Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For Students


 

 

Considering an Online Course?

 

Online FAQ's

 

VEO

 

Hybrid/Online

 

Blackboard

 

Noncredit

 

Tech Support

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider An Online Course

How do I enroll?

What are the tuition cost?

How do I find about textbooks?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 

 

Online

What is an online course?

What is Blackboard?

What if I have problems logging into Blackboard?

Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?

Can I get an AA Degree entirely online?

How do I take tests and exams?

How can I be successful at online testing?

What do I do if I have contacted the instructor and I have not received a reply?

Online course descriptions are not sufficient to understand about course?

Will I have to come to campus to take tests or attend classes?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 

 

Video Enhanced Online (VEO)

What is a VEO course?

Why take a VEO course?

What is the delivery format for a VEO course?

What is expected of me in a VEO course?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 

 

Hybrid/Online

What is a Hybrid/Online?

Why take a Hybrid/Online Course?

What is expected of me in a Hybrid/Online Course?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 

 

Blackboard

Where can I get help with Blackboard?

How do I login to Blackboard?

How do I change my password?

What if I can't remember my password?

What is my Blackboard email address?

What are the computer requirements for an online class?.

I can use Blackboard from home. Why can't I use Blackboard from my computer at work?

What if I have problems logging into my online class?

Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?

Special Characters in Blackboard filenames cause lots of problems!

When I take a quiz/test/exam, the elapsed time on the bottom status bar does not display.

Don't see your question here? Contact Us.

 

 

 

Noncredit Courses

What course formats are offered for noncredit courses?
What is a hybrid course?
What information is on the Noncredit Course Schedule?
How can I see a complete listing of the ProTrain courses offered?

Does my noncredit course count toward a particular certificate?

What if I'm not really technical?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 

 

Technical Support

What should I do if I need technical help?

Is there any technical help available in the evenings or on the weekends?

How do I clear the cache on my computer?

What do I do if I need a plug-in to access course materials?

Will I have problems using Blackboard if I upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista?

Don't see your question here? Contact us.

 

 


 

 

Online

 

What is an online course?

To take an online course, you must have access to a computer at home or at work. You will log in to your class to receive course information, view course content, submit assignments, and have discussions with your instructor and fellow students.

It is very important to remember the following points about online learning:

Online learning is flexible and convenient...but NOT EASIER!

 

You can expect to study a minimum of 6-9 hours each week for each online class you are taking.

 

Most online classes at PGCC are not self-paced. The instructor sets the deadlines for the course and students.

 


 

 

What is Blackboard?

The college uses Blackboard as its web-based course management system. You can reach Blackboard at http://pgcconline.blackboard.com. You must have a user name and a password in order to login to your online course. Just as you have become familiar with the set up of a classroom on campus, you will become familiar with the features of an online classroom within Blackboard:

 

  • Announcements
  • Discussion Board
  • Groups
  • Email

 

Course information and content:

Like other forms of electronic communication, Blackboard records each time you login and the course areas you visit while online. Your instructors will know whether or not you are participating (just as they would in a face-to-face class), so make sure you participate to the fullest extent.

 


 

 

What if I have problems logging into Blackboard?

Most of the college's online courses use Blackboard as their online delivery software. You will find login directions on the web. If you are unable to login, here are some possible reasons:

 

Generally, you will be able to login to your Blackboard course(s) four days prior to the start-date of your class if you register before then. If you register during the four days, it takes 24 to 48 hours to transfer your registration information from Owl Link to the Blackboard server; so don't expect to register for your course and login on the same day.

 

Your instructor may not be using Blackboard if you are registered in an oncampus class; if you can't login within 48 hours after registering, contact your instructor directly by email or phone. You will find a course list for the semester in which you are registered at the eLearning (http://www.pgcconline.com) home page.

 


 

 

Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?

The electronic world is uncertain; Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning.

 

Instructors have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it (This is the Internet equivalent of "The dog ate my homework.")

 

For assignments and papers, it's best to work off line and save your files to disk or a flashdrive. You don't have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work. You can then copy and paste your assignments into your Blackboard course.

 

Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It's your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they've never seen.

 

Your instructor may require you to take quizzes or exams using Blackboard's test feature; often, you can access the test only one time. If you are disconnected from your Internet provider while you are taking the exam, contact your instructor immediately to report a problem.

 


 

 

Can I get an AA Degree entirely online?

Prince George's Community College is accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education and by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. For a list of degrees and certificate programs that have been approved by our accrediting association and are available for distance delivery, click here.

 


 

 

How do I take tests and exams?

How you take tests and exams really depends on what your instructor requires. Below are two possible ways in which tests/exams are given in online courses:

 

Objective or essay exams through Blackboard. You login to your Blackboard course, click on a link to your exam, and take the exam with a time specified by your instructor. Some instructors allow you to access the test only one time. If you are disconnected from your Internet provider while you are taking the exam, contact your instructor immediately to report a problem.

 

Objective or essay exams in Student Assessment Services (SAS). You will need to go to the Student Assessment Services (SAS) during its regularly scheduled hours of operation to take your exam.

Be prepared to show a photo ID. You should check the hours of the Student Assessment Services (SAS) and other requirements at the SAS web site.


 

 

How can I be successful at online testing?

Once a student begins a test (i.e., after clicking "OK" to the query 'Click OK to begin Assessment. Click Cancel to return.'), there are only three valid actions a student may perform:

 

  • The first valid action is 'answering' a question (selecting True/False, Multiple Choice, Fill-In-the-blank, etc.).
  • The second valid action is 'saving' the answers (clicking the <SAVE> button after entering each answer).
  • The third valid action is 'submitting' the entire assessment (clicking the <SUBMIT> button when completely finished with the test).

 

Important: Using the mouse or keyboard to perform ANY other action, such as <BACKSPACE> OR <REFRESH>, could ruin the outcome of the assessment. Also, answering and/or clicking on the <SAVE> button after 10 minutes from the last answer (no matter how long the instructor allows you to take the assessment), could ruin the outcome as well. Using the slide bar to move up or down the assessment page is the only exception.

 


 

 

What do I do if I have emailed the instructor and I have not received a reply?

If you emailed your instructor and don't receive a reply within 24 hours (not including weekend days), please go to College Directory and look up the contact person for the academic department in which your course resides. For example, if you are taking ACC 101, Introductory Accounting, the Department Chair for the Accounting Department is Professor Betty Habershon; Professor Habershon's number is 301-546-0713.

 

If you are unable to reach the Department Chair, please contact eLearning Services and we will help you find an alternative.

 


 

 

Where do I find the course descriptions for the online course I'm interested in taking? Who do I call if I don't understand the course description for the online course I want to take?

 

There are three things you can do to find out more about the course:

 

  • Click on eLearning Class Schedules. Click on the course you are interested in taking. You will be directed to the instructor's web page where you can find out more information about the course. If the instructor doesn't have a web page, you will be directed to the instructor's email address. Email the instructor directly to find out more about the course.
  • Go to the college's home page at http://www.pgcc.edu and click on the Quicklinks box at the top right corner and select Course Catalog. Look for Course Descriptions.
  • Go to the College Directory and look up the contact person for the academic department in which your course resides. For example, if you are taking ACC 101, Introductory Accounting, the Department Chair for the Accounting Department is Professor Betty Habershon; Professor Habershon's number is 301-546-0713. You can call or email Professor Habershon to find out more about the Accounting course.

 


 

 

Will I have to come to campus to take tests or attend classes?

While many online classes do not require you to come on campus for tests or class meetings, there are some classes which do require you to come to campus. It's best to check your instructor's syllabus or contact your instructor directly:

To check your instructor's syllabus: Go to http://www.pgcconline.com and click on eLearning Class Schedules. Click on the course you are interested in taking. You will be directed to the instructor's web page where you can find out more information about the course. If the instructor doesn't have a web page, you will be directed to the instructor's email address. Email the instructor directly to find out more about the course.

 


 

 

 

VIDEO ENHANCED ONLINE (VEO)

 

What is a VEO course?

Video Enhanced Online courses combine online instruction with a video component. Students enrolled in a Video Enhanced Online course meet with their professors and fellow students in a virtual (i.e. online) classroom. Course work (assignments, discussion, group work, etc.) is accomplished through the Internet. Students interact online to receive information about assignments, send homework, participate in class discussions, and conduct research.

 

 


 

 

Why take a VEO course?

Video Enhanced Online courses at PGCC offer additional flexibility for students to access video-based course material. In addition, Video Enhanced Online courses provide opportunities to further the student's educational goals by enhancing access to instructors, course materials, and class discussions via Blackboard, an online course management system.

 


 

 

What is the delivery format for a VEO course?

Video Enhanced Online students view lessons on a weekly schedule and communicate with the instructor and other students via the Internet using Blackboard.

There are several options to access the video material for your course: PGCC Cable, MPT, College Library, Rental, and in some cases - videostreaming.

  1. View courses on Prince George's Community College's Television channels at their regularly scheduled times through Comcast on channel 75 and at Andrews Air Force Base on channel 53.
  2. View some of the courses on Maryland Public Television (WMPT-TV), channel 22. Please NOTE: WMPT-TV has its own starting and ending dates and air times.
  3. View courses by renting the course videocassettes or DVDs (if available). You can rent most of the courses from RMI Media Productions, educational video distributor, for $55 to $60, and a 2-3 day delivery. Call RMI 1-800-745-5480 or check into their website: http://www.rmimedia.com.
  4. View courses in the college library, during scheduled library hours. The videos are viewed in the library only and cannot be checked out. There is no fee.
  5. View courses streamed over the Internet for an access fee. Visit http://www.rmimedia.com for details about videostreaming.

 


 

 

What is expected of me in a VEO course?

To be successful in a Video Enhanced Online course students are expected to:

  • Have an Owl Link account.  (You must have logged into Owl Link and reset your password.)
  • View weekly lessons, including the video-based course material
  • Have access to a computer with Internet service and an email account
  • Log in regularly to your classes, usually three to five times per week (or more)
  • Plan to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments
  • Commit 6 - 9 hours per week per three-credit class
  • Enjoy communicating in writing and reading the writing of others
  • "Speak up" to your instructors when problems arise
  • Be willing to take responsibility for your learning
  • Be able to learn easily from reading and writing
  • Know how to use technology properly
  • Read and write well
  • Be comfortable addressing problems at a distance
  • Have good time management skills to follow a schedule for finishing readings and assignments
  • Have good research skills, including how to effectively use the Internet
  • Have the ability to work well cooperatively, even when your communication is restricted to email or online chat
  • View weekly lessons
  • Have access to a computer with Internet service and an email account
  • View weekly lessons
  • Have access to a computer with Internet service and an email account

 


 

 

HYBRID/ONLINE

 

What is a Hybrid/Online Course?

A Hybrid/Online Course combines classroom meetings and online instruction. Students enrolled in a Hybrid/Online course come to campus at scheduled times and meet face-to-face with their professors and fellow students. The number of on-campus meetings varies—some only meet once a month while others may meet every week.  Other course work assignments, discussion, group work, etc. is accomplished through the Internet, using Blackboard. Students interact online to receive information about assignments, send homework, participate in class discussions, and conduct research.

 


 

 

Why take a hybrid/online class?
Taking a hybrid/online class requires fewer trips to campus for regularly scheduled class times.  This can be reflected in less travel time to and from class and also less money spent for transportation costs.  Sometimes it is difficult for a student with other work and family responsibilities to be able to commit to a regular face-to-face class schedule.  Taking a hybrid/online class provides more flexibility with regard to the student's time.  Some students are not interested in taking totally online classes and would prefer to have times when they can actually meet their instructor and fellow classmates.  Hybrid/online courses make for a great combination:  some flexibility that comes with online classes, but also the sense of community that is found when attending face-to-face classes.  These hybrid/online classes provide the best of both worlds.  

 


 

 

What is expected of me in a hybrid/online class?
To be successful in your hybrid/online class, you are expected to:

  • Have an Owl Link account.  (You must have logged into Owl Link and reset your password.)
  • Have access to a computer with Internet service and an email account
  • Attend all of the scheduled face-to-face class meetings
  • Participate regularly in the online portions of the class
  • Plan to ensure enough time to study and complete assignments
  • Commit 6 - 9 hours per week per three-credit class
  • Enjoy communicating in writing and reading the writing of others
  • "Speak up" to your instructors when problems arise
  • Be willing to take responsibility for your learning
  • Be able to learn easily from reading and writing
  • Know how to use technology properly
  • Read and write well
  • Be comfortable addressing problems at a distance
  • Have good time management skills to follow a schedule for finishing readings and assignments
  • Have good research skills, including how to effectively use the Internet
  • Have the ability to work well cooperatively, even when your communication is restricted to email or online chat

 


 

 

BLACKBOARD

 

Where can I get help with Blackboard?

If you need help using Blackboard, here are some things you can do:

First, ask your classmates! Most instructors provide a discussion board dedicated specifically to questions about the technology and the class. Use the discussion board to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem...chances are, there are some "computer wizards" in your class who can find a solution to your problem.

 

Call or stop by the eLearning Services Office during regular operating hours. You can find a list of these hours on the Contact Us page.

 

Email your instructor. You will find contact information for instructors on the eLearning home page at http://www.pgcconline.com. Click on eLearning Class Schedules, click on the semester in which you are registered.

 


 

 

How do I login to Blackboard?

The Prince George's Community College Blackboard Web site is located at http://pgcconline.blackboard.com. Click to view Blackboard login directions.

 


 

 

How do I change my password?

You must go through Owl Link to change your password. Once you change your password in Owl Link, it will be changed for Blackboard. For instructions on how to reset your password in Owl Link, click here.

 


 

 

What if I can't remember my password?

If you can't remember your password, you must reset it through Owl Link. For instructions on how to reset your password in Owl Link, click here.

 


 

 

What is my Blackboard email address?

Effective Fall 2009, the student email address in Blackboard is the Owl Mail for Students email address (OwlLinkID@students.pgcc.edu). All email sent from within Blackboard will be delivered to your Owl Mail for Students email address. To activate and access your Owl Mail for Students email, go to the Owl Mail login page. Noncredit students using Blackboard currently do not receive Owl Mail accounts and will use their e-mail address that is listed on Owl Link. 

 


 

 

 

I can access Blackboard from home. Why can't I use Blackboard from my computer at work?

Blackboard should be fully accessible from any computer with Internet access. In some cases, if you are using a computer at a government agency or a private company, you may experience difficulty because Port 80 has been closed. Port 80 allows the exchange of secure information between the Blackboard system and your computer. To resolve this problem, you must contact your network/security administrator and ask if access to Port 80 is disabled.

 


 

 

 

What if I have problems logging into my online class?

Most of the college's online courses use Blackboard as their online delivery software. If you are unable to login, here are some possible reasons:

  • Your username and/or password are incorrect. Review login directions.
  • Generally, you will not be able to login to your Blackboard course(s) until the day of the on-campus eLearning orientation.
  • It takes 24 to 48 hours to transfer your registration information from Owl Link to the Blackboard server; so don't expect to register for your course and login on the same day.
  • Your instructor may not be using Blackboard; if you can't login within 48 hours after registering, contact your instructor directly by email or phone. You will find a course list for the semester in which your are registered on the Class Schedules page.

 


 

 

Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?

The electronic world is uncertain; Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning. Instructors have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it (This is the Internet equivalent of "The dog ate my homework.").

For assignments and papers, It's best to work off line and save your files to disk. You don't have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work. You can then copy and paste your assignments into your Blackboard course.

Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It's your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they've never seen.

 

Your instructor may require you to take quizzes or exams using Blackboard's test feature; often, you can access the test only one time. If you are disconnected from your Internet provider while you are taking the exam, contact your instructor immediately to report a problem.

 


 

 

Special Characters in Blackboard filenames cause lots of problems!

The use of special characters (i.e. "#", "+". "!"), can potentially cause problems in Blackboard. You can run into problems if you use special characters in your filenames used as attachments for the Discussion Board or your Assignments.

 

 


 

 

When I take a quiz/test/exam, the elapsed time on the bottom status bar does not display.

This may be caused by the default settings by upgrading to Internet Explorer 7, (although it has also been seen in Firefox as well; tests with Safari appeared to display fine) where the default settings are set to not allow status bar updates. At this time of posting, Internet Explorer 7 is still relatively new, so it is likely that new issues will continue to arise.

 

You can have the elapsed time displayed by changing the settings below:

 

Internet Explorer 7:

 

1. From the menu bar, select Tools

2. Internet Options

3. Security (tab)

4. Select the Internet zone

5. Custom Level

6. Scroll down to "Scripting" (near the end of the list) and locate "Allow Status Bar Updates via Script" and select "Enable"

 

Firefox:

 

1. From the menu bar, select Tools

2. Options

3. Web Features

4. Advanced

5. select "Change status bar text"

 


 

 

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

 

What should I do if I need technical help?

If you need help using Blackboard or have other technical questions, here are some things you can do:

 

  • First, ask your classmates! Most instructors provide a discussion board dedicated specifically to questions about the technology and the class. Use the discussion board to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem...chances are, there are some "computer wizards" in your class who can find a solution to your problem.
  • Call or stop by the eLearning Services Center during regular operating hours. You can find a list of these hours on the Contact Us page.
  • Email your instructor. You will find contact information for instructors on the eLlearning home page at http://www.pgcconline.com. Click on eLearning Class Schedules, click on the semester in which you are registered.

 


 

 

Is there any technical help available in the evenings or on the weekends?

The Distance Learning Center offers phone support from Monday through Friday until 9 pm. There are no scheduled weekend hours for either phone or email support.

 


 

 

What do I do if I need a plug-in to access course materials?

Some courses require you to install plug-ins, which are free software programs available on the Web. These tools add functions to your web browser or enable you to view specialized content.

Links to the most commonly used plug-ins (Adobe Reader, PowerPoint Viewer, Excel Viewer, etc) can be found under Browser Plugins and Downloads on the eLearning Technical Support page. This page contains links to each product's download page where installation instructions are provided.

 


 

 

Will I have problems using Blackboard if I upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista?

The results of testing done by Blackboard, Inc. show that Microsoft Windows Vista is compatible with Blackboard version 6.3 used at PGCC. Users that have upgraded to Microsoft Windows Vista should feel comfortable using it with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox 2.0 to access the Blackboard Academic Suite, Release 6, Application Pack 3. However, please be aware of the following issues uncovered during testing:

 

 

1. The Visual Text Box Editor controls do not function correctly in Internet Explorer 7 because they require a component not available in Windows Vista. Users on Release 7.0 and Release 6, Application Pack 3 should turn off the Visual Text Box Editor in their personal preferences or use Firefox 2.0.

 

2. In some instances, the Collaboration Tool opens with greyed out options.

 


 

 

TAKING AN ONLINE COURSE

 

How do I enroll?

You enroll for an online course just as you would for any other college course. You can find information about enrolling at the college's main web site at http://www.pgcc.edu. You can expect to pay the same tuition and fees for your online course as you would for other college courses.

 


 

 

What are the tuition costs?

You can expect to pay the same tuition and fees for your online course as you would for other college courses. For information regarding the current tuition and fees, please click here. For more information about residency, see the current college catalog. All charges are levied per credit hour.

 


 

 

How do I find out about textbooks?

Most online courses require that students purchase one or more textbooks. You can purchase textbooks either in person at the campus bookstore or online. You will find specific information about textbooks for your class at http://www.pgccbookstore.com/ and can order books online.

 


 

 

NONCREDIT COURSES

 

What course formats are offered for noncredit courses
PGCC offers noncredit online courses in three different formats: 
Ed2Go, ProTrain, and Blackboard

 

The main difference among these formats is the subjects and topics that are offered. 

 

The online classrooms don’t differ significantly from format to format.  But, the process of registering for the courses and accessing the coursework is different, depending on the format of the online course. 

 

If you already know that a particular type of format suits you best, then you can click on the icon that represents either the Ed2Go courses, the ProTrain courses, or the Blackboard courses for further information about these different formats. 

 

ed2go

ed2go

green training

ProTrain

blackboard

Blackboard

 


 

 

What is a hybrid course?


Most of the noncredit online courses are offered totally online, but some are “hybrid” courses, a combination of face-to-face class meetings and online. Which of these choices is best for you? It may depend on your daily schedule.

 


 

 

What information is on the Noncredit Course Schedule?

 

The PGCC Course Schedule is divided into topic areas. The first section addresses the Workforce Development needs of our students. The second half contains Continuing Education topics. Within these two domains are many topic categories, which are grouped under large headings and then into smaller sub-headings. For descriptions of particular courses, click on the title of the course.

 

The Course Schedule indicates in what format each online course is offered.

Note the format type of the class that you choose by looking at the far-right “Format” column, which indicates the type of class: Ed2Go, Bb, or ProTrain. The type of class will determine the registration procedures and the Web address that you will need when accessing your course. You can click on the format type in the class schedule for more information about how the course is delivered, and you can click on the individual course titles for a description of the course.

 


 

 

How can I see a complete listing of the ProTrain courses offered?


To view the entire list of ProTrain online “Green/Renewable Energy Training” courses, click on “Programs and Courses” at the following Web site: http://pgcc.theknowledgebase.org/

 

 


 

 

Does my noncredit course count toward a particular certificate?


For information on noncredit programs and certificates, contact the PGCC Information Center at enroll@pgcc.edu and 301-546-0075, 301-546-0822, or 301-546-7422.

 

 


 

 

What if I'm not really technical?


PGCC eLearning Services office offers orientation for online students. In the orientation, you will learn how to log into your online classroom and how to navigate your online class. The eLearning Services office can conduct individual orientation sessions by phone (must be connected to the Internet while on the phone) or in-person, upon request. If you are interested, please contact the eLearning Services office. For support for your online course, see the eLearning Services office.