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, Canvas, Student Email and the SIS (Student Information System). Make sure to read over the course syllabus and login to Canvas 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. Canvas allows you to Ask Your Instructor a Question directly from the Help menu.  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 Zoom where instructors can communicate with students in real time.


How do I access Canvas, 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: Canvas, Google Drive, G-Mail Student Email and SIS(Student Information System) – and others besides. Students can log in via the myRCC button at the top of the RCC website. To locate your username click the Forgot Username link.  Your username is usually your initials + a number (ex.klw5).  Click Forgot Password to receive a Temporary password or to set a new one.  What you see will depend on what information you have already supplied the system.  Returning users should have security questions allowing them to set a new password from here.  New users will need to supply additional information requested through dialog windows.   If you need additional assistance contact the Student Help Desk.


I can’t locate the myRCC single signon?
The myRCC single signon is located in the top left corner of the RCC website. You can also access the link directly at https://rcc.my.vccs.edu.   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 Forgot Password link on the login page. You will be prompted for 3 of your 5 security answers. If you have forgotten these, please contact the RCC Student Helpdesk. Once your account is reset your temporary password will be good for a maximum of 24 hours.  You will want to change it when you login.  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 Canvas?


What is Hoonuit?
Hoonuit is a great tool for learning little bits of information at a time about a variety of technical and educational topics.  Most known for its excellent coverage of software programs (ex. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Google Docs, Google Earth, Gmail,Photoshop, iMovie,etc.) it has been expanded to cover Research Basics, Citations, Interview Skills and much more.  This resource is available for free to all RCC faculty, staff and students.

This resource is available on the myRCC landing page and is often integrated in Canvas courses where appropriate.


What is Zoom?
Zoom is a web-based conferencing tool new to the VCCS in Fall 2019. This tool allows students to interact with their instructor, or each other,  in real time from anywhere. Many instructors in our distance learning program use this program to facilitate online office hours. If your instructor is using Zoom, you will be required to download and install some software prior to your first session. This is a one-time only download. 

Zoom may either be integrated in your courses, or you may access this from other links as they are made available.


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 Canvas directly. To login to the Student Information System go to https://ps-sis-sa90.vccs.edu

Any known outages are normally posted in myRCC ahead of time. 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 and faculty at RCC are required to use the official email system to communicate for any school business.  To login to your student email you would use the myRCC single signon. You may also use the Canvas Inbox feature (which integrates with the official emails).  Important updates for your course and what is happening at RCC can only be sent to the student email account. Students can choose to have their email forwarded to another account, but must send messages from the student email system or Canvas Inbox.


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 can access your Canvas course, you may use the Inbox to contact your instructor or the Help Menu to Ask Your Instructor a Question. You may also find your instructor’s email address in the Employee Directory on our website. You will then be able to email your instructor before the class starts.  Please remember to use the VCCS Gmail (Student Email) for this.


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 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 Proctor U that is the student’s responsibility.


I have registered for a course, but why can’t I see it in Canvas?
Your official enrollment will always be reflected in the Student Information System. All instructors at RCC are required to make their Canvas courses available by the first day of the semester. Some instructors may open their classes up early, but most wait for the semester to start.  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 Canvas by the first class meeting, contact your instructor or the Help Desk. 


Why can’t I see my Canvas course anymore?
If you login during the semester and do not see your course on your Dashboard or All Courses listing, it could be that your instructor has either temporarily made it unavailable or you may have been dropped from the class. If this happens, contact your instructor immediately to find out the situation. Federal Financial Aid regulations require that students who miss specific deadlines at the start of a class be dropped; students may be dropped by the instructor for non-participation in online courses if they fail to complete a certain percentage of the classwork by another deadline (variable by the length of the class). Make sure to communicate with your instructor so this does not happen to you. At the end of the semester, your course may be formally concluded. 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 Canvas listing?
To remove courses that are showing in your Canvas Dashboard, you  may go to the All Courses Listing.  Each course will have a star by it.  Courses with Filled stars are on the dashboard, those with cleared stars are not.  Fill only the classes you want to deal with at the present time, clear the ones you do not.  ALL courses will remain on the All Courses listing as long as they are available for access.


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 typically begin on the first date of the respective semester or session.  Be aware that there ARE different sessions available for each semester.  An online class that is part of a later starting session will appear on the start date of that session. If you register for a distance learning course after the start of a session, it may take up to 24hrs. (if a first-time student) to see your course in Canvas. Check out the course schedule to review dates.


How can I get help with Canvas if I need it?
If you are having trouble navigating through Canvas, you have several options:

  • Help Menu within Canvas – All students have 24/7/365 access to 1st level support from Canvas itself, either by Phone or Live Chat.  You also have a direct link to send your instructor a question.*
    *Please Note: if your question is about how Canvas works, use the Phone or Chat options, if it is about course Content or Grades you have to ask your instructor, the Canvas folks cannot answer those.
  • Canvas Community Guides – Student Guides may be found here: https://community.canvaslms.com/docs/DOC-10701, but also check our Help Desk site.
  • For more information, please see this video on Getting Help in Canvas.

How do I turn in my assignments in a Distance Learning course?
How you turn in assignments will depend on the Instructor’s plan.

  • Most assignments may be turned in using the Canvas Submit Assignment button.  When you enter your assignment you will se this at the top right of the screen.  All Canvas assignments typically will tell you in what manner they are submitted.
  • Some assignments may need to be submitted through external publisher tools or resources.
  • Some specific assignments may be submitted using email or other methods.

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


I am having trouble opening files within Canvas, what can I do?

Most modern Internet browsers will come equipped with automatic pop-up blockers designed to prevent unwanted ads or some hacker hijacks from working.  Publisher tools and Canvas documents often need to be opened in new tabs, and may be misinterpreted as unwanted pop-ups.  You may need to enter your browser settings and create an exception for VCCS applications.  HOW this is actually done will vary by browsing program.  If you have allowed pop-ups for our sites and this is still happening, please contact your instructor (especially if time sensitive) and the RCC Help Desk.


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 need help with course content, your instructor is your first stop – use the Ask Your Instructor a Question link in the Canvas Help menu.

If you are having technical difficulties you can contact the RCC Help desk (RCCHELP@rappahannock.edu).

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 Canvas?
You should check with your instructor to find out how often they will be posting announcements or material. Each instructor and course is different. Please check your syllabus. As a general rule, most students should check at least twice a week if course is in Canvas.  A best practice is to take a quick look in each class while you are in the system.


Where are grades posted in an online course?
To check your grades in your Canvas course, you need only click on the Grades option in the course menu.  The grades in Canvas 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.”