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Virtual Valley

Frequently Asked Questions

Help Links

The Basics

How do I know an online class 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.

Once you are in an online class, we recommend that you take an online tutorial, available on the Online Student Readiness Tutorials page.

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 classmates. 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 “Schedule of Online Classes.” You will find the classes listed by semester.

What technology skills do I need to be able to take an online course?

Students taking online classes are more likely to be successful if they possess the following technology skills before starting their course:

  • Know how to use a mouse and keyboard to select and start programs, and to enter information.
  • Know how to connect to the Internet and use web browser software to locate information on the Internet.
  • Know how to create and manage folders on a computer, including finding, uploading, downloading, and saving individual files.
  • Know how to send email attachments.
  • Know how to download and install "plug-in" software such as media viewers, java, etc.
  • Know how to manage security settings on your computer through the Internet browser software and firewall.
  • Know how to use word processing software such as Microsoft Word to create, edit, and print text documents.
  • Know how to "cut and paste" and "copy and paste" within documents.
  • Know how to send and receive messages using e-mail.

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 as similarly challenging as on-campus classes.

Are online courses the same quality as on-campus courses?

Yes. The exact same content is taught 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.

Do I have to be online at a certain time to take my class?

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 groups or other discussions to take place at a scheduled time, which is often negotiable. Contact your instructor for any specific time requirements.

Getting Started

When will I have access to my online class?

You will officially have access to your class by 11:59 p.m., PST, on the first day the class starts. Some instructors do open the class earlier, so check periodically.

How do I log in to my online class?

To log into all your online classes, visit the Canvas login page (www.lavc.edu/canvas), then log in with your Canvas username and password. For assistance in creating your username and password, visit our Help Desk page.

What do I do if I can't log in?

Visit our Help Desk for further instruction.

How do I contact my instructor?

To find the instructor for your online class, visit the LAVC Class Schedule page and search for your class to find your instructor's name.

Alternatively, visit the LAVC Faculty Directory and search for your instructor's name.

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.

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 the Library and Resource Center (LARC) 234. Called the "Computer Commons," it is available to LAVC students who are enrolled in the current semester. For more information, visit their website.

Do I need an Email account?

Yes, you need an active email account, and it must be a District provided student email account. For assistance in obtaining one, contact the Admissions office.

What computer equipment do I need to take an online class?

Canvas lists minimum computer requirements. Visit their website for detailed information.