Online Learning Frequently Asked Questions
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 content may be accessed through a learning management system (LMS) such as Blackboard. Some classes may require a few on-campus meetings or scheduled online discussion sessions. The course syllabus will show the requirements for the course.
Should I take an online course?
Online learning is a very different environment than that of the traditional classroom. With that in mind, online learning is not for everyone. So, how can you tell? Your answers to the following questions will help you decide:
Am I self-motivated and self-disciplined?
Can I communicate effectively through written communication?
Do I have basic computer skills: word processing, internet browsing, email (including sending and receiving attachments?)
Do I have practically unlimited access to a computer and internet service?
Am I open minded about sharing life, work and educational experiences?
Do I have the ability to learn new software without classroom instruction?
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 the 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.
Still unsure? Visit RLC’s online learning orientation pages to walk through a series of steps to learn more about online learning. We will begin in step one by recommending the completion of a brief self-evaluation that will help you determine if online learning is right for you. The remaining orientation steps will address various requirements of the online environment. If you are a new online student, we highly recommend that you complete all of the steps.
How do I access my online course?
Usernames and passwords for your online accounts will be automatically generated and given to you by your counselor when you register for classes. Access your online courses by visiting https://bb.rlc.edu or clicking on the Blackboard link from the MyRLC portal. Use your username and password to log in. Once you have logged in, your online courses will be listed and available in the “My Courses” module at the right of the screen.
Note: To protect the privacy of your accounts, it is important that you do not share your log in information with others.
What is MyRLC?
The MyRLC portal is the central location that may be used to log in and manage most of your student accounts. Student accounts include Blackboard, Online Student Records, Warriormail, and Electronic Library. Access the MyRLC portal at www.rlc.edu/myrlc.
What is Blackboard?
The Blackboard Learning System is the course management system used by most online courses at RLC and will serve as your primary source for online course participation including viewing lectures, submitting assignments, etc.
Do I need specific technology skills or equipment?
In order to be successful in an online learning environment, you will need to have some basic computer skills. Your online learning experience will be less stressful if these competencies have been mastered.
Operate a web browser
Download, upload, and install files
Access your e-mail account
Send and receive e-mail with attachments
Use a word processor to create and print documents
Use presentation software (such as PowerPoint) to create presentation slides
It is also important that you have nearly unlimited access to a computer with Internet access. As for hardware and software requirements, please visit the Online Learning Orientation – Step 5: Technology Requirements for a list of those requirements and recommendations.
What is the difference between an “online course” and a “hybrid course”?
Courses at Rend Lake College are offered in the following structures or formats:
Face-to-Face – In this type of course, you will attend classes on campus or at an extension center in a physical setting with an instructor present. Blackboard may be used for assignment submission, course document dissemination, etc.
Hybrid – The hybrid course will require you to complete a portion of the coursework online using Blackboard and the remainder of the coursework will be completed in a face-to-face learning setting. Campus visits will be necessary in this type of class. Course numbers for a hybrid course will include a section number beginning with "Y", for example, CSCI 1101-Y1. The "Y" indicates a hybrid course.
Online – The online course is designed for you to complete your course online using Blackboard. You are expected to have a computer available and access to the Internet. Course numbers for an online course will include a section number beginning with "N", for example, CSCI 1101-N1. The "N" indicates an online course.
Please note that some online courses require you to visit a test proctoring site to complete the test requirements for the course. You will be informed of and instructed on test proctoring procedures by the course instructor.
Online access to the hybrid and/or online course may not be made available until the first day of class as early course availability is at the discretion of the instructor.
Please refer to the Official Catalog for more detailed information about your course.
Still have questions?
Visit RLC’s online learning orientation pages to walk through a series of steps to learn more about online learning – things like account login, course structure, etc.
Online Learning Essentials Resources
All of the software listed below are available as free resources. Click on the links to learn more or download.
Browser Plug-Ins and Extras
Adobe Acrobat Reader (Windows/Linux/Mac/Android)
Adobe's Acrobat Reader allows you to view, print, and save pdf documents such as the many forms found on rlc.edu. Acrobat Reader will not allow you to create pdf documents. Acrobat Reader is free and easy to install.
Adobe Flash Player (Windows/Linux/Mac)
This plug-in allows you to view flash content on web pages. Flash is safe and completely free.
Adobe Shockwave (Windows/Mac)
This plug-in allows you to view shockwave content on web pages. Shockwave is safe and completely free.
This plug-in is required to view some content on the Internet, including features of Blackboard.
Productivity Software / Office Applications
Microsoft Office 365 (Windows/Macs/iPad/Android)
Office 365 Education for Students is available for RLC students and it's free! Office 365 products include Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft OneNote, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Access, and Microsoft Publisher. It also includes one (1) terabyte of OneDrive online file storage. Use your WarriorMail credentials to get started!
Note: Office 365 is compatible with Windows 7 and 8 and available for local installation. For those using Vista or XP, local installation is not available; however, you will be able to access most Office products online through the Office portal. Log in at portal.office.com and use your WarriorMail credentials.
Google Applications (online, cloud-based access)
Google provides the following cloud-based tools; available to you from any device with Internet access!
- Google Docs - an online word processing tool
- Google Slides - an online slide presentation application
- Google Sheets - an online spreadsheet application
Use your WarriorMail address or Gmail account to create, edit, and collaborate from anywhere. By default, Google Docs saves your documents to your online storage within Google Drive. For more information about Google Drive, see below.
Microsoft PowerPoint Viewer (Windows)
PowerPoint Viewer is a free download and allows you to view existing presentations created in PowerPoint 2007 or later.
OpenOffice (Windows/Linux/ Mac)
Apache OpenOffice is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.
Web Browsers & Other Tools
Mozilla Firefox (Windows/Linux/Mac)
A free, non-profit browser for desktop or mobile.
Google Chrome (Windows/Linux/Mac/Android/iOS)
A free Web browser for desktop or mobile use.
Google Drive offers 15GB cloud-based storage for any file. Files created in Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides are stored here by default. Use your WarriorMail or Gmail account to log in and access your files from anywhere!
Respondus LockDown Browser
Respondus LockDown Browser is a web browser that may be required to access tests or quizzes within Blackboard. Not all online/hybrid courses utilize LockDown Browser. Your instructor will inform you of LockDown Browser requirements and provide documentation to help you get started.
Silverlight is a free plug-in that works with your browser to provide access to interactive web pages.
Online Learning Essentials Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to complete the orientation if I already have taken an online class?
In some cases your instructor may make the orientation a part of the class assignments in which case you will want to read through it. If not, you may want to complete the steps as you can often get answers to questions that you may have about your online courses.
What should I do if I get behind in my work as a result of a family emergency?
Keeping up with your assignments in an online course is very important. Instructors often put the course work up one week at a time so that it is easier to keep up-to-date. If you find that you cannot complete an assignment on time contact your instructor immediately.
Will the instructor see the results of my successful online student’s assessment?
No. Those results are for you to determine whether your habits indicate that you will be a successful online student.
Can I use my WarriorMail account for personal use?
Yes. You may use your WarriorMail account just as you would a Yahoo or Hotmail account.
My account is not working correctly? How can I fix this problem?
You can call IT Help Desk at extension 1259. In order for them to determine the problem you will need to provide them with the error message that you are getting when you try to log in.
What should I do if I want to withdraw from one of my classes?
Contact the Counseling Center, extension 1266 and someone will provide you with the steps that need to be completed for withdrawal.
Will my scholarship pay for the books I need for my class?
Contact Financial Aid, extension 1385 and someone can provide this information for you.
How do I submit assignments on Blackboard?
You will find this information in the Blackboard user manual which can be located in Step 7 of the online learning orientation pages.
Who can I contact to get help with using the Electronic Library?
You can contact the library at extension 1276 or 1308 to ask questions about the Electronic Library.
What does OSR stand for?
OSR stands for Online Student Records. OSR provides access to grades, class schedules, unofficial transcripts, financial aid information, business office information, and off-campus access to the LRC Electronic Library.
Welcome to Online Education!
Learning in the online environment can be a rewarding and valuable experience, but it is important that you know what to expect throughout your journey. That’s where ONE 1500 comes in.
The Online Navigation Essentials (ONE 1500) orientation module, found in Blackboard, contains helpful hints and tips which provide an introduction to the online environment. The information provided will help you become familiar with the software and terminology important to online learning.
You must complete ONE 1500 before you will be able to access any other online or hybrid courses.
What to expect?
During ONE 1500, you will complete various activities which will help you determine if online learning is right for you and assist you in navigating style of learning. Our goal is to make your online learning experience a successful and rewarding one. ONE 1500 will give you a great start to your online experience!
How do I start ONE 1500?
Go to Blackboard and sign in with the credentials you received when you registered for class. Look for the ONE 1500 module, click the title, and just follow the directions.
Need help? Call the Help Desk at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1259.
About Online & Hybrid CoursesAt Rend Lake College, an online course is a course which is 100% online without any face-to-face classroom, laboratory, clinical or field meeting time required. Students enrolled in online courses must have access to the Internet and word processing software. Students must complete Online Navigation Essentials prior to accessing the course. Students enrolled in RLC online courses may utilize the open computer lab located in the Learning Resource Center.
A hybrid course is a course which substitutes any portion of its face-to-face classroom, laboratory, clinical or field meeting time with an online component of teaching and learning. Students enrolled in hybrid courses must have access to the Internet and word processing software. Students must complete Online Navigation Essentials prior to accessing the course.
Associate of Science Degree in Business OptionMany people dream of earning a college degree, but the hectic schedules of work and family life make it difficult. Rend Lake College’s distance-delivered Associate in Science Degree may be the answer. This degree, which has a business focus, is made up of both online and hybrid classes to give you the flexible schedule you need. Most classes are delivered online, and the remaining hybrid classes are made up of online instruction with a small number of face-to-face meetings.
Distance-delivered instruction can be incredibly convenient for those who have tight schedules or are unable to attend class on a fixed schedule. You’ll need to have some basic computer skills and have access to a computer and the Internet in order to take advantage of this program.
For more details, contact the Academic Advising Center at 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266.
Searching for Online Classes - COMING SOON!To see if a class is offered online, or to view online classes in a degree or certificate program, follow the steps below.
RLC online learning starts at ONE. Our Online Navigation Essentials. ONE 1500, includes the elementary principles of learning in an online environment. You’ll start with baby steps so you can hit the ground running in your online classes.
The Learning Resource Center. Online students will find many electronic resources that can be accessed without coming to campus.