Getting Ready for an Online Course

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Understanding Online Courses

Online courses are delivered via the Internet. The main difference between online courses and traditional courses is the delivery format, not the content. Online courses go through the same rigorous curriculum review as every other class offered at TCC and are taught by experienced, well-qualified instructors who are experts in their fields. 

Benefits of Online Classes

Online courses offer flexibility and convenience. You may access an online course from a computer with an internet connection 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere in the world.

There may be weekly deadlines and assignments, but there are NO live classes to attend. Except for assignment deadlines and scheduled exams, you set your own course schedule. You must set aside a certain amount of time each week to do your work. 

Some lecture material, assignments, and other course materials are available online. You will have access to the class instructor and other class members through email and class discussion boards.

Is Online Learning A Good Fit For Me?

Because you are not required to attend class for an online course, it can be tempting to procrastinate and put off reading and work assignments. To be successful in an online course, students in online courses must be disciplined, motivated and have good time management skills.

If you’re not sure take the quiz to find out if online learning is right for you: http://tcc.smartermeasure.com (Username: TCC Online, Password: "tcconline"). 

Also remember, to successfully participate in an online course, a student needs basic computer skills and adequate computer hardware and software.

Basic Computer Needs For Online Courses

To participate in an online course you must own or have regular access to a computer. You must also have an Internet connection and any necessary plugins. A TCC e-mail account will be provided for you. You are responsible for setting up an account with an Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you are not using your own equipment, be sure that you have the rights to use the computer, and download (save to the local disk drive) and print information for course work on the computer. 

The computers and software you use for this course should meet or exceed the following specifications: 

PC-Based - Minimum Requirements

  • Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7 computer
  • A certified compatible internet browser (please click here for more information)
  • Sound card and speakers
  • 56K modem or Internet connection (Broadband Internet connection recommended)
  • Keyboard and mouse

Mac-Based - Minimum Requirements

  • Mac Operating System 10.5 or higher
  • A certified compatible internet browser (view more information on compatible browsers)
  • Sound card and speakers
  • 56K modem or Internet connection (Broadband Internet connection recommended)
  • Keyboard and Mouse 

Computer Skills

You must also be familiar with the basic operation of your computer, your computer's operating system (i.e. Microsoft Windows, MacOS), word processing, use of the mouse, using email, file management, software installation, and working with email attachments.

If you can answer yes to the following questions, you are ready to continue:

  • Do I own and/or have complete access to a computer?
  • Can I download files to the local hard drive?
  • Do I have a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider)?
  • Does my computer hardware match or exceed the listed minimums?
  • Does my computer software match or exceed the listed minimums?
  • Do I know how to send and/or receive email attachments?
  • Do I have basic computer literacy skills? 

If you answered 'no' to any of the above questions, you should reconsider enrolling in online courses.

Are Online Courses Right for Me?

TCC Online is dedicated to student success. If you are new to online classes or just need a refresher, we encourage you to take the short self-assessment to determine if online courses are the right fit for you. The quiz below will ask some basic questions. Based on your answers, the quiz will provide resources and things to consider as an online student. 

1. Go to the website: http://tcc.smartermeasure.com (Links to an external site.)

2. Before entering any information, select Technical Requirements. This will help you determine if your computer meets the technical requirements necessary to successfully complete SmarterMeasure.

3. Click on Login as a First Time User.

4. Click on the first drop-down menu and choose TCC Online

5. Type "tcconline" (all lower case) in the Password field.

6. Click Login.

7. Next, you will fill out Personal Information. In the Email field, use your TCC email address. After completing, select Continue and you are on your way!

Contact us with any questions via email TCCOnline@tcc.fl.edu or call (850) 201-9400.

TCC Online Learning is an Everyday Experience

TCC distance learning students must log onto the course several times during the week. It is recommended that students log on early in the week to see what is due in order to schedule time to complete reading and writing assignments, contribute to discussions, and take any tests that might be scheduled.

Example of the daily routine for a typical TCC online student:

  • ​Log onto the course.
  • Check the course calendars to see what assignments are due.
  • Read or print lectures or articles provided.
  • Read or print guidelines to assignments.
  • See if a quiz or test is due or is about to be due.
  • Participate and contribute to mandatory or optional discussions in the discussion forum.
  • Respond to classmates' questions.
  • Ask the instructor for clarification on any instructions for assignments.
  • Check email and respond to messages.
  • Schedule time to complete the readings and other assignments.
  • Schedule time to take a quiz or exam
  • Submit homework

Getting Started Once You Have Registered and Paid

Immediately after you have registered and paid for a TCC online course, you should follow these steps:

Activate your eAccount.

Your eAccount is the username and password that you will use to log on to Canvas, TCC Passport, and computers in TCC's academic labs.

Obtain an TCC non-photo ID.

If you are a distance learning student who lives in the tri-county area (Leon, Gadsden & Wakulla), you will need to come on campus to obtain a photo ID card from the Cashier's Office in person. You will also need to obtain a photo ID card if you will be coming on campus to use:

  • on-campus Learning Commons services
  • campus computer labs

The Testing Center

If you are a distance learning student outside the tri-county area you may send an e-mail to cashier@tcc.fl.edu  requesting a non-photo ID card so that you can use the library online databases or reciprocal library services in your geographic area. Be sure to include your first and last name, your address, telephone, and email.

Activate your Library Card  (which is your non-photo ID).

To do so, call the Library Circulation department at (850) 201-8376. You can also activate your library card online at the Ask a Librarian Page.

Email your instructor and introduce yourself.

All communication with your class instructor should be done using your TCC email address.

Students should be able to access courses through Canvas on the first day of the semester. Students who register for a class during the first week of the semester will need to wait one business day before they can access the class through Canvas. For problems with Canvas access, contact the student help desk at (850) 201-8540.

Accessing Your Online Course

TCC students log in to their online classes by:

  • Going directly to the TCC Canvas website (http://tcc.instructure.com) to access their online courses.
  • Going to the TCC website and select Canvas from the Quick Links menu on the right.
  • Logging in to TCC Passport and click on Canvas from the Navigation menu on the left.
  • From the homepage of TCC Online

After you log in, you will see all your current Canvas courses in the "Courses" navigation option on the top part of the page.

Need help signing in?

Your username and password are the same for Canvas, TCC Passport, and TCC student email (mymail@tcc.fl.edu). If you are a new student, this information was provided to you upon submission of your application for admission.

If you have lost or forgotten the information please click Help on the TCC Passport homepage. You can also contact the Help Desk at (850) 201-8540 or helpdesk@tcc.fl.edu if you are unable to log in to your course.

Additional Resources for Online Students

The following resources are available online. It is important that students activate their eAccounts and access cards in order to use resources that require a username and password:

  • Computer Labs
  • Disability Support Services
  • Student Success and Retention
  • Learning Commons
  • Library
  • Mental Health Services
  • Student Affairs
  • Testing Center

Before Classes Begin

There are some very important things that online students should do before the first day of class:

  • Be sure your hardware, software, and computer skills are up to date. 
    • If you are not sure, check the Basic Computer Needs for Online Courses and Computer Skills tabs above.
  • Sign into TCC Passport.
  • Update My Success Platinum in TCC Passport and register for your online classes.
  • Pay your fees and buy your books.
  • Check your TCC email and set a reminder for the first day of class.