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Online Student Handbook

This handbook was written for BCTC students enrolled in online humanities courses. Students should read closely through the content provided here before taking online classes in the Humanities Division.

Help and Technical Support

If you have any questions or difficulties with your online class, please ask.

General problems or difficulties should be reported to the BCTC Online Learning, (859) 246-6603.

Problems with Blackboard should be reported to one of the following:

KCTCS 24/7 Help Desk:
Toll Free (866) 590-9238
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week

KYVC Call Center/Help Desk:
Toll Free (877) 740-4357
Monday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. ET
Friday: 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ET

Is Online Learning for You?

Online education is not for everyone. Internet students must be able to work independently and meet long range deadlines. Students must be computer literate and have reliable access to a computer connected to the Internet.

We recommend that prospective online students review these help guides to determine whether online education best suits their needs:

Registration and Enrollment

  1. Applications to BCTC. Individuals interested in taking online classes must first enroll in Bluegrass Community and Technical College.
  2. Online Advising. Online students in need of academic advising may contact an online advisor. Online advisors can assist students in indentifying courses which will meet degree requirements.
  3. Registration. Like students in traditional classes, online students register for online classes using PeopleSoft.

Writing and Research Help

Students enrolled in courses in the humanities can expect to write a lot of papers. We strongly recommend that every student purchase a writing guide such as Diana Hacker's Rules for Writers, a handbook required in many English 101 and English 102 courses.

Additionally, there are many useful websites that provide information and guidelines covering Standard English grammar and usage and MLA documentation. We recommend the following websites:

  1. The Purdue Online Writing Lab. Contains guidance on Standard English, MLA documentation, and much more.
  2. Guide to Grammar and Writing. Provides guidance on Standard English.
  3. Common Errors in English. Offers an extensive list of common spelling and usage errors.

Software Help

The following tutorials and guides cover many of the applications used in online humanities classes:

  1. MS Word 2007. This short guide addresses MLA documentation formats in the most recent edition of MS Word.
  2. Blackboard. This guide provides a general overview to the Blackboard Course Management System.

Instructor Course Policies

Students should read carefully the policies and procedures for each online class. Some of the rules for online classes differ. Policies will be stated clearly in the course syllabus. In particular students should review:

  • The policy for late and missing work
    Every instructor has a policy governing late or missing assignments. Students should review this policy carefully. Online classes have due dates for assignments; failure to submit assignments by the due date may result in a reduced grade for a class or failure.
  • The policy for withdrawing from a class after midterm
    After midterm, students may only withdraw with the instructor's permission. Some faculty do not give permission for students to withdraw from class; other faculty grant permission only under certain circumstances.
  • The course "attendance" policy
    Some online classes define failure to submit an assignment as an absence. Students who fail to submit a set number of assignment run the risk of automatic failure. Keep in mind, also, that the course management system tracks a student's activity within the course. This includes the number of times a student logs on to work.
  • Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is defined by KCTCS as "the act of presenting ideas, words, or organization of a source, published or not, as if they were one's own. All quoted material must be in quotation marks, and all paraphrases, quotations, significant ideas, and organization must be acknowledged by some form of documentation acceptable to the instructor for the course." Plagiarism also includes the practice of "employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work that a student submits as the student's own. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual material is completed, it must be done by the student and the student alone. The use of the term material refers to work in any form including written, oral, and electronic" (Section 2.3.1).

    The penalties for plagiarism are severe: "For instances of academic dishonesty related to earning grades the instructor may implement any of three sanctions: A) a failing grade for the specific assignment; and/or B) a reduced grade for the course; and/or C) a failing grade for the course" (2.3.2).

    Students should realize that cutting and pasting content from websites without documentation is plagiarism.

Communicating with Instructors

Netiquette

"Netiquette" is a term to describe etiquette--polite methods of conversation--in an online environment. We recommend students read Virginia Shea's Core Rules of Netiquette for some important tips.

Online Debate

Students should be mindful that tone can be difficult to communicate in email and in Bb discussion boards. It is not uncommon that remarks intended to be humorous or mildly sarcastic are misread as serious insults. Please be careful when posting content. Likewise, when reading email and discussion boards, don't jump to unfounded conclusions.

Coursework in the humanities includes discussions and debate of ideas. There are important ground rules for academic debate. As members of an academic community, we respect the right of others to disagree with our opinions and beliefs. Taking issue with a position is acceptable; taking issue . In short, we debate ideas--not the people

Instructor Communication

When communicating with your instructor, follow the rules of Netiquette described above: it always helps to be polite, to be concise, and to communicate clearly your concerns. Other tips to consider:

  • Include a clear, concise subject heading for email that identifies the topic of the email.
  • In the subject heading, include your course and section number in email. If appropriate, include the assignment number.
  • Be polite: begin your email with an appropriate salutation, e.g. "Dear Professor Smith:".
  • State clearly the information that you wish to request.
  • Be sure to sign your email with your full name, course and section number.

Consider this example:

TO: Chris Smith <chris.smith@kctcs.edu>
FROM: Randy Jones <randolph.jones@kctcs.edu>
SUBJECT: Clarification of Reading Assignment, ENG 101-J0Z1, Assignment #3
MESSAGE:

Dear Professor Smith,

I am confused about the reading assignment due on Friday, October 24 for English 101-J0Z1.

The course syllabus that appears in Bb under the "Syllabus" tab lists this assignment for 10/24: "Read Anderson (34-46)." However, in the announcements page, for October 20, you have asked us: "For Friday, please read the linked article by Bob Powers."

Which article should I read?

Thank you for your help,

Randy Jones
English 101-J0Z1

Course Textbooks

The quickest and easist way to purchase textbooks for BCTC classes is via www.whywaitforbooks.com. Students are advised to order their textbooks as soon as they are enrolled in class.