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Online Student Welcome Letter

 

SUBJECT:  Orientation Information for Online and Hybrid Students

FROM:  GRCC Online | http://www.grcc.edu/online | distancelearning@grcc.edu

Dear Student,

Welcome to online learning and thank you for enrolling into an online or hybrid course at Grand Rapids Community College!

As you may already know, online and hybrid courses provide amazing flexibility in allowing you to continue your education without traveling to campus several times per week.  This can save you time, travel costs, and fit nicely into your already busy life!  It is important to note, however, that these courses follow the semester schedule, have weekly assignment deadlines, require regular participation in discussion boards, and are as rigorous as on-campus courses.  

It will be very helpful for you to be self-motivated and disciplined to ensure that your assignments and course requirements are completed on time.

Please take a moment to review the remainder of this letter to ensure you start off the semester on the right track!

Tips for Online Success

There are 3 key steps to success in online learning:

STEP 1: Before the Class Begins - Be sure to review the readiness tips, login and learn how to use Blackboard, and access your campus student email.

STEP 2: The First Week of Class - Make sure that you login on the first day of class, become oriented to the course, and read the entire syllabus.

STEP 3: During the Semester - Be sure to login daily, interact in discussion board forums as required, keep a schedule and planner, and submit assignments or assessments on time.

Online Readiness

If you have never taken an online course at GRCC, you should take time to review the Online Readiness (http://www.grcc.edu/readiness) web site.  This web site highlights 6 key readiness tips that can help you to prepare for your online learning experience.  These include:

  1. Getting Oriented
    Learning about learning online, how to access your course, how to use Blackboard, etc.
  2. Knowing Your PC
    Navigating technology and ensuring reliable Internet access is important so that it doesn't get in the way of learning the content.
  3. Reading
    Access your course and ensure you read the syllabus and instructions presented.
  4. Logging in Daily
    This is how you attend class... by logging in!
  5. Being Self-Disciplined and Engaged
    Stay motived, keep a schedule, and participate.
  6. Believing in your Abilities and Asking for Help
    Youc an do it!  Don't get behind, if you have a technical issue, ask for help.  If you need help with content or the class, contact your instructor and/or a tutor.

In addition to this readiness site, many instructors provide additional orientation information through a letter, email, or an announcement in your online course in Blackboard. 

On the semester start date, we strongly encourage you to login immediately to begin your course.  In fact, some instructors will provide early access to your course in Blackboard so be sure to login early and regularly a few days before the semester start date and also throughout the semester.  In short, the earlier you login to the Blackboard system the better!

Note: Some instructors may require a few campus visits for proctored assessments or exams for your online class.  Be sure to review the syllabus in your course to be aware of any campus visit requirements.

Blackboard Basics and Orientation

Blackboard is the course management system that is used for your online class.  This is where you will access the content for your course as well as communicate with your classmates and instructors.  Once you are registered for an online course, a Blackboard Orientation site will appear as a course after logging into the system at: http://bb.grcc.edu

It is important for first-time students to access the online "Distance Learning Orientation" to learn how to use the system.  Students may also attend one of the campus based "Basics of Blackboard" (http://www.grcc.edu/orientations) sessions that provides an overview of how to use Blackboard.

In short, be sure that you can get logged into Blackboard and learn how to navigate the system BEFORE the semester begins!

More Information, Student Services, and Technical Support

You can find additional online learning resources such as student services and technical support information on the GRCC Online web site (http://www.grcc.edu/online). If you have a question or need assistance, don't delay!  Ask your instructor or contact the help desk so you don't get behind. If you have a technical question and need assistance logging into Blackboard, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk

Thank you for taking an online or hybrid course at GRCC! We hope you have a great semester!

Sincerely,

The GRCC Online Team