FAQs for Online Learning
Distance Learning - What You Need To Know!
- How do I know I am ready to take an online course?
- Who can take an online class?
- What are the advantages of online learning?
- What online courses are being offered this semester?
- How much does an online course cost?
- How do I register for an online class?
- What technology do I need to take an online course?
- What computer skills do I need to be successful in an online course?
- Where do I go for technology help?
- How do I access my online courses?
- Is online learning more difficult than taking a traditional class on campus?
- Does an online course take a lot more time than a traditional course?
- What is a hybrid course?
- How is an online class set up? Can I work at my own pace? Do I need to attend meetings on campus?
- How do I communicate with my instructor in an online course?
- How do I submit my assignments in an online course?
- How do students interact online?
- How do I take a test in an online class?
- How do I get my textbooks? Can I buy my books online?
- Is tutoring available?
- Are there online library resources I can access?
- Can I complete my degree online?
- How do I access my educational records?
- What if I have trouble with my password?
How do I know I am ready to take an online course?
Evaluate yourself based upon some of the characteristics many successful online students demonstrate:
- Self-motivated & goal directed
- Strong reading & writing skills
- Organization & good time management
- The ability to work independently without supervision
- Knows how to meet deadlines
- Strong computer skills
Who can take an online class?
The following is NCCC’s policy on eligibility for taking an online course:
Distance Learning at North Country Community College is defined as courses taught entirely online, hybrid (online & in-classroom) and video-conference modalities.
It is strongly recommended that students wishing to take an on-line course have a minimum GPA of 2.00 and be ENG 101 ready. Individual courses may have other prerequisites that the student must meet to be eligible for taking the course.
Students not specifically enrolled in an online degree program must complete more than 50% of their degree requirements in a traditional classroom setting.
These recommendations are to help assure success for our online students. An analysis of student performance in our online courses found that these requirements help students avoid signing up for classes which they may not be prepared to take. In addition to these recommendations, you need some basic computer skills, the ability to communicate effectively in writing, and a willingness to take responsibility for maintaining a regular schedule to complete assignments on time.
What are the advantages of online learning?
Online courses offer the student the chance to take courses that fit their schedule. Online courses do not have regular meeting times. Students can work on their coursework at times that fit the demands of their lives within the confines of the course schedule. If work, family, time, or travel constraints prevent you from pursuing your education in a traditional setting, the online course allows you to create a schedule where you do your work on your terms as long as you can meet the instructor's due dates. Complete your assignments late at night, early in the morning, on weekends or even while on vacation. It’s all up to you! Online courses may also fit your learning style better particularly if you are self-motivated and are a good time manager. Online courses also open up a wider array of courses that you can take at the college.
What online courses are being offered this semester
A listing of current online courses can be found on the college’s website. From the NCCC home page, click on Academics<Course Offerings. This will direct you to all of the college course offerings. Distance Learning courses are designated by the letter Z (e.g., ENG 101Z). The same link (Course Offerings) to current course offerings can also be found on the distance learning homepage.
How much does an online course cost?
Tuition costs for an online course are identical to the tuition for on-campus courses. However, just as with art courses or lab courses, there is a distance learning fee attached to taking an online course. This fee is currently $45/course.
How do I register for an online class?
Registration for an online course is identical to registering for any other course. You may register in person on any of our campuses. Further, matriculated students may also register online for courses. A link to registration is on the distance learning homepage. A non-matriculated student registration form is available on the registration link page. This form can be mailed or faxed to the Record’s Office. The Record’s Office can also be contacted by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is crucial that you check your NCCC email regularly as on online student. Important communication from various college departments happens through email. Any correspondence regarding registration, financial aid, billing, and course information is communicated via email.
What technology do I need to take an online course?
Computers are available for student use on all of our campuses. Our libraries and LACs are equipped with state of the art computers for your use in online courses.
Now, in regard to using your own personal computers, our operating system (CAMS) supports the following:
1. Windows 2000 thru Windows 10. Mac – all operating systems
- Google Chrome
- Safari – current version
- Firefox (Mozilla) – current version
Our DL platform requires a minimal amount of RAM and a minimum amount of bandwidth connectivity to work properly. Someone with an IBM486 and /or a 56k dial up Internet connection will have difficulty from home. If you have a really old computer (10+ years) and limited Internet connectivity, you’re best advised to do your online work at the college.
Most courses require you to turn in word processing documents. NCCC supports Microsoft Office 2013, so your instructor will be using Microsoft Word 2013. It is your responsibility to turn a file in Microsoft Word format (either 97-2003 or 2007) or Rich Text Format (.rtf). Microsoft Word 2013 is preferred. If you are using a word processing program other than Microsoft Word, consult your program’s help facility to learn how to save files in either Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format formats. If your instructor has specific requirements for file formats or file handling procedures, he or she will tell you in the course syllabus.
Note: If you are taking an online course that requires software other than word processing, please consult the course syllabus for software requirements.
What computer skills do I need to be successful in an online course?
- Most online courses require reasonable typing skills and a general familiarity with computer use including:
- Send and receive emails
- Send and open email attachments
- Use Microsoft Office or a comparable program such as Open Office
- Use the Internet for basic research
- Use online library databases (through NCCC library)
- Use of Microsoft Windows Explorer or similar Web browser software to access the World Wide Web
- Understanding of file management to include saving, locating and (re)naming files.
- Basic understanding of file types and extensions.
Where do I go for technology help?
Technical assistance can be received by contacting the Help Desk email@example.com. Typically, questions regarding portal usage or computer problems can be answered by the Help Desk staff. On campus, individuals can also get some computer help at our LACs.
How do I access my online courses?
NCCC students need to be able to utilize the Student Portal, Blackboard, and the NCCC electronic mail system. The steps below will help you gain access to the all of these resources.
- Using a Web browser like Google Chrome, “go to” https://www.nccc.edu. The North Country Community College home page will display.
- To access your course, scroll to the bottom of the Home page:
- Click on the Blackboard link on the lower left-hand side of the home page.
- Log in to Blackboard using your NCCC email address as your username, and the same password you use for your NCCC email and student portal.
- Click on the link for your course on the Blackboard home page.
- There are two links from the nccc.edu home page that will route you to Student Portal access. Choose either Current Students (near the top center of the page), or Student Portal (in the alphabetical list on the left of the page).
- If you chose the Current Students link:
- Click on the Student Portal Login link.
- Click Student Portal Login
- Enter your Student Portal log-in name and password.
- The Student Portal home page will display in the same window where the North Country Community College home page displayed.
- If you chose the Student Portal link:
- Enter your Student Portal log-in name and password.
- The Student Portal home page will display in a new window.
- If you chose the Current Students link:
- To access NCCC email, scroll to the bottom of the home page and click on Webmail.
Is online learning more difficult than taking a traditional class on campus?
Online courses are not necessarily more difficult, just different. Possessing any number of the characteristics of successful online learners is important in terms of how you navigate the requirements of an online course. Most courses require completing weekly readings, essays, objective exercises, and Internet work. Your evaluation, just like in a traditional course, will be based on building a grade from all of the exercises you complete. Most online classes do require more weekly writing than a traditional class. However, a tradeoff might be that there will most likely be less memorization of facts for an exam and more application of ideas in papers or projects. In this mix may also be figured your contribution to the class discussion forum. Students who are motivated, self-directed and who can develop a system to meet deadlines don’t find online learning more difficult than traditional classroom courses.
Does an online course take a lot more time than a traditional course?
Most online courses require between 6 to 9 hours of work a week. Of course, this will depend on the course. Some may require a bit more; others, a bit less. Keep in mind that there is a difference between just completing an assignment and completing it well. On this point there is no difference between online courses and traditional classes. As the old adage goes, the more you put into something the more you get out of it. Grades are tied to effort. The time you put into a course is correlated with the outcome.
What is a hybrid course?
A hybrid course has an on-campus component as part of the instruction. For example, a science course may have a meeting time on campus for the laboratory component of the course. Or, a course may require students to meet on campus weekly for a seminar-type session with the instructor. Hybrid courses are designated with the letter H in the course code (e.g., PSY 101H).
How is an online class set up? Can I work at my own pace? Do I need to attend meetings on campus?
Most online courses are set up in a similar way. You’ll access your course through the Blackboard log-in page. Once at the course site, you’ll find all the course documents including the syllabus, requirements and grading, course calendar, and assignments. It won’t take long to familiarize yourself with what is expected and the work schedule for the semester. Most courses will have a weekly assignment that is due on a particular day of the week. Upon completion of the assignment, the work will either be emailed to your instructor or uploaded onto your portal. Assignment grades and comments can be accessed through the portal. Typically, online courses do have a structure where you do have to meet deadlines. Although you have the choice during the week to work when and where it is most convenient, you will in the end owe your instructor work at a designated time. This will all be spelled out clearly in your course syllabus. If there are any on-campus requirements, these too would be explained at the start of the course.
How do I communicate with my instructor in an online course?
The primary mechanism for communicating with your instructor is through emails. Your instructor’s email address is listed both on your course website as well as on the college’s website. You will also be given an nccc.edu email to use as a student. As your instructor may send you individual or group emails, it is crucial that you check your emails regularly. Your instructor may also post feedback about your assignments on your student portal. After an assignment grade has been posted, check to see if your instructor has also left specific comments regarding your work.
How do I submit my assignments in an online course?
There are two primary mechanisms used for submitting work in an online course. In most courses, work will be submitted by uploading it through Blackboard or the student portal. If an instructor is using the portal method or Blackboard, you will be instructed on how to upload documents at particular assignment locations. The particular method is specific to each course. You’ll find that some instructors prefer one method over the other. The approach will be explained in the course syllabus.
How do students interact online?
Many instructors use the “Discussion Forum” function on Blackboard for facilitating student interaction and discussions. Frequently, an instructor will post a weekly topic for students to react to. In addition to your posting, you may also be asked to comment on postings submitted by other students. In this way, you have the opportunity to interact with your fellow students and instructors in a meaningful way other than through emails. Your participation in the discussions is often used as part of your course grade.
How do I take a test in an online class?
Testing varies from course to course. There is no “one size fits all.” Some courses are writing intensive and do not emphasize tests. Other courses, may post weekly quizzes for which you have a certain amount of time to complete it. Some courses may require you to come to campus to take tests as might be the case with a hybrid course. As technology improves, some courses may use online exams that you would submit electronically to the instructor. Each instructor explains testing activities and, more generally, the course requirements, in the syllabus that is posted on the course website.
How do I get my textbooks? Can I buy my books online?
Most online courses require textbooks just like traditional courses. On your student portal you will find textbook information for any book that is required in the course you are taking. You may purchase your textbook(s) directly from the College Bookstore or buy them independently online from another distributor. More information from the Bookstore can be obtained at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is tutoring available?
Yes. The college offers tutoring assistance on all three campuses at our Learning Assistance Centers (LACs). The process for getting tutoring help for an online course is identical to that of getting help in a traditional on-campus course. Contact the LAC nearest you to arrange tutoring assistance. Keep in mind that you will have to go to an LAC for this additional help. LAC assistance is not available in the summer nor are ADA accommodations provided for online courses (unless an individual is required to take an exam on campus as part of an online course). More detailed information on the services available at the Learning Assistance Centers can be found at https://www.nccc.edu/current_students_main.aspx, then click on > Learning Assistance Center.
Are there online library resources I can access?
Yes. On the distance learning homepage you’ll find a direct link to library resources. Among other resources, you can search numerous databases of current journals in most fields. From these searches, you can access full-text articles that you can use for course assignments or papers. The library resources can also be reached by going to http://www.nccc.edu/library_main.aspx.
Can I complete my degree online?
Students may earn an AA Liberal Arts: Humanities & Social Science degree entirely online. This is the most flexible transfer degree at the College and sets students up for transfer into programs such as Psychology, English, Education, History along with many more. NCCC also offers a Certificate in Gerontology that is entirely online. For all other programs, the college policy is that up to 50% of the coursework toward a degree can be done online.
How do I access my educational records?
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA] of 1974 grants current and former students the right to have access to their education records, to determine whether records will be released to a third party, and to challenge information in those records. Records can be requested through the Records Office at NCCC. For more information on these specific rights, refer to the College Catalog. A link to the catalog can be found on the Home page of the NCCC website.
What if I am having trouble with my password?
Students having trouble with their passwords should contact computer support via email@example.com.