Porterville College

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Getting Started Online

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Getting Ready to Learn Online - Quest for Online Success

Being an online student is a new experience for a lot of people, and it can be tricky to manage at first. Even if you’ve taken other online classes before, each online platform is unique. So, to help Porterville College students prepare for our online classes we have created an online tutorial called "Quest for Online-Student Success".

When you go through the tutorial and complete it, you will earn an electronic badge. In some but not all classes at Porterville College, students can earn points in their class when they have completed the tutorial and earned the badge.

If you are enrolled in an online or hybrid class, you can login to Quest for Online Student Success using your college email address and password.

Online Tests

Some classes utilize a program called Proctorio to help with administering online exams. This program is free to students. However, it may require that the student's computer has a working Webcam installed. Check with your instructor to see if you will be required to have a Webcam for online exams. For more information about Proctorio, visit Proctorio support for test-takers.

Canvas Tips

Canvas is the program that most online and hybrid courses use at Porterville College. To learn more about Canvas, refer to the following resources:

General Questions

What computer or technical skills will I need, to take an online class?

I'm on the waitlist in an online class.  What do I do?

Do online classes ever require students to come to campus?

Who do I contact for complaints about my online class?

Login Questions

How do I get to my course?

When will I be able to login to my class?

When I try to login I get an error. What do I do?

Email Questions

I need to email my instructor but I don't know his/her email address. What do I do?

I haven't received an email from my instructor. What do I do?

Grades, Assignments and Testing Questions

Where can I find my final grade?

What if my computer crashes while I'm taking an online test?


---- ANSWERS ----

Q. What computer or technical skills will I need, to take an online class?
A. For improved success you should know how to...

  • type efficiently
  • operate a word processing program (i.e. Microsoft Word)
  • save files in alternative formats
  • send and receive email including attachments
  • find files on your computer
  • find information on the Internet
  • evaluate information you find on the Web
  • use a discussion board
  • download and install programs
  • follow instructions for updating your browser
  • customize settings on your browser
  • copy and paste text from one program to another
  • open 2 or more browser windows or tabs, and navigate between them

Q. I'm on the waitlist. What do I do?
A. If you have not received an email from your instructor contact him/her to see if he/she allows wait-listed students to gain access to the class materials.

Q. Do online classes ever require students to come to campus?
A. Some, but not many, of the classes that are mostly online do require one or more on-campus meetings. A class that is mostly online but also has an on-campus requirement we call a "Hybrid" class. Classes that are completely online we call "Online". You should check the course schedule which will note if the course has any required on-campus meetings.

Q. Who do I contact for complaints about my online class?

A. It is recommended that you first try and resolve your complaint with your instructor. If you are unable to do so, please refer to the following, Porterville College student complaint procedures. If you are a student who resides in a state other than California, please refer to the following PDF document: Student Complaint Process by State

Q. How do I get to my course?
A. All online classes can be accessed by logging in first to InsidePC. Once you're logged in to InsidePC, click on My Courses at the top. Then click on the name of your course.

Q. When will I be able to login to my class?
A. Students who are on the official class roster will be able to login to their course on the first day of the semester, unless otherwise notified. For classes that start later in the semester, check the schedule for the first day of class.

Q. When I try to login I get an error. What do I do?
A. Most login error messages are a result of entering an incorrect Username or Password.  Check to make sure that your Caps-Lock key on your keyboard is not activated and try entering your Username and Password again.

Q. I need to email my instructor but I don’t know his/her email address. What do I do?
A. Your instructor's email address should be in one of the following locations: your printed schedule, your online schedule, or on the Porterville College staff directory.

Q. I haven't received an email from my instructor. What do I do?
A. The first thing to do is to make sure you are actually enrolled in the class. Very often you will not get an email before class starts, so be patient and wait until the first day of the class.  Has your class started?  Some classes don't start on the first day of the semester so double-check the start date. Are you checking your college assigned email address? Instructors only send out messages to your college email address. Check back through older messages, and check the spam folder in your email account. If you still cannot find an email and your class has started, send an email to your instructor being sure to include your name and the title of the class that you are enrolled in.

Q. Where can I find my final grade?
A. Your final official grade can be found by logging in to InsidePC. Then from the Student tab under Registration Tools, click on Registration Status. Hover your cursor over the red Student tab until it turns into a pointing finger and then click. Click on Student Records link. Click on Final Grades, Grade Detail, or Academic Transcript to view grades.

Q. What if my computer crashes while I'm taking an online test?
A. You are responsible for submitting tests, quizzes, exams, and assignments on-time. If your computer crashes and it can't be restarted or doesn't work properly, you should have a backup computer that you can use. In other words, a computer crash does not excuse you from meeting a course deadline.  Be prepared for a worst-case scenario and have a back-up plan that ensures you are able to submit work before the deadline.  Always save your work, and save it often.  Most importantly, don't wait until the very last minute to turn in your work, because if something goes wrong you are left with no time to find a solution.

  • Always notify your instructor when having problems with the program right away. Make sure you log onto the program every day and check for anything new. Keep in mind that online classes tend to be a little more work than going to a class. If you aren't self-motivated, you will not do well. Most instructors will help you as much as possible, however. If you have a hard time learning and finding things on your own, online is not for you.
  • The advice I would give a student taking an online class for the first time is to not procrastinate, and also be checking if the teacher has posted any assignments or announcements. I also recommend the student to ask questions to other class members or the teacher if they are not understanding certain concepts, assignments, or any other problem they might have.
  • Keep a calendar. When I first started taking online classes, I often forgot about assignments because I was busy doing the ones from the classes on campus. A calendar reminds you to login and check your due dates and assignments.
  • Make sure you set aside time for the class--do NOT procrastinate thinking that it's easier just because it is online!
  • I would advise them to not be scared. Online classes can be just as good as a physical sit down class. You just have to apply yourself.
  • The advice I would give to a first time user would be to always have access to a computer. Make sure your computer is compatible with the software utilized for the course. And of course be a good reader and make sure if you don't understand something don't be afraid and send a message to professor.
  • You will have to manage your time wisely. You will need to set up guidelines for your self and stick to them.
  • My advice would be make sure you know how to work a computer. Make sure you know exactly what you are doing before you take an online class. Online classes are very convenient BUT if you are not self-disciplined then you probably shouldn't take an online class.
  • Always read ALL the instructions at the beginning of class. This will help you navigate through homework and quizzes with much greater ease.
  • Follow up with the class. Log on at least a few times a day if not to respond then at least to see what is going on with the assignment at hand. Remember this is a class setting not a free blog site. Most of all enjoy the class.
  • If you decide to take a online class, make sure you have the time to do all homework. Most people seem to think that just because it is an online class that it's way easier because you don't have to sit in a classroom. Wrong. You have to attend (log in) on a daily basis just like any other class.