Online Learning

Find the answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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What is online learning?

Instead of traditional classroom sessions held on campus, online learners work independently at home using computers and technology. Faculty members provide instruction and guidance through a variety of tools available in our learning management system (LMS): online discussions, video lectures, quizzes, and assignments. Online courses have equivalent requirements and outcomes as traditional classroom-based courses.

Do I ever need to come to campus?

You do not need to make any physical visits to campus UNLESS:

  1. Your instructor requires a “proctored” test or exam. You will be advised by your instructor.
  2. Your class is a hybrid, which requires in class seat time, as well as completing assignments You will be advised by your instructor.

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous online courses?

Synchronous online classes are those that require students and instructors to be online at the same time. Lectures, discussions, and presentations occur at a specific hour. All students must be online at that specific hour to participate.

Asynchronous online courses are the opposite of synchronous online courses. Instructors provide materials, lectures, tests, and assignments that can be accessed at any time. Usually students are given a time frame - usually one week window - during which they need to login to the learning management system (LMS) for lectures, assignments, discussion questions and quizzes/exams.

What computer skills do I need to take an online course?

Basic computer skills are required for online classes. These skills include sending and receiving email, word processing, cutting and pasting within documents, toggling between applications and using email attachments. In specialized courses, other skills may be required.

When do online classes begin?

Online classes open at 12:01 a.m. on the first day of the semester. Sometimes an instructor will make a course available before the start date of classes, but they are not required to do so. Be sure to log into Blackboard and familiarize yourself with the course, as well as the assignment schedule to ensure you do not fall behind.

Are online courses self-paced?

No. Courses are delivered on the 15-, 10-, or 7-week schedule. Fully online courses still take place within the same semester schedule as face-to-face classes. You will have deadlines and due dates that you will have to meet as the semester progresses. You will be expected to participate in the course discussion boards, weekly assignments, and other projects or assessments.

How will my instructor contact me?

You should receive an email from your instructor before or on the first day of class. Other methods of contact and feedback include, phone calls, discussion boards, email, and notes within assignments.

What are the computer requirements for the online course?

Please review the computer requirements and supported browsers before class begins to ensure you are prepared for class. There are also student computer labs available on campus.
  • PC (Windows 7/8/10) OR Mac (iOS 10.6+) – We do not recommended using iPads, Chromebooks & Surfaces, etc.
  • High-speed internet connection
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print PDFs
  • Some classes require a microphone and webcam
  • Office 365 – provided for free to all Montco students
  • Web Browsers:
    • Firefox is recommended
    • Chrome is compatible with most functionality
    • Internet Explorer 11+ is supported
    • Safari 6+ is supported

How much time do I need to set aside each week to work on my online classes?

The amount of time you should expect to spend on each of your online classes can be found below based on the number of weeks of your class. The numbers below assume a 3-credit class. Please note that actual amount of time varies from student to student.
  • 15-week – 10 hours / week
  • 10-week – 13 hours / week
  • 7-week – 18 hours / week
  • 6-week – 21 hours / week

Will my Virtual Campus courses transfer to other institutions?

The College has agreements with scores of public and private schools in the state, providing multi-faceted transfer opportunities making it easier for you to navigate the transfer process quickly and easily.

What do I do if I need tutoring in any of my courses?

Whether you're looking for assistance in organizing notes, writing a paper or taking a test, our tutors are available to support you. We offer in-person tutoring as well as 24/7 online services—for free! Our tutors work with you to develop strategies based on your unique learning preference. 

Can students with disabilities take Virtual Campus courses?

The Virtual Campus at Montgomery County Community College is committed to the success of all students and ensures equal access to its educational programs, services, and activities to our online students with disabilities. After you apply for admission, please contact Disability Services and arrange a consultation to discuss how we can best accommodate you.