Distance Learning FAQs

Find some of the most common questions that are asked about the Distance Learning program at RCC. To find the answer to your question, review the list below:

Before Getting Started

Technical Questions

Course Related Questions

Is there some way to help me decide if I should take a Distance Learning course?
Yes. To determine if distance learning is for take this short quiz, “Is Distance Learning for Me.” In addition you will be able to review a sample course and short videos on how to be successful in the Distance Learning program at RCC.

How do I register for a Distance Learning course?
As a student you would register for classes by first applying to the college. Once you have applied, you will be able to login to the myRCC (also read the What is myRCC [PDF] ) and register online for your Distance Learning classes. You will access the SIS (Student Information System) and select the course you will taking by using the course number that is found in the schedule.

What happens if I miss the Distance Learning Orientation?
All first-time students are required to attend the Distance Learning Orientation. All returning students are required to attend if the instructor is requiring an on-campus meeting which would be advertised in the course schedule. If you miss the orientation meeting because of work or personal emergency, you should contact the instructor if a session was required. During the orientation session there will be help sessions on myRCC single signon, Blackboard, Student Email and the SIS (Student Information System). Make sure to read over the course syllabus and login to Blackboard by the first day of class to get started.

Do you offer degrees online?
Yes. We offer two degrees. An Associate in Arts and Sciences and Associate in Applied Science in Business Management. For more information on degrees and certificates offered via Distance Learning, click here.

How do I add/drop or withdraw from a Distance Education course?
Click here to view the tutorial on how to Add, Drop, or Swap a course online. Students can drop classes online by the drop date for the semester. Students can only withdraw from a course by completing the Add/Drop or Withdrawal forms and submitting it to a campus Admissions Office. See the college calendar for the last date to drop or withdraw from a course.

What resources are available on-campus for Distance Learning students?
As a distance learning student you will have access to all the same resources as students taking classes on-campus. Both of our campuses have wireless internet. Bring your own laptop and work online. In addition to being wireless, RCC has two success labs located in the library on each campus that have high speed internet connection. Each student will need to get a student ID card that can be obtained in the Library on each campus.

What if I need to talk with someone about taking online classes ?
Most questions can be answered and advising can be done by email or telephone. If you feel you need to talk with an academic counselor about the courses you are taking or degree you would like to receive, please contact the Student Development Office. You may also request an appointment to meet with your instructor on-campus or virtually depending on where the instructor is located. RCC has web conferencing tools such as Blackboard Collaborate and Virtual Chat where instructors can communicate with students in real time.

How do I access Blackboard, Student Email and the SIS (Student Information System)?
Once you have registered for a class at RCC, you will gain access via the myRCC single signon portal to the following systems: Blackboard, Student Email and SIS(Student Information System). Students can find their logins through myRCC button at the top of the RCC website. To locate your login information click on the Look up your Username and set your password link. If you need additional assistance contact the Student Help Desk. Your username is usually your initials + a number (ex.klw5) and your password for the first initial login is your date of birth in MMDDYY format. Once you login the first time you will be directed to create a new secure password and security question and answer.

I can’t locate myRCC single signon?
The myRCC single signon is located in the top left corner of the RCC website. You can also access the link via the Distance Learning Department menu listing. If you have trouble finding your information to get into the myRCC single signon, please contact the RCC Student Helpdesk.

What happens if I forget the myRCC single signon password?
If you forget your username and password, you can reset your password by using the Look up your username and set your password link on the login page. You will be prompted for your security answer. If you have forgotten that, please contact the RCC Student Helpdesk. Once your account is reset your temporary password will be your six digit date of birth no spaces or hyphens (MMDDYY). You can also contact the Distance Learning Office at 804-333-6786.

Is it possible to have my email automatically forwarded to my private email address?
Yes, forwarding can be configured in the new email system by going to Options, Forwarding. Users should be aware that forwarding is inherently unreliable due to the stringent filtering done by many ISPs to remove Spam. It is recommended that users who choose to have their email forwarded also check the box “Keep a copy of each forwarded message” and check their VCCS mail regularly via the web interface. Your email address is your myRCC username@email.vccs.edu (ex.klw5@email.vccs.edu). Check out the Getting Started with Gmail [PDF] for more information on Google student email features.

How long is email kept on the system?
Once you are given a student Gmail account you will be able to keep your account even after you leave RCC. All students will have 6.5 GB of space for mail.

I am having trouble getting my Student Email to open, what should I do?
If you experience problems getting your email to load correctly, please try Google’s troubleshooting suggestions. If you get blank white page while trying to get into your account and only see “Loading…” you can try logging into the system using the basic HTML version.

What are the minimum system and browser requirements for using Blackboard?

What is Atomic Learning?
Atomic Learning is a great tool for learning little bits of information at a time about a variety of different software programs (ex. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Google Earth, Gmail,Photoshop, iMovie,etc.) This resource is available for free to all RCC faculty, staff, students and their families.

As of Fall 2013, this is now available to all RCC users directly off the RCC Tab in Blackboard through the new Atomic Learning Module. Access to Atomic Learning is also available through the Tools button in all Blackboard courses. You must have Quicktime on your computer to run the video tutorials.

What is Collaborate?
Collaborate is a web conferencing system from Blackboard corporation (the product was formerly named Elluminate) that allows students to interact with their instructor in real time. Many instructors in our distance learning program use this program to facilitate online office hours. If your instructor is using Collaborate, you will be required to download and install some software prior to your first session. This is a one-time only download. To get started, please view the Essentials for Participants guide. If you have difficulty downloading the software, contact the Distance Learning office.

Most links to Collaborate sessions will appear in your course. Your instructor will tell you how to access them if they are part of your course. For more information on Collaborate, please click on the “Essentials for Participants” guide.

What happens if the website or the myRCC single signon is down?
When myRCC single signon is down or the RCC website, you can try to login to Blackboard directly. To login to the Student Information System go to https://ps-sis-sa90.vccs.edu/psp/ps/?cmd=login. You will need to enter in your EMPLID and the same password you use for myRCC.

Blackboard outages are normally posted in Blackboard under the Help tab. We suggest you contact your instructor if you were taking an online test, quiz or posting to the Discussion Board at the time the outage occurred.

Why can’t I use my personal email to communicate with instructors?
All students at RCC are required to use the student email system to communicate with faculty and staff. To login to your student email you would use the myRCC single signon. Your student email is associated with your Blackboard account. In order to receive important updates for your course and what is happening at RCC it is recommended that you use the student email account. Students can choose to have their email forwarded to another account, but must send messages from the student email system.

How do I contact my instructor?
Once you register for a course at RCC you should see your instructor’s name on your course schedule found in the Student Information System (SIS). Once you login to your Blackboard course, you should see your instructor’s contact information. To find your instructor’s email address go to the Employee Directory on our website. You will then be able to email your instructor before the class starts.

Will I ever have to come to campus for a distance learning course?
First-time distance learning students are required to attend the Distance Learning Orientation at the beginning of the semester. Some online courses may require you attend a session at the Distance Learning Orientation. If you are required to attend a session you will see comments in the schedule. All distance learning courses are required to have a minimum of two proctored activities during the semester. This means that students would need to come to campus to a testing center location (Glenns, Warsaw or King George High School Site) to take a proctored test. Proctor testing may be conducted at approved locations other than RCC campus. If you are at a distance and cannot take proctored tests at one of our locations, please email your instructor for permission to be proctored off-site.

You will also be responsible for getting the Distance Learning Proctor Request Form filled out and faxed back to the college. This should be done at least two weeks prior to the first proctored test.

We can also now offer 24/7 remote (off-site) proctoring through a 3rd party service — Proctor U. With your instructor’s permission you may use this service. NOTE: This is not a free service. There is a fee charged by the company that is the student’s responsibility.

I have registered for a course, but why can’t I see it in Blackboard?
Your official enrollment will always be reflected in the Student Information System. All instructors at RCC are required to make their Blackboard courses available by the first day the class meets. For Distance Learning courses that would be during the Distance Learning Orientation. Some instructors open their classes up early. If you login before your start date and do not see your class, do not panic. First make sure that the class is showing in the Student Information System (SIS). If you do not see your class in Blackboard by the first class meeting, contact your instructor. Students are uploaded into Blackboard at least one week prior to the start of the course start date.

Why can’t I see my Blackboard course anymore?
If you login during the semester and do not see your course under the “My Blackboard” course listing, it could be that your instructor removed you from the class. If this happens, email your instructor immediately to find out the situation. Instructors will remove students for non-participation in online courses during the add/drop deadline dates. Make sure to communicate with your instructor so this does not happen to you. During the end of the semester all courses should be made unavailable. This would remove the course from your listing at the end of each semester. If you have an incomplete, you will need to communicate with your instructor on the best course of action after the end date of the semester to complete your coursework.

How can I remove course(s) from previous semesters from my Blackboard listing?
To remove courses that are showing in your “My Blackboard” course box located on the RCC tab, click on the wheel icon at the top of the box. Edit the course listing by removing the check marks from the course(s) you do not want displayed.

Can I order my book online?
Yes. You can order or reserve them at the RCC College Bookstore. To search for your book, check out the E-Follet bookstore.

When do online courses begin?
Online courses begin during the Distance Learning Orientation. All courses should be available at this time in Blackboard for students to see. If you register at the Orientation for a distance learning course it may take up to 24hrs. (if a first-time student) to see your course in Blackboard. Check out the course schedule to review dates.

How can I get help with Blackboard if I need it?
If you are having trouble navigating through Blackboard, you might want to access the Introduction to Blackboard 9 Google site. Within every course at RCC, there should be three help buttons that include Blackboard FAQ’s. If you have specific course related questions, please contact your instructor.

How do I turn in my assignments in a Distance Learning course?
There are several ways in which you can submit assignments in Blackboard…..

  • you can email the assignment as an attachment using the student email system
  • you can submit your assignment through the assignment tool in Blackboard
  • you can submit work through publisher tools or resources (ex. Math XL)

Please make sure to read your syllabus to find out how your instructor will be accepting assignments in your course.

I am having trouble opening files within Blackboard, what can I do?
A problem has been identified when trying to download content in Blackboard 9 using Internet Explorer. If you experience problems accessing course files while using Internet Explorer, we recommend you log out of the Blackboard system, close Internet Explorer, and switch over to using the Firefox Web browser.

Many instructors are uploading files to Blackboard that are Office 2010 files. If you do not have office 2010 files and have problems opening the documents you can try to download the free Microsoft convertor. Files that have and “x” on the end of the extension are 2010 files (ex. docx, pptx,xlsx).

Where can I find help if I am having trouble with the course material in my class?
You and your instructor will be in continuous contact throughout the semester. If you feel like you need extra help, email your instructor. All student support services available on campus can be used by Distance Learning students. You can contact the Student Development Office to find out what is available for you. In some instances online students can form study groups and use online resources to help them with coursework.

How often should I check my Announcements in Blackboard?
You should check with your instructor to find out how often they will be posting announcements or material in Blackboard. Each instructor and course is different. Please check your syllabus. As a general rule, most students should check twice a week if the instructor is using Blackboard for course announcements.

Where are grades posted in an online course?
To check your grades in your Blackboard course, go to the course tools area or your course or the area in the menu listing called My Grades. Keep in mind that all instructors design their courses differently. If you do not see this area in your course, you might want to check with your instructor to find out how grades are received. The grades in Blackboard are a running total of grades that have been posted. This is not your official grade. Official grades are posted in the Student Information System (SIS) at the end of each semester. To find out your final grade you can login via the myRCC single signon and access the SIS system and locate “Student Center” area. Then click on “Grades” under “Academic History.”