After August 30th, you will be able to view your grades online via SIRIS . Your grades will be available 4-6 weeks after the course end date. You should keep this in mind if you intend to register for another subject following your completion of a subject. Faculty of Continuing Education staff are not authorized to tell you your final grade. Please refer to a copy of the Seneca Academic Policy for full details.

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