Online Education Frequently Asked Questions

How do I access my course? Are online classes easier than on-campus classes?
Who do I call if I need help? What are assignments like?
Are online classes self-paced? What about course expectations and class attendance?
How do online classes work? What student services are available to online students?
How will I communicate in an online class? How do I drop a class?

1. How do I access my course?
Your Online, Blended Courses and/or Online Enhanced Courses are available on the HCC Course Management System, Moodle.
For information on activating your Moodle account visit the Log-in Instructions page.

2. Who do I call if I need help?

3. Are online classes self-paced?
No. Most online courses will have due dates for assignments, quizzes, tests, etc. Some courses have assignments that require students to communicate and work with other students.

4. How do online classes work?
Online courses are structured so that the course content traditionally delivered in the classroom is delivered online. Course materials are accessed through our Course Management System, Moodle. Some classes may have an in-person requirement (final exam/labs/etc.) The course Interaction Plan provides detail information about the interaction requirements and expectations for each class.

5. How will I communicate in an online class?
Most online classes use discussion forums for class discussions. Students have differing reactions to this form of communication. Usually students like online discussions because they provide time to reflect on the course content. They also like that they hear/read from all of their classmates, not just the most vocal students.

A student comment about online forums: I felt I was more inclined to participate and express myself in the online forum as opposed to the classroom where I feel self-conscious about raising my hand.

Communicating with your classmates and instructor is an important part of online learning. Online courses are designed to offer flexibility therefore students are not required to log-in at the same time. You will rarely engage in live chats with your classmates. Instead, you will answer questions posted by the instructor. You will also be able to read and respond to your classmates' postings and comments. Your instructor will be present in the discussions as well, highlighting key points and helping the class stay on track.

You will also be able to post questions of your own. Moodle has an internal email so, if you are confused about an assignment or have technical problems with the course, you can often get a quick answer from your classmates without having to wait for the instructor to respond.

6. Are online classes easier than on-campus classes?
Absolutely not! Unfortunately, some students often have the misconception that online courses will be easier than on-campus courses, and this is simply not true. While in an online course you have greater
flexibility in terms of when you complete your coursework, the amount and nature of the coursework is comparable to that assigned to an on-campus course.

Remember, one of the biggest challenges faced by online students is time management, so it is important that you are able to manage your time wisely and maintain self-motivation. Also COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY! It is important that students stay in contact with instructors and peers.

7. What are assignments like?
The content of online assignments is similar to face-to-face assignments. You may be asked to refer to your textbook and/or other course materials. In most cases, you will be asked to submit assignments in an area of the course designated for file uploads. Your instructor will provide clear directions on how to submit/upload assignments in the Moodle course site.

Tests and quizzes in your online course will be similar to those of face-to-face courses. Deadlines and instructions will be available in the course syllabus.

8. What about course expectations and class attendance?
Online students are active learners and engaged in the class throughout the semester. Most online faculty expect you to log-in and participate in learning activities at least three days a week. Each course is different. Most courses require students to read and reply to discussion postings, submit assignments, participate in small group activities, etc.

Any college course (face to face or online) requires students you to spend 9 -12 hours a week in a 3 credit course over a 14 week semester, including attendance, readings and assignments. You will also be expected to meet deadlines set by the professor. While you can decide what days and what time to 'attend class', online classes at HCC are not self paced or independent study.

9. What student services are available to online students?

  • Academic Advising for online students is available at online@hcc.edu.
  • Academic Support and Tutors are available online in accounting, writing, mathematics, information literacy and research methods, and sciences is available through eTutoring.
  • The HCC Library works to ensure that online students have access to resources and services that mirror those available to students enrolled in on-campus classes. For personalized Library assistance, check out Ask the Librarian.

10. How do I drop a class?
Similar to face-to-face classes, you can add and drop classes during the Add/Drop, usually a four day period at the beginning of the semester. After this period, a Online Course Withdrawal Form must be submitted to Student Records not later than the second week of classes. Courses dropped during ADD/DROP do not appear on the student's HCC transcript. After ADD/DROP a "W" withdrawal grade is recorded in the transcript.

Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040