FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

What is an online course? 
What is Blackboard?
What if I have problems logging into Blackboard?
Is Blackboard accessible?
I don't have the latest version of MS Office. How can I open those documents that my instructor provides in Blackboard?
My Course Buttons Have Mysteriously Disappeared, what do I do?
Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?
Can I get an AA Degree entirely online?
How do I take tests and exams?
What do I do if I have emailed the instructor and I have not received a reply?
Where do I find the course descriptions for the online course I'm interested in taking?
Will I have to come to campus to take tests or attend classes?


What is an online course?
To take an online course, you must have access to a computer. You will log in to your class to receive course information, view course content, submit assignments, and have discussions with your instructor and fellow students.
It is very important to remember the following points about online learning:
Online learning is flexible and convenient...but NOT EASIER!

You can expect to study a minimum of 6-9 hours each week for each 3 unit online class you are taking.

Most online classes at AHC are not self-paced. The instructor sets the deadlines for the course and students.

What is Blackboard?
The college uses Blackboard as its web-based course management system. You can get to Blackboard through the myHancock portal. Once your have logged in to the myHancock portal, you simply click the Blackbaord icon in the upper right corner of the webpage. That will take you to Blackboard. Just as you have become familiar with the set up of a classroom on campus, you will become familiar with the features of an online classroom within Blackboard. The following are some of the basic features you will probably encounter when using Blackboard. 

Announcements
Discussion Board
Assignments
Exams/quizzes
Course information and content

Like other forms of electronic communication, Blackboard records each time you login and the course areas you visit while online. Your instructors will know whether or not you are participating (just as they would in a face-to-face class), so make sure you participate to the fullest extent.

What if I have problems logging into Blackboard?
Most of the college's online courses use Blackboard as their online delivery software. You will find login directions on the web. If you are unable to login, here are some possible reasons:

Generally, you will be able to login to your Blackboard course(s) for first day of instructor for your class if you register before then. It takes up to 4 hours to get your information from admissions and registration to Blackboard. So you won’t be able to log in to Blackboard for a few hours after you register.

Also, your will not see your courses in your course list until your instructor makes the course available (usually the first day of instruction). So, although you may be able to log in to Blackboard, your courses won’t be available to you until your instructors makes them available.

Is Blackboard Accessible?
Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. JAWS for Windows 11 and 12 were used during accessibility testing. Internet Explorer 8 and 9 are tested in Standards Mode. Some know issues can be resolved by using Compatibility Mode (emulates IE7 behavior).

I don't have the latest version of Microsoft Word. How can I open those documents that my instructor provides in Blackboard?
If you are unable to open a newer Office document, a free Microsoft compatibility package (Plug-In) is available for download that, once installed, will allow you to open and save these formats in earlier versions of Microsoft Office. You can install the compatibility pack on a computer that is running older Microsoft Office programs, Microsoft Office XP programs.
Click here to access and download the Plug-In.

Have Your Course Buttons Mysteriously Disappeared?
Since the beginning of the fall semester, we have received numerous confused and panicked phone calls from students who can't seem to find what their instructors told them would be in their Blackboard course site.

This is due to a new feature in Blackboard 9.1 that maximizes the course site viewing area - but makes the course navigation buttons seem to disappear. Often, students don't even realize they have clicked on the arrow that causes this to happen and it can be very confusing.

Click here to find out how to make your course buttons reappear. (video)

Should I do all my assignments or papers in Blackboard or offline?
The electronic world is uncertain; Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning.

Instructors have little patience with hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it (This is the Internet equivalent of "The dog ate my homework.").

For assignments and papers, it's best to work off-line and save your files. You don't have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work. You can then copy and paste your assignments into your Blackboard course.

Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It's your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they've never seen.

Your instructor may require you to take quizzes or exams using Blackboard's test feature; often, you can access the test only one time. If you are disconnected from your Internet provider while you are taking the exam, contact your instructor immediately to report a problem.

Can I get an AA Degree entirely online?
Yes, More information on what courses, degrees, and certificates are offered online at Allan Hancock College.

How do I take tests and exams?
Click here for a video on how to take tests on Blackboard.

*Important: Using the mouse or keyboard to perform ANY other action, such as
<BACKSPACE> OR <REFRESH>, could ruin the outcome of the assessment.

What do I do if I have emailed the instructor and I have not received a reply?
If you emailed your instructor and don't receive a reply within the time the instructor said they would reply in their syllabus, contact the Department Chair for the academic department for that class.

If you are unable to reach the Department Chair, please contact the Distance Learning Department and we will help you find an alternative.

Where do I find the course descriptions for the online course I'm interested in taking?
Go to the online course search. Every course will have the description in the information for the course.

Will I have to come to campus to take tests or attend classes?
While many online classes do not require you to come on campus for tests or class meetings, there are some classes which do require you to come to campus. Any orientations or on-campus proctored testing should be in the course schedule. It is also a good idea to check your instructor's syllabus.

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Last Modified Oct 29, 2014