Distance Education

Frequently Asked Distance Education Questions

Exploring Distance Education in New South Wales? Our FAQ section covers everything from enrollment requirements to daily class routines, designed to guide families through the essentials of our flexible and faith-based online learning program. Discover how we support students across New South Wales to thrive academically and socially, regardless of where they are.

Distance Education is an approved form of schooling where your child is enrolled with a registered school and studies at home. The school provides the learning program and qualified teachers, and the student is supervised at home by a parent or another responsible adult. Unlike home schooling, families are not visited by inspectors from the government authorities as our school holds the registration.

Yes, the NSW Education Standards Authority requires distance education students to be residents of NSW and have adult supervision during the school days and school hours. Families may travel outside of NSW for a period of up to 12 months, but must maintain a NSW residency.

No, we don't require students to sit entrance exams. We have an open enrolment policy and consider each child's developmental and academic needs to determine their likelihood of success in the Distance Education mode of learning. However, we do require our students to sit for an online test in literacy and numeracy so we can be assured of their current level of achievement and learning development. Other standardised diagnostic tests will be used by the College at various times throughout the year.

We have an open enrolment policy and do accept all families regardless of their faith and beliefs.

Christian studies/Biblical studies is mandatory in our college as by name and conviction of our faith, Jesus Christ is given centre stage in the priority of our words, actions and beliefs. Whilst the opportunity to explore Christian Faith is extended, commitment is not forced.

Students don't have a fixed timetable to follow, since they arrange their own timetable to suit their flexible schedule, but there are some fixed times for Year 10-12 tests and examinations. Live video conferencing opportunities are also provided, at fixed times, to supplement the on-demand lessons and teaching videos.

A standard school day includes four 80 minute periods, with breaks in between, which totals around 5-6 hours of learning time. There is no minimum or maximum daily class time, since we recognise flexible schedules, but students do need to ensure that five days worth of effort is required each week, which can include weekends if needed.

You may be able to travel around Australia while completing distance education with access to portable and reliable high-speed internet connections (such as StarLink). Having a flexible learning schedule will certainly help while balancing learning time with the challenges and opportunities presented by changing locations as you travel.

You will need a reliable high speed internet connection to succeed with distance education. Faster internet helps with video load speeds and when uploading assessments.

We provide a number of community events throughout the year, both online and in-person for DE students. These include invitations to campus sports carnivals (competing), Connection Days (social) and Empower Days (learning and campus experience). In addition, we strongly encourage families to seek local community involvement with sports, clubs and church groups, while making sure students are in regular contact with friends outside school.

Australian Christian College, Marsden Park does enrol students who travel temporarily overseas. However, a condition of enrolment for those students is they have an active NSW residential address, are Australian citizens and can only stay overseas for up to 12 months.

If the above conditions don't apply, then please contact our Australian Christian College, Moreton campus, so they can assist.

While it's better to start at the beginning of a term, new students can start any time of the year if there is capacity within the child's year level. New students are onboarded weekly throughout each Term and we aim to process applications within a two-week period.

Learning something new can be daunting. As such, we provide a comprehensive Getting started guide and Orientation course, so you'll feel confident from day one. The training happens on your computer. Our learning management system, Canvas, and instant chat support enables staff to work with you through any issues you might experience. The training program covers:

  • accessing the College's learning management system
  • setting up your child's online profile
  • setting up a timetable
  • monitoring progress
  • connecting with other students
  • accessing courses
  • working through lessons
  • participating in discussions
  • submitting work online
  • accessing textbooks
  • communicating with teachers
  • taking attendance online

We've found that students learn our system very quickly because they're comfortable in a technology-rich environment. The focus of induction is on the parent, who is acting as the supervisor. We're happy to give you the time that you need to understand how it works.

Distance education students do participate in NAPLAN testing in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The tests are conducted online and completed by your child under your supervision while instructions are delivered to you through a live webinar. One of the four tests is completed offline by Year 3 for Writing, then returned to the College by post.

No, there are some in-person requirements.

  • Exam Days: Examinations under teacher supervision where online proctoring is not possible:

    • Year 12 must attend the ACC Marsden Park campus for Trial HSC and HSC exam days.
    • Year 11 can attend the ACC Marsden Park campus for Preliminary HSC exam days or sit them online.
  • Practical Days: Year 11-12 intensive study days to achieve specific course outcomes for HSC practical work in Science, Technology and Music courses.

In the secondary years, some students may choose to work a casual or part-time job in conjunction with distance education, though this is best to be a maximum of ten hours per week so that it doesn't interfere with the student's academic study focus and progress.

Students communicate with teachers, primarily, through the online chat messaging system. Students can also email and phone teachers if needed. Teachers will communicate with students through course announcements, email and phone calls.

As Australia's largest non-government distance education provider, our courses align with the Australian Curriculum, adjusted to meet NSW Curriculum requirements. The College is accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority. This allows your child to seamlessly transition back into regular school if required in future.

A responsible adult must act as the supervisor for each student, to provide physical presence and support. The teachers are responsible for providing learning opportunities and monitoring their engagement with coursework and academic progress. Parents work in partnership with the College to ensure each child is working well. Primary school students require more guidance with every lesson, while Secondary school students are more self-guided. All students require frequent motivation and support for accountability and progress.

A responsible adult must be present during school days and school hours to act as the onsite supervisor for distance education students. If both parents work, you'll need to find another responsible adult (grandparent?) to provide active support, accountability and supervision. In light of this, anyone trying to juggle a work-from-home role would find it challenging and would only be suitable if regular and adequate daily attention could be given to the role of being a distance education Supervisor. Students who are not provided with the consistent encouragement, support, guidance and accountability at home will find distance education challenging and possibly unfruitful.

Your child's teachers will be monitoring the academic progress of your child. If they're falling behind, a teacher will be in contact with you to alert you and to offer solutions.

Our goal with the Elite Pursuits Program (EPP) is to help students get through their subjects and assessments without missing things. We try very hard to coordinate with families prior to travel for competition or training to ensure the student either submits work before a student leaves, or postpones it where possible. The daily coursework can continue to be a focus as students travel, since Distance Education is portable! If you are part of a pursuit that has heavy travel loads, it will be necessary to communicate with staff, at the beginning of every term, to plan how best to fit everything in.

Only in extreme circumstances is time off permitted, because distance education is portable and flexible. Most distance education students complete coursework in their hotel rooms either before or after competing or performing each day.

The NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) is usually completed over two years (Year 11 and 12) but in certain circumstances it can be extended to three, four or even five years if necessary to balance around other priorities. We recommend that three is the maximum without losing momentum.

Your child can gain university placement by completing the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC) in Year 12, either entirely through Distance Education or by supplementing their studies with a VET Certificate from TAFE. Please ask the College for more details.

Yes, but this is understandably more limited in a remote learning environment than it would be in a classroom setting. Support is available through our Learning Enrichment team. Please make us aware of your needs before enrolling so we can help you determine if the mode of learning offered through distance education would be suitable for your needs and situation.

Yes, but this is understandably more limited in a remote learning environment than it would be in a classroom setting. Support is available through our Counselling team. The professional support of a local specialist should be sought by families for students with social-emotional challenges.

Yes, students who require learning adjustments will have an individual student support plan (SSP) developed by our Learning Enrichment team. In addition to this, all the courses in our learning management system have a standard global design with differentiation built into the lesson structure, to benefit a range of student capacity within each grade.

Yes, all students can manage their own timetable and to-do list of coursework and learning activities. This is particularly helpful for students who appreciate knowing what's coming next. The entire learning program is uploaded at the start of each term for most students, so they always know what's ahead for that term. Students in Senior years have coursework released two weeks in advance as they continue to be developed by the College.

Each student's academic achievement can easily be monitored through the learning management system (Canvas) at any point of the day or year. Students have also historically received formal Academic Reports twice each year, for Semester 1 and Semester 2, but this is likely to be fully replaced by summaries of the frequent feedback already provided.

Where possible, costs are included in our College fees. Some extra costs which may be relevant include some novels, media and materials for student experiments and projects. Optional co-curricular activities may be charged on a user-pays basis, such as Stage 6 excursions that are valuable for HSC studies.

Refer to the 2024 DE Student Technology Requirements fact sheet. To streamline the user experience and our ability to support students most effectively, we have chosen to incorporate only Apple devices at our schools. All students are required to provide an Apple Macbook that is no older than a 2020 Model. There are some alternative Apple products that may suit certain family needs, however we still recommend a Macbook for their flexibility and versatility. Students at home using a Macbook/laptop are encouraged to consider using more ergonomic peripherals (keyboard, mouse, external screen etc) to support their productivity and wellbeing. Smaller devices like iPads and iPhones can be a helpful tool when used as a secondary device and are a great way to perform tasks such as filming videos, scanning school work, pen enabled digital note taking and more, but are not required.

Our students follow the NSW Curriculum which allows them to seamlessly transition back into regular school if required. Our College is accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority, which includes Year 10 Record of School Achievement (RoSA) and Higher School Certificate (HSC).

Since our College is registered and accredited by the NSW Education Standards Authority as a private school, you don't need to notify the government of your decision to enrol with distance education. However, if you are leaving Homeschooling you need to notify the Homeschooling authority that you are enrolling in a registered school and not continuing with Homeschooling.

You don't have to be tech-savvy to succeed in distance education. Only a basic level of technological proficiency is necessary. If you can use basic office software and email you'll be fine. Our IT Support Helpdesk team, and teachers, are available to provide guidance, training and support along the way.

Using the resources and technology provided by the College, students learn in a range of experiences. A high degree of independent self-directed learning is to be expected, but opportunities are also included for interactions with teachers when needed. Students are encouraged to interact with teachers and classmates through live tutorials and other video conferencing opportunities provided by the College, as well as any in-person opportunities at community events.

Watch our Virtual Open day to learn more →