Distributed Learning Option

PLTS students

PLTS’s Distributed Learning (DL) option makes PLTS programs and courses accessible to anyone, no matter where you live or what your life circumstances are.

Our DL program is designed to bring Residential and Distributed Learning students together as one community, while offering asynchronous courses designed with quality standards. How might a PLTS Distributed Learning education suit your life and vocation?


Asynchronous courses means that you are not meeting with a class at a specific time each week. Instead, your “class time” consists of engaging in online activities at your own pace and schedule.


PLTS online courses are designed with the student experience at the forefront. Our faculty have worked with a learning technology specialist and utilized Quality Matters standards to design creative assignments and course components that are well-suited to online learning.


At PLTS we believe that we are all part of the learning community, and Distributed Learning (DL) students are no exception to that. While DL and Residential Learning (RL) students aren’t in classes together most of the time, there are plenty of opportunities for connection.

  • First year DL and RL students come together at the beginning of their first semester for Life and Learning Together Week, a week of orientation and classes, allowing you to get to know your classmates and your professors in-person before learning with them online.
  • All students gather together in person each January term for classes.
  • Student leaders form one Student Association with both RL and DL representatives, planning events and connecting students from all learning modalities.
  • Every Wednesday all members of the PLTS community, including students, faculty, staff, and members of the community, are invited to worship together in a hybrid format, gathering together in person and on Zoom.
  • Events like Evangelism and Justice salons and other speakers are held in a hybrid format.
  • And students participate in spiritual formation and spiritual practice groups with both RL and DL peers.


What are “Quality Matters” standards?

Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered, peer review process designed to certify the quality of online courses. Today, QM is considered the gold standard for online course design, advancing quality assurance practices in teaching and learning.

What is the on-campus requirement for DL learners?

DL students are required to come to the Berkeley campus at least 3 times during your program. During the first year, you are required to attend “Life and Learning Together Week” at the beginning of the fall semester. And each January term you are required to be in person for one to two weeks, depending on your course requirements.

How will I meet my contextual education requirements?

DL students engage in Ministry in Context and other contextual education requirements in your home communities in consultation with the Director of Contextual Education.

What technology skills do I need?

DL students should feel comfortable navigating a web browser and basic computer programs. Online courses are taught in a platform called Moodle and utilize voice recording and other online tools as part of the course instruction. Basic support is available to help students learn new programs required for class.

What technology equipment do I need?

DL students will be most successful using an up-to-date computer with consistent internet connection and access to a webcam.

How much time should I expect to spend doing coursework each week?

Just like an in-person class, online classes include both “in-class” time and out-of-class assignments. Students should expect to spend one hour per credit doing “in-class” work each week, like engaging in online discussion, posting responses to readings and professor videos, etc. In addition, students should expect to spend two hours per credit doing out-of-class work, like readings, papers, and other assignments. For example, for a 3-credit course you should expect to spend an average total of 9 hours doing work for that course each week.

How will I get to know my professors?

PLTS professors love getting to know their students! Online courses incorporate video and voice recording components to help facilitate those connections between you, your professors, and your peers. You will also have a chance to meet many of your professors each time you are here in person, and your instructors work hard to make themselves available to you whenever you need to connect.