Distance Education

FAQs about Online Learning

Here is a list of common questions online learners have. Do you have questions not listed? Email de@rccc.edu

Are online classes right for me?

Online (or Internet) classes have certain advantages over traditional face-to-face courses. However, fully online classes require students to be more self-motivated, technologically savvy, and the ability to adjust to different learning and teaching styles. So, are online classes for you? These questions will help guide your decision.

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard is a user-friendly web application that allows you to navigate through course materials, send e-mails, use discussion forums, submit assignments, and take tests. All classes at Rowan-Cabarrus have a Blackboard class site and classes become available to students early in the morning on the class start date.

What if I have questions about using Blackboard?

Each Blackboard class site has a Start Here area containing a How to Work in this Course module which contains information on navigating a Blackboard class site as well as short videos describing how to use many Blackboard features, such as discussion boards, submitting assignments, and more!

If you still have questions or want to practice using Blackboard? Log into Blackboard and check out Blackboard Resources for Students available under My Courses.

If you have trouble finding the site or have additional Blackboard related questions, email de@rccc.edu.

Note: Course specific questions (such as those about assignments, tests, grades, and course content) should be directed to the faculty teaching the class.

How do I get assistance with technical issues?

For general questions you can review the information provided on the IS Help Desk webpage. If your questions aren’t answered on the Help Desk webpage, contact the Help Desk by submitting a ticket.

Note: Technical issues should also be reported to faculty as soon as they occur so that additional arrangements can be made, should they be necessary.

How can I prevent or prepare for technical problems?
  • When possible use a computer to access Blackboard and class materials.
  • Make sure your computer meets minimal requirements (see above for a link to requirements). Whenever possible, use computers that exceed these standards.
  • Know the specifications of your computer. If you have to get help, knowing your computers operating system and browsers will help troubleshooters find solutions.
  • Use Firefox, Edge, Chrome, or Safari.
  • Keep software updated including system software, applications, and browsers (Firefox, Edge, Chrome, Safari).
  • Submit work early when possible, this way, if something goes wrong there’s time to fix the issue before the deadline.
  • Save your work frequently, including copies of papers, assignments, important email messages, and anything else you wouldn’t want to retype should an accident occur.
  • Have a back up plan for accessing the Internet should your access become unavailable. This might be a school, public library, or a friend’s home.
  • Print contact information for your instructor, your Internet Service provider, and other sources of help. Having it on your computer is not helpful if the computer won’t work.
How do I get Internet access?

You will be responsible for obtaining your own Internet access from an Internet service provider, such as Spectrum, AT&T, Windstream, or a variety of other options depending on your location. Internet access is an additional cost; it is not included in the cost of the class.

When does my online course begin and end?

All online courses begin on the class start date and end on the class end date. Check WebAdvisor for class specific start and end dates. Faculty will provide a specific schedule for their class and you will have to meet assignment and testing deadlines set by each individual faculty.

Blackboard class sites are available early in the morning on the day classes begin and will turn off 7 days after the class end date. While the class will be available in Blackboard after the class end date, this is to allow students time to review grades. Work may not be submitted after the class end date unless specific arrangements have been made with the faculty.

What if I have questions about the course, textbooks, grading, or testing?

Course Questions: All course related questions should first be sent to the faculty teaching the course.

Textbooks: Textbook information for each class is available in the online bookstore and in the class syllabus. There are a variety of publishers and textbook types, the faculty teaching the class will have the most current information. Rowan-Cabarrus also provides additional information on textbook support on the online bookstore website.

Grading & Testing: Each faculty determines the grading structure and testing practices for their course, including where testing for their course takes place (online or in a campus testing center – or similarly proctored environment). Review the class syllabus carefully and contact your instructor with any questions.

Will I ever have to come on campus for an online course?

Internet classes have no scheduled meetings on-campus, although faculty reserve the right to require online meetings and proctored test-taking in the Testing Center or at an alternate proctoring center. Check your class syllabus for details.

How much time will I need to spend studying and doing coursework?

It is expected that students will spend an average of two hours of study each week for each semester hour credit. Please note, this is an average and in actual practice the amount of time depends on the students comfort level with the content and technology. Some courses may require many more hours of study. In such cases, the faculty will provide guidance on the amount of time required for their course.