By Gayle Fortnataro, Virtual Valley Student Success Coordinator
Hardware and Software
|How do I know an online course is right for me?|
Students who are most successful in online courses are those who are self-motivated, self-disciplined (able to make and stick to a study schedule), and who have good technology skills.
Before taking signing up for a class, check out our Online Readiness Quiz
Once you are in an online class we recommend that you take two online tutorials, available on the Virtual Valley Student Resources webpage, or by clicking on the links below:
|What’s the difference between an online course and a hybrid course?|
An online course is conducted entirely over the internet. Course materials are posted on a course website. Most online courses never require meeting on campus. However, there are some professors who do require students to attend an orientation session or take exams on campus. Make sure that you understand the instructor's attendance policy before enrolling in a class that will have meetings that you know you won't be able to attend.
A hybrid course combines online learning with face-to-face class sessions on campus with your professor and your class mates. The campus sessions meet on a regular basis. However, you do spend less time in the actual classroom than you would in a regular class.
|Where do I find a list of online courses?|
Go to the Virtual Valley Homepage
Click on the link that says “Online Schedule of Classes.” You will find the classes listed by semester.
|What technology skills do I need to be able to take an online
|Students taking online classes are more likely to be successful if they possess the following technology skills before starting their course:
If you need help developing any of these skills prior to taking an online class, study the following two tutorials, available on the Student Resources page of the virtual valley website:
|Are online courses easier than traditional, on-campus courses?|
The short answer is no. Online and hybrid courses teach the same material as our on-campus courses.
Online classes may even require more weekly work, but they are more convenient.
Students who have poor technology skills or who need the discipline of regularly scheduled class meetings in order to stay on task are likely to feel that online courses are more difficult than classroom-based courses.
Students who have good technology skills, are self-disciplined, regularly make time to study and complete assignments, and have good reading and writing skills are likely to feel that online courses are similarly challenging to on-campus classes.
|Are online courses the same quality as on-campus courses?|
Yes. The exact same content is taught in online as in a traditional course that meets on campus.
All online and hybrid courses are developed by LAVC faculty.
These courses are reviewed by the department chair and an instructional designer.
For course components that are online, you do not normally have to be online at a certain time. Instead, you can study when it is convenient for you, as long as you complete and submit required assignments and tests by due dates indicated in the syllabus.
Some instructors may require small group or other discussions to take place at a schedules time, which is often negotiable. Contact your instructor for any specific time requirements.
|What is ETUDES?|
|ETUDES stands for “Easy-To-Use Distance Education Software” and is the program LAVC uses to teach its online classes. ETUDES is a “course management system” (or CMS), which is a computer program, available over the Internet, that is used to facilitate an online class.|
|How do I enroll in an online course?|
Enrolling in an online class is the same as enrolling in a regular class. Check the Online Schedule of Classes to see what is being offered. You can enroll in one of the following ways.
|How do I log in to my online class?|
|To login to all your online classes, you just need to go to one portal link, login with your ETUDES username and password, and all your ETUDES online classes will be there.
|What do I do if I can’t log in?|
|Make sure you are using correct username and password:
See tutorial lesson: Logging into Your Online Class
Contact LAVC help desk by email, phone, or drop-in lab location: Help Desk Info
Contact your instructor
|How Do I Contact My Instructor?|
|To find your instructor for your online class follow these steps:|
|Should I contact my instructor before class starts?|
|It is a good idea to contact your instructor before the start of class to find out if there are any specific requirements you need to know about before you begin.|
|Where do I go for help with my online class?|
For help with any ETUDES problem or question, contact the ETUDES Help Desk by email, phone, or drop-in lab hours. This should ALWAYS be your first option.
For self-help, visit the following Self-Paced Online Tutorials
|How Do I Send an Attchment?|
For a lesson on how to send email attachments, see the following tutorial:
For a lesson on how to send an attachment within ETUDES, see the following tutorial:
Hardware and Software
|Do I need my own computer to take an online or hybrid course?|
If you are taking an online class or a hybrid, you don’t need to go out and buy a computer. HOWEVER you do need frequent access to a reliable computer.
LAVC does have a computer lab in BJ 103. For lab hours see the following link: Help Desk/Computer Lab Information.
For more information about the lab, contact Ken Freeman at (818) 947-2568.
|Do I need to buy a special computer program to take an online class?|
No. LAVC offers its online classes through the ETUDES-NG course management system, which is available over the Internet. All you need is a good computer with a reliable Internet connection.
However, some instructors may require purchase of special programs, such as Microsoft Word, or other discipline-specific software. Check with your instructor prior to the beginning of the class for any additional software requirements.
|Do I need an Email account?|
|Yes, you need an active email account. Those are available for free from Gmail, Yahoo, etc.|
|Return to Question|
|What computer equipment do I need to take an online class?|
Regular access to a good computer
Reliable Internet access. While dial-up modems will work, they are very slow, so cable or digital Internet connections are recommended.
Note: If AOL is your Internet service, you will not be able to use your AOL browser, but will need to download another browser.
A good word processing program, such as Microsoft Word (some professors require this program).
Check with your instructor to see if there are any additional equipment requirements prior to taking class.
|What is the difference between a PC and a Mac?|
"PC" stands for "personal computer," and is a generic term for any computer. Generally PC's run on a Microsoft "Windows" operating system, like an IBM, Dell, or HP.
"Mac" is short for "Macintosh," which is a brand name for an "Apple" computer.
A Mac has a little apple somewhere on the machine, a PC does not.
Either system will work for your online classes and your educational needs in general. However, the two types of computers do run ETUDES a little differently, so when viewing tutorials or other instructions, be sure to see if there are different sets of directions for a "PC" and a "Mac," and follow the proper set.
|If I want to purchase a new computer, should I buy a PC or a Mac?|
The short answer is that either type of computer will work for online classes in particular and your educational needs in general. However, here are some considerations to help you decide which type of computer is right for you:
Whichever system you decide to buy, check for student discounts at the LAVC bookstore or other vendors.