NDSU Distance & Continuing Education (DCE)

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Student Resources

Academic Terms Defined

Below is a list of academic or commonly used terms and their definitions.  Many of these terms are used throughout our website.  This list is intended to provide students with a place to look up terms they may encounter throughout their time at NDSU.  Additional terms will be added to this list as needed.


Blended Learning

A blended learning program is one that incorporates any type of distance-based classes with on-campus or traditional face-to-face classes.  Often this type of program has a majority of the degree requirements online with the face-to-face classes offered nights, weekends, or a specific timeframe (ex. two weeks over summer semester).

CEU or Continuing Education Unit

Classes that are listed as CEU or Continuing Education Units are used for maintaining a professional license. We offer a variety of CEUs for a variety of professions. These classes are not eligible for use on a degree program and are not posted on an official NDSU transcript. The Distance and Continuing Education office maintains a transcript system specifically designed for classes that offer CEUs.

Combo or Combination Classes

Classes that are listed as Combo or Combination are offered using a combination of formats. Generally, these classes will have face-to-face and distance-based activities and assignments.

Course Level Designations

Course level designations distinguish between undergraduate, post-baccalaureate professional development, and graduate-level classes. All classes are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Credit Classes

Classes that have credits listed (ex: 1 credit) offer college credit and are posted to your official NDSU transcript. These may be classes at the undergraduate, graduate, or professional development levels. Courses that are designated with 600 (ex: EDUC 600) are exclusively for professional development purposes. These 600 classes are generally used for maintaining a teaching license or other relevant professional license.

Face-to-Face/Traditional Classroom classes

Face-to-face classes are traditional classroom type classes where all students and instructors meet in the same place at the same time.  They are generally offered at a specific time, in a specific place.  They run the same as other on-campus face-to-face classes, but often have evening start times or may be offered at off-campus locations. 

NC or Non-credit classes

Classes that are listed as NC or Non-credit are often workshops, seminars, or conferences. These classes are generally for personal or professional growth and are not eligible for use on a degree program. Most professional workshops or seminars offer a certificate of completion.  Some may also offer CEUs.

Non-credit Certificates

These non-credit certificates are generally for personal or professional growth. Please note these are not degree credit certificate programs. Upon completion of a non-credit certificate program you will receive a certificate of completion. These certificates will not be posted to your NDSU transcript.

Online/Web-based/Internet Asynchronous Classes

Online classes may also be referred to as web-based or internet asynchronous classes. Online classes generally use a learning management system (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) to post a syllabus, materials, assignments, and communication from instructors. Some online classes are self-paced and some have specific deadlines for tests and assignments. Check with your instructor regarding their class expectations for deadlines.