Distance Learning

Getting Started with your Online Course

It is very important for students to take a little time a week or so before a semester begins to prepare for a online learning course.
Minimum Computing Tools
In order to take a hybrid online, online or web-enhanced course, students must have access to the following minimum computing tools:
  • Windows XP/Vista/7 or Macintosh OS X 10.5 or higher
  • 2GHz or faster processor
  • 3 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • DVD/CD-ROM drive
  • Sound card with speakers or headphones
  • Broadband (LAN, Cable, or DSL) Internet connection
  • A word processing program; NOTE: instructors may request that specific file types are used for assignments (ex:: .doc, .rtf, etc.)
  • Virus protection software. E-mail or attachments with viruses may be immediately deleted and not received by an instructor. It is the students' responsibility to ensure that submitted work is virus-free.
  • Specific hardware/software that may be required by the course
ATC instructors will use your ATC email account to communicate with you. Please plan to check your ATC email account multiple times per week.

You can access your ATC email through the MyATC portal.
Internet Browsers
The vast majority of your online work will take place in the Web-based Blackboard Learn course management system. Blackboard supports the following Web browsers:
  • Internet Explorer
  • Apple Safari
  • Mozilla Firefox
  • Google Chrome (Recommended)

Internet browser settings:
  • Pop-up Blocker should be disabled
  • Java Script should be enabled
  • Java should be enabled
  • Cookies should be enabled

For more information see the Blackboard Browser Support Reference page.
Plugins, Players, and Viewers
Your courses may require some of all of the following tools:
Computer Skills and Availability
In order to successfully participate in online and hybrid courses, students must have basic skills in personal computer operation. These skills include word processing, sending and receiving e-mail (including file attachments), and using a web browser, including searching for information and downloading files.
Personal computer problems are not valid reasons for failure to meet course requirements. Students encountering problems with their personal computers can use computers in labs on the college campus to access online courses.
Initiate Contact
Online students must access their courses by the end of the Add/Drop period for a given course. Failure to do this will subject students to being dropped from courses as "no shows." Once students have access to an online course they are able to contact the instructor and classmates through e-mail and other communication tools within the course.
Students in hybrid courses start as they would in any class.
Participation Requirements
Online courses are not self-paced. Most online courses are structured within the framework of a semester. Although some courses may require students to come to campus or arrange a proctor for supervised tests and/or labs, there are no regularly scheduled campus class attendance requirements. However, online courses require regular participation. For example, observing assignment due dates, regularly logging in, and participating in online correspondence with instructors and classmates. Students who determine that they are unable to complete the requirements of a course must contact their instructor right away. Students should refer to the withdrawal policy in the ATC Catalog for details. Students who are unable to keep up with participation requirements on a regular basis may be withdrawn, at the instructor's discretion, for excessive absence.
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