Orientation

Blackboard Learn Information
Blackboard Learn is a web platform that we use through GVTC. This is a program that is created for distance courses. If you have suggestions about any features in Blackboard Learn, email studentsupport@gptc.edu . We pass on suggestions to the Blackboard Learn company.

The Blackboard Learn program will change from time to time. There are upgrades from time to time. The upgrades occur between terms. If you take classes from term to term, Blackboard Learn may look different.

Each instructor will add their individual classroom information to the Blackboard Learn site. Each instructor's course will look different from other courses that you take. This is the same as if you were taking classes in the classroom. The classes are different for each instructor.

Blackboard Learn Access Issues
If you have difficulties accessing Blackboard Learn, then try clicking the Refresh button. If you have tried this several times and the screen still says that the "Page cannot be found", then the server is down. You will need to try to access Blackboard Learn at a later time.

You may email your instructor to let them know that there is a problem. If it is in the middle of the night or on weekends, the server may not be reset until the following business day during business hours. Your instructor must wait for the server to be reset just like you, so you need to be patient. Your instructor will take the downtime of the server into consideration.

If you are having difficulties with your computer system, then you will need to find alternate ways to do your work. Your instructor may not allow you to complete work if you have difficulties other than a server problem. Remember that the labs are open at the campuses. You will need to find out the lab hours at your campus.

Contacting Instructors
If you are having any difficulties with your course, contact your instructor immediately. Do not wait! If you email your instructor and would like them to reply to your email, you need to let the instructor know in the email that you would like a response. Give your instructor time to answer your email. If the email is sent after 5:00pm on a weekday, you may not receive a reply until the following day. If the email is sent during the weekend, you may not receive a reply until the following Monday. Be sure to put your name and the class number that you are in somewhere in the email. Instructors may not know your email address. Some instructors will answer email quickly, others will wait till a specific time during the day. Remember that instructors also teach in the classroom during the day. This also applies to voicemail that you may leave. When you call and leave voicemail, be sure to leave your name, a phone number where you can be reached and the class name. Your message should be brief and to the point. If you call and get an instructors voicemail, leave a message. If you don't leave a message, the instructor will not know that you called.

Due Dates
Instructors will have due dates and deadlines for homework assignments, exams and quizzes. You must meet these due dates. Some instructors may take off points or some instructors will not accept late work. Be sure to find out in your class the policy for late work. If it is not listed in the course, email your instructor and ask. Technical problems with your computer or your connection may or may not be taken into consideration by your instructor. Again, if you have a question, ask before a problem occurs.

Course Requirements
The course work that is required in online courses is the same as in a classroom course. Both type of classes must teach the same information. This is required by the State of Georgia. Most of the instructors have included the state standards as part of the Course Information section in online courses. This is the same sheet that classroom students receive as part of their syllabus.

Instructor/Student Interaction
Online course students are more isolated from the instructor. You do not have the one-on-one that you would get in a classroom. Communication is seldom face-to-face and you use electronic communication more often. Be aware that electronic communication is an unemotional way of communication. Sometimes it seems that communication with your instructor is cold and rude. That is the nature of electronic communication. Electronic communication in school and business is conducted without the emotional part that you would get in a face-to-face situation.

You must be very specific when you email an instructor. Explain the problem you are having very clearly and very brief. This is an example of what not to do: "I am having problems with the class.". It would be better stated this way: "I have tried to submit an exam and I keep getting the message that it was not sent." Be very specific without being wordy.