Is Online Learning Right for Me?

Online Learning Contacts

Online Support

Stephanie Moye, MSIS

Computer Information Systems Instructor, Blackboard Point of Contact
(912) 538-3161

Gina Robison, M.Ed.
Dean of Business Technologies & Human Services, Blackboard Point of Contact
(912) 538-3122

Sonya Wilson, MSED
Dean of Industrial & Environmental Technologies, Blackboard Point of Contact
(478) 289-2298


Consider the following to determine if online learning is right for you.
First of all, understand that online classes are different than traditional classroom experiences in a number of ways:

  • The way the information is presented: Rather than in-class lectures and discussions, the course content is presented through web pages, audio/video presentations, computer-assisted learning, and many other methods.
  • The ways you will interact with your instructor and other class members: Since you will seldom meet face-to-face, you will interact through communication tools provided for your class. These include your Student Email account, discussion forums, and other communication tools included within Blackboard.
  • The total learning experience: While you will cover the course competencies in the same amount of time as students in a traditional classroom setting, you may find that the learning experience is less structured. In other words, you may spend less time with your instructor and fellow class members and more time learning on your own. However, you can be sure that your learning experience will be no less demanding; you will have to be disciplined and motivated to get the most out of your online learning experience.

People who learn effectively in an online setting are:

  • Self-motivated and willing to accept responsibility for their own learning,
  • Organized and able to follow directions independently,
  • Self-disciplined, able to budget their time effectively and willing to stick to deadlines,
  • Comfortable with technology, especially web-based and Internet technologies,
  • Willing to accept the challenge of being an independent learner,
  • Willing to take the initiative and contact their instructor when they have questions or concerns,
  • Able to effectively communicate in writing, and
  • Aware that online courses are of the same rigor and breadth as traditional courses.

Finally, it is important to recognize that STC’s online courses give you the ability to work on your schoolwork at the time of day which fits your schedule; however, the courses are not self-paced. You will follow strict deadlines for assignments and your tests will be administered during a “window” of time. Failure to meet deadlines and complete assessments is a sure way to not perform well in the online setting.

Online Courses – Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started?

In order to be sure you get the most out of the online class experience, a little planning on your part will go a long way. It is important to make contact with your instructor as soon as possible by sending the instructor an email on the first day of class letting him/her know that you are registered for their online course(s).  This helps establish your intent to complete the online course. Online instructors will also send a welcome email to each student’s STC Student Email account with instructions on getting started with the course. A course announcement will also be posted in each Blackboard course to guide you on the first day of class. Blackboard is the online management system that the Technical College System of Georgia uses for online courses.

When you log on to Blackboard through your My STC ( account or through, you will see the current courses you are registered for listed, but you will not be able to access them until the first day of class. If you cannot access them on the first day of class, check your registration and contact your instructor.

Click the link for the course you wish to work in. As you enter the course, you will see menu items that will allow you to navigate around your course. You will be able to communicate with your instructor through your STC Student Email account.  Your instructor will inform you of his/her preferred method of contact within the information in your Blackboard course.

Each online instructor will have No Show requirements that students must complete to secure a seat in the course(s).  Those requirements will include, but are not limited to, completion of the Pledge Acknowledgement Quiz located within the Getting Started/Start Here item of Blackboard and at least one academic activity by the third day of the semester. The No Show requirements will be documented in the Day 1 Announcement for each online course.  Note:  The No Show requirements may vary for each instructor and/or for each course, so it is very important to read all instructions carefully.

How do online courses basically work?

You will not have access to your online class until the first day of the semester. On the first day of class, you need to login to MySTC. All online and blended classes use Blackboard.  Some courses will require the use of external assessment sites such as MyMathLab and SAM. If you have not done so already, review the Online Course Orientation.

After entering Blackboard, read the My Announcements and then click on the course you wish to enter under the Course List module. Once inside the course, carefully read the course announcements. You will see course menu items on the left-hand side of the screen that will allow you to navigate around your course. Some of the course menu items include announcements, Getting Started, Course Information, Communication, Lessons/Assignments, etc. Most of your academics (assignments and tests) will be found under the Lessons/Assignments menu item (the names for the menu items that each instructor uses may vary).

You will be able to communicate with your instructor through your STC Student Email account and discussion forums. A discussion forum allows you to hold virtual conversations with other classmates and your instructor without having to be online at the same time. The My Grade menu item will allow you to view your grades. All online courses require a proctored event.

How do I log in to my online course?

  • Login to mySTC and click the Blackboard icon.
  • Your current registered courses will be listed on the FIRST day of the semester. Click on the course you want to enter.

It is very important that you explore each course by clicking the menu items and modules to learn where everything is located (announcements, syllabus, lesson plan, course work, grades, etc.). Along with your STC Student email, check the announcements in Blackboard daily. Your instructor may frequently post important information in the announcement section of Blackboard.

If you have problems logging in, click on this link for additional instructions:

If you are logged in to Blackboard and are experiencing technical difficulties, contact your course instructor FIRST.  In the event that your course instructor is unable to provide appropriate assistance, send an email to

I have not heard from my online instructor. What should I do?

Log in to your course(s). Your instructor should have an announcement on how to get started in the course. Also, check your STC Student Email account. You may contact your instructor if you have any questions. Instructor contact information is posted on the course syllabus and in Blackboard.

I have clicked on the Blackboard icon in mySTC, but my courses are not available or not listed.

Beginning of Semester: Students may log in to Blackboard early, but the courses will not be available for students to access until the first day of class. Double check your registration to make sure you are still enrolled and email your instructor if you are concerned.

Students who Register Late: Students who register late may have to wait up to 24 hours to gain access to the Blackboard course. If your course does not appear within 24 hours, check your registration and contact your instructor.

First Week of Semester: If your course disappears, this most likely means you were purged due to financial aid or no-showed for not adhering to the No Show Requirements. Contact your instructor.

During Semester: If your course disappears, your account has most likely been disabled because you have exceeded the attendance policy or it could be due to a purge.  Contact your instructor.

End of Semester: Blackboard courses will be disabled after the last day of classes.  Contact your instructor for questions concerning your course or see BannerWeb for your final grade.

How long do online courses last?

Online courses begin and end following the same calendar as traditional, face-to-face courses. Full-term semesters during fall and spring are 15 weeks long.  Some courses are also offered in shorter minimesters. The short summer semester is approximately 9 weeks long. The course structure will require that students adhere to these schedules in order to successfully complete the course. Some instructors/courses allow students to work ahead and others require that students stay on a week-by-week basis. The course syllabus, lesson plan, and/or calendar will further guide student progress.

Do I have to come to campus for an online course?

All online courses require one proctored event that will be administered on separate days during the semester—once on the Vidalia campus and once on the Swainsboro campus.  Students must attend one of the proctored sessions as scheduled on the Lesson Plan/Course Calendar. The event will be monitored by the instructor or an approved proctor. Students living farther than 75 miles from either campus can secure an approved off-campus proctoring site. Students arranging off-campus proctoring must take the event on one of the originally scheduled days. Off-campus proctoring paperwork must be submitted a full two weeks before the date of the proctored event.  Please see the proctoring information on your syllabus, in your Blackboard course, and in the school catalog. Some classes may require more than one campus visit. Check your syllabus at the beginning of the semester.

Students who do not complete the proctored event on the scheduled date and do not present a valid documented excuse within three business days of the scheduled event will be given a zero for the proctored event.

Students are not charged a proctoring fee when taking a proctored event at Southeastern Technical College or any other TCSG college. Students who choose to use an off-campus proctor may be assessed a proctoring fee by the proctoring site. In this instance, the student is responsible for payment.

How do I take tests?

Most tests are taken online. Once you are in your course, you will be able to look at the syllabus to find the method of testing used for your particular course. Tests may be administered in Blackboard or they may be administered through external sites such as MyMathLab or SAM.  These requirements will be discussed as part of your course. Tests can be multiple choice, open ended, true/false, short essay, or long essay in format. Tests may also be timed and graded automatically. Each course will be different in the type of tests required. Once completed, your instructor may provide feedback on your test through the course’s grade book.

How much work is there in a typical online course?

You can expect to spend the same amount of time online as you would in the face-to-face classroom plus homework and study time. A fair prediction would be to take the contact hours for your course and multiply by two to predict the minimum hours per week your course should take. Therefore, a five contact hour class will require a minimum of 10 hours per week when you take into account typical class time, homework time, and study time.

Can I take courses on-campus and online at the same time?

Yes, you can take on-campus and online courses at the same time. However, please remember that online courses are as rigorous as on-campus courses, and you should expect the same level of work or more.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

You can take up to the maximum number of courses recommended by your advisor but not to exceed 16-credit hours. A student who registers for more than the maximum credit hours must obtain special approval from the Dean of Academic Affairs for the program area in which they are enrolled.

If I have problems in my class, what do I do?

Your instructor is your first contact. The course syllabus and information in your Blackboard course will state the best way to contact your instructor. If you have problems with your instructor that you cannot work out, you may contact the dean for your program.

Do Online Students Have Access To The Library?

The URL for the library website is  One of the features on the site is the “Ask a Librarian” service provided by the Director of Library Services. Students may also text a question to the Director. A response is usually provided within 24 hours. The library staff is also accessible by e-mail, and telephone during the hours that school is in session.

Are Tutoring Services Available For Online Students?

Tutoring is available to all STC students at the Student Success Center (

I don’t see my question here? What do I do?

Your instructor is your first contact for any Blackboard related question you have.

In the event that your course instructor is unable to provide appropriate assistance, contact