Welcome to the Winter 2020 Semester

Semester Announcements

COVID-19 Update: Winter and spring credit registration is now open! Remote learning and services will continue with flexible online, scheduled remote, and limited hybrid options. Visit pgcconline.com for more information.

Important Resources

The following information and resources are provided to help you succeed in your courses.

Owl Mail (student email account)

Have you activated your Owl Mail Student email account? If not, click here for 3 easy steps to activate your student email account. You will need your 7-digit student id to activate your student email account.

Blackboard (Bb) Student Orientation Information

All credit students will be enrolled in the "Student Bb Orientation" course. This course is optional. You will not receive a grade or a certificate but this course contains important information to help you get started in Bb. Click here for more information.

Internet Browser

eLearning highly recommends that either Firefox or Chrome is used with Blackboard. Please note that Internet Explorer is not compatible with Blackboard. Click here for more browser information.

Library - Learning Resources and Tutoring

The Prince George's Community College Library is where you can find library materials, streaming videos, databases by subject, scholarship information, and other services such as research help and tutoring.

Free Online Tutoring - Smarthinking

Connect with a tutor and interact live. We recognize that students may also need flexible options for after-hours help, and that is why we provide you access to Smarthinking, a FREE on-demand tutoring service. Smarthinking provides you with easy access to expert tutors, on-demand or by appointment, across a wide range of subjects - 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Per semester, you have 180 minutes FREE to use for online tutoring or writing support.

Explore a series of Smarthinking video tutorials that will help you understand how to use the online tutoring service. Click on the links below to take you directly to each video.

View Smarthinking subject descriptions and times available

Getting Started

  1. Log in to Blackboard using your Blackboard username and password (same as Owl Link).
  2. Go to your online course.
  3. Click "Quicklinks" on the course menu.
  4. Click "Smarthinking Free Online Tutoring."

Note: Each student is allowed 180 minutes per semester.

Technology Requirements and Troubleshooting Tips

  • Make sure that your browser is set up to allow cookies and pop-up windows for or services.smarthinking.com.
  • Make sure that you have Java installed. If you need to install Java, go to Java's Website and follow the instructions for the free download.

Need Help using Smarthinking?

  1. Once you log in, view the Smarthinking Student Handbook for all you need to know about navigating the website and using the service.
  2. The Smarthinking Technical Support team is available to assist you. First, check the information in the Customer Support Self-help options are available 24/7, where you can browse the support articles and use the Pearson Virtual Assistant. If you still need help, Live Online Chat Support is also available 24/7.
  3. If you are a faculty/staff member with questions, please contact eLearning Services at 301-546-0463 or eLearning@pgcc.edu.
PGCC Bookstore - Books and Materials

Contact the PGCC bookstore at 301-546-0912 or pgccbookstore.com and refer to your class syllabus for information about textbooks and other course materials.



Testing Center

The Testing Center provides placement tests for new students and instructional tests for students enrolled in specific disciplines and courses.

When Do Classes Begin

The Winter 2020 semester begins on Monday, December 14. 

The start date of courses vary during the semester. Blackboard course sites will be available to students four days prior to the start date of the course.

All Winter Classes

  • Classes beginning on December 14, 2020 will become available in Blackboard on Thursday, December 10.
  • Login to Blackboard using your Owl Link username and password.
Registered For An Accelerated Course?

Please Note: Accelerated courses are full semester courses (15-wk, fall and spring; 10-wk, summer) that are condensed to allow students to complete a course in a shorter timeframe. Due to the condensed nature of accelerated courses, it is imperative that you are ready to begin your course on the start date.

  • Accelerated courses are made available to students four days prior to the start date of the course for summer and fall courses. There are no accelerated courses for the winter intersession.
  • Accelerated courses are made available to students five days prior to the start date of the course for spring courses.
  • You can register for an accelerated course up to the start date of the course.
Don't See Your Course?

There are two reasons why most students cannot see their courses in Blackboard.

  1. Blackboard course sites will appear four days prior to the start date of the course for summer, fall, and winter session courses and five days prior to the start date of the course for spring courses. 
  2. It may take up to 24 hours after registration or class schedule changes to see your course in Blackboard. Class schedule changes include new registrations, add/drop courses, drops for nonpayment, NA grade drops, and course withdrawals. You must have a students.pgcc.edu email account for your Blackboard account to be created.
  3. If you have confirmed your registration in Owl Link and the start date is within four days and you still do not see your course, please contact eLearning Services

This information also applies to accelerated courses that begin later in the semester. Check Owl Link for the start date of your course to determine when the Blackboard site will appear.

Confirm your course schedule in Owl Link by checking the "My Class Schedule" link. 

Contacting Your Instructor

You can find your instructor’s contact information via the PGCC DirectoryYou can also find your instructor’s contact information in your Blackboard classroom and in the course syllabus.


myPGCC Portal

Keep current on Prince George's Community College news, events, information, important announcements, and personal information like your grades. Go to myPGCC and log in with your Owl Link username and password.

Access Blackboard from within the myPGCC portal. Students are able to click on the Blackboard course link from the myPGCC portal and go directly to the Blackboard course, without additional login to Blackboard.

Student Blackboard Accounts

"Automatic" Updates to Student Enrollments in Blackboard Courses

To test your Blackboard (Bb) login, students can log in to the Blackboard system on the day after registration if the date is within 45 days of the start date of the course. Blackboard course sites will not be available until four calendar days prior to the start date of the course for summer, fall, and winter intersession courses and five calendar days prior to the start date of the course for spring semester courses. Students must have a students.pgcc.edu email account in Colleague in order to be added to Blackboard.

Registered students will be added to the Blackboard course site the day after registering in Owl Link. In addition, students will be removed from their Blackboard courses within one day of withdrawing. Students receiving an 'FX' or 'NA' grade in a course will be removed from that Bb course site within 48 hours of receiving the grade in Owl Link. Please check your Owl Link schedule to make sure you are enrolled in the correct courses.


Blackboard Student Mobile App

The Blackboard app is designed especially for students to view content and participate in courses. The app is available on iOS and Android mobile devices.

Please note that due dates will only be displayed in the mobile app if your instructor uses the Due Date feature in Blackboard. You must check Blackboard for official due dates. Not all tasks can be completed with the mobile app and it is not recommended to take a test using the mobile app. 

Click here for more information on the Blackboard app for students.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Bb Collaborate Ultra is a real-time video conferencing tool that opens right in your browser, so you don't have to install any software to join a session. Chrome is the best browser to use when using Bb Collaborate Ultra.

You can access Bb Collaborate Ultra right in your Bb course. If you cannot find where to access Collaborate in your course, try the following:

To Access Your Collaborate Course Room:

  • Select 'Quicklinks' from the course menu in your Bb course.
  • Select 'Course Tools' from the Quicklinks options.
  • Select 'Blackboard Collaborate Ultra' from the Course Tools options.

For Bb Collaborate Ultra support at any time, call 1-877-382-2293. If you are an instructor or student in need of support for Blackboard Collaborate, then select option two for Blackboard Collaborate with the Ultra experience.

For more information on Bb Collaborate Ultra, click here.



Blackboard Notifications

Notifications are generated automatically whenever their associated events occur and can be received as an email, text, voice message, or a notification in the Dashboard. The notification system alerts you when events occur in your courses, such as when items are due, as well as when announcements, assignments, grades, content, tests, discussions, and blogs become available. Note: Your instructor must set up due dates in your course for notifications relating to dates to be displayed. 

How to Edit Your Notification Settings

For more information on the Notification Dashboard and how to edit your notification settings, click here and scroll down to 'Choose how and when you get notifications.' If you select to receive text notifications (SMS) or 'Text to Voice,' you must have your mobile phone number listed in your 'Personal Settings.'

Option 1

  1. Login to Blackboard.
  2. At the very top-right of the page, select your name.
  3. Select Settings, then Edit Notification Settings

Blackboard text notification

 - OR -

Option 2

  1. On the top left of the screen, select the Notifications Dashboard link next to the My eLearning link.

option 2 image in Bb text notifications

       2. Under the Alerts module, select Edit Notification Settings.

       3. On the Edit Notifications page, under Bulk Edit Notification Settings, select Courses I am teaching or Courses I             am taking. You will see the Change Settings page.

       4. Under Select Course, select the courses for which you want to change notification settings by clicking the arrow  to                 move them to the right-side box or select All to select all of your courses.

       5. Under Settings, select where you want notifications sent - Blackboard DashboardEmailSMS (text), Text-to
           Voice (voice message), or Mobile (Blackboard Mobile App). You cannot reply to the texts and it is a one-way                           notification only.

       6. If you do not want a notification sent, click to clear the checkbox

       7. When you are finished, click Submit.

Note: To receive a text or to be able to select SMS, you must enter a Mobile phone number in your personal settings. Click this link to Edit Personal Information.

YouTube in Blackboard

Use the "Mashups" tool when embedding YouTube videos.

The "Browse My YouTube Videos" tool in the Content Editor does not work. When you click on the tool, you will get a screen to "Sign in to YouTube". When you click on it, it doesn't go anywhere.

Technical Support

Visit our Technical Support page for technical requirements and recommendations for online courses. 

Enterprise Technology uses a service called askPGCC for the submission and resolution of a variety of issues. To submit an askPGCC ticket for eLearning technical support, please click the following link to log in (using your student email address and Owl Link password) ask.PGCC.edu. All tickets submitted within askPGCC go directly to the Area of Service.

If you still need help, please visit the Contact Us page.