Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions
1. What technical skills do I need for online learning?
For online classes, only minimal to moderate level skills are needed. Before enrolling in an online class, you should:
- Communicate via Mitchell Community College Office 365 email and follow appropriate netiquette
- Upload, download, and properly name related course files
- Use an Internet Browser effectively
- Use Microsoft Office to create documents, PowerPoints, etc.
- Have reliable access to the Internet
- Have the ability to download and install software and plug-ins
2. What type of computer will I need for online learning?
The computer requirements are driven by the requirements imposed by the Content Management System (CMS) that is used to deliver the course materials. Typically, the suggested minimum requirements for these systems are as follows:
Windows 10 or later
4 GB of RAM
2 GHz processor or better
Need Broadband connection
Mac OS 10.10 or later
4 GB of RAM
2 GHz Processor or better
Need Broadband connection
Individual major/disciplines departments may have requirements that are above the suggested minimum requirements. Please see Individual major/disciplines departments’ requirements for more details.
3. What web browsers are supported by Blackboard Open LMS?
The following web browsers are supported by Blackboard Open LMS:
- PC/Windows (Windows 7, 8, or 10 preferred)
- Internet Explorer 11 or higher
- Firefox 25 or later
- Google Chrome 11 or later
- Opera 9 or later
MAC (10.9 or later preferred)
- Firefox 25 or later
- Safari 6 or later
- Google Chrome 30 or later
- Opera 9 or later
Individual plug-ins may require certain web browsers to work properly. If a class requires certain programs please see requirements documentation.
4. Can I use dial-up to take online classes?
It is recommended that a student use high-speed Internet, such as DSL or Road Runner, but dial-up will usually work. Note that some multimedia functions will take longer to load on dial-up such as videos, audio lectures, or all multimedia functions might not work at all. Many online learning courses involve videos and large file transfers, an online student may need to budget the cost of high-speed Internet access into his or her education budget.
5. What software do online learning classes require? How do I obtain the required software?
Students will need some specific browser plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Shockwave Player. Both plug-ins are available as free downloads. Students will also need to download the programs Adobe Acrobat Reader DC and Microsoft Office. Both the programs are free to download. Some programs will require additional plug-ins and software which may be purchased through the Mitchell Community College Bookstore or online depending on the program of study.
Microsoft Office - Starts Download- (free for Mitchell Community College Curriculum Students)
6. What email should I use? Can I use my own email account?
Students must use their Mitchell Community College Office 365 email account. Professors will communicate with their students through the official Mitchell Community College Office 365 email account, and professors will not respond to students’ personal email accounts.
7. What are WebAdvisor, Blackboard Open LMS, and Office 365 email? How do I access them?
WebAdvisor is a Web interface that provides Mitchell Community College students real-time, up-to-date information online contained in Colleague, the database used by Mitchell. With an I.D. and password, students can use WebAdvisor to register for classes, view class schedules, check grades, view unofficial transcripts, make payments, check financial aid information and much more. Mitchell is committed to maintaining the security and confidentiality of student records.
Semester Schedules are accessible to anyone without an username and password in WebAdvisor.
Blackboard Open LMS is Mitchell Community College’s learning management system. Instructors can create and deliver content, monitor student participation and assess student performance. Once a student registers for a curriculum course, he or she will be given access to Blackboard Open LMS.
Office 365 is the Mitchell Community College’s email account. Students can check their email, use their Office online, and download Microsoft Office.
Students can access their Mitchell Community College accounts at My Mitchell (open in a new window).
8. What do I need to know before taking online exams?
General instructions for online exams are as follows:
- Upgrade Internet browser if needed
- Disengage call waiting (only for dial-up)
- Make sure your ISP time-out settings are set to the maximum allowed time.
- Never open an exam within Moodle until you are ready to take the exam. If you look at an exam and close the browser without actually taking the exam, Moodle will view this as an attempt and will assign a grade of zero.
- Do not wait until the last minute before taking an exam. Internet service provider issues can cause you to lose access to an exam resulting in a grade of zero.
9. What types of online assessments are used in online courses? How can I take online assessments?
An instructor can assess a student in a variety of ways. He or she may ask a student to complete a paper, project or other special assignments in lieu of traditional exams. The instructor may also set up exams in Moodle that may be multiple choice, short answer, matching, essay, or a combination of all. Please note that online exams are usually set up to be offered on certain days and to be timed. This means that once a student opens an exam, the student must finish the exam at that time. The student may not open the exam more than once. Read all the instructions carefully before beginning an exam, project, etc..
10. What happens if my quiz or exam does not load, freezes, etc. in Blackboard Open LMS?
The student needs to contact his or her instructor immediately about the situation.
11. Who do I contact if I have a technical problem?
The student should contact the Student Online Services Help Desk at (704) 978-1304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Do I have to be admitted to Mitchell Community College to take an online course?
Yes, a student must be admitted to Mitchell Community College before he or she can register for an online course.
13. How do I apply to Mitchell Community College?
Visit Mitchell Community College's homepage (opens in a new window), click How to Apply and follow the application steps.
14. Do I need an advisor’s approval to register for an online course?
Yes, a student must have an advisor’s or counselor’s approval before he or she can register.
15. How do I apply for enrollment in an online degree, diploma or certificate program?
An online student will complete the same application process as a traditional student. Visit Mitchell Community College's homepage (opens in a new window), click How to Apply and follow the application steps.
16. Will I be required to visit campus as an online student?
Yes, some classes or programs may require online orientations or proctored exams. Check WebAdvisor or the course instructor for course details and program coordinator for program details.
17. What kind of contact with professors and other online students will I have?
In online learning classes, students will interact with instructors and students through email, discussion boards, instant messaging, webinars, Microsoft Office Online and phone. An instructor's virtual office hours are outlined in his or her syllabus. There are email and phone call options as well.
18. Can I apply for financial aid?
Contact the financial aid department for more information at (704) 978-5435.
19. How do I know what is expected of me in a particular class?
As in traditional classes, an instructor will provide his or her students with a syllabus which outlines the structure of the course, grading breakdown, learning outcomes, etc. and a schedule which outlines the assessments and readings for the course.
20. Do I need to contact my instructor?
Yes, if you are confused or need help on an assignment, contact your instructor. Follow the guidelines he or she posted in his or her syllabus on contact procedures. Do not wait until the last minute to contact your instructor.
21. As a student, am I bound by copyright law?
Yes, as a student, you are bound by copyright law of the United States.
22. How long does it take to study for an online course?
Prior to taking an online course, many students assume this format is easier. However, the initial time demand can be greater than traditional classroom delivery methods. A student will need to organize his or her materials, utilize time management, and find a comfortable and quiet place to study. Assessments such as projects or essays will be submitted through course links. The course time largely depends on a student’s current course document status, a student’s motivation level and a student’s familiarity with computers.
23. How much do the online learning classes cost?
Mitchell Community College tuition rates apply to all online learning classes.
24. Is an orientation session available for online learning students?
Currently, there is not an online orientation for online students.
25. What is the procedure for drop/add/withdrawal?
The procedure for dropping, adding and withdrawing an online class follows the same guidelines as a traditional class. For more information on the procedure, contact Admissions and Records at (704) 878-5493.
26. When do my classes begin and end?
A student needs to view his or her class schedule to obtain the start and end dates of his or her course(s). Courses can range from four, eight, ten, twelve, to sixteen weeks. Class schedules can be obtained in a student’s WebAdvisor account. A student will not be able to access his or her course(s) in Blackboard Open LMS until the first day of class. After the last day of the course, the course will remain active in Blackboard Open LMS for three additional days.
27. Do distance learning students have access to the library?
Yes, online learning students have full access to the J.P. & Mildred Huskins Library services and resources. For more information, contact the library at (704) 878-3271.
28. Where do I go for more information?
Review the Mitchell Community College website for more information on online learning.
29. Are online learning classes accredited?
Yes. Mitchell Community College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
30. What if I am having trouble with my login or password?
For help with student accounts concerning: Office 365, password resets and WebAdvisor contact the Distance Learning Department.
Email: email@example.com OR Phone: (704) 978-1304
31. How do I attend an online class?
Online courses are hosted in the learning management system, Blackboard Open LMS. Attendance is recorded based off graded assignments. Any student who fails to complete any graded assignments for two consecutive weeks may be dropped from the course due to lack of attendance in accordance with the policy above unless prior arrangements have been made with the professor.