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Students - Distance Education

Welcome to Allan Hancock College Online Learning Resources!

The Distance Education Department provides students, faculty, and staff access to resources to support AHC’s commitment to helping students pursue their educational goals through multiple modes of delivery that promote access, convenience, and flexibility.

Allan Hancock College offers a growing number of online courses. Online learning can be a great option for anyone with a full-time job, kids at home, or just a busy schedule!

Taking a class online can provide flexibility for students with busy work schedules or difficulties coming to campus.

It's very important to understand the importance of time management and independent study skills prior to enrollment.

Student readiness is critical to success when taking online courses. The California Community College's Online Educational Initiative has created a fantastic tutorial for online student readiness .  This resource can help you decide whether or not online learning is for you and what you need to know to be a successful online student.

Online instructors utilize a wide variety of tools such as online lectures, assignments, tests, discussion forums, and streaming video.  Our online courses are offered online through a course learning management system (CMS) called Canvas. Instructors may also use additional software and websites, depending on the course. Details and special requirements for each course can be found by clicking the CRN link on the online Class Schedule Search webpage.

Students who take online classes become more proficient and comfortable with using computers. Through assignments, discussion forums and group projects, students can learn to connect with one another online and with information in meaningful and useful ways. Skills like these are in demand by employers. Some students prefer to learn in the same medium they are using for managing information and communication in their life outside of school.

If a student needs to take a class to graduate, they may have the option to take it online. Students who take online classes are more likely to take classes to update their professional skills later in their careers. They will already have the ability to participate in online training and webinars offered by future employers or universities.

Taking an online class has many advantages, however online learning is not for everyone. For instance, if you need the discipline of meeting on campus several times a week and you enjoy the in-person interaction between other students and your instructor, you are more likely to succeed in an on-campus class. The following are characteristics of students who would do well in an online class.

Successful online students must have both Technical Skills and Study Skills.

  • Take a good look at yourself as a learner...
  • What grades do you typically earn?
  • Students who do well in on-campus classes typically do well in online classes. So, you can expect to earn the same grade in an online class as you would earn in an on-campus class.


1. Budget your time.
At a minimum, you will need to study between 6 and 9 hours EACH week in order to be successful in a 3 unit course.

2. Get organized.
It is recommended that you don't procrastinate and don't get behind.
It's very easy to get behind in an online course because you don't actually see the instructor or your fellow students on a regular basis. No one can force you to login to Canvas or to answer your email. If you're not careful, you can attend to the responsibilities that are right there in your life and postpone your responsibilities in cyberspace.

3. Meet deadlines.
Many students incorrectly believe that an online course is student-paced and they can choose when to hand in materials. Actually, most online courses are instructor-paced and there are real deadlines which must be met if you are to pass the course. If you really don't have time to do the work, drop the course before you fail the course.

4. Keep in touch with your instructor and your classmates.
Most instructors provide a discussion board within Canvas for you to post questions about the course requirements, the course content, or the technology. As soon as you begin to be confused or have a question, post it to the discussion board and ask for help from your fellow students. Most online students are glad to help and welcome a chance to get to know their classmates better.

5. Be a good reader and enjoy reading. 
Most lecture material in the online learning environment must be read. Students who are auditory learners (learn better by hearing) may want to consider taking face to face classes or downloading a free screen reader.

6. Be able to communicate clearly and concisely through writing. 
Since almost all communication is written, the ability to enter text in a reasonably speedy fashion is also of value.

7. Be an independent learner. 
Must be self-disciplined and self-motivated. This is an extremely important characteristic. Self-discipline and self-motivation play a pivotal role in whether most students will succeed or fail online courses.

8. Be willing and able to commit 6 to 12 plus hours per week per course. 
Many successful students say online learning is more time consuming than traditional learning.

9. Be open to sharing life, work and educational experiences as part of the learning process but exercise caution. 
Allan Hancock College does not restrict enrollment in Distance Education classes any more than it does in on-site classes. The law requires that we admit all qualified students. We encourage you to exercise the same kind of caution in a Distance Education class as you would if you were taking an on-site class. Do not share personal information about yourself; do not give a relative stranger or new acquaintance your home phone number, address, etc.

Whether you have taken an online course before or are enrolled in your first one, you’ll soon discover that an online course has a unique culture and etiquette. Unlike popular social media, such as Facebook or Twitter that you may already be using in your daily life, online course etiquette more closely resembles that of a traditional, on-campus course. Here are some guidelines you can follow to help you be successful in your online course.

Interacting with People, not a Computer
In an online course, you may find fewer opportunities for face-to-face interaction between you, your instructor, and your classmates. Since most of your interaction will be text-only, you won’t be able to pick up on “cues” such as body language, facial and vocal inflection, or the discussion’s changing pace. This has the potential for people to misunderstand one another’s writing.

Give your writing a respectful “tone,” whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with another person’s posting. When you read e-mail or online discussions, make sure you understand the other person’s message. A confrontational reply to a message you’ve misunderstood can drag a conversation down for everyone. If you don’t understand, ask the writer for clarification with language you’d use in the classroom. Think about how you’d react if someone wrote you the way you’re writing your message. If you think a posting is inappropriate, you should ask your instructor to look into it.

Read Before You Write
Spoken conversations are a continuous process of talking and listening. When you walk up to friends in a conversation, you listen awhile to pick up what’s being talked about before you join in. It’s good etiquette online, too.  Even if it’s a conversation you contributed to previously, new posts by others may have introduced new questions and taken the discussion in new directions.

Read Before You Submit
In general, discussion posts and e-mail should be as concise as possible while still making your message clear. Write a draft and before you click the submit button, read your message aloud, to yourself or to someone else. This can help you find awkward phrasing, correct misspelling, or maybe see a clearer way to compose your message.

Avoid language that is humorous, angry, sarcastic, or offensive. Remember that your readers won’t have those cues mentioned above and could misunderstand you. If you feel particularly strongly about a point, it may be best to write your message first as a draft and then review it before posting in order to remove any strong or ambiguous language.

Words are Forever
Once you submit your message, whether in e-mail or as a post to a blog or discussion group, it will be stored on servers “out there” for others to read. You won’t be able to easily take back your words. Even if you intended it to be private, your message may, in fact, be public. A search engine might find it. It can be forwarded to people you never wanted to read it, or copied and posted in a context you didn’t intend. You have no control over the way others might use it once it is public.

You do, however, have control over what you do – or don’t do – with other people’s messages. If someone writes you a private e-mail, respect that privacy.

For more cyber-protocol tips, visit some of the sites listed below:
E-mail etiquette 101:
Business E-mail Etiquette Basics:
Wikipedia – Netiquette:
Writers Write Internet Journal:
Instant Messaging and Live Chat Etiquette Tips:


Welcome California Community College Online Student.

California Community Colleges Online Educations Initiative -

Congratulations for taking the first step towards academic success in your online classes!

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. These tutorials are interactive, helpful, and easily accessible.

Whether this is your first time taking online classes, or you have taken a few online courses in the past; you will find that these resources are tailored to your needs and are focused on enhancing the academic and technical skills needed for success in the online learning environment.


OEI Online Student Support Services Team

Bonnie Peters
Anita Crawley