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Resources for Online Learning

online students

The following should help you learn about the different types of online programs and the characteristics that are typical of successful online learners. 

Characteristics of Successful Students Who Learn Online

Online learning has many advantages, including increased flexibility in completing homework assignments, the ability to communicate with your classmates and your instructor from the convenience of your own home or workplace, and enhanced access to written materials ranging from discipline-specific Internet resources to saved chats and instructors' class announcements. 

For those who wish to improve their ability to learn in an online environment, consider the following characteristics of successful online learners.

A Successful Online Learner...

  • is self-motivated (does not need a lot of direction or motivation from a teacher);
  • is self-disciplined (can budget time wisely and does not procrastinate often);
  • enjoys the challenge of learning on her/his own (likes to read and learn);
  • takes charge of her/his own learning (willing to ask questions and seek help when necessary);
  • communicates well in writing;
  • may need a flexible schedule, but understands that flexibility does NOT mean the course will be easy.

What are the different delivery methods?

  • Online

    In an online course, instruction, learning activities, and interactions between faculty and students take place online on a dedicated course website. Taking an online course has many advantages, including increased flexibility in completing homework assignments, the ability to communicate with your classmates and your instructor from the convenience of your own home or workplace, and enhanced access to written materials ranging from discipline-specific internet resources to discussions and instructors’ announcements. However, an online course is not for everyone. For instance, if you need the discipline of meeting on campus several times a week and you enjoy the in-person interaction with other students and your instructor, you are more likely to succeed in a regular classroom or hybrid course format.

    Many online courses may require you to come to take proctored exams. These exams can be taken onsite at the HCC Test Center, at an approved alternative location or via a virtual proctoring service. A basic understanding of the internet and web browsing are required. Online course activities may be completed at any location with a computer and internet connection. Online courses begin when the regular courses begin. When online course registration is complete, you may log on to your password-protected course website beginning on the first day of the semester. 

  • Hybrid

    A hybrid course is conducted using a combination of campus and online instruction. It is an ideal combination of classroom interaction with the use of online resources. Because so many of the course interactions are conducted online, the amount of class meeting time is a percentage of the traditional onsite version of the course. For online course interaction, a basic understanding of the internet and web browsing are required. Online activities may be completed at any location with a computer and internet connection. 

    Learn more about Hybrid Courses!

  • Open Entry

    An open entry course allows shorter completion times, drop-in hours, and various places where you may complete your work. Many of the Computer Systems (CMSY) and Office Technology (OFFI) courses are offered in this format. 

    There are many advantages to taking an open entry course. For the majority of the courses, you may start at the beginning of the traditional semester or you may enroll later and start later. You can complete the course as quickly as you are able to do the work. These courses do not follow the structured lecture-style classroom format. The Office Technology classroom (DH-301, 443-518-4876) is staffed with certified instructors to help you, one-on-one, any time the classroom is open. You may vary your hours from week to week and attend class as often as you wish. You may do all of the work for this course at home (except tests).

    Test and assignment deadlines are effective as soon as your course begins (either when the semester begins or the day you enroll, whichever is later). Many of the courses offered in Office Technology may be taken online, following the same format as the open entry courses, except that the online sections are only offered twice a year. As an online student, you may do the work at home (except for tests) or in the Office Technology classroom. Immediately after enrolling in one of the online courses, submit an Office Technology pre-semester notification form to receive specific course instructions the week classes begin. 

  • FastTrack

    FastTrack courses concentrate the coursework of a traditional 14-week semester into a shorter period of time: 7, 6, 5, 4 or fewer weeks. Classes meet primarily on Friday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays.

 Infographic showing the differences between Flexible Online and Scheduled Remote Learning. Flexible Online means you log into class when it works for you, you communicate with your professor and classmates on your schedule, and you complete your work with greater independence and self-direction. For Scheduled Remote, you log into your course on a specific day and time, interact with your professor and classmates in real time, and get immediate feedback in live classes. To get started with Online Learning, you should stay on track with deadlines, take more time to engage in courseword, get personal attention from professors, adn find help through counseling and other virtual services.

Learn More About Online Learning

  • Checklist for Registered Students

    Students will be given access to their online and hybrid course sites on the first day of the semester. To determine the specific start date of your course please refer to Howard Community College's Academic Calendar. Below is important information that will help you prepare for the start of your online or hybrid course.

    Before Class Starts

    1. Confirm Online Learning Technical Requirements

    Online learners will need to have appropriate computer hardware and software as well as a high-speed internet connection to be successful. Prior to the start of your class be sure to assure that your particular computer configuration adhere's to HCC's minimum Technical Requirements.

    2. Logging Into Canvas

    HCC uses the learning management system Canvas to serve online, hybrid and supplemental course sites to students.  Students will login to Canvas through HCC's Single Sign On services using their HCC Login ID. This ID has been provided via an email from Information Technology and will serve as your login information for a variety of services across campus. 

    Steps taken to login to Canvas are dependent upon your student status at HCC (credit, non-credit, or student attending one of our service center locations). Step-by-step instructions for how to login can be found on HCC's Student Training Site page for more information.

    3. Read the HCC Netiquette Statement

    HCC's Netiquette Statement outlines expectations for appropriate interaction in the online and hybrid classroom. Your faculty will expect that you are aware of this information and that you adhere to it.

    The Day Class Starts

    1. Login to Canvas and Access Your Course

    Students login to Canvas using their HCC Login ID via one of these methods:

    2. Read Your Course Description & Syllabus

    The course description includes information about...

    • course objectives,
    • your instructor's name and contact information,
    • course requirements, such as proctored testing (if any),
    • textbooks and materials,
    • course homepage, and
    • technical requirements and plug-ins (download and install as required).

    3. Begin Participating in Activities and Assignments

    The course instructor will provide guidance on how to start participating in your course via an orientation or "getting started" module or by communicating via one of Canvas' many communications tools (announcement or message).  Pay close attention to his/her introductory messages to gain critical information on what you should be doing and where. If you are at all unsure where to begin send your instructor a message via the Canvas inbox and he/she will quickly get back to you with guidance.

    During the Semester

    1. Finding Help For Canvas Use

    A variety of resources are available to assist you in accessing and using Canvas. If you find you are having difficulty access the following resources:

    2. Check Out HCC's Student Support Services

    HCC offers students a variety of support services. Links below provide access to information related to various useful resources:

  • Technology Information

    You will need to know:

    • how to operate a word processing program, preferably Microsoft Word,
    • how to type,
    • how to send email,
    • how to use a discussion board,
    • how to do basic downloads from the Internet, and
    • how to attach files.

    You may also need to know, or learn:

    • how to follow instructions for updating your browser,
    • how to download and install special plug-ins, and
    • how to zip and unzip files.

    Additional Links

  • Our Policies
  • eLearning Complaint Process for Out of State Students
    Howard Community College desires to resolve student grievances, complaints, and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner. Students residing outside of the State of Maryland while attending HCC who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College's Academic Complaint Procedures and Non-Academic Complaint Procedures.  However, if an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint with your State.  NC-SARA provides the contact information for each state with websites, phone numbers, and email addresses, as applicable.
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