Distance Education Overview
- HELP! I can't login to my instructor's class website! What do I do?
- What is an Online Course?
- Am I ready for distance education course?
- What are my responsibilities for an Online Course?
- When do I start my Online Course?
- How long do I have to complete my online course?
- Do I ever need to show up on campus to take an online course?
- Are online classes comparable in quality to on-campus classes?
- When is it right for me to take an online class?
- What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?
- How are courses graded?
- Can I use the SMCCCD Library?
HELP! I can't login to my instructor's class website! What do I do?
First, email your instructor so he or she is aware of your problem logging in. Next, contact the Helpdesk for the course management system your instructor uses. Links are below:
What is an Online Course?
A course offered online has the same educational objectives as a course taught in more traditional ways: that is, online courses are designed to help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities appropriate to a specific course and body of knowledge. However, the means by which these objectives are accomplished differ in some obvious ways from the approaches used in a traditional classroom setting.
Depending on your instructor, you may be able to access your online class prior to the semester. Technical help is available to students whose instructors are presenting their courses on WebAccess via the WebAccess Support Helpdesk. Students whose instructors are not presenting their online courses on WebAccess should email the instructor for help.
One of the most important things to remember as an online student is that you need to be proactive. Do not wait until the semester has gotten under way and then try to figure out how to get into the course. If you have not received log-in information or your instructor has not contacted you with publisher information, you need to contact the Helpdesk or your instructor immediately to resolve the matter.
Am I ready for distance education course?
Students taking Online Courses should know how to:
- Assess your own technical abilities
- Obtain access to another Internet-ready computer if your own system fails.
- Perform basic computer and Internet browsing functions.
- Communicate efficiently and effectively in writing, text, chat, voice and voicemail.
- Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
- Direct your own learning.
- Work independently
What are my responsibilities for an Online Course?
As an online student it is your responsibility to do the following:
- Actively participate in your online class. You should access your course a minimum of two or three times a week in order to respond to discussion groups, quizzes, chats, etc.
- Create a calendar after you determine critical due dates and test dates. Copy instructor's calendar?
- Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
- Use appropriate online discussion etiquette and follow instructor's guidelines for e-mails.
- Develop an alternate plan in case your primary point of access to the online course fails. It is your responsibility to keep up with your course work even if your computer crashes.
- If life intervenes, make sure you contact your instructor to make alternative arrangements.
When do I start my Online Course?
In most cases, Online Courses are NOT self-paced. The courses begin at the start of the term and end at the end of the term. Therefore, students should not wait to register for these courses until the first week of classes as it may take up to three days to get students into the system and send them their log-in information. Students should be aware that they need to get into the system prior to the first day or two of classes and then continue to access the course a minimum of two or three times a week the entire semester.
How long do I have to complete my online course?
The majority of SMCCCD's online courses go the entire term. This is 18 weeks for fall and spring terms and 6 or 8 weeks for the summer term. However, there are some courses that start later and finish earlier. Be sure to check the SMCCCD course schedule for those specially scheduled courses. Most instructors have due dates throughout the semester; however some do not collect work until the end of the semester or term. Do not wait until the end to work on your course. Again, it is up to you to manage your time wisely in your online course. It is also up to the instructor whether to allow students to work ahead. Contact your instructor in regard to his or her policy.
Do I ever need to show up on campus to take an online course?
SMCCCD's policy states that an online student cannot be required to come to campus for any online courses. However, if an instructor requires an on site meeting, he or she must make alternative arrangements with those who cannot meet on site.
Are online classes comparable in quality to on-campus classes?
Yes, all SMCCCD online courses must meet the same competencies as their face-to-face (F2F) counterparts and the rigor must be sufficient so that the required learning does take place. However, how you do activities in your online courses will differ from how you might do activities in a F2F class. All online courses will transfer in the same way as their F2F counterparts. In your transcript, they will not be identified as online courses.
When is it right for me to take an online class?
If you need help with choosing classes, determining what order to take classes, determining how classes transfer or anything else in the area, you need to contact your school's counseling department. They will attempt to answer all your questions.
What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?
You will need to contact your instructor or make arrangements for tutoring on campus.
How are courses graded?
As with other college courses, grading criteria is determined for each online course by the instructor. The instructor will provide you with a syllabus which will have information about grading standards, the exams and projects on which you will be graded, and the percent that each will contribute to your final grade. You should feel free to discuss any questions about your grade with your instructor.
Can I use the SMCCCD Library?
Online students have several directly linked resources available from the SMCCCD library.