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Tech Tips

Tech Tips for Students

Listed below are some technical tips coming from inquiries by other students.  These quick references may be used to help you with best practices for on line learning or technical tips for other tools.

Technical Requirements

Students who participate in an online, hybrid, or web-enhanced course must have proficiency in computer literacy and competency.  Additionally, there are minimum hardware and software requirements associated with the tools used in the electronic learning environment.  Students must be familiar with the computer skills needed in order to be successful in the electronic learning environment.

For more information on minimum requirements, please visit our website at:

Tips for Successfully Completing Online Assessments.

Very often assessments (quizzes & tests) are configured to allow you only one attempt, and to complete the entire assessment on that first access.  When the link is clicked to take an assessment the next screen will prompt you to Begin or Cancel and return to the previous page.  If you are not ready to take the assessment at that time, please do yourself and your instructor a favor and click Cancel.  Once you click Begin, you are committed – there is no going back.  For more information, click on the links below.

Blackboard FAQs for Quizzes and Tests

Do your work “offline” on your word processor.

Often students use the Internet equivalent of “the dog ate my homework.”  Instructors often have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were about to submit it.  Internet users know that service can and will often be disrupted with little or no warning from a variety of causes.  These are usually beyond the ability of you, your instructors,  or the VCCS to control – it is a fact of modern life.  If you work offline and save your files to your computer or a flash drive, you don’t have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work.

ALWAYS save your files before you send them to your instructor.

Just like we mentioned above, the modern electronic world is uncertain.  Always save a copy of your files on your computer or a flash drive in case something gets lost in cyberspace.  It is YOUR responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they’ve never seen.  Murphy’s Law remains in force:  Whatever can go wrong will, and at the worst possible time.

I don’t have the latest version of Microsoft office and can’t seem to open up those documents my instructor provides through Blackboard.

If you are using Office 2003, then you can use the Office Compatibility Pack provided free of charge by Microsoft.  Click here to go to the download page for this utility.  If you are using a different productivity package all together and cannot open Office 2007 or 2010 documents, then you can use the Office Viewers, also available free from Microsoft:  Click here to go to the viewers download page.  The 2007 viewers will work for 2010 documents.  Please see our Blackboard FAQ page for more information.

Have Your Course Buttons Mysteriously Disappeared?

We continue to receive numerous confused and panicked phone calls or emails from students who can’t seem to find the navigation buttons in their Blackboard course site.  This is due to a feature of Blackboard 9/9.1  that allows you to maximize the course materials viewing area – but does so by minimizing the navigation area.  Often students do not realize that they have clicked on the arrow to do this, or they have gone into a view that does it automatically.  Click here to find out how to make them reappear.

Student Email and Student Information System

The Student Email page will provide you with useful information and an overview of the following tasks:

  • Get Started with Gmail
  • Forwarding Gmail to another account
  • Email Netiquette
  • Google Sites and Talk
  • Sharing your Google Docs
  • Google Applications

To view video tutorials or how-to applications for Google, please visit their website at

Internet Browser Help.

Check out our Internet Browser Help page for information on:

  • How to Disable Pop Up Blockers
  • How to Enable Java
  • Check Your Browser Link
  • How to set up a trusted site
  • How to Clear Your Internet History
  • How to enable cookies in your browser

Missing a Plug-in or need some additional software for your class?

Many of our classes use software utilities, players, viewers, or plug-ins to present course materials.  You may not have everything you need.  Use the Check Your Browser link to verify that your Internet browser is up to date with all its plug-ins.  Many of these tools are available for free downloads.  Check our Software Downloads page for more information and links to many software tools.  On this page you will find:

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Adobe Flash Player
  • Apple Quicktime
  • Real Player
  • Primo PDF Converter
  • JAVA
  • Many more

Panopto Recordings

Many instructors at RCC use Panopto for lecture captures and recordings.  Look in your class or click on the link below to view the sessions that are publicly available.

Please note that some instructors use passwords for course recordings.  If your instructor has password protected your recording, you will be given a password by your instructor to view the lecture.

Connect with RCC by clicking on the Panopto icon elsewhere on the RCC Website:   Panopto Entry Page

Still confused?  Need additional Help? Questions related specifically to your class?

Don’t forget about your classmates! Very often someone else in your class has had the same question you do, and they may have already gotten the answer.  Most instructors provide a discussion board dedicated specifically to questions abut the technology or the class in general.  Use this discussion board to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem…chances are, there are some “computer wizards” in your class who have a ready solution for you.  If not, ask your instructor, or contact us.


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