What is Online Learning?
Online learning allows students to take their course on the computer rather than in the traditional classroom setting. Students and the instructor communicate via email and discussion forums, and course materials, readings, quizzes and tests are located on a classroom website. While this is a convenient and exciting way to take a college course, these courses do require that students possess basic computer skills, solid reading and writing skills, and a high degree of self-discipline.
There are three types of courses at BCC that use online learning methods:
- In fully-online courses, instructors and students communicate through the Moodle Learning Management System, and have no or very limited on-campus meetings. Instructors will place a course syllabus, online lecture notes/handouts, assignments, schedules, discussion questions, and contact and office hours information in Moodle. Typically, students will be asked to post responses to discussion questions in the course’s discussion forum area, in addition to completing assignments, tests, and papers. Students will receive grades on their work from the instructor, including feedback on participation via Moodle.
- Hybrid courses typically have fewer regularly scheduled class meetings during the semester, with some class meetings replaced by work in Moodle. Students may be asked to communicate with fellow students and the instructor via Moodle. For example, BCC’s hybrid biology courses include on-campus lab meetings once per week and lectures and independent work online in Moodle.
- Web-enhanced courses meet on-campus for every scheduled class time, and may have just the syllabus, or many documents, tests, and discussions in Moodle as homework assignments.
What is Moodle?
Moodle (Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment) is the online Learning Management System (LMS) used by your BCC instructor to create a virtual classroom on the Internet. As a student enrolled in a fully-online or hybrid course, you will have access to your syllabus, course calendar, assignments, quizzes, grades, and other course materials via Moodle. Some fully on-campus courses also use Moodle to provide access to the syllabus and handouts, for example.
How do I enroll for an online course?
The enrollment process for BCC online and hybrid courses is the same as for traditional on-ground courses.
When is the first day of class?
The first day of a fully-online or hybrid course is the first day of the semester, unless otherwise noted in WebAdvisor or notified by your instructor. If you are enrolled in an online or hybrid course you should begin work in your online section on the first day of class.
What types of online courses are offered online at BCC?
BCC offers fully-online courses, and hybrid courses which include some on-campus meeting and some online work. There are a wide variety of courses offered online, including Allied Health, Biology, Business Software, Business, Computer, Communication, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood, English, Environmental Science, Fine Arts, History, Humanities, Math, Music, Psychology and Sociology courses. BCC also offers courses through its membership in Massachusetts Colleges Online, an association of Massachusetts 2- and 4-year colleges who open their online offerings to other member colleges.
What are the advantages of taking online or hybrid courses?
Flexibility – Online courses allow you to take courses according to your schedule. You do not have to travel to a specific place at a specific time in order to take a course. Hybrid courses meet less often on campus, so also allow you flexibility.
Travel – Taking courses online saves you money and time from driving to campus.
Access – Online courses are available to you from any place that has a computer and Internet access.
Fully-online and hybrid courses can work for people who have physical disabilities, have to travel extensively, are parents of young children, or have other demanding life situations.
Some online courses require just a few campus meetings, such as the first-class, midterm or final exams. Hybrid courses require regularly scheduled meetings on campus throughout the semester, such as lab meetings for Biology online. Check your course schedule for details.
Technology – Online and hybrid courses take advantage of new technologies that enable the student to develop technical skills while studying their chosen subjects.
Do I have to be a computer whiz to take an online or hybrid course?
No, special computer skills are not required to take online or hybrid courses. You should have a good comfort level with computer applications like email, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint, and with computer-based skills like uploading and downloading files, and browsing and researching on the Internet. You also need to be able to type, read instructions, and prepare written assignments online. The ability to work on your own, get assignments in on time, pace yourself, and meet deadlines are as important as technical skills.
Are BCC’s online and hybrid courses self-paced?
No, BCC does not offer self-paced online courses at this time. BCC’s online and hybrid courses run on a regular semester schedule, with the same add/drop, midterm, and finals schedule as on-campus courses. Fully-online courses have weekly assignments, tests, and other requirements that must be turned in electronically on certain dates specified in the course syllabus. Hybrid courses have some of these online requirements, as well as scheduled class meetings.
Can I get my AA or AS degree online at BCC?
Most of it – talk with your BCC Advisor about online Liberal Arts AA degree options. BCC currently offers more than 30 online courses per semester. This number is growing every semester and in the future more online and hybrid courses and degree options will be made available.
Do online and hybrid courses transfer to a four-year college?
Yes, online and hybrid courses at BCC are fully equivalent to on-campus courses, and will transfer in the same fashion as the on-campus equivalent course. Check with your college Advisor for additional transfer information.
Do online and hybrid courses take a lot of extra time?
No, online and hybrid courses use the same determination for credits as fully on-campus equivalent courses. You may find that you are using time differently in fully-online courses: you will be spending less time driving to campus to get to class, and a bit more time preparing and submitting your assignments and communicating with your professor and classmates online. However, you will be able to select the times that work best for you to complete the course work, so you may find it more convenient than traditional on-campus classes. Hybrid courses combine the best of online flexibility and face-to-face on-campus classes.
How do typical online and hybrid courses work?
Online and hybrid courses start on the first day of classes, unless otherwise noted in WebAdvisor or the Semester Schedule.
In fully-online courses instructors and students communicate through the Moodle Learning Management System. Instructors will place a course syllabus, online lecture notes/handouts, assignments, schedules, discussion questions, and contact and office hours information in Moodle. Typically, students will be asked to post responses to discussion questions in the course’s discussion forum area, in addition to completing assignments, tests, and papers. Students will receive grades on their work from the instructor, including feedback on participation via Moodle.
Hybrid courses typically have fewer regularly scheduled class meetings during the semester combined with online assignments. Students may be asked to communicate with fellow students and the instructor via the Moodle Learning Management System. For example, BCC’s hybrid biology courses include lab meetings once per week and lectures and independent work online in Moodle.
How do I find out more about online and hybrid courses at BCC?
You may either:
- View our website: http://www.berkshirecc.edu/ and click on the Online Learning link.
- Email us: email@example.com, type “Online Help” in the subject line.
- Call us: Online Help, 413-499-4660, ext. 6501, or Academic Technology, 413-236-2160.
- Visit us: Academic Computer Lab, F-102/F-107.
For advising assistance please contact your BCC Advisor at 413-236-1620.
For registration information please contact the BCC Registrar’s office at 413-236-2137.