How are online classes different from face-to-face, Study Unlimited, hybrid and Distance Learning classes listed in the class schedule?

These various types of distance learning are all available at Black Hawk College. Depending on your learning style preferences, your availability for campus visits, and what you want to learn, you can find each of these modalities listed in the Black Hawk College Class Schedule.

  • “Distance Learning” is the term BHC uses to refer to courses that are taught live over interactive television. Many courses are taught via ITV between the Quad Cities and East campuses, as well as to area high schools where upper-division high school students take courses for college credit.
  • “Study Unlimited” courses are similar to independent study…work at your own pace; take exams on campus; use video or audiotapes; and receive help from the instructor on campus or via phone.
  • “Online” courses are typically more interactive between the students and the instructor, with a learning community developing between participants. They are also more often structured so that the class progresses through the content together,
    • allowing more opportunities for discussion, project work, sharing of ideas, etc.
    • “Hybrid” courses split time between face-to-face classes and online learning. For example, you may spend 1-2 classes per week on campus and the rest online.

Are my computer skills adequate for online learning?

It is NOT necessary to have a high level of computer proficiency, but you should have some computer experience navigating the Internet, using e-mail, and using a word-processing program. Reasonable typing speed will also be helpful, as in addition to typing assignments, you will be typing emails, postings to online discussions, etc. Need to learn to type or speed up? However, many online students say that online learning speeds up their typing considerably! If your computer skills are quite limited, you might like to brush up on the basics here or here.

Are any campus visits required?

Some online classes require proctored exams. Your syllabus will say so if this is the case. To take these tests, you will go to the Independent Learning Center (ILC) on the Quad Cities campus or the Learning Resource Center at the East campus. If you do not live close to either of these or cannot go to them when they are open, contact the ILC on the Quad Cities campus to explore other locations where you can meet the proctored exam requirement for your class. Many online classes do not require any campus visits. While online courses require no fixed-schedule visits to the BHC campuses or other pre-determined locations, visits to particular sites for tests, internships, interviews, labs, etc. may be required. Location and scheduling of these activities may be flexible, but the student is responsible for arranging the location suitable to course requirements. Consult the instructor or the syllabus for any of these expectations.

How can I make time in my life for an online class?

Taking an online class sounds easy. However, the work load is as much or more as a face-to-face class. To evaluate whether you have time in your present life to take an online class, try this time audit. Are there some things you need to give up, move around, postpone, or get help with in order to make room in your life for a college class? Tips and hints for time management and other study tips for online learning are also included in our Orientation to Online Learning.

Do I need my own computer and Internet access?

If you do not own a computer or have Internet access at home or at work, you can still take an online course using computers in the labs at either the East or Quad Cities campuses during their open hours; however, you will be on the computer many hours each week and the labs are not open 24-hours, 7 days a week. If you are planning to take the classes from home, a high-speed Internet connection, such as a cable modem or DSL, is recommended. To check to see if your computer system is adequate for BHC online classes, see the tech specifications at OnlineTechSupport or go to http://www.bhc.edu/browsercheckup for an automated checkup.

Based on your needs, do you want to take online credit or non-college credit classes?

If you want to pursue a degree, you must take college credit classes, listed in the online schedule and described in the catalog. Black Hawk College, through its Outreach Center, makes available 6-week non-college credit courses, certificate programs, and job skill training, all online. For further information, visit the Business and Community Education Center current listings of online non-credit classes.

Is Online Learning for Me?

Online courses are attractive because they enable you to determine your own learning schedule and place, since the courses are taught via the Internet rather than in a classroom. However, they are no less challenging or academically rigorous. Most students find they must spend at least as much time on their studies as they would in a face-to-face class to be successful. Typically, that means 8-12 hours per week for an undergraduate, 3-credit course. Consider taking a self-assessment to determine if you are ready for online learning.

Online courses are highly structured and involve frequent interactions with the instructor and with other students enrolled in the course. They are rarely self-paced. Communicating with the instructor and other students, accessing course materials, conducting research, and submitting assignments can all be handled from your home or office via the Internet. In fact, all of these activities are required in most online courses.