This page contains answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about online learning.
How do online courses work?
Online courses are structured so that all of the course content traditionally delivered in the classroom is delivered online. Course materials may be accessed by means of a Learning Management System (LMS) such as Canvas, the LMS used by Richland; publishers resources or links to publisher’s online content provided with textbooks; and through other online means. Some classes may require a few on-campus meetings or scheduled online group discussion sessions. The course syllabus will show the schedule and requirements of the course.
Should I take an online course?
Your answers to the following questions will help you to decide:
- Am I a self-starter, able to motivate myself to work?
- Do I enjoy working and learning on my own?
- Can I budget my time and set schedules for myself, to get work completed on time?
- Do I have basic computer skills: word processing, Internet browsing, email (including sending and receiving attachments)?
- Do I know how to work my computer’s operating system? Can I connect to my Internet Service Provider?
- Am I comfortable installing or upgrading computer software?
- Do I have the ability to learn new software without classroom instruction?
- Can I communicate adequately in writing? Can I understand and follow instructions given in writing?
- Am I comfortable participating in a class where I am not physically present and may not know the instructor or the other students?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, chances are you are a good candidate for success in an online course.
A few “no” answers to these questions may identify areas that need strengthened or addressed, but you may still decide that online learning is a good choice for you.
If you answered “no” to many of these questions, this may indicate that your chances for success may be greater in a traditional course setting at this time. As your skills and experience grow, you may decide to revisit the option of online learning in the future.
If after answering these questions you are still unsure whether an online course is your best choice, you may want to take the Self-Assessment for Online Learning survey to help you decide (you may register to use the system or log in as a guest). You may also wish to contact a Student Success Coach.
What else can I expect with taking classes online?
- Expect to spend at least as much time (and probably more time) on an online course as you would on a traditional course.
- Be flexible and creative. You may find that it helps to print out reading materials, rather than reading them on the screen. Some students form online study groups with fellow class members.
- Use the Internet as a teaching tool; many times answers to your questions about the Internet can be found on the Internet.
- Get comfortable with online tools – browsers, email, plug-ins, and any software being used in your course(s) – as soon as possible. When coursework becomes demanding, you will not have the added burden of trying to learn to use these as well.
- Get help early! Ask questions as soon as you can. Don’t delay asking your instructor for help if you need it! Use the additional support resources available to you in the Academic Success Center or the Learning Resources Center.
What is the difference between a hybrid class and an online class?
In an online class, all of the instruction is provided online and no face-to-face classroom instruction is required. Students may be required to attend an orientation or take proctored exams on campus or at an approved location near the student; please refer to the course schedule for more information.
A hybrid class is a combination of face-to-face classroom instruction and online instruction. A portion of the instruction is provided online, but some regular face-to-face instruction is still required. Face-to-face time requirements will vary between hybrid courses and sections; please refer to the course schedule for more information.
Where can I find more information about Richland’s online courses?
Any online course that Richland offers is listed in the Course Schedule. On this page, change “Method” to “Other-Online or Hybrid” to view courses being offered for the semester specified.
How do I enroll/register for online courses?
If you have never attended Richland Community College, or if you are a former student who has not attended Richland for the past two years, you must complete an Admission Information Form. Enrollment procedures are the same as for traditional courses. New students can find information about becoming a student on the Apply and Enroll page or by contacting the Student Success Center. Students can find enrollment information on the Registration page.
How much is tuition? Are there extra fees?
For more information on tuition and fees, call the Business Services Office at (217) 875-7211, ext. 6227.
Now that I am registered, what’s next?
Activate your student account to obtain your username (NetID) and password. This is required for you to log into myRichland, Outlook Student Email, and the Canvas Learning Management System.
Changing or resetting your password is also done through the Account Activation page.
How do I purchase books and other required materials for my online course(s)?
The best way to purchase books and other course materials is through the Richland Bookstore. This will assure that you are getting the correct textbook edition and any required supplementary materials. Be sure to tell the bookstore the section in which you are enrolled. Books and materials may vary slightly for online and traditional sections.
Books may also be ordered online from the Richland Bookstore. For more information, the Richland Bookstore may be reached at (217) 875-7211, ext. 6231, or go to the Richland Bookstore web site.
How do I access my course(s)?
If you have completed the Canvas Student Orientation and it is the first day of class or after, course(s) will be available to you in Canvas, Richland’s Learning Management System. You can access Canvas by going to http://richland.instructure.com.
Canvas works best in Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, or Safari browsers. These browsers can be downloaded for free. Links to the downloads can be found by going to the Downloads page at http://www.richland.edu/online/resources#downloads.
What are the hardware and software requirements for my computer?
Please refer to the Online Learning Hardware & Software Requirements section.
I don’t have a computer at home. Can I still take an online course?
You can take an online course as long as you have access to the Internet on a computer that meets the minimum requirements [see the Online Learning Hardware Software Requirements information]. Every registered Richland student has a Richland NetID, which allows them to access student email and course information from any computer that is connected to the Internet.
Computers are available on-campus for use by online students. These are located in the Learning Resources Center and the Academic Success Center.
How can I get help with questions or technical problems?
If you have questions about an assignment, course content, or software unique to your course(s) (such as a CD that came with your textbook), you should call your instructor.
If you think your computer may have spyware, malware, or viruses; contact the Online Learning Help Desk.
How do I access my student email?
How long is my Richland student email account active?
Your Richland student email account is active as long as you are a currently enrolled student at Richland. Once you are no longer a student (not enrolled in courses for the current semester), your Richland student e-mail account will be deactivated. Typically, you have 15 days from the end of the semester to access your e-mail before it is deactivated if you are not enrolled in a course for the next semester. If you are a spring student registered for fall classes, your account generally remains active during the summer semester.