Center for Teaching and Learning
Step 1: Read about challenges to online learning, computer skills needed for online learning, ATC's technical support resources, and Blackboard, ATC's learning management system. Engage with interactive quizzes and learning activities to practice your knowledge!
Step 2: Complete the assessment for online learning found at the end of this orientation. Upon successful completion of the assessment (90% or above), your score will automatically be submitted to your student account and posted to your academic history.
Online learning is not easier than face-to-face learning. Online learners need to be ready to take an active role in their learning to ensure a successful learning experience.
Online learning requires learners to have good computer skills. You will need to navigate the Internet, use word processing programs such as Microsoft Word (used at Athens Technical College), use email including attaching documents and use ATC's learning management system (Blackboard).
Online learning requires the learner to ask for help when needed. An instructor will not necessarily know if you do not understand an assignment or course material. Instructors do not see you face-to-face in a classroom. You will need to ask questions in a timely manner.
Online learning requires ten to fifteen hours per week per online course for learners to be successful.
Online learning requires a learner to be good at organizing and managing their time. It has been shown that learners who are well-organized, self-motivated, and able to manage their time effectively, are better able to succeed in online courses.
Online learning at ATC requires meeting course deadlines. Completing projects in a timely manner is important in the online environment. Online courses are not self-paced at ATC.
Online learning requires a lot of reading and writing. The online learner will be spending a lot of time reading, reflecting on, and analyzing course material. In addition, online learners will do a lot of writing including completing assignments for instructors and responding to threaded discussions with instructors and classmates.
Online learning requires active participation. Many instructors expect contributions to discussions and e-mail from every student participating in the course. Students must always correspond with their ATC student email account.
Students who take online courses must possess good computer and Internet skills to be successful. Students should have daily access to a computer (preferably at home). Online courses also require a minimum time commitment of 10-15 hours each week of the semester. Skills specific to individual courses may also be required; for example, proficiency with a word processing software may be needed for an online English course.
INSTRUCTIONS: There are specific computer software, Internet browsers and hardware requirements associated with Blackboard. Read about the requirements and click on the Self Check below to practice what you just learned.
NOTICE: Some online/hybrid courses use books that require an "access key." Access keys may be purchased with new textbooks or directly from the publisher. It is your responsibility to check with the instructor of your online course to determine if an access key is required. Please do this before you purchase your books for your online/hybrid classes. In most cases, after you use an Access key it cannot be reused and is non-refundable.
Athens Technical College is prepared to help you successfully complete your online course! We provide online resources and timely technical support to assist our online students.
INSTRUCTIONS: Review the three steps listed below to learn about what you should do if you need technical support with your Blackboard course. Click on the Self Check to practice what you just learned.
Make sure you are aware of ATC's software/hardware requirements [select Online Resources>E-Learning, then select Technology Requirements] for online learning. (Remember to use the browser checker)
If your computer meets all requirements, has pop-ups enabled, and has all media downloads; but you are still having trouble accessing areas of your Blackboard course, contact your instructor. Contacting your instructor is always the first step when you are having any kind of issue--do not delay.
If your computer meets all requirements and your instructor has not been able to solve your technical support issues, contact Blackboard technical support by submitting a support request found on the Blackboard Online Resources page under Technical Support - http://athenstech.blackboard.com
Some technical problems have to do with the student's particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) or with his/her own hardware or software. In some cases, students will have to contact their ISP for technical support. Athens Technical College cannot resolve problems with your personal hardware, software, or Internet service.
If you experience major technical difficulties with your computer, you may come to campus and use the open computer lab in Building K or the computers located in the library to complete your coursework. Be sure to check lab hours before making a trip to campus.
Blackboard is ATC's learning management system. Learn about how to view course content and communicate with your instructor and classmates and more by viewing each of the remaining pages in this lesson. Let's get started!
You can log onto Blackboard using the following URL: https://athenstech.blackboard.com
You can also log onto Blackboard by hovering over the Resources link tab and selecting E-Learning on the ATC homepage.
Your username is the first part of your ATC email address preceding @athenstech.edu or @student.athenstech.edu.
Your password is your ATC email password.
Password: your ATC email password
Blackboard recommends that you change your password periodically to ensure security. Do not use common personal information as your password, such as your name.
Your email password is now also your Blackboard password. Your password will need to be changed every 42 days inside your email. Microsoft office may no longer remind you.
We suggest adding a monthly repeat reminder to your calendar to change your password (thru your email) every 30 days. If you forget to do this, you will have to have your password
reset by the registrar's office.
Students will have access to their courses through Blackboard on the first day of scheduled classes in the semester. If the first day has passed and you still can't see a course
on Blackboard, please contact your instructor or submit a tech support ticket.
Below is what you will see after logging into Blackboard. Here you have your Course List, and several other links that are described below (some we will cover in a moment under Navigating Blackboard). Remember, if you have just been added to a class during drop add, it may take several hours for your course to appear in your Course List. You are always free to go ahead and contact your instructor via your Athens Tech e-mail account. Remember, your instructor can only correspond with you via your ATC e-mail account.
To navigate Blackboard, use the course menu on the left of your course site. Most of them are self explanatory--but you can find brief descriptions below.
Some links an instructor offers can take you to a sublist of links. Many instructors put the syllabus, contact information, class policies and such under Course Information. They generally put content files (handouts, PowerPoint files, etc.) under Course Documents. However, your instructor may have a different naming scheme. The key to early success is to navigate your course thoughtfully and contact your instructor as soon as possible with your questions and concerns.
Note: Instructors may customize their Blackboard course sites to meet individual class needs. Some of these navigational links may not appear and additional ones could be present (i.e. Discussion Board, Journal)
Your instructor may choose to use Blackboard Email as their primary communication tool. The email tool allows you to send messages to other members of your course. You can address e-mail to individuals, to the entire class, to your instructor, or to groups of students. The email tool will send copies to the person's email account.
To send email, click Tools from the main menu and then click Send Email.
Next, select the type of email you wish to send (all users, all groups, all teaching assistants, users, all student users, all instructor users, select users, select groups).
If you are sending an email to specific individuals, be sure to highlight their specific names and click on the arrow to indicate which uses should be selected. The window is very user-friendly.
After selecting the recipient(s), include what you would like to in your message. See the descriptions and examples below.
*Please note that some instructors may not use the E-mail tool inside Blackboard.
Your instructor may choose to use Course Messages as their primary communication tool. The this tool provides you with a familiar, email-like environment that you can use for course communication. The Course Messages tool in Blackboard is similar to the Email tool with one important difference--Course Messages are NOT sent to an individuals e-mail account. All messages are contained within Blackboard. Course Messages provides additional privacy because external email addresses are not used. See below what Course Messages may look like in your course. (Note: Course Messages is usually found under Tools)
The Discussion Board allows class members to leave messages (and responses to messages) for others to read. Discussions are organized into different forums (topics). Inside each forum, messages are organized into threads (a thread is an original message and all the replies to that message).
Once you click on the hyperlinked forum title, you will see threads posted on the discussion board. Be sure to look at the unread posts column to see how many unread posts are present in this thread. Use the total posts column to view the total number of posts present (the number of unread posts and total posts includes the initial thread).
You may also use the attachment feature if you wish to add an attachment to your thread. Click on the Attach a file hyperlink and then browse for a file. If you want to submit your thread later, click Save Draft instead of Submit. To continue editing and then submit a Draft Post, return to the Forum page and click on Display to access the drop down list. Select Drafts Only to view the saved post.
*Note: Your instructor will have her own personal settings applied to discussions. This will effect what you are allowed to do and see. Therefore, it can vary slightly from class to class. Some instructors may not even use discussion forums in their course.
The Assignment Tool (previously known as the Drop Box in Angel) allows you to view and submit assignment attachments online. This tool can be placed in any content area in Blackboard, but many instructors will use this tool in the Assignment area of their Blackboard site (Lessons, Course Documents, Assignments). Select Assignments from your course menu. You will see a listing of your assignments. Click on the Name of the Assignment. For our example, we are completing the Word Lab 1 assignment.
A new screen will load where you will see further instructions, a due date, points possible, an area to type comments, and the ability to attach a file. When you are ready to submit an assignment, click Browse to attach your file and then click Attach File. Please note that you MUST click Attach File in order for the file to be included. Include the title of your assignment. If you have comments to enter, type them in the comment box and then click Submit.
After you click Submit, you will be able to view your Submission History. It is always a good idea to be certain your assignment submitted successfully. Your instructor will have a policy for grading, posting grades and feedback.
Plagiarism is a serious offense with serious consequences.
Merriam-Webster defines plagiarize as any of the following:
Few people consider copying from the web serious cheating. However, anything published on the web is considered an original expression of an idea, which is protected by copyright laws. Make certain that work you submit via Blackboard is your own work and that you always site your references. As the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
An assessment might also be called a quiz, test, or exam. The assessment may contain questions that can be graded automatically by Blackboard (multiple choice, true/false, fill-in-the-blank, matching, ordering) and/or questions that will need to be graded by the instructor (essay, short answer). Your instructor may set up the assessment so that you see your grade as soon as you complete the assessment, when all questions have been graded, or so you do not see it until a later time. The type of review available at the end of the assessment is also determined by your instructor. Your instructor will provide you with test grade and review availability in your course.
If your instructor has set a time limit for your assessment, the following instructions must be followed to ensure you successfully submit your test.
1. You must not have any other windows open other than the testing window. This means, do not open a Word document, email, additional browser windows, etc. This may result in a disruption in your test and could result in a zero.
2. You may not begin an assessment and finish it at a later time (unless your instructor has allowed). Once the timer has started on an Blackboard test, it continues to countdown even if the student navigates away from the test. Most assessments may only be accessed once!
3. If you experience any technical difficulties at all, email your instructor at once with a DETAILED description of what occurred.
Failure to follow the above guidelines and/or additional guidelines set by your instructor may result in an assessment that cannot be graded.
Access the assessment.
The assessment directions will open.
Instructions and information about the assessment will be listed, including the number of questions, the number of attempts allowed, the time limit for the test, and the type of review.
Click the Begin button to start. If the button is not accessible, the assessment is not available for you to take it. Contact your instructor if you think your test should be available and it is not.
When you begin your test, the timer starts. You will select your answer, then save and submit when you are done. See the example below.
After choosing Submit, you will get the following message. If you are ready to submit, click OK.
Below is an example of a confirmation of submission.
If your instructor has allowed, you may go ahead and review your test. For security reasons, instructors have different windows of time in which a test may be reviewed. Below you can see a summary, including the score. Again, information can vary depending on instructor's preference.
The My Grades page shows the status of gradable items, such as tests, assignments, journal and blog entries, and discussion posts. The My Grades page may include item names, details, due dates, student and instructor dates of activity, posted grades, points possible, links to rubrics used for grading, and your instructor's comments about the items. The type of access you have to My Grades depends on what tools your instructor has made available. Remember, you are responsible for regularly checking your grades and current standing in your online course. This should be done, at a minimum, weekly.
On the course menu, click Tools or a customized My Grades link as seen here.
My Grades screen appears.
If you access My Grades from the My Institution tab or the My Blackboard menu, you see grades for all courses. Click View Attempt to view the grade details.
If you access My Grades inside a course, you see the grades for that course only. Click the item name to view the grade details.
Grades for each course are viewed in the order of:
• Overall grade for the course
• Calculated grades, such as running total
• Graded items by date
• Submitted items by date
• In progress items
If your assignment has not been graded, the Grade column contains a symbol indicating its status. If your assignment has been submitted and graded, the grade appears in the Grade column. To view more details, click the link to see the assignment's Review Submission History page. This page includes:
• Instructor Feedback: This section lists your grade and any feedback provided by your instructor.
• Attached Files: This section provides links to open or download any files attached by you or your instructor. For example, your instructor might provide comments in a file that you submitted with your assignment. If you see feedback for an item but do not see a grade, contact your instructor.*
*Note: Grading questions should always be address with your instructor first. Tech support cannot answer questions about grades and feedback.
The following table describes the symbols appearing on the My Grades page.
Click HERE to begin your E-learning Online Assessment.