The most recent evolution within the field of distance learning has been the development of competency-based education, or learning specific skills and competencies rather than course-specific objectives. This has changed the field of higher education as there have been new online schools formed, for-profit and non-profit, which are strictly competency-based and require no instructor-to-student contact. The traditional online classroom, with mandatory instructor-to-student interactions, requires an instructor to be present, available, and responsive to the needs of his or her students. Which is most effective for learning? Perhaps you’ll find out as you learn from my experience in the field of higher education and distance learning. I’ll also share some strategies for helping you, as an online instructor, enhance your interactions with students.