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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 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

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.

Information Technology
Phone: (618) 437-5321 Ext. 1259
Toll-free (In-District): 1-800-369-5321 Ext. 1259
Address: 468 N. Ken Gray Parkway, Ina, IL 62846 Attn: IT Help Desk
Fax Number: (618) 437-5677 Attn: IT Help Desk

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