Introduction to Distance Learning

GRCC offers online and hybrid courses through Blackboard. Online courses require very few (if any) campus visits. Depending on the class and your situation, you may need to come to campus for a proctored exam or other requirement. 

Hybrid courses are delivered online, but these courses also have specific dates, times and locations for campus classroom instruction. That instruction will not exceed 50 percent of the contact hours for your class.

Both online and hybrid courses follow the semester schedule, have weekly assignment deadlines, require regular participation in discussion boards, and are as rigorous as on-campus courses. 

New to Distance Learning at GRCC?

All students who are new to distance learning at GRCC are required to complete an Introduction to Distance Learning Tutorial before they can enroll in an online or hybrid class. This includes new or guest students. See the Frequently Asked Questions for more details on taking the tutorial.

Getting Ready for Online Learning

Seven key readiness tips for taking an online course at GRCC include the following:

  1. Get Oriented
    If you are new to distance learning at GRCC, be sure to complete the Introduction to Distance Learning Tutorial, which can be found by logging in to Blackboard, and selecting the option under “My Course List." The ATC Computer Lab also offers a face-to-face "Basics of Blackboard" orientation that is held on campus. In addition, if you are new to online learning, be sure to go through this Online Readiness website to review student expectations and to ensure you are ready for online learning.
  2. Know Your PC
    Be an experienced computer user! Know how to: use your computer, download and upload files, navigate and open multiple tabs in your browser, and troubleshoot general issues. It's also important to have reliable and high speed Internet access.
  3. Read
    Be sure to read all course information, syllabi, instructions, contact information, and schedule information. Follow the instructions in the syllabus to stay current and to ensure assignments and participation requirements are submitted before the due date.
  4. Log In Daily
    Start out strong and be sure to login on the semester start date. It's helpful to have a regular study routine that includes logging into Blackboard daily. This will prevent you from getting behind quickly as most online courses require your regular participation in discussion boards. You should also check your GRCC campus email daily. Email is used by online professors to communicate important deadlines and information.
  5. Be Self-Disciplined and Engaged
    Be sure to manage and prioritize your time well, be active, study hard, participate in online discussions, stay organized, submit assignments on time, don't procrastinate, keep a calendar or a checklist to be sure you are on task, etc. Self-motivation is also important so that you can remember to login frequently to participate and to engage in learning. The key is to have a dedicated time set aside for your course work and to minimize obstacles that hinder you from studying and participating.
  6. Believe and Ask for Help
    Believe you can do it! Have confidence in yourself, your academic ability, and expect to be successful! Be aware of where you need to improve and don't get behind. Your faculty member is the first person to contact if you have any questions related to the content of your course. If you are confused or cannot find something in your online course, contact your instructor. If you are unable to login, have technical issues submitting an assignment or quiz, contact the IT Customer Support help desk immediately. Additionally, several tutorial labs offer online tutoring that enables you to chat with live on Blackboard IM with a tutor. 
  7. Set Realistic Expectations
    Online and hybrid courses will require at least the same amount of time as the on-campus equivalent. If you spend three hours in lecture per week and six hours studying per week for a three-credit course on-campus, then you will likely spend three hours online and an additional six hours studying per week for a three credit online course. It is also important to remember that you do not get instantaneous feedback in online courses like you do in a face-to-face course. Your faculty member should communicate with you their turn around time for emails and grading assignments. 

Because Blackboard will be your online classroom, it is important to understand how to login, and to learn how to use the tools before your class begins.

Steps 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 (on this website), 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 log in daily, interact in discussion board forums as required, keep a schedule and planner, and submit assignments or assessments on time.

Tips from Online Students

  1. Be sure to log in at least once a day to Blackboard and also to check your student email.
  2. Don't get behind on turning in assignments and doing homework.
  3. Keep track of due dates to better manage your time and priorities with what work needs to be done first.