MWCC Online Learning Frequently Asked Questions

In today’s world of high technology, students are now able to complete college classes via the Internet. Online learning courses are not for everyone. The decision to take an online learning course versus a traditional course should not be taken lightly. These guidelines will help you decide if online learning is right for you.

What type of student should take online learning courses?

The most important characteristic of an online learning student is self-motivation. You will not have an instructor in front of you reminding you to complete assignments. You must motivate yourself to get your work done in a timely manner. If you are a procrastinator, an online learning course is not a wise choice.

Who is eligible to take an online learning course?

Anyone who applies and is accepted by MWCC or is currently enrolled as a student is eligible to register for online learning courses as long as they meet required course prerequisites. First-time students need to go through the admissions process and take the placement test given by the assessment center. The results of this test help advisors determine if you are ready for college-level work or if you need assistance in fundamental courses such as reading, writing and math. If a fundamental course is required, it must be completed prior to registering for college-level courses. Some fundamental courses are offered in the online learning format.

Are online learning courses self-paced?

You must keep up with the scheduled course work. Courses are instructor led and generally follow the same semester schedule as traditional courses. All specific course information such as how to reach the instructor, what work is expected, and deadlines to turn in assignments and take tests will be found in your course site. You should expect to devote 8-12 hours per week studying online for each course.

What equipment do I need to take an online learning course?

MWCC uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver course materials. As a web-based application, Blackboard itself has minimal hardware requirements for your computer. In order to use a browser with Blackboard, your computer most likely needs to meet the following minimum specifications:

  • Platform: Windows XP, Vista, 7; Mac OSX 10.4 or higher
  • 512 MB of RAM, 1G of free disk space
  • Reliable Internet connection (the faster the better)
  • Software: A word processing program, compatible with Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Email account is required and is provided by the college
  • Browsers:
    • Firefox (PC & Mac) – Recommended
    • Internet Explorer
    • Safari (Mac)
    • JavaScript and cookies must be enabled.

Courses requiring specific software may have different computer hardware requirements than the above. Please check with the software manufacturer for specific requirements before installing the program on your computer.

For technical questions about Blackboard, contact our IT Helpdesk at helpdesk@mwcc.mass.edu or call 866.520.4129.

I have never used a computer. Should I take online learning courses?

You should not take an online learning course if you are not computer literate or do not feel comfortable with your computer skills. You do not have to be an expert, but you should have some experience with

  • Navigating through files and on-screen menus
  • Basic word processing applications
  • Backing-up and organizing files
  • Using the Internet
  • Attaching documents

Online courses are not designed to teach you how to use software, manage files, navigate the Internet, or use email. Rather, you should have these skills before enrolling to ensure your success.

How many online learning classes can I take in a semester?

It is strongly recommended that you begin by taking no more than one online learning course. You will be learning the same amount of material as a traditional course. Therefore, you should expect to spend at least the same amount of time on an online course as a traditional course. The same is true for assignments.

How can I see a demonstration of Blackboard?

If you would like to view our demo site, go to the following Web page: http://bb.mwcc.edu. Click on “login.” Enter the word “demo” as the username and the password.

How long do I have to complete an online learning course?

Courses follow a designated start and end date by which all course work must be completed. After a course has ended, students will no longer be able to access their course unless they have made special arrangements with the instructor. Courses follow the traditional academic schedule.

Can I register for an online learning course anytime?

MWCC offers online learning courses on a regular academic calendar (fall, spring, and summer.) No one can enter an online course after the designated drop/add period.

What will I need for materials?

Courses may require students to purchase the following:

  • Textbooks
  • Publisher online content access codes
  • Lab Manual
  • Student Guides
  • Course content CDs

To find out what materials are required for your course, please refer to the MWCC Bookstore site where the information is listed prior to the beginning of the semester. All materials will be available at the MWCC Bookstore at the main campus. If you cannot pick up your books in person, you may contact the bookstore at 978.632.8238 to make alternate arrangements. When calling the bookstore, make sure you know your course number and section.

Do online learning courses require any on-campus meetings?

A few online learning courses require students to come on campus to complete requirements. However, the majority of courses do not. If you are unsure if a course requires on-campus meetings, please call the Division of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development at 978.630.9275.

What can I expect from my online learning course? Are all online learning courses taught the same way?

Online learning courses give instructors academic freedom to create courses using their own teaching methods and styles. Instructors may set up their courses in different ways. Just like a traditional course the student will be presented with a course syllabus that is a contract between the instructor and the student and should be read carefully in its entirety. This is your guide to what will be expected of you during the course.

How do I access my online learning course?

Directions for Student Blackboard Access

To access Blackboard (Bb) and your MWCC online course:

  • Log on to http://iconnect.mwcc.edu
  • Enter your username and password.(If you do not have your MWCC credentials yet, click on the “Activate Your Account” link at the bottom of the page and follow the directions)
  • When in iConnect, click on the Bb icon.
  • Click on the Course Title listed under “My Courses.”

Your MWCC Email Address:

MWCC creates an email account for each student. All course correspondence will be sent to the MWCC email account. To receive or send MWCC email, log on to your iConnect portal page as described above and click on the Gmail icon.

For MWCC Blackboard, email or other technical issues, contact the toll-free 24/7 MWCC support center at 866.520.7129, email helpdesk@mwcc.edu, or check out the Online MWCC Blackboard Support Center.

What resources are available to students?

Live and off-line tutoring are available to students 16 hours a day, 7 days a week in English, mathematics (developmental through college calculus), statistics, accounting, and science: http://www.etutoring.com.

The MWCC Library’s online catalog and periodical databases give students remote access to books and millions of full-text magazine and journal articles. Reference assistance is available via telephone, email, and AOL Instant Messenger. Visit the library’s web page for more information: http://library.mwcc.edu.