What Should I Expect in an Online Course?
If you’re reading this page, congratulations – you have everything you need to take an online class at Rogue Community College! No more scheduling conflicts, dragging your backpack and 50lbs of textbooks across campus, or bumping into that weird guy in the fedora from your Biology lab. You’re free to take classes in the comfort of your own home, your own pajamas (eww, whose pajamas were you wearing before?) and no one cares if you fall asleep, spill your coffee on the carpet, or get a phone call during class.
Sounds great, right? So… what’s the catch?
You need to be self-motivated, organized, and have the ability to manage your own workload without a teacher with bad coffee breath standing over your shoulder reminding you about the test this Friday.
Are you a good candidate for online courses? Find out here.
So how did you do? Still interested? Let’s move on!
In many ways, an online class is very similar to a face-to-face course.
Class sizes for online courses are often the same as face-to-face classes, so you will still get the same healthy teacher-to-student ratio you’d expect on campus. Although you won’t be meeting at regularly scheduled times, course work is generally delivered and due weekly, so you’ll want to stay on top of your time management skills. However, reminders for course work are often made via course announcements, emails, and the calendar tool to help you stay on task! You can do it… I know you can.
What kind of work will I be doing online?
You can expect the same variety of work online as you would face-to-face. Online courses deliver a mix of quizzes, essays, assignments and group discussions. Depending on the course, you may work together with other students in groups, participate in peer review, or debate a variety of topics on the discussion boards.
You’ll be able to upload your assignments directly into your online course for grading and feedback – for example, in a writing class you will type your essay in MS Word and upload it for review; a Photoshop class will allow you to upload your unicorn drawings (if you’re into that kind of thing) as an image file. For the most part, instead of dropping a grubby, dog-eared essay on your instructor’s desk, you upload a pristine digital copy to Blackboard. You’ll make a great impression, honest.
So is it self-study? Am I all alone out there in cyberspace?
We know the Internet can be a terrifying, lonely series of tubes, but just because you’re not on campus, doesn’t mean you’re on your own! Your instructor will be available to answer your questions via email, discussion boards, and by appointment, many instructors will be able to meet with you in person or over the phone.
Many of the on-campus services are also available to online students; books can be ordered and shipped to you directly from the bookstore, tutoring services are available online, and so are other resources such as library research.
How do I register for online courses?
You register for online courses the same way you register for any other class at RCC – visit the Schedule page or log into myRogue to add an online course to your schedule!
How do online classes appear on my transcript?
Online courses appear on your transcript like any other course. In fact, they’re not even listed as being online classes – it’s our secret.
How do I get my books?
You can get your books anywhere you like – but a good place to start is the RCC bookstore website, where you can search for your specific course to find out which books you need. If you like, they’ll even ship them right to your door!
What if I need help?
If you’re confused about an assignment, what your grade is for a test, or coursework in general, you can contact your instructor through the course messages system in Blackboard. If you’re having technical difficulties, you can contact our smart, friendly, and really really good-looking support crew here.
Do I have a real teacher? Or is it some kind of auto-grading robot with lasers for eyes?
Your teacher is real (as far as we can tell) – many teachers at RCC teach a mix of online and face-to-face classes; chances are you have already taken an in-person class with your online instructor.
How do I contact my instructor in an online course?
During the term, you can contact your instructor within the course messages. If it’s outside of the term, you can email their RCC address – don’t know it? Find it here: RCC Directory
Do I ever have to come to campus during the term?
Save your gas money -- the majority of online courses are 100% online, meaning you never have to come to campus. Not that the campus is gross or anything (we like it) but you don’t have to visit if you’re taking online courses.
Do I need to log into the course at specific days and/or times?
Geez, I hope not. That would kind of defeat the purpose wouldn’t it? Most of your online courses run on a weekly schedule, but only a select few expect students to be in a certain place at a certain time – and these exceptions are specifically noted in the schedule when you register, so there are no nasty surprises.
Does my class have an orientation?
Most online courses have orientation materials posted within Blackboard; if you’re brand new to online learning, you might like to join us for in-person Blackboard-specific orientations during the first week of term – here’s a link to the schedule: Blackboard Orientation Schedule
These orientations don’t cover any course-specific information, and your teacher won’t be there – but we will demonstrate how to log in, submit assignments, grades, and everything else you need to be successful online. We highly recommend that brand new users take an in-person Blackboard orientation their first term!
What happens if I don’t “show up” to my online course for the first week?
Just like face-to-face classes, online classes are bound by the administrative drop policy – meaning you have to participate in the class during the first week or risk being dropped. This could be something as simple as posting a quick “Hello” to an online discussion forum, or completing the first week’s assignment – each instructor outlines their requirements for first week participation within the course.
Can you fix my computer?
Umm. No. Sorry… it’s nothing personal, really. We can help you with getting logged in to your course, make sure you have a Blackboard-compatible browser, etc. but we can’t monkey around with student computers!
Can I take an online course on my iPad/iPhone/Android/Casio Keyboard/Nintendo DS/Calculator, etc…?
Sure – but it might be tough. Generally speaking, any device that has a web browser and can connect to the Internet will allow you to access your online course to read and view course materials. However, for any serious sort of school work we recommend you have a desktop or laptop computer with full keyboard and mouse – you’ll thank us later! If you don’t have a computer you are free to use the computer labs on any of our campuses – they’re open early and close late -- more details on the RCC Computer Labs page.
Do all of the online courses look and act the same?
All online courses use Blackboard to manage content, communication and assignments, but that’s about where it ends. Just like a regular class, online courses are all very different – and a lot of this hinges on the instructor teaching the course.
When will I get access to my online courses?
Courses will become magically available at 8am on the first day of term. That’s when our highly trained server monkeys pull the switch -- and they really can’t do it any sooner or later than that – no matter how nicely you ask -- it’s a pretty big switch, and, well, they’re trained monkeys… it was pretty tough to train them to do this one thing in the first place.
Do I need an RCC email account?
Nope – at least, not to take an online class. But a .edu student email address can be useful for other things too, like student discounts (cheap and free stuff) – so you can find out more at myRogue Student Portal.