From eLearning

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What is eLearning?

eLearning is the term that is used to describe BCC's distance learning course offerings.

Students who take courses in one of these modalities are often refereed to as "eLearning students."

eLearning also refers to BCC'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 BCC distance learning 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 Smarthinking eTutoring platform, SafeAssign anti-plagiarism software, and VoiceThread.

eLearning Component Diagram

Who takes eLearning classes at BCC?

  • The majority of eLearning students live geographically close to one of our campus/satellite locations.
  • Most students take a combination of eLearning and face-to-face classes.
  • Over 3,000 BCC students are enrolled in at least one eLearning course in the spring 2017 term.
  • Over 700 students are only taking fully-online courses in the spring 2017 term.
  • General Studies Mass Transfer, General Studies Health and Life Sciences Option, Business Administration, Computer Information Systems, and Criminal Justice are the top degree designations of eLearning students.
  • 68% of registered students in the spring 2017 term self-identify as female.
  • The average age of eLearning students is 27.

How long has BCC been offering eLearning courses?

eLearning began at BCC way back in Fall 1999! It was a bit different then as the "world wide web" as we know it was still in its infancy - the main method of distance learning in 1999 was actually through television courses!!! At points in our history we also offered email courses and interactive television courses. Of course now the internet is our main method of course delivery but it doesn't mean that 5 years from now we won't be using a completely different technology.

Below you'll find two charts that demonstrate the growth in BCC's eLearning course offerings and enrollments. You can also view a full summary of eLearning headcounts and credits.

Bar chart showing number of sections offered since Fall 2009

Bar chart showing unduplicated and duplicated student headcounts since Fall 2009

Why eLearning @ BCC?

Designed for students on the go

The Blackboard Learn eLearning platform is mobile friendly designed to work with mobile devices. Visit the Blackboard Learn log-on page for links to Blackboard Mobile on iTunes and Google Play.

Award winning courses and faculty

Two courses at BCC have been recognized as Blackboard Exemplary Courses:

  • 2013 Exemplary Course Award for Developmental Pediatric Occupational Therapy Practice
  • 2014 Exemplary Course Award for Musculoskeletal Anatomy

BCC faculty and courses have also been recognized as Courses of Distinction (COD) at the annual Mass Colleges Online (MCO) conference: MCO COD Award Winners 2004-2013

Interesting facts: 158 faculty members are teaching eLearning courses in the spring 2016 term. Over 50% of full-time faculty at BCC are teaching at least one eLearning course this term!

eLearning mission statement

The mission of eLearning at Bristol Community College is to:

  1. Deliver high-quality online courses and programs that adhere to industry best practices and guidelines;
  2. Encourage and support faculty use of synchronous and asynchronous instructional technologies in online, hybrid, and face-to-face learning environments;
  3. Provide new avenues of access to educational opportunities;
  4. Utilize interaction strategies to engage learners with individual faculty members and courses and the broader college community;
  5. Expand learner access to academic support services through the use of online tools and strategies; and
  6. Enable learners to initiate and complete necessary academic tasks without the need to come to campus.

How do I access my eLearning class?

You can log directly into the eLearning server using your accessBCC username and password at:

Blackboard Learn Logo

Please note that not all eLearning courses use the BCC 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 BCC 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.”

I'm new to eLearning. What should I expect?

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

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.

Getting Started with eLearning Part 1
Getting Started with eLearning Part 2
Getting Started with eLearning Part 3

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

  • About a week prior to the start of the semester, you will also 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. Attendance policies do apply in the online classroom and instructors can mark you absent if they do not hear from you on a regular basis and can also administratively withdraw you from a class. So, be sure to log on and begin participating the first day of classes!
  • 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 BCC Bookstore. If you need help with ordering books, you can view the a step by step tutorial here to assist you.

Do I need to come to campus for my distance learning 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.
  • eLearning is also supported on most mobile devices. However, some content may be presented in a format (such as Flash) that is not supported by particular devices.
  • If you do not have your own computer you can use the designated computer labs at any of our campuses, BCC 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.

Browser Recommendations

The Blackboard Learn eLearning platform is designed to work with mobile devices. Visit the Blackboard Learn log-on page for links to BB Student on iTunes and Google Play or the BCC Mobile App.

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 and can also administratively withdraw you from a class. 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.

Smarthinking eTutoring System

All BCC students - not just online students - can access the [Smarthinking eTutoring platform.]

BCC has been using Smarthinking for the past two years and in reviewing the data can say that students who used Smarthinking had a higher Average Term GPA AND Overall GPA than their peers AND were also more likely to get a C or better in their courses.

Interested in seeing the data? The PDF files linked below provide an overview of how students use Smarthinking and what the impact has been:

Completion Rates

Over the years there have been a number of studies and articles questioning whether or not students taking courses fully or partially online are as successful (in terms of completion, retention and persistence) as those students who take classes in the face-to-face classroom. At BCC we continually review data to determine how students are doing in our courses and programs and what additional institutional or course-level interventions can help students be successful. The PDF file linked below provides a ful summary of the completion rate data for both eLearning and BCC as a whole.

eLearning and College Completion Rate Comparison Fall 2005 – Fall 2016

Accessibility and eLearning

Blackboard Learn

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


Certain math courses use the MyLabs or MyLabsPlus Platform from Pearson Education. Learn more about accessibility and MyLabsPlus. You can also visit this website to learn more about the new accessibility features of MathPlayer 3 which is the plug-in needed to run MyMathLab.

Other associated technologies:

  1. VoiceThread
  2. Smarthinking eTutoring
  3. Blackboard Collaborate Accessibility

For questions about accessibility options or to report a problem, please contact April Bellafiore, Dean of eLearning.

Copyright Notice

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. Additional information on copyright can be found on the [| BCC Library's Scholarly Communication Libguide.]

eLearning Policies and Procedures

  • Every credit course at BCC automatically has a course space created within eLearning.
  • Faculty members will automatically have access to their course spaces once they are formally assigned to a course.
  • Faculty members who are new to BCC or new to the eLearning system should contact the Center for Instructional Technology Expertise (CITE lab).
  • 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.
  • Faculty members should use their accessBCC rosters, not their eLearning rosters, as their official course rosters for student verification purposes. Students enrolled in online courses must have actively participated in order to be marked as attending. See the Attendance Policy below for more information.
  • Course spaces and all associated course data are removed approximately every 14 months. Notification of the removal schedule and timeline will be provided to faculty members via email and through eLearning system announcements. Faculty members are responsible for saving or backing up any course data (including course grades or attendance reports) that they wish to keep. and should contact the CITE lab with any questions or for assistance.
  • 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.

Bristol Community College annually reviews its eLearning 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 BCC'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

View data on BCC's out-of-state student population.

eLearning Complaint Resolution

BCC 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.