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About Online Learning

Online Learning courses are the same courses and follow the same semester schedule as traditional face-to-face classes. Online Courses do have due dates and deadlines for assignments.

Courses are fully-accredited and transferable and qualify for financial aid. Your transcript or your diploma will not differentiate an Online Learning course from a traditional one.

You can access your course from any computer connected to the Internet - 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for intermittent maintenance.

Click Here to calculate Online class tuition and fees.

Online Learning FAQs

     Why would I take online college classes?

Online college classes are a suitable match for many students. Online courses offer the greatest flexibility for students who may work during the time face-to-face courses are offered, who have families to raise and who may be home bound. Some students may feel anxious in a face-to-face class, but are able to be involved more easily online. In many Online courses, students may modify the time they spend working on the course depending on what they already know or the level of difficulty of the material.

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     How does online learning work?

You access your online course through a Learning Management System (LMS) called Blackboard®. You may interact with your instructor and other students through Discussion Boards, GoToMeeting®, Wikis, Journals, Course Messages or various other methods available. All your class assignments are provided online. Tests and quizzes are online but you may be required to use an online proctor or webcam recording you taking the test. Read the course outline carefully to see if you will need a webcam and speakers for tests. Some proctored exams may require a fee.

If you are enrolled in a hybrid course, you are required to come to campus. It may be just to take exams or it could be as many as 7 class sessions. It depends on the course and how it is set up. You can find the times for on campus sessions in the Credit Schedule for Online/Distance Education.

Online and hybrid courses follow the same semester schedule as face-to-face classes. You will have deadlines and due dates for assignments and exams just as in a face-to-face class.

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     What types of students choose online classes?

Online students have various circumstances. Many are earning degrees while working full-time, raising families, involved in the community or deployed in the military. Others may not live close to campus, or may be home bound. Other students may feel anxious in a face-to-face class, but are able to be involved more easily online.

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     What do I need to be successful in online learning?

Online courses require more determination and self-motivation than face-to-face courses. The student is responsible for maintaining the assigned schedule and meeting the due dates for the assigned work. You will need to pace yourself, rather than relying on feedback from the instructor. It is easy to procrastinate in an online course when you do not have a set time and day to attend class.

The ideal online learner is able to answer these questions positively:

  • Am I self-motivated?
  • Can I work well independently?
  • Do I manage my time well?
  • Can I establish and stick to a regular weekly schedule for class work and assignments?
  • Am I computer and web literate?

You should also have easy and unrestricted access to a computer that is connected to the Internet (preferably not dial-up), be able to store information on the hard drive or storage device, and have the software needed for the course (usually at least a word processor). You should be confident in using a computer before taking online courses.

You will need to check your MyBC3 e-mail several times a week and manage your e-mail account. All BC3 correspondence is done via e-mail. Students are required to use their MyBC3 e-mail. Instructors are under no obligation to answer e-mail from a student from any other e-mail account.

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     Is an online course more work than a classroom course?

An online course requires as much time as a face-to-face course. It could take more time and effort than a classroom course depending on your learning style, how well you read, your computer skills and the type of course.

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     What are the differences between face-to-face and online classes?

Online classes provide the same content as our face-to-face courses. They are different in how the content is delivered and how instructors and students communicate.

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     What kind of activities can I expect in online courses?

Activities vary widely by subject and instructor. Examples include completing learning modules in Blackboard®, participating in discussion boards or wikis, learning projects, homework, taking quizzes and writing research papers. Some instructors use publisher sites that integrate with Blackboard®.

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     How can I be sure I will understand an online course?

Before starting your first online course, you will complete an Online Orientation in Blackboard®. In it you will complete a Computer Skills Assessment, use your MyBC3 e-mail, learn what to expect in an online course and how to submit assignments. You will complete the orientation by taking a Knowledge Assessment to measure your comprehension of the orientation materials and to have the experience of what an online exam is like.

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     How important is reading in an online course?

Online classes involve a substantial amount of reading. For help with your reading skills or to find out if your reading skills are suitable for online courses, contact the Academic Center for Enrichment (ACE).

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     How do I know what textbooks I need?

The BC3 Bookstore has a web page named Course Materials where you may find out what books you need for your courses.

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     How do I get my textbooks?

You purchase your textbooks just as you would for a face-to-face course. How to Buy Books Online will explain in detail what to do to purchase your books online from the BC3 Bookstore.

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     How many hours per week should I schedule for an online class?

Online courses are organized in credit hours just like face-to-face courses. Plan to spend two to four hours per credit per week for each course. If you have a 3 credit course, then you would spend 6 to 12 hours per week in that course. The time spent will vary depending on what is assigned that week and how much of the material is new to you.

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     Do I have to be online at specific times?

Usually, you do not have to be online at a specific time. If a course requirement is a virtual meeting, then you would have to log in at the same time as your instructor and classmates. If you are not required to be online at a specific time, logging in three times a week is a good rule to follow. Just be certain to meet all due dates.

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     What Internet experience do I need?

Most students in online classes are already comfortable using the Internet. If you are not certain that you have the Internet skills needed, the Online Orientation should be a good evaluation of those skills. If you are a little uncomfortable with your skill level, perhaps try a hybrid class before taking a fully online class. A hybrid class meets on campus part of the semester and online part of the semester.

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     Do I need to own a computer?

It is highly recommended that you have a computer. If not, then you should have daily access to a computer that you are permitted to download software such as Respondus LockDown Browser. If you do not own a computer, you need to have several options in place to maintain reliable access.

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     What do I do if my computer crashes?

It is likely that you will encounter some technical problems during the semester. Students are responsible for technical difficulties pertaining to their OWN computers and Internet Service Providers. However, students are still responsible for participating in the class and submitting assignments as scheduled. * Be certain to have a back-up plan.

Blackboard® Technical Support is handled through the Help Desk Button in each course.
Campus Computer Technical Support is handled through IT Services at 724-287-8711 Ext 8441 Press number 1 then 4.

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     Do I need high speed Internet access for my online classes?

High speed Internet access is highly recommended to access all course materials, including videos and podcasts.

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     Will I have a student e-mail account?

After completing your online application and submitting your application fee, you will be assigned a MyBC3 student e-mail account. Information about the account will be mailed to you in your acceptance packet. Please follow the instructions to access your MyBC3 e-mail and check it daily. All correspondence from BC3 will be done through that account including Financial Aid Information.

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     Who teaches online courses?

Members of BC3 Faculty and Adjunct Faculty who teach face-to-face classes at BC3 also teach online classes. Most have completed training to teach online and in Quality Matters®.

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     How will my instructors communicate with me?

Your instructors will be active on the Discussion Board, provide comments on assignments, and some have online office hours. They will also connect through e-mail and some by phone. If you are in a hybrid class, you will be able to speak directly to the instructor on the days that you meet on campus.

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     How do I contact my instructors with questions?

Online instructors are usually available via e-mail, discussion Boards or Course Messages. Some instructors will provide a phone number where you can call them directly or leave a voice mail.

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     Can I participate in a graduation ceremony?

Yes, and we encourage you to do so. BC3 has a graduation ceremony every spring. In order to graduate you will need to fill out an application for graduation form. There is a $40.00 graduation fee payable at the time of application.

Late applications will be processed for the next graduating class. If a student wishes, late applications can be processed for an additional $25.00 fee. For more information and the application go to http://bc3.edu/admissions/graduation.asp

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Online Course

All course content is delivered in Blackboard®. On campus attendance is not required. Some require class meetings in a virtual location like GoToMeeting®.

Hybrid Course

Uses both elements of on-campus and online courses. The percentage delivered on campus is on the schedule. Some require only exams on campus while others split 50% each.

Admissions and Enrollment in Online Courses FAQs

How do I enroll at BC3?

First you have to Apply to BC3 for Admission.

Online application.

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What online or hybrid courses are available?

On the Credit Schedule for each semester, the Online/Distance Education page lists the hybrid and online courses available for the semester.

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How will I register for my classes?

You will receive your acceptance letter within approximately ten days of submitting your application. It will outline the next steps to enrollment at BC3, so please read it carefully. Also, be sure to follow the steps to activate your MyBC3 e-mail account that are enclosed in your letter as this is a source in communicating important information to you.

Placement tests are used for academic advising and program planning. The tests assess reading comprehension, writing skills, basic math, and elementary algebra. For students having earned previous college credit with grades of "C" or better in English or Math, placement testing may not be necessary. Further instructions regarding placement testing are mailed directly to the student. Practice exams are available at http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html.

All new students attend advising sessions which are scheduled upon completion of placement tests. Transfer students should contact the Academic Center for Enrichment at 724-287-8711 Ext. 8351 if you wish to schedule an advising appointment. You will then register for classes immediately following.

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Can online students receive financial aid?

Yes, if you qualify for the program. Federal, state and private financial aid programs do not distinguish between on-campus and online courses. Please feel free to contact the BC3 Financial Aid Office by phone: 724.284-8509 or by e-mail at FinacialAid@bc3.edu.

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Can I receive help with financial aid?

Yes, the Financial Aid Page on the BC3 website has many ways to assist you. You may also contact the BC3 Financial Aid Office by phone: 724.284-8509 or by e-mail at FinacialAid@bc3.edu.

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Computer Requirements

Internet classes can be accessed from any computer connected to the World Wide Web.  No special hardware or software is needed to access your course. 

There are, however, minimum hardware and software requirements, and certain technical skill requirements.

Some online courses require a webcam and microphone.

Software

Special software may be needed for your online course, please contact your instructor for more details.

Communication with your classmates and instructor utilizes

  • E-mail
  • Online Chat
  • Discussion boards
  • Phone (if necessary)
  • GoToMeeting®
  • Course Messages
  • Facebook®
  • Twitter®
  • Wiki and Blogs

Butler County Community College • 107 College Drive • Butler, PA • 16002
724.287.8711 • Toll-Free: 888.826.2829 • Fax: 724.285.6047
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