Distance Learning FAQs | BCTC

Bluegrass Community and Technical College Distance Learning

Thank you for your interest in Distance Education at Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). We offer a wide variety of online classes in support of over sixty different programs of study. Our fully online programs allow students to earn credentials without ever having to step foot on campus.

While online learning offers students the flexibility to complete coursework in the comfort of their own homes, distance learning students do need to be comfortable using computer technology and working independently. Students should set aside at least 10 hours per week per online class. Students are strongly urged to complete a digital literacy course or First Year Experience (FYE 105) before taking an online class or as their first online class. Learn more about requirements for distance learning in the Blackboard Student Support tab.

BCTC First

Students pursuing degrees offered by BCTC should enroll in BCTC classes. In order to receive a degree from Bluegrass, 25% of all courses must be BCTC classes. There are other benefits as well: Students gain access to instructors who also serve as academic advisors and help place students in internships. Books for BCTC online classes are available for purchase in the Cooper Campus BCTC bookstore. Finally, if there are problems with your class, students can receive local support through BCTC student support services and BCTC Distance Learning.

Students in BCTC courses also have access to free online tutoring available 24/7.

Online Class Schedules

Use the BCTC Class Schedule Search to locate online classes; remember to limit "Format" to "Online".

Students enrolled at BCTC may also take classes offered by any of the 16 colleges of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. This option provides our students with a deep inventory of online classes. *Important* to receive a BCTC degree, 25% of classes must originate from BCTC. Non-BCTC options include:

  • Learn by Term. Learn by Term Classes are offered by any one of the 16 KCTCS colleges. Instructors may be housed at any of the state's 16 colleges. Locate Learn by Term classes using Student Self-Service, Class Search. Leave the "College" field blank. Set the "Search for Online Classes" field to "Online with Possible Proctored Exams".
  • Learn on Demand. Learn on Demand classes are self-paced and are offered by one of the 16 colleges in KCTCS. Locate Learn on Demand classes using the Self-Service, Class Search. Leave the "College" field blank. Set the "Search for Online Classes" field to "Online Learn on Demand/Self Select Start Date".

Enrolling at BCTC is your first step toward taking online classes. Once admitted, students meet with a BCTC Academic Advisor to plan classes. You and your academic advisor can decide what form of online learning is best suited for you.

Online FAQ

Types of Online Classes

  • The section number will be one of the easiest ways to determine what mode each class is being taught.
  • 19Z_ = Standard online; there will be no required synchronous class meetings
  • 19F_ = Flexible Learning; the facility or room number will be WWW and there will be scheduled days and times for available synchronous virtual class meetings
  • 19R_ = Remote Learning; the facility or room number will be WWW and there will be scheduled days and times for required synchronous virtual class meetings

These courses are asynchronous through Blackboard or Teams. In online courses, the instructor provides an overview of important content topics and leads the students through learning activities. Any online meetings are optional and should be recorded and available for students to view later. Online courses will have a section number beginning with 19Z_.

These courses give options for both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. Instructors will provide opportunity for regularly scheduled synchronous online meetings to provide for live learning experience for the student. Meetings will be recorded for those who cannot attend. Flexible learning course will have a section number beginning with 19F_.

These are online classes that have required synchronous online meetings. In remote learning classes, the class meets with the instructor, online, at regularly scheduled times through Blackboard Collaborate or Teams. This provides a high engagement learning environment for selected developmental and corequisite courses. Remote learning course will have a section number beginning with 19R_

About Hybrid Classes

A hybrid course is one in which approximately 50% of course material is provided online with the remaining content offered on campus. Online course material may include activities, assignments, and/or assessments. Online activities may include recorded lectures, reading materials, publisher materials, etc. The remaining 50% of coursework is delivered face-to-face (F2F). Hybrid or Blended learning courses will follow campus section numbering (i.e. J0__, 15__, 16__, J1__, etc.)

Many BCTC General Education courses will have hybrid sections available.

Many technical lecture courses are also being offered in a hybrid format.

Hybrid classes are identified in a few different ways –

  • they will have a campus section number  
  • they will have a course mode of HB,
  • they will have a building and room number included in their descriptions

Check your KCTCS email regularly for more specific information on your class schedule.

Yes. Hybrid, in-person, and online courses that apply toward your degree are covered by financial aid. Visit the affording college area of the website for more details.

Many hybrid classes will be scheduled for two days a week, but due to social distancing guidelines, students will often only be required to come to campus once a week- 
Please check your syllabus, KCTCS email, and Blackboard announcements for specific details from your instructor for which day you should plan to come to class each week.

Faculty will try to be flexible but accommodating this request will only happen if maximum room capacity is not exceeded. All students must have assigned regular schedules for face-to-face class attendance to support possible contact tracing.

Typically, no. Social distancing limitations do not allow for students to come more than we have outlined.  Some classes may allow exceptions depending on room capacity.

  • You can access email, announcements, and small assignments using your phone, but most activities and assignments will require a computer. Students also have difficulty with some materials when using a tablet or Chromebook.
  • Within hybrid classes, approximately 50% of course material is offered online. You will need access to a computer and reliable internet. While BCTC has open computer labs, most students prefer to have their own. Computers might also be available for purchase from the bookstore using available financial aid. Please contact them directly for availability.
  • Within some courses, printed textbooks are required, but in others the materials are accessed directly from the online portion of the course. Information on textbooks is available on the bookstore website, and you will also receive textbook information directly from your instructor.

Course Technology Requirements 

Online courses are generally very user friendly with easy to understand controls and clear instructions. However, students still need basic computer skills to access and navigate the course, send and receive email, use word processing programs, and upload/download files. If a student is lacking these skills, it is highly recommended they take a digital literacy course in the first semester. 

Any modern PC from the last few years should have no problems working with online classes. You will also need a reliable high-speed Internet connection of 1.5 Mbps download and 750 Kbps upload. You will also need some way to listen to audio/video with many classes also requiring a webcam and microphone. NOTE: Due to some limitations with software, Chromebooks are not recommended.

No. Although phones may often be used to check email, class announcements or used instead of a webcam, most course content is not as easily accessed or is unable to be accessed on a smartphone. Online students should have access to an actual computer or laptop

To schedule an appointment with a Disability Support Services staff member on any BCTC campus, call (859) 246-6534, (859) 246-6753 TTY (Toll Free) or email DSS. You can also visit the Disability Support Services website for more information. .

Wireless access is available in all buildings, and BCTC is working to expand wireless access into surrounding areas such as our parking lots and picnic tables. We have maps of our current Wi-Fi Hotspots available.

Computers are available in our Open Computer Labs located on each campus.

This information will be provided in the course syllabus. It is important that you thoroughly read the course syllabus and other informational documents on the first day of class.

Yes, the Bookstore is open and you can find more information on the website. You can also place an order online at the KCTCS Bookstore and your ordered texts and supplies will be delivered to your home.

The library is open and ready to assist with all your research needs. Use a computer or printer, get help with online research, check out or return items, or study independently in a quiet atmosphere. The library is “open” online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from any computer or device. Please visit the library's webpage for information on locations and hours, contact information, and online resources. 

Taking Online Classes

BCTC used Blackboard as the learning management system. You will access all your course information from that system. Some classes will also use publisher websites which will be accessible from inside your courses in Blackboard. If your course includes a digital course fee, then you will have immediate access to an eText as well. Check your course syllabus for more information.

Your instructor is the first person you should contact when having issues with an assignment or accessing course materials. Even if they cannot fix the problem, or help you fix the problem, they will at least be aware a problem exists. If the problem is a computer or software issue, please visit the Troubleshooting Blackboard page. We also have an online course to help with Foundational Computer Skills for Online Learning an Orientation to Online Learning and the Training and Learning Center.

Tutoring will be available in person as well as 24/7 online. They will continue to follow Healthy at Work guidelines, which include masks for students and tutors and 6-foot social distancing. Read more about the tutoring website.

For a large majority of courses, you will not need to attend on-campus meetings. There are some courses which require a proctored exam that may require you to schedule a test time at a KCTCS campus. If you are not able to come to a KCTCS campus, be sure to check with your instructor during the first week of the course.

Not all online classes have proctored exams. If they do, online students may take virtually monitored exams online, where a proctor watches via webcam or where computer software detects cheating by checking test-takers' screens and monitoring their behavior.  Proctoring requirements will be outlined in the course syllabus.

This is the decision of the instructor of the course and will be made clear in the syllabus. A very large majority of online classes do not require any form of synchronous meetings. Other online courses may offer a synchronous meeting time that is either optional or required, with a recording of the meeting made available afterward. 

Just like in traditional classes, the workload varies, but do not expect your course to be easier just because it is online. Many online learners spend 15 to 20 hours a week on coursework. That workload, of course, may vary between full-time and part-time students. A lighter course load likely means less study. For each hour spent in your virtual classroom, you should plan on two to three hours of homework.

Online courses will usually have assignment due dates throughout the semester just like an on-campus class. To be successful in an online class, you need to log-in and check your classes regularly.

The answer depends on the class and the amount of material that needs to be covered. In a perfect world, I would recommend you log-in every day to check your email and your online classes. At the very least, you should be checking email and logging into your online classes every other day.

Your instructor’s contact information will be provided in the course syllabus. They will often provide their phone number, email address, office locations, and available office hours. They may also indicate a preferred contact method. You might also find it in a “Start Here” section of your Blackboard course. As an online student, it is important that you maintain good communication with your instructors to be successful in your courses. Check your email at least once per day to stay up to date on important class information.

If you need other college related help, BCTC offers online resources for you. These can be found by visiting our website and finding the appropriate department or checking the “Contact Us” page.