New to Online Learning?


Before you register for an online class, read our Distance Education Frequently Asked Questions.

If you aren't comfortable with basic computer skills, then you will probably want to consider taking an introductory course (such as College Skills 334 listed below) before attempting an online course.

Click on the bars below to find out more about each topic.

Students in computer lab

    • Interactive tutorials to help you get ready to be a successful online student
      The State of California’s Online Education Initiative (OEI) has developed an innovative set of interactive tutorials and tools which may increase your chances of success in any online course. The tutorials cover getting tech ready, organization, online study skills, managing time, career planning and more. Interactive tools are offered for calculating costs, testing your computer readiness, daily schedule calculator, and creating a study schedule.
    • Canvas Learning Management System
      Online classes at SRJC are currently taught using the Canvas learning management system. Distance Education provides resources to help students learn how to use Canvas:
    • Consider taking College Skills 334 – "How to Take an Online Course"
      This class is for students who would like to take courses through the Internet but are not confident with all the processes. Application exercises are used to teach skills in major online components, including basic computer knowledge, computer-related terms, e-mail communication, Internet use, and online functions. It teaches the basic skills needed to participate in online-delivered classes, and is recommended for students who have never taken an online course. Attendance at a two-hour orientation on campus is recommended.

    Here's what you need to do to get started in your online classes at SRJC, and also face-to-face classes for which instructors provide mandatory or optional Web-based materials.

    1. If you are not already an SRJC student, you must first apply for admission to the college. After you have been admitted to SRJC, you must then officially register for the course through the Admissions and Records Department.
      Read the Steps for New Students page for more information on eligibility, registration, fees, etc. 
    2. When your class begins, find the class homepage, or look for the link in the schedule of classes or in your Cubby
    3. Follow directions provided by your instructor to access your class website. Information and links there will explain what you need to do in order to get started.
    4. Remember that in most cases your instructor won't allow you to access the class until the date it actually begins. In every case, all questions about your class at SRJC should always be directed to your instructor.

    Thanks to Barbara Heiman for providing the original version of this material.

    • Be realistic about how much time an online class will take. Expect to spend at least as much time in an online section of a course as you would in a classroom section of the same course.
    • Schedule your "class" time weekly, just as if you were physically coming into class. Get your weekly assignments in on time, so you don't lose points.
    • Participate actively in your online community. Some people find email and the Internet very intimidating. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Take advantage of course resources such as the Canvas In Box, discussion forums, and so on.
    • Stay in touch. Most instructors will require certain minimum online participation each week and may drop you from the class if you don't participate regularly.
    • Log on to the class Internet materials at least once a week. Materials, assignments, and expectations can change rapidly in an online course. You'll want to keep current with the class.
    • Don't fall behind. It's very easy to procrastinate when you don't have to physically arrive in a classroom on time or turn in your work in person. Meet the deadlines for your assignments.
    • Don't be shy-- ask for help! Although you may not be able to see your instructor and your classmates, they are all available online.
    • You'll need your own computer or reliable access to a computer. It's usually possible to use machines in the campus computer labs or libraries, if your schedule permits.
    • Tablets and smart phones: You should be able to utilize a tablet computer for most classes. On the other hand, taking an online class via phone will almost certainly be problematic. Students have found it’s best to use the desktop version of Canvas (rather than the phone app) for more complex tasks like submitting quizzes and assignments.
    • Connecting: Whether you're using a wired or wireless connection, you'll be responsible for having your system properly configured and knowing how to connect your system to the Internet.
    • Web browser: The fundamental piece of software required to take an online course is a web browser. Chrome is the recommended browser for use with Canvas, but you can use a recent version of any modern browser, such as Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, etc. 
    • Email: You can use dedicated email client software, or a browser interface, but you need to ensure you can send and receive messages. Upon enrollment, you’ll receive an SRJC Bearcub email account.
    • Trouble-shooting: Most of all, you should feel comfortable enough not to panic when something goes wrong, but to calmly assess what has happened, what might have caused it, and how it might be remedied. First try to accomplish your task using the Chrome browser on a desktop computer. If you are still experiencing problems, support from SRJC’s Information Technology department and Canvas learning management system is available to students.