About Us





Cathy Holsing


(814) 865-9362


Bonnie Burris

 Administrative Support Assistant

 (814) 865-7644


Casey Fenton

Multimedia Specialist

(814) 867-5652


Elaine Gustus

Instructional Designer

(814) 865-6934

Thomas Iwinski Instructional Designer (814) 863-2089 tmi107@psu.edu
Christa Watschke Instructional Designer (814) 865-7645 cmp123@psu.edu
Richelle Weiger Instructional Production Specialist (814) 863-3494 rbw11@psu.edu


Distance education involves the linking of teacher(s) and student(s), through technology rather than face-to-face interaction.  Distance education serves the educational needs of people who cannot come to a Penn State campus due to job, family, time, distance, economic, or other constraints.

Penn State's first distance education courses, developed over one hundred years ago, used the U.S. mail to link students and teachers.  Today, we employ various technologies, including: the Internet, interactive video conferencing, streaming audio/video, fax, and e-mail to facilitate the interaction between learners and teachers.  The tremendous technological advances in recent years in computing power, storage technology, and communication links has set the stage for marvelous advances in the quantity and quality of distance education.  Penn State faculty and staff are working to bring you new and exciting learning opportunities through distance education.  In the following paragraphs you will find information about currently available Engineering programs.

How Does Penn State College of Engineering Deliver Distance Education Courses?

Programs and courses offered by The College of Engineering Continuing and Distance Education office are designed to accommodate working professionals and support their engagement in lifelong learning. To do this, many of the courses are offered with a variety of delivery technologies that allow students flexibility in completing the coursework. It is necessary to have timely and adequate access to a computer and the Internet.

All potential, new, and returning students are always welcome to call the Continuing and Distance Education office at 814-865-7643 for assistance with any issue regarding programs and courses offered.

The College of Engineering Office of Continuing and Distance Education utilizes the services of the World Campus for course registration and billing, but originates and supports all other instructional activities directly from the College of Engineering.

Specific Requirements for College of Engineering Courses

Courses offered by Continuing and Distance Education typically conform to the General Requirements for access to CANVAS and World Campus Courses. Unless specificity stated in the C&DE Course Description, any computer system that meets the World Campus requirements should be adequate to engage and complete the course material. However:

  • Several of the engineering courses we offer require the use of specific software and resources that are not always compatible with all operating systems, such as: Mac OS and Linux.
  • Some courses are restricted to specific operating systems due to the requirements of the course content and instructional activities assigned.
  • Courses that require unique resources or specific computer operating systems will note those details on the home page which provides a complete Course Description of each course. Please see the C&DE Course Description for each course for specific details.

What Technologies Does the College of Engineering Use to Deliver Courses?

Most courses employ a variety of delivery and communication technologies in support of lectures, labs, assignments, and examinations.

These include:

  • On-Demand asynchronous video streaming of lectures
  • Course Management System - CANVAS for delivery of web based instructional materials
  • Email and threaded discussions to support course communications
  • Telephone, fax, and surface mail

Most of the courses offered through Continuing and Distance Education in the College of Engineering are group-based and typically taught in concert with a class of resident students from the University Park Campus. Faculty engage students during scheduled face-to-face class time as well as after hours. Many distance education students take advantage of shifting study time to accommodate their professional and family priorities. Faculty are always available for questions and guidance via email and are also available via telephone during normal business hours and/or specified office hours.  Communication by email is responded to as soon as possible, generally at the start of the next business day.

Students often work on engaging projects and assignments in small teams. Team communication and work is facilitated in the Penn State Course Management System called CANVAS. CANVAS is a closed computer environment in which students and instructors can engage in the process of learning. A good analogy for CANVAS is a virtual classroom. CANVAS is not open to the public. It is a private virtual space to work with faculty and other students on course materials and assignments.

Undergraduate Degrees

We are often asked, "Is it possible to satisfy all the requirements for a Penn State BS degree in Engineering entirely through distance education?"  At the present time, the answer is, "No, it is not possible."  However, a few of the courses required for the general education component of an Engineering degree can be taken through distance education, and a few upper level engineering courses are available through the World Campus. 

Office for Disability Services

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. If you have a disability-related need for reasonable academic adjustments in this course, contact the Office for Disability Services (ODS) at 814-863-1807 (V/TTY). For further information regarding ODS, please visit the Office of Disability Services website at http://equity.psu.edu/ods

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS):

CAPS can help students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, and satisfaction at Penn State. Some of the more common concerns include anxiety, depression, difficulties in relationships (friends, roommates, or family); sexual identity; lack of motivation or difficulty relaxing, concentrating or studying; eating disorders; sexual assault and sexual abuse recovery; and uncertainties about personal values and beliefs. You can contact CAPS by calling the Main CAPS number/Appointment Scheduling: 814-863-0395 (Please call between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday-Friday to schedule an appointment) or visit us at our office location, 5th Floor Student Health Center.

Online Resources for Relaxation:It's important to take care of yourself. There are a number of valuable online resources that you can use for relaxation and stress reduction. Learn how stress impacts your health and life, as well as some self-help strategies for managing it through the PSU Student Affairs EDGE online workshop (http://edge.psu.edu/workshops/StressMgmt/).

Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Hotline: A hotline has been established for victims and observers of sexual assault and relationship violence. Trained counselors on the hotline will help students access appropriate resources. Penn State students from any campus can call 1 (800) 560-1637 to access the 24 hour a day, seven day a week hotline.



The Office for Digital Learning in the College of Engineering supports engineers in lifelong learning - the process of acquiring the skills and knowledge necessary to remain current in a chosen field. In today's rapidly-changing, knowledge-based economy, engineers must devote the time and effort to learn new skills and technologies in order to add value for their employers and clients and to remain personally marketable. 

Office for Digital Learning

College of Engineering

301-A Engineering Unit C

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-7643

E-mail: odl@engr.psu.edu