Extended Learning: Distance Education and Continuing Education

Terry Babbitt, Ed.D., Vice Provost
The University of New Mexico
Extended Learning
Woodward Hall Rm 157
MSC03 2190
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131-0001
(866) 869-6040 

Distance Education and UNM Online

UNM Extended Learning Distance Education Programs were established in the Fall of 1999 to coordinate the institution’s distance education mission and guide strategic planning and logistical support for strategic initiatives. UNM delivers high-quality online programs across the state and around the world through enterprise learning management, media and web conferencing technology. Several programs are available largely or exclusively online, while others may be completed through a combination of online classes and classes taken face-to-face at UNM Main Campus. UNM also offers a number of online undergraduate degree completion programs and master’s degree programs in an alternative way to earn a degree with courses offered in an eight-week format, that can be taken five times per year.  

UNM Extended Learning oversees compliance, regulatory and other accreditation functions associated with the delivery of distance education across the state, nation, and world. The Online Course Development and Faculty Services team provides instructional design, training, and course development assistance to faculty offering online courses. Through UNM Online, a host of undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available fully or partially online. 

UNM Online

Online courses offer a flexible, highly interactive way to take courses in a wide range of programs and subject areas. Online courses provide diverse interactions with classmates and instructors and use the same rigorous materials as their classroom counterparts while providing greater freedom in choosing when and where learning takes place. Students experience diverse interactions with classmates and instructors, and use the same rigorous materials as they would in a physical classroom. By using a computer or mobile device with Internet access, students can take classes taught by regular UNM faculty over a traditional 16-week semester, though 7- or 8-week course formats are also available.

There are two types of online courses at UNM:

  • Synchronous Online courses have fixed meeting times. Students log in at a scheduled time, often weekly, to participate in the course.
  • Asynchronous Online courses have no required meeting times. Students log in and participate as their schedule permits.

In both types of online course, UNM faculty have the discretion to require face-to-face meetings, such as for exams or lab work. While many online courses do not have fixed meeting times, some instructors do require regular synchronous/simultaneous meetings. Through web conferencing tools, some classes offered at main campus can be transmitted simultaneously for online participation from other locations. All required synchronous class meetings are listed in the Schedule of Classes.

Fully and partially online degree programs and online class schedules are found on the UNM Online Web site. For more information, call (505) 277-8128 or (866) 869-6040.

Continuing Education and Community Services

1634 University Blvd. NE
Albuquerque, NM, 87131
(505) 277-0077

For over 85 years, UNM Continuing Education has served as the center for lifelong learning by providing innovative educational, training, and personal enrichment opportunities for students, businesses, and community partners in New Mexico. Continuing Education plays a major role in community service and outreach for UNM, with a focus on economic and workforce development. More than 30,000 students and customers are served through non-credit programs, certificate programs, and special projects every year. Approximately 75,000 community and UNM participants use the Conference Center facility each year. 

Continuing Education Non-Credit Programs

Computer and IT
Offers courses to learn or improve skills with computer operating systems and specific software programs in Microsoft Office. Offers numerous IT professional certifications including CompTIA, Microsoft IT Academy training, Geographic Information Systems, and AutoCAD.

Employer Services and Personalized Training
Partners with employers to create courses, conferences, and workshops based upon their specific business requirements. This is a cost-effective, focused way to increase employee knowledge, skills, and performance that will lead to long-term business growth. Experienced, dedicated, and certified instructors incorporate quality instructional methods into all training programs. Employer Services and Personalized Training offer professional consultants who design, develop, support, and implement specific training and organization solutions to address the needs of ongoing projects, new organizational initiatives, or training directives. Consultants address their issues in a timeframe that accommodates their busy schedule.

Digital Arts
Offers certificate programs to prepare students for work in graphic design, web design, multimedia, digital photography, digital filmmaking, and music production. As the only Apple-Authorized Training Center in New Mexico, the digital arts computer labs offer training in the latest software and hardware tools.

Career Training and Business Skills
Offers certificate programs in professional development and workforce training in areas such as leadership and supervisory skills, human resources, and project management (PMI Educational Provider). A variety of other training includes paralegal, professional trainer, instruction and facilitation training, mediation and conflict resolution, and volunteer management. Traditional classroom or online classes are available for professional development programs.

Health and Wellness Professions
Offers courses to train addictions counselors utilizing current evidence-based treatment methods. Provides training for positions in the fast-growing medical field, including medical billing and coding, clinical herbalism, phlebotomy, and personal trainer. Online and classroom courses are offered.

Growth and Enrichment
Courses in arts, language, hobby, and personal enrichment allow students to explore their interests, stimulate their minds and gain skills to help them enrich their lives. Demand for programs to be held at neighborhood locations led UNM Continuing Education to seek off-campus locations. Programs are offered in more than 50 sites throughout the Albuquerque metropolitan area.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) provides a stimulating university environment for mature audiences. Offerings are intellectually challenging, psychologically and spiritually engaging. A $20 annual membership includes registration access to all OLLI courses offered during the calendar year. Each course is offered for an additional fee. Tuition Remission may be used for classes but not for membership. OLLI provides for benefits on-and-off-campus and members may choose from a variety of thought-provoking courses taught year round.

Youth Programs
Provides classes, camps and conferences for community youth, ages 5-17, year-round with a special focus on spring break and summer programming. Partners with UNM departments and community organizations to launch a lifetime love of learning through programs which help youth explore career and academic interests, build new skills, participate in health and fitness activities and foster creativity. 

Spanish Resource Center
The Spanish Resource Center creates awareness of the Spanish language and cultures throughout New Mexico through a partnership by The Ministry of Education and Science of Spain, UNM Continuing Education, and the New Mexico Department of Education. The Center offers a broad collection of materials to students and educators on Spanish language programs, collaborates with several UNM departments to host conferences and workshops, and offers a visiting teachers program between Spain and New Mexico.

Community Services and Contract Management

Early Childhood Services Center
The Early Childhood Services Center (ECSC) is a component part of the Division of Continuing Education and Community Services. Funded by the State of New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) the ECSC provides the following services on behalf of the children of New Mexico:

  • Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance
  • Child Care Resource and Referral Program (CCR&R)
  • ECSC Data Collection Systems
  • ECSC Technical Services
  • New Mexico FOCUS TQRIS and Pre-K Initiatives
  • NewMexicoKids Network
  • Early Childhood Toy and Resource Libraries

Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute
(505) 277-9360

UNM Continuing Education entered into a partnership with the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI), a National Indian Community College, to enhance the educational opportunities and college-level instruction for Native Americans in the Southwest. Continuing Education provides qualified instructors, text and course materials, and an expert level of programming to promote academic success and further students’ college educations at UNM or other institutions of higher education. 

None for the Road- DWI Awareness Program
(505) 277-6170

DWI prevention and education course for first-time licensees in New Mexico. In cooperation with the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Traffic Safety Bureau, the Division provides a DWI Prevention and Education course, “None for the Road.” All first-time licensees in New Mexico, between the ages of 18 and 24, are required to take this awareness class which informs them about driving-while-impaired (DWI) laws and prevention. The class is offered as a home-study course and is available online and through the mail.

Transportation Safety Center
(505) 277-0872 

New Mexico Department of Transportation–Traffic Safety Division has contracted with UNM Continuing Education’s Transportation Safety Law Center (TSC) for the following:

  • Monitoring and Ensuring NMAC Compliance of driving safety programs: TSC develops checklists and conducts site visits to ensure that Driver Ed/Driving Safety/DWI Schools and Instructors/Facilitators are in compliance with the NMAC rule requirements. TSC also works with the general public to address and resolve complaints or conduct investigations.
  • Licensing and Certification of driving safety programs: TSC processes all original and renewal applications for Driver Ed/Driving Safety Schools and Instructors as well as Ignition Interlock Service Centers/Installers and develops application forms and guidelines to assist these programs with initial licensing and annual renewals.
  • Determining Eligibility for Driver Education Correspondence School: TSC reviews applications to determine student eligibility and serves as the point of contact for all parents/guardians seeking to enroll students in correspondence driver education programs, answering questions and assisting them in the application process.
  • Rule Revision and Development: Through its experiences with Driver Ed/Driving Safety/DWI/Ignition Interlock programs, TSC collaborates on the revision and development of the NMAC rules.
  • Training and Continuing Education: TSC provides foundational and continuing education courses on behalf of the New Mexico Traffic Safety Division for driver education, driving safety and DWI instructors.

Extended Learning Services

Testing Center
Provides students, faculty, staff and community members with information and access to standardized testing. The Testing Center also administers national, state and local standardized examinations. Call (505) 277-5346, email testctr@unm.edu, or visit the Testing Center Web site for details.

The Conference Center
A facility that includes a 600-seat auditorium, break-out rooms and classrooms, a banquet room and large lobby area. The Conference Center offers Albuquerque businesses, statewide public entities and out-of-state events a medium-sized facility with a variety of support services and features. For more information on the Conference Center, call (505) 277-5984.

Faculty Services
Provides instructional design, training, and course development assistance to faculty offering online courses.

Student and Course Services
Provides online students enrollment and advising support as well as support for course scheduling and other administrative functions associated with online course delivery.

Compliance and Strategic Initiatives
Provides comprehensive administrative support for compliance and accreditation functions associated with the delivery of online and distance education, as well as planning, strategy and logistical support for strategic initiatives.


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Office of the Registrar

MSC11 6325
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Phone: (505) 277-8900
Fax: (505) 277-6809