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Online Learning

Set Up Your Tech

It is critical to your success in an online course that you have the right technology and are able to use and maintain it. You are responsible that your technology works in an online class. Technical failure is not an excuse for missed work.

The following sections will help you set up your home environment, learn to use the tools that you will need, and come up with a contingency plan should something go wrong.

Set up your home environment

People using computerYou need to have regular access to a computer that:

  • has current virus protection
  • has a current, supported browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge)
  • has strong internet access
  • you can install software if needed

Other useful equipment includes:

  • headphones and/or speakers
  • webcam & microphone
  • printer

Check any system requirements

Using the computer you will be using most frequently, review any system requirements.

Your course may have additional specific hardware or software requirements or use a learning system other than Blackboard. Check these requirements as early as possible, and install and test any software or hardware that is needed for your course.

Become familiar with CCRI's systems

CCRI Account (documentation)

Your CCRI account is used to login to many of the CCRI technical services (MyCCRI, email, Blackboard, library, etc.). You will need to set this up first.

MyCCRI (documentation)

MyCCRI is your portal to managing your student account (e.g., registration, transcript, degree audit, checking and paying an account balance)

Blackboard (documentation)

Blackboard is the learning management system (LMS) of CCRI. Many online courses will be primarily based out of it.

Email (documentation)

CCRI email is an official communication medium at CCRI. You are, therefore, responsible for all messages that come to you through your CCRI email.

Microsoft Office 365 (documentation)

You will be expected to submit coursework that can be read by faculty (which use Microsoft products). All CCRI students can download and use Microsoft Office 365 (O365) for free throughout your enrollment at CCRI. Office includes Outlook (Email), Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, OneDrive) OneDrive is for file storage and sharing.

Note: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote files from Apple cannot be opened in Microsoft. Save files as .docx, .xlsx, . pptx files or create them in O365 for best success.

Make a backup plan

There is always the possibility of a technological failure. Prepare for emergencies and they do not have to be catastrophic.

Where else can you work if needed? Check out the lab hours at CCRI, your local library, or find a friend or family member can let you use a computer in an emergency.

Back up all of your work. Copy your course files to your OneDrive account, another cloud storage, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, or a flash drive.

Download any apps that will give you access to resources from a mobile device. Note: The Blackboard app can provide access to grades and basic communication but is not a substitute for using a browser and computer.

Print critical course materials so that you can work offline if necessary, particularly the course syllabus and schedule, key assignment instructions, and contact information for CCRI and your instructor.

Know where to get help

guy troubleshooting tech problemYour home system

You are responsible for your home computer system. Make sure you have contact information available for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) in case you have issues with any hardware you rent or your Internet service. Keep install disks for your operating system and all software you've installed from disk in a safe location, and maintain a list of all software you've installed from the Internet. This will make a system recovery easier, should it be necessary.

CCRI services

For issues with CCRI services such as MyCCRI, your CCRI email account, and Blackboard, contact the IT Help Desk.

Other services

If you are using other online services, such as a publisher's website, locate the tech support area of the website, bookmark it, and record a phone number in case you lose access.