May 28, 2024  
2020-2021 Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Distance Education

Distance Education
Macon Cove Campus (901) 333-4612

Southwest offers a wide array of college credit courses through its Distance Education courses. Distance Education courses use the Internet, or are supported by any technological means such as the Internet, telephone, radio, television, computers, satellite delivery, interactive video, or any combination of present and future telecommunication technologies.

These courses provide alternative instructional modes to the traditional classroom setting and schedules. For students who are independent learners, Distance Education courses are ideal. Working adults, employees who travel, persons with disabilities, those with long commutes, schedule conflicts or other barriers to college attendance are a few of the many who can benefit from Distance Education. Distance Education courses require that students have access to a personal computer equipped for the Internet, the skills to use it, and a reliable Internet Server Provider (ISP). Southwest offers online degrees and more than 150 online courses. Information on specific online degrees can be found at  Always check the course syllabus for specific information.

There are three types of Distance Education courses.


In an online course, students access course material online and follow instructions provided by an instructor. An online course is conducted via the Internet with no on campus instruction and no on-campus classroom time, but may utilize proctored testing, requiring students to travel to campus. Courses are structured so that students work independently but have significant interaction with the instructor and other students. Most courses have set schedules and due dates. Online courses are identified by a section beginning with ‘L’ (Example: ACAD1100-L01).  Before signing up for an online course run, the ‘System Check’ located on the PAWS login page (


A split course is a blend of face-to-face instruction with online learning. These courses are known as split, hybrid or blended courses due to the nature of the learning environment. In a split course, a significant part of the course learning (50 percent) is online and as a result, the amount of classroom time is reduced (50 percent). This allows coursework to be scheduled flexibly, promotes independent learning and decreases time spent commuting. Split courses are identified by a section that includes ‘H’ in the middle (Example: MGMT1000-1H1).


Web-assisted courses are “on-campus” courses that may utilize an online component for handouts, discussion, e-mail, quizzes, etc., and require use of the Internet. Class time is supplemented with online activities and information. Always check the course syllabus for specific information.  Not all “on-campus” courses will have a Web-assisted component, and there are no section identifiers.  Check with the instructor for more details and information.

Prior to registering for a Distance Education course

  • Students should complete the PAWS Virtual Backpack: Start Guide for Online Learning course in the PAWS learning environment. This is a self-register course that provides important information and will help determine if you have the equipment and skills necessary to be successful in a Distance Education course.
  • Read the syllabus for a course description and instructor contact information.

After registering for a Distance Education course

  • Contact each of your instructors for additional information.
  • Southwest provides a personal email account for students, and you are expected to use that account when corresponding with the College.

TN eCampus

Southwest is a participant in the TN eCampus partnership among all Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) institutions and the six locally governed state universities.  All participating institutions are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of College and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  Institutions share resources and personnel needed to deliver quality online instruction.  This allows Southwest students access to a greater number and variety of courses.  When you enroll in TN eCampus courses, you remain a Southwest student and your courses will appear on your academic transcript as Southwest courses.  TN eCampus courses are entirely online and transferable among all the participating institutions.  TN eCampus offers degrees and courses online to any interested student with reliable access to the Internet.  Southwest offers online courses leading to the following degrees and certificate program:

  • Associate of Arts in General Studies (University Parallel)
  • Associate of Science in General Studies (University Parallel)
  • Associate of Science in General Studies - Teacher Aides/Paraprofessionals Preparation Elective concentration
  • Associate of Applied Science in Criminal Justice
  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education
  • Associate of Science in Teaching, AST


These associate degrees are transferable into the TN eCampus Bachelor’s degrees offered by the six state universities. Additional information including a list of courses and corresponding syllabi, system requirements, fees, an online learning orientation, test proctoring, and other information may be found on the Web page for this online learning program: for Prospective Students or for Current Students. Students interested in TN eCampus courses at Southwest should go to the Distance Education website, (, and select “TN eCampus” from the menu. There is an additional fee associated with TN eCampus courses that is not covered by TN Promise, TN Reconnect, etc.  Fees and schedules var, so be sure to check current information on the Southwest website.  The Southwest TN eCampus Contact/Student Liaison can assist you with questions about TN eCampus courses ((