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Getting Ready for a Web-Based Course

This guide takes students step-by-step through the process of preparing to take an online course at TCC.

 

 Understanding Web-Based Courses

 

​Understanding Web-Based Courses

Web-based courses are delivered via the Internet. The main difference between online courses and traditional courses is the delivery format, not the content. Web-based 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. 
 
The advantage of distance learning courses is that they offer flexibility and convenience. You may access a web 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. One of the dangers of a web course is to put off reading and work because you are not required to attend class.
 
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.
 
Students in web-based courses must be disciplined and motivated and must have good time management skills. In order to successfully participate in a web-based course, a student needs basic computer skills and adequate computer hardware and software.

 

 Technical Requirements

 

You don't have to be technologically advanced to take a web-based course. However, you must be comfortable with your computer system and be willing to deal with any problems that may arise.

Basic Computer Needs For Web-Based Courses

To participate in a Web-based 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 for course work and that you have the right to download (save to the local disk drive) and/or print information. 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:
  1. Do I own and/or have complete access to a computer?
  2. Can I download files to the local hard drive?
  3. Do I have a reliable ISP (Internet Service Provider)?
  4. Does my computer hardware match or exceed the listed minimums?
  5. Does my computer software match or exceed the listed minimums?
  6. Do I know how to send and/or receive email attachments?
  7. Do I have basic computer literacy skills?  
If you answered no to any of the above questions, you should reconsider enrolling in online courses.
 

 Is Distance Learning Right for Me?

 

Most distance learning students have a job and have completed some education beyond high school. They succeed because they have the following characteristics:

  • They are self-motivated.
  • They are independent and self-directed learners.
  • They are good readers.
  • They have good organizational skills.
  • They do not procrastinate.
  • They have good time management skills.
  • They have discipline - will study and work without external reminders.
  • They are adaptive and open to new learning environments.
  • They prefer an individualized mode of learning.
  • They do not need the stimulation of a traditional class.
  • They are motivated to adapt to a nontraditional learning environment.
  • They are excited and fairly comfortable with technology.
  • They have the ability to access the course for a minimum of 10 hours a week.

The following self-assessment survey can help you determine if you are you a good candidate for a distance learning course. Think about each question and answer it honestly.

What is your reason for taking this class?

  • I NEED it for a degree, job promotion, or other very important reason. 
  • I thought it might be a nice change, although I could take the class on-campus. 
  • I just wanted to.  

Do you work well independently?

  • Yes, I rarely need to be reminded to get a job done.
  • Sometimes, I can use an occasional reminder or I let things slip by. 
  • Not really, I need someone to keep me on-target - like in a structured classroom.

How do you classify your study habits?

  • I often get things done ahead of time and I even do extra work in order to study the material.
  • I need reminders and reinforcement to get my studying done. 
  • I do most things at the last minute.

Do you like the idea of learning "on your own" with the instructor as a facilitator?

  • I like it - I enjoy learning on my own and often find that reading the textbook gives me enough insight into the material.
  • I think I can do it - however, I do like having the instructor lecture on the material after I have read it.
  • I'm not sure I can learn the material without the instructor telling me what to focus on and without having a lecture as clarification.

Distance learning courses often involve a great deal of reading. Think about your reading skills. How would you classify your reading ability?

  • Good - I understand articles/textbooks without help.
  • OK - but I sometimes miss the main point of the material.
  • Slower than average - I usually need someone to explain textbook material.

How are your time management skills?

  • I am a GREAT manager of time - I create schedules and I stick to them.
  • I am pretty good - I usually get things done on time.
  • I'll answer this later.

How much do you use computers?

  • I am very comfortable with computers. I run applications software, install software, can manage files - I consider myself very computer literate.
  • I am comfortable with computers. I know how to run most programs but I haven't installed or maintained many programs. I can manage files - I think.
  • I haven't used computers too much - I know I can learn, though.

What is your level of Internet experience?

  • Extensive - I have used it for research and have surfed the Net for lots of things. I am very comfortable using a web browser.
  • Moderate - I have surfed the Internet for personal information. I have done a little research via the Web. I still have much to learn.
  • Very little - I have surfed for fun and played in chat rooms, but I don't know too much more about it.

What browser do you use?

  • Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer.
  • I use America Online - I think that's a browser.
  • Hmmm. What is a browser?

What is your experience using email?

  • Extensive - I can send emails with attachments. I can download and/or read email attachments. I know how to use features such as the "bcc:" field.
  • Moderate - I can send and receive email, and I have pasted text into an email.
  • Very little - I read and send emails occasionally.
 

 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.

Here is an example of the daily routine for a typical TCC online student:

  • ​Log onto the course.
  • Check the calendar to see what is 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.
  • Go to the discussion forum.
  • Contribute to mandatory or optional class discussions including chat rooms when available.
  • Respond to classmates' questions.
  • Ask the instructor for clarifications.
  • Check email and respond to urgent messages.
  • Schedule time to complete the readings and other assignments.
  • Schedule time to take a quiz or exam
  • Submit homework (via email or through Blackboard).
 

 Getting Started Once you Have Registered and Paid

 

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

1. Activate your eAccount.

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

 

2. 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:

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.

3. 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.

4. Email your instructor and introduce yourself.

(Use your TCC email address.)

Students should be able to access their courses through Blackboard 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 Blackboard. For problems with Blackboard access, contact the student help desk at (850) 201-8540.

 

 Accessing Your Web-Based Course

 

TCC students log in to the Blackboard Learning System to access web-based or web-assisted courses. There are several ways that students can access the TCC Blackboard site.

  • Students can go directly to the TCC Blackboard website (http://tcc.blackboard.com) to access their online courses.
  • Students can also go to the TCC website and select Blackboard from the Quick Links menu on the right.
  • Another way to access online courses is to log in to TCC Passport and click on Blackboard from the Navigation menu on the left.

After you log in, you will see all your current Blackboard courses on the My Institution page.

Need help signing in?

Your username and password are the same for Blackboard, 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. 

 

 Before Classes Begin

 

​There are some very important things that distance learning 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 Web-Based Courses and Computer Skills sections in the Technical Requirements tab.)
  • Find out what classes are available online.
  • Sign into TCC Passport.
  • Update My Success Platinum in TCC Passport and register for your web-based classes.
  • Pay your fees and buy your books.
  • Check your TCC email and set a reminder for the first day of class.
Contact Information

For more information contact the Center for Distance Learning by phone (850) 201-9400 or e-mail cdl@tcc.fl.edu.

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Tallahassee Community College does not discriminate against any person on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, genetic information, national origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability, or age in programs or activities. Inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies may be directed to: Renae Tolson, Equity Officer | Room 146 Administration Building | 444 Appleyard Drive | Tallahassee, FL 32304-2895 | (850) 201-6200 | tolsonr@tcc.fl.edu (Other Languages)
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