Are you thinking about taking online classes at Palm Beach State College? Online courses and degrees are great for motivated, self-disciplined students whose schedules do not permit them to attend regularly scheduled on-campus course meetings, or for those who like the convenience of a blend of on-campus and online learning.
Test yourself with the following quizzes to see if you are a good candidate for online learning:
Are you thinking of studying online at Palm Beach State College? Here are some important things to consider:
- You must apply and be admitted to Palm Beach State before you can register for online classes
- We currently do not have a structured timeframe in which one can graduate with an AA completely online
- Students taking fully online classes may be asked to take proctored exams, either at a campus testing center, or elsewhere, if out of county
- The College is not authorized to offer online classes to out of state students
- If you are not technologically proficient, online classes are likely not for you
- Mobile devices are not supported for learning online – you MUST have a reliable PC/Mac
- Online students can get academic help through Smarthinking and the College’s eLibrary
- It is strongly recommended that you have an alternative computer to use, just in case
- Learning online is as rigorous as classroom learning, if not more
- Even if you are an experienced distance learner, you are strongly advised to take ELO1000
What Programs Are Offered Online?
At present the only programs that are offered entirely online are our Bachelor Degree Programs. Learn more about our Bachelor Degree Programs.
If you are an Associate's Degree-seeking student, there are many fully online offerings for the general education requirements. If you want to see what is being offered fully online, utilize the Class Search, and search for distance learning courses.
Types of eLearning Courses
Fully Online Courses
Online courses are a great way for students to complete degree requirements while juggling work and/or family responsibilities. These highly interactive courses engage students with course content through structured online learning activities. Although many of the College's online courses require no campus meetings at all, some do require on-campus meetings for an orientation, proctored tests, presentations, or group work. Required on-campus meeting dates are listed in the course schedule.
Hybrid courses are a good choice for students who enjoy both online and on campus learning. Blended classes replace some of the time that would normally be spent in a classroom with online learning activities. Attendance is 50% in an on-campus classroom and 50% online.
Web Component Courses
Web component courses are traditional, on-campus courses that use an online component to augment or enhance the classroom learning experience. These courses require regular on-campus meetings.
Students taking regular classes in a classroom may note that their courses have a site on Blackboard. This is not an online class, but the professor is using the online gradebook in Blackboard to keep track of grades and communicate those grades with students. Students may also be required to upload writing assignments via SafeAssign as well.
Have you Enrolled into Online Courses? Are you Thinking of Studying Online at Palm Beach State College?
Here are some Important Technical Factors to Consider:
One of the things you can do to be a successful online student is making sure you have the right tools for the job. eLearning strongly suggests you own your own computer AS WELL as having an alternate system as a backup, just in case. Additionally, you can come to any campus and use any student computer - but, we strongly advise that you not rely solely on coming to campus, as campus hours may not coincide with the time you have available to work on your homework.
Can you easily use Microsoft Office products (including Word and PowerPoint), conduct internet searches, read long text passages on a screen, and troubleshoot minor issues with your computer? If you answered no, you may wish to consider starting out with web component courses instead of jumping right into a fully online course. Make sure you can handle the work and requirements in that component course before moving on to a fully online course.
As an eLearning student, you take on the responsibility for ensuring that your personal technology is compatible with all aspects of learning online, and that you are proficient in using your personal technology.
Internet or Wi-Fi Disruptions
- Issues with your Internet Service Provider
- Adequate Bandwidth
Unreliable Internet service and/or inadequate Bandwidth will have the worst impact on Examinations. Sudden spike in bandwidth use in your home (such as family member starting a Netflix or other streaming video movie, streaming music, downloading large files, etc.) while taking an exam will significantly reduce available bandwidth for the exam, thus slowing down new question refresh-rate, and/or completely freezing up the system if the online exam is video monitored with Respondus. Internet connection disruptions will log you out of the exam while test time test-clock continues to run, wasting valuable exam time.
Please ensure that your Internet connection is stable and that sharing of Wi-Fi Bandwidth is controlled before beginning online examinations.
Incompatible / Unreliable Computer Systems
- Compatible Devices (computers), Operating Systems and Browsers
- Computers full of Bloatware (many installed, usually free/downloaded programs, that use-up system resources)
- Computers with Viruses
- Computers that Crash (or need to be rebooted) Often
Incompatible and/or unreliable computers will make your online studies extremely frustrating, resulting in missed assignment submissions, problems with exam taking (ranging from ‘no access to the test,’ to ‘getting disconnected from the exam while answering questions’), and other various problems - which generally result in students earning lower course grades and lower student success rates.
Mobile devices are not compatible with the functions of Blackboard, and have very negative impact on your ability to successfully access the course and/or participate in the course activities should you attempt to use them (an exception is the very limited Blackboard App available for iPhone and Android devices).
Should you encounter any difficulties and/or unsupported notices, please Contact eLearning before an issue with your system prevents you from earning a good grade in your course(s).
General Computer & Software Skills
- Updating & Installing Software
- Managing Browser Options
- Managing Installed Virus Protections and Firewall Software
- Understanding and Managing Internet Connections and Bandwidth
The eLearning Department continuously monitors the systems that deliver the course content to you. It is imperative for your success to ensure that your skills and your system are also adequate to take online courses, and do not hinder you from participating and succeeding in your studies. You may need to install some supportive technology/software to access supporting course material, update your browser and/or Java software, etc. You need to know the basics of computing.
Blackboard (Bb) Skills
- Understanding the General Structure and Premise of Online Learning
- Knowing how to Navigate Bb Courses
- Knowing how to Upload Bb Assignments
- Knowing how to Take Bb Exams (and use the Webcam Test Proctoring System)
- Knowing how to Participate in Bb Discussions
Students need to have the knowledge/skills to use the course delivery system (Bb) effectively/efficiently, and have full understanding of best practices and the nuances of learning online.
Please enroll in ELO1000, our Free Online Learning Orientation Course, to ensure you understand the Blackboard course delivery system and review best practices of learning online.
The eLearning Team is dedicated to bringing you the best possible Online Course experience – and with your help, to do our best to eliminate technical issues that would have negative impact on your success.
Please take these issues seriously – attempting to use unsupported devices such as Tablets and Phones, sharing bandwidth with others streaming music/movies while taking exams, and/or not having the skills to use your system and Bb effectively will result in frustrations and failure. We can help – but only if you take these issues seriously and put forth the effort to ensure you are ready to learn online.
Your eLearning Team
Not yet a Palm Beach State student? You'll need to complete the following:
- Admissions: Apply, Pay Application Fee, Send Transcripts, Submit test scores, etc.
- Apply for Financial Aid if needed
- Make an appointment with a distance learning academic advisor
(these advisors can work with students online or in person):
Belle Glade campus - Advising Office: (561) 993-1167
Boca Raton campus - Brad Hawkins: (561) 862-4317
Lake Worth campus - Dr. Cynthia Johnson (561) 868-3051
Palm Beach Gardens campus - Patricia Hoyle (561) 207-5342
- Search for what courses are available - see Pantherweb schedule search (need to be enrolled into the College)
- Register for classes - classes fill up so register early
Are you already admitted to Palm Beach State? Register for ELO1000, the free online orientation to the College's eLearning courses.
This self-paced, non-graded, no-cost online orientation provides you with the opportunity to experience what an online course is like, the opportunity to learn how to use our online Blackboard Learning Management System and provide you with some helpful tips on how to succeed in distance education classes. It is recommended that you complete this orientation within the first two days of the term. This orientation takes approximately only 2 hours to complete and is monitored by an instructor from the eLearning Department to assist you with any questions and/or concerns you may have about taking online courses.
If you’re like most distance learners, you love the freedom of learning at home. How great is it that you don’t have to come to campus all the time?! Along with the conveniences that online classes afford, come some important responsibilities and best practices. Here are our top ten tips for online students:
- Create a quiet, distraction-free study spot
- Keep a notebook for each class, just as if you were attending a class on campus
- Know your learning style, and use that knowledge to study effectively for class
- You have access to tutoring, both on campus and online
- You have access to the College library, both on campus and online
- Use a PC or Mac for online classes – mobile devices are not supported
- Have a “Plan B” in case something goes awry
- Keep a thumb drive that you use to save your work
- Save ALL of your work!
- Utilize eLearning resources, such as ELO1000 and the Student Support Center
Most classes have a textbook/publisher website to accompany the class. Your professor may assign things within that publisher website. The publisher website is external to Blackboard, so if you run into questions or issues with that material, it is best for your to contact the publisher directly for support. Here is a list of publishers and their support information for your reference:
McGraw Hill Connect
Are you registered for eLearning classes at Palm Beach State? Here is how to access them:
- On the first day of the semester, your online classes will become available in Blackboard. Login to Blackboard: https://palmbeachstate.blackboard.com/ (Keep in mind that tuition must be paid in full in order to gain access.)
- Your course list will appear on the right side of the screen, under My Courses. Click on the course name to open it.
- Once you are in a class, use the green navigation menu on the left side. Most online courses keep the content in the Lessons area. You may want to begin there first!
Whether you are taking classes on campus or online, you have access to free tutoring. If you are near a campus, you can come to the Student Learning Center any time during their office hours and receive tutoring, supplemental instruction, and more. Please visit the SLC homepage for more information: www.palmbeachstate.edu/SLC
If you take classes online, and coming to campus is not an option for you, you also have access to free tutoring from a distance. In your online course, on the green course menu on the left, there is a link titled, "Online Tutoring." Click on that, and you will be taken to Smarthinking. Smarthinking is an online tutoring and academic support service that is available for our online students. Help is available for nearly any subject, as well as getting feedback on your writing. Learn more about Smarthinking.
Take advantage of these resources that are free to you as a current Palm Beach State College student!