Technology Tips 

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 online learning or technical tips for other tools.

Technical Requirements | Skills Requirements | Password Assistance

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.

Do your work “offline” on your word processor?
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
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.

I don’t have the latest version of Microsoft office and can’t open up the documents my instructor provides in Blackboard
If you do not have a compatible version of Microsoft Office software (Office 2007 minimum), the VCCS has contracted with Microsoft to provide a free version of Office 365 for active students.  Go to our Software Page for more information.

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.

Panopto Recordings
Many instructors at RCC use Panopto for lecture captures and recordings.  Look in your class or 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.


Computer Skill Requirements
A student should be able to:

  • use e-mail, including attaching documents to messages. All official course communication must be conducted through college student email accounts.
  • use of Internet search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo
  • use Microsoft Office applications (ex. Word)
  • use internet browsers such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari
  • open and close files, creating folders, saving files or folders, deleting files, and installing programs.
  • downloading and opening programs from the Internet.
  • print pages from the Internet
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of computing concepts in order to accomplish required course tasks

If you do not have these experiences or skills, you should take a beginning computer course before attempting distance learning classes. (Contact Student Development at either campus, and talk to a counselor for information on which course is right for you.)


Computer System Requirements

PC Requirements
Intel CORE Series Required,  i-Series processor recommended (i3, i5, i7)
4 GB RAM (Memory)
Windows 7 , 8, 8.1 or 10
Internet Explorer 10+, Edge, Firefox (latest), Chrome (latest)
Display: 1280 x 800 screen Resolution
Java 8 update 50 (required – most recent recommended)
Access to High-Speed Internet*

Mac Requirements
Mac with Intel Processor
4 GB RAM (Memory)
OS 10.8 or higher
Safari 6+, Firefox (Latest), Chrome (Latest)
Display: 1280 x 800 screen Resolution
Java 8 update 50 (required – most recent recommended)
Access to High-Speed Internet*
Note: Not all software is Mac compatible. Please consult your instructor prior to the course start date. Parallels or Boot Camp might be needed.

Notes: The hardware requirements listed above are general recommendations for most courses. Some requirements may vary – check your course syllabi for special hardware or software requirements.  Lower versions of some software may continue to work but reduced functions or compatibility with other software.

Chromebooks – sold under a number of different manufacturers and sometimes called Chrome Laptops are not recommended.  These computers are for running web-based applications only.  Some classes may require specialized in locally installed software that will be incompatible with Chromebooks.

* Reliable High-Speed Internet access is required for all online course and much supplemental tools for face to face courses.  Dial-up access is not adequate for many applications.  Cellular hot-spots are not recommended – consult your data plan for possible costs.
** Some application functions and services may not be compatible with all mobile devices.

Other Software Requirements

Virus/ Spyware Information
Due to all the infected files with worms and computer virus on the Internet, we encourage students to run antivirus software. It is important that you make sure you run updates on a regular basis to prevent viruses from infecting your computer.

Students, faculty, and staff can now download Symantec AntiVirus Products for use on their personal computers. To access the free download, you will need to be registered for classes at RCC. To access the free download, you will need to login to myRCC single sign-on and access your Blackboard account. Look on the RCC tab for the Fee Anti-Virus Software.

All-Academic Computing Centers are governed by the following policies:


Creating Your Password
Your username and password are required to access online college services. If you are a current user of Blackboard or Student email, use your current password. If you have not logged in for several months, your password may have expired and will need to be reset. You can reset your password through the myRCC single login area under Forgot your password?

Setting Up Your Password
New password must have at least seven characters and not more than ten. Your password must contain a combination of:

  • At least one UPPERCASE letter
  • At least one lowercase letter
  • At least one number (0-9)

To help protect your account, make sure that your password is memorable for you, but difficult for others to guess.

  • Do not share your password with anyone
  • Never use the same password that you’ve used in the past
  • Your new password must be at least seven characters long, and no longer than 10 characters
  • Passwords should contain at least one special character (i.e. ! @ # $ %)

After setting up your account for the first time you will need to provide a security question and supply an answer that only you will know. This question will be used if you need to reset your password in the future. It is best to provide one-word responses. Keep in mind that the answer is case-sensitive.