About Online Learning

Southern State uses Blackboard to offer online courses. Students enrolled in an online course log on to their Blackboard virtual classroom several times a week to communicate with their instructor and classmates, obtain course materials, participate in a variety of learning activities and submit assignments or take tests.

Is Online Learning for You?

You should consider the following questions before deciding to take online courses.

Do I have the time?

An online course worth three credit hours requires an average time commitment of nine to 12 hours a week. Many students report that online courses take more time than classroom courses.

Do I have the skills?

Online learning requires self-discipline, focus and the ability to prioritize your own workload. You should be able to learn from reading as well as follow written instructions.

Do I have the computer skills?

In order to succeed in an online course, you should have good keyboarding skills, know how to create, save and manage files, be familiar with file extensions, know how to use attachments and upload/download files, be able to run any computer application required for the course, be able to install software and be comfortable using a web browser.

Do I have the minimum computer requirements?

Using Blackboard requires the following system requirements:

  • Windows XP SP 3 (Home or Professional) or Windows 7 SP 1 or Windows Vista
  • 2 GHz or higher processor
  • 1 GB RAM

And the following mimimum software requirements:

  • Email account
  • Reliable internet service provider (dial-up connection will work but DSL or cable is preferred)
  • Compatible browser (to find out which broswers are compatible, check Blackboard’s Browser Validation List)
  • Reputable anti-virus program (be sure to regularly update your anti-virus program and visit Microsoft Windows Update to be sure you have the latest protection against viruses)

Some Blackboard courses use browser plugins. To view portions of these sites, you may need one or more of the following plugins (browsers will generally automatically download any plugin required by a particular page):

  • Adobe Reader — view, navigate and print Adobe PDF files across all major computing platforms
  • Flash — view interactive quizzes, animations and activities
  • Java Sun MicroSystems — run applications and applets that use Java technology
  • QuickTime — view videos
  • Real Player — play video and audio files
  • Shockwave — view interactive quizzes, animations and activities
  • Windows Media Player — play video and audio files

Take a Quiz

Answer a series of simple questions to see if you are ready for online coursework.

Online Instructor Requirements

Online instructors may require students to have access to specific programs or other resources and may also require the student to complete an orientation at the beginning of the semester. Find out what your instructor requires at:

Textbooks

Online instructors expect students to have required textbooks in hand on the first day of the semester. Textbooks for online courses are only available on the Central Campus Bookstore so you must complete a Student Book Request Form to have them sent to another campus if needed.

Contact the Bookstore for more information on obtaining textbooks.

Online Success Workshops

Upcoming workshops will be posted here as they become available.