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What is eLearning?

eLearning refers to Bristol's learning management system where faculty members can post resources for traditional face-to-face courses or teach partially or completely online. Students who are taking Bristol Online classes need to access eLearning in order to connect to their online courses.

eLearning is more than just a single system - it is comprised of a variety of technologies and tools that students and faculty members can access, including the ThinkingStorm eTutoring platform, SafeAssign anti-plagiarism software, and VoiceThread.

How do I access my online classes?

Log into accessBCCand then click the eLearning link located under the LAUNCHPAD located on the left-hand side of the page. If you have not yet logged in, make sure you click the link to “Set up My Account.”

View the Quick Start Guide for helpful getting started information.

Please note that not all courses use the eLearning platform. Some courses use publisher provided or alternative sites. However, links to these sites, and information on how to access them, should be provided with the Bristol eLearning course space.

Also, please note that although you can log into the eLearning system, you will not be able to access your courses until the first day of the term. If you select one of your courses prior to that time you will be presented with a message that “this course is not available yet.” However, the eLearning 101 course is available prior to the start of the term and we highly encourage all students to complete it before classes begin!

I'm new to online learning. What should I expect?

If you’ve never taken an online class before it is highly recommended that you complete the eLearning 101 self-paced course. This is a free sample course where you can learn how to download course files, post to the discussion board and gain answers to frequently asked questions.

To access eLearning 101:

  • Log into the accessBCC using your accessBCC username and password and then click the eLearning link located under the LAUNCHPAD located on the left-hand side of the page.
  • Click on the eResources tab at the top of the page
  • Follow the link to eLearning 101 to self-enroll in the course

Note that once you self-enroll, the course will appear under My Organizations on your homepage. View this video to learn more about eLearning 101 and how to receive a certificate of achievement for completing the course. You can also attend an eLearning orientation session to gain some hands-on help.

How much time will taking an online class take?

Although you do not need to physically come to campus, you still need to set aside equivalent time to learn, study and interact in the online classroom. If you were going to take a 3 credit course you would come to campus for 3 hours a week and would spend an additional 6 hours a week doing reading and homework outside of the classroom. In the online environment, you will spend the same amount of time, but you will need to figure out how to structure your own learning.

      • For a 3 credit course you should plan to spend a total of 135 hours during a semester regardless of whether the course meets face-to-face, as hybrid, or fully online.

The table that appears below should help you identify how much time you should plan to spend per week if you are taking a three credit course:

Semester LengthTime Per Week
15 weeks = 9 hours per week
13 weeks = 10 hours per week
11 weeks = 12 hours per week
8 weeks = 17 hours per week
6 weeks = 23 hours per week
3 weeks = 45 hours per week

Watch the following videos to get a better understanding of and some of the skills and abilities you should have prior to taking an online class. These short voice-over PowerPoint videos provide an overview of eLearning @ Bristol. To view the transcripts for each slide click on the tab on the right-hand side of the slide that says "Notes."

Getting Started with eLearning Part 1
Getting Started with eLearning Part 2

I've registered for an online class. Now what?

  • About a week prior to the start of the semester, you will receive an email in your Office365 account from the college containing important information about taking distance learning classes. Many instructors will also communicate with students using college email so it is critical that you regularly check your Office 365 email account!
  • Log onto the system on the first day of classes! It is important that you log onto eLearning the first day of classes to access the course site. You should carefully review the syllabus so you understand the course expectations.
  • Be sure to have your course books and other required materials by the first day of class. Remember that you can order your books online through the Bristol Bookstore.

Do I need to come to campus for my online class?

  • Web courses do not physically meet on campus at any time during the semester so you do not need to come to campus for any “class meetings.” All course work is completed 100% online.
  • Hybrid courses are a combination of face-to-face instruction and online interaction. Each hybrid course is different regarding how many times during the semester it meets. If you have registered for a hybrid course it is important that you attend the first class meeting. A reminder that you can find out when and where your course meets by checking your course schedule in accessBCC.
  • Student Option Enrollment courses allow students to take the course as a traditional lecture course, 100% online or as a hybrid course. If you registered for a student option enrollment class it is highly recommended that you come to the first face-to-face meeting but if you have opted to take the class fully online then please make sure that you contact your instructor to let him/her know.

Technical Requirements

  • In order to successfully participate in and complete a distance learning course you will need to have access to a computer which is connected to the internet. It doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac – eLearning is compatible with both platforms.
  • It is highly recommended that students download the Blackboard Mobile App
  • For desktop and laptop systems we recommend the use of either Google Chrome or the Firefox web browser.
  • If you do not have your own computer you can use the designated computer labs at any of our campuses, Bristol library resources, or your local library.
  • Because specific computer and browser configuration settings are necessary for the eLearning system a conversation with your employer prior to the start of classes is encouraged if you plan on using a computer at work.
  • Make sure your computer is properly configured and has all the necessary software for your course by trying our eLearning 101 course - available from the eResources tab once you log into Blackboard. The eLearning course contains links to common plug-ins and applications that many courses use.

Success in the Online Classroom

While the content of an online class will be similar to what you would experience in a traditional face-to-face setting, learning online does present a different set of challenges. The tips below will help you make the most of your online learning experience.

  • Although most online classes do not have specific days or times when you meet as a class, all have deadlines and due dates. It is important that you log on to eLearning on the first day of the term and carefully review the syllabus so you understand the course expectations.
  • Attendance policies do apply in the online classroom. Be sure to read and understand each instructor’s attendance policy. Instructors can mark you absent if they do not hear from you on a regular basis. If you cannot “attend” class be sure to communicate that to your instructor!
  • Do not just stop attending class! Make sure that you formally drop the class by completing a course withdrawal form or by dropping the class through accessBCC. The Student Handbook contains information on withdrawing from a class.
  • If you are having difficulty with the content of the class or cannot locate something on the course site be sure to contact your instructor!
  • If you are having technical difficulties, please visit our Help page to learn how to contact us for support.
  • Remember that students taking classes, certificate or degree programs online have access to the same student support services as those students taking traditional face-to-face classes. This includes access to tutoring, library services and disability services. Some of these services are available electronically, others you will need to call in order to obtain additional information or to request services.

ThinkingStorm eTutoring System All Bristol students - not just online students - can access the Thinkingstorm eTutoring platform. Just log into eLearning and click on the eTutoring tab at the top of the page to get started.

Accessibility and eLearning

Blackboard Learn The Blackboard Learn system is compliant with the W3C WAI-AA WCAG 2.0 standards.

MyLabsPlus Certain math courses use the MyLabs or MyLabsPlus Platform from Pearson Education. Learn more about accessibility and MyLabsPlus.

Other associated technologies:

  1. VoiceThread
  2. ThinkingStorm eTutoring]
  3. Blackboard Collaborate Accessibility

For questions about accessibility options or to report a problem, please contact Online Learning at 774-357-2081 or

eLearning Policies and Procedures

  • Students are automatically added to course spaces once they register for a course, however, they will not be able to access the course space until the course start date.
  • Students who are dropped or withdraw from a course will lose access to their eLearning course space and will be marked inactive in the eLearning space. Inactive students will display in red in the eLearning course rosters.
  • Student access to course spaces is consistent with college policy regarding the timeline for clearing an incomplete grade regardless of course delivery method. The Incomplete Grade Policy states that students have to "complete and turn in missing work by the last day of class of the semester which follows the semester in which the "I" was received." As applied to student access to eLearning course spaces this means that students lose access at the end of the subsequent term. For example, students enrolled in Fall 2019 courses would lose access to those courses at the end of the Spring 2020 term. Spring 2020 students will lose access at the end of the Summer 2020 term, and Summer 2020 students lose access at the end of Fall 2020. Courses are deactivated for student access ONLY. Faculty members still have access to their spaces until the term is completely deleted from the system.
  • Course spaces and all associated course data are removed approximately every 12 months.
  • Every 12 months inactive users will also be removed from the system. Inactive users in this context means users who have not logged onto eLearning during a 12 month period.
  • Materials used in connection with the eLearning system may be subject to copyright protection. It is recommended that all users of the eLearning system review the college's copyright policy.

Bristol Community College annually reviews its policies to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations.

Attendance in the eLearning environment

"In a distance education context, documenting that a student has logged into an online class is not sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate academic attendance by the student. A school must demonstrate that a student participated in class or was otherwise engaged in an academically related activity, such as by contributing to an online discussion or initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course-related question."

More information on what constitutes attendance in the online environment can be found in Volume 5, pages 59-60, of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Students should carefully review the course syllabus for specific course attendance and participation requirements.

Student Verification Policy

The Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires that institutions offering distance education or correspondence courses or programs have processes in place to ensure that the student registering for a course is the same student who participates in the course or receives course credit. Examples of such methods include:

  1. A secure login and password;
  2. Proctored examinations; and
  3. New or other technologies; and
  4. Pedagogical and related practices that are effective in verifying student identity.

Secure Login and Password

The Bristol Community College eLearning system meets these requirements by requiring a secure login and password for each student. All students registering for a course through Bristol's administrative system are assigned a unique username. Students are responsible for creating and maintaining their own secure password.

State Authorization for Distance and Online Programming

Recent amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) include changes in individual State Authorization regulations that impact online, distance learning, and correspondence education providers:

If an institution is offering postsecondary education through distance or correspondence education to students in a State in which it is not physically located or in which it is otherwise subject to State jurisdiction as determined by the State, the institution must meet any State requirements for it to be legally offering postsecondary distance or correspondence education in that State. An institution must be able to document to the Secretary the State's approval upon request. (Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1001 and 1002)

If you wish to enroll in one of our online offerings and are located outside of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, please inquire before enrolling to determine if we have acquired permission to offer online courses in your state. You may email your inquiry to

eLearning Complaint Resolution

Bristol is required to provide current and prospective distance learning students with contact information for filing complaints. Students who desire to resolve a grievance should follow the College's Student Grievance Procedure.

If an issue cannot be resolved internally, you may file a complaint with your state. The Student Grievance Contact Information for Individual States as provided by The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, provides phone numbers, emails and/or links to state education agencies.