Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    May 21, 2024  
Catalog 2024-2025 
Catalog 2024-2025

Flexible Learning Options

Distance learning, including online instruction, and alternative and accelerated sessions make college more accessible to all students. Distance learning courses give students more options and more flexibility in selecting and scheduling classes and achieving goals. Distance learning classes bring the best features of campus-based classes to a student’s home or workplace. Regular due dates for assignments, learning modules, and start and end dates that correspond with a semester pattern all add up to create a classroom that’s available without having to fight traffic or personal scheduling conflicts. For more information about distance learning offerings and answers to frequently asked questions, visit the college’s website at Please note: A listing of CSM programs available online can be found in Appendix XI . 

Online Learning and Instructional Types

Our alternative learning formats make college more accessible to those who have busy schedules. If your work schedule, family obligations, or transportation arrangements make it difficult to attend regularly scheduled classes, try one or several of the distance learning formats we have available.

Face to Face icon Icon of student with computer screen and play button Illustration of students talking on a computer via video conferencing Illustration of student on a computer and on campus Hyflex icon

What do these terms mean?

You’ll attend class for Face-to-Face course sections in person, at a physical location on a CSM campus, according to a fixed schedule. The building, room, time of day, and day of the week will be posted in the schedule. Web-Based courses take place completely in a virtual environment, with no set or required meeting days or times-although they do have fixed start and end dates that correspond to the academic session. Real-Time Technology (RTT) courses take place completely in a virtual environment, with scheduled meeting days and times for live lectures and class activities. The remainder of the course is online. Hybrid courses combine the virtual environment with in-person instruction on campus. Hybrid courses have physical campus locations for the on-campus component; and have specific meeting days and times. The remainder of the course is online. Hy-Flex courses combine the virtual environment with in-person instruction. Hy-Flex courses meet according to a set schedule, and you can choose to attend class virtually or on campus.

Will students be meeting on campus?

Yes. Your class will meet physically, on campus, in the designated classroom on the designated day and time. No, these classes do not have regularly scheduled days and times to log in. No, all classes will be in a virtual environment. Yes, partially. Some on-campus instruction or activity is mandatory* for these courses. Optional. Your instructor will teach in person at the designated campus location, and you have the choice of attending virtually or physically.

Are there scheduled class meeting times?

Yes, the classes will have scheduled meeting times. No, these classes do not have regularly scheduled dates and times for students to log in.  Yes, you’ll log in at specific class meeting times to interact with your instructor and/or your fellow students. Yes, you’ll meet your instructor and fellow students at specific meeting times. Yes, there will be scheduled meeting times, during which you can attend either virtually or in person according to your preference.

How will these classes appear in Online Services?

A CSM campus location

Specific meeting days and times (Example MW 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM)

Virtual Campus

No meeting days or times

Virtual Campus

Specific meeting days and times (Example MW 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM)

A CSM Campus location

Specific meeting days and times (Example MW 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM)

A CSM campus or a virtual location

Specific meeting days and times (Example MW 11:30 AM - 12:50 PM)

*The health and well-being of the CSM community is our highest priority. Strict and rigorous safety measures will be taken to protect students and employees. Accommodations will be made for students and employees for whom return to campus is not appropriate.

University of Maryland Academic Telecommunications Systems (UMATS)

UMATS classrooms permit students at distant locations to engage in interactive courses with the capacity for full-motion, real-time, two-way audio and video communication. Any number of distant sites may be linked in a broadcast mode, although interaction is limited to four sites at any time. All sites in the link see and hear the interaction, and the instructor can “engage” other sites during the session by prior arrangement. The peripheral equipment allows instructors to display graphics, computer files, and multimedia software and allows them to playback or record video or audio materials.

Maryland Online (MOL)

MOL courses are online courses offered by CSM that are provided by other community colleges. Students pay tuition to CSM and earn credit for the course from CSM.

Independent Study Courses

At the discretion of the division chair, students work cooperatively with a faculty member to plan and develop a course to meet their educational goals.

Alternative and Accelerated Sessions

The college offers credit and continuing education instruction throughout the year in a variety of times and formats In addition to the traditional fall and spring semesters, the college offers 7-week sessions, self-paced courses, summer sessions, a January term, and cooperative education courses. These alternative and accelerated sessions and formats make college more accessible to those who have busy schedules.

Focus to Finish

Focus is a vital part of achieving the goals you set for yourself. The more effort and attention you can bring to bear on a challenge, the better your chances of success.

CSM’s Focus to Finish improves learning experiences and outcomes with a course structure that lets you concentrate more on each of your classes.

Beginning with the Fall 2021 Semester, Focus to Finish greatly expands the classes we offer in the 7-week course format. Instead of taking all your courses in a given semester simultaneously for four months, Focus to Finish lets you take half of your classes in the first 7-week session and the other half in the second 7-week session.

These courses are offered in short, seven-week sessions. Students can take courses during the two 7-week sessions that are offered as part of the traditional fall and spring 15-week semester. Learn more at

Self-Paced Courses

Self-paced courses are delivered via modules that allow students to work at their own pace under the guidance of a faculty member. Students are required to attend the orientation session, generally on the La Plata Campus, and may choose to complete class assignments in a college lab or from home or any other appropriately equipped site. There is no fixed attendance schedule. Faculty assistance is available during scheduled hours. Students may enroll in these courses monthly and are required to complete them within a defined time frame.

Winter Term and Summer Sessions

The college offers a Winter Term and Summer Sessions allowing students to supplement their course work outside of the traditional fall and spring semesters. These options provide an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their credit earnings and to accelerate degree completion.

Cooperative Education Courses

Cooperative education (co-op) provides an opportunity for the student to apply academic theory to a professional work environment in the student’s program of study.


Service-learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. According to the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, Service-learning: 1) is a method whereby students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of communities; 2) is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the education components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and 3) provides structured time for students or participants to reflect on the service experience.

Students participating in service-learning projects will typically be in a course that requires or offers service learning as an option to another project in the course. For more information, call 301-934-7642 or visit our website at

Travel Study Courses

Go beyond the classroom with the College of Southern Maryland’s Travel Study courses. These courses provide an exciting opportunity to make memories, gain knowledge, and experience diverse cultures, all while earning college credits. Learn more at