FAQ for Online Learning
In a Buster Online course, students use the internet to access all the course content traditionally delivered in a classroom. GCCC uses Canvas, a learning management system (LMS). In GCCC's Canvas, students find the course syllabus and learning modules which provide the readings, assignments, lectures, and discussions.
Logging into Canvas and working through the learning modules of a course is the online version of walking into a classroom and attending a class.
Buster Online classes are asynchronous, which means there are no required meeting times. However, there are scheduled due dates and completion points. Students must interact with the course and the instructor at the structured pace of the course. Those course schedules are in the course learning modules and syllabus.
To attend an online class, students must participate in learning modules and complete required assignments every week in a full semester length class. In an accelerated course that is shorter than 15 weeks, students will have deadlines throughout the week.
These schedules create a class pace to support progress to the course learning outcomes and provide structure for regular student and faculty interaction. Within the outline of the course schedule, online students choose when they schedule their daily and weekly times to participate in the course.
- Do I enjoy working through learning activities independently?
- Do I feel comfortable interacting with other students and the instructor through digital means, like messages and e-mail?
- Do I have the time throughout the week that I need?
A good formula for estimating is 40 hours * credit hours / weeks of the course). If a class is 3 credit hours and is 15 weeks long, it would be 40*3/15. Do you have about 8 hours a week you can schedule for completing readings, assessments, and other learning activities?
- Do I have basic computer skills: word processing, internet browsing, e-mail, changing a file type, downloading, and uploading files?
- Do I know how to work my computer's operating system? Can I connect to my Internet Service Provider?
- Am I comfortable installing or upgrading computer software?
- Do I have the ability to learn new software without classroom instruction?
- Can I communicate well in writing?
- Can I understand and follow instructions given in writing?
- Am I comfortable participating in a class where I am not physically present?
If you answered "yes" to most of these questions, chances are you are a good candidate for success in an online course. A few "no" answers to these questions may identify areas that need strengthened or addressed, but you may still decide that online learning is a good choice for you.
If you answered "no" to many of these questions, this may indicate that your chances for success may be greater in a traditional course setting at this time. As your skills and experience grow, you may decide to revisit the option of online learning in the future.
If after answering these questions you are still unsure whether an online course is your best choice, you may also wish to contact our Coordinator of Online Services at 620-276-9788 or at email@example.com to discuss options.
Throughout a Buster Online course, students must complete authentication assignments. An authentication assignment is one that verifies student identity while the student is demonstrating an understanding of course material. Authentication assignments are part of the way that GCCC meets federal requirements. Students must complete authentication assignments to earn a passing grade in the course.
The following are examples of authentication assignments:
- Exams taken using proctoring software with video with an ID check enabled through Respondus Lockdown Browser and Monitor.
- Video discussions, presentations, or demonstrations where students are identifiable and show their understanding of the material.
- Discussions or demonstrations through video conferencing where an instructor can verify the student identity and evaluate the student's contribution.
Webcams are available for checkout from Online Services (firstname.lastname@example.org).
You can take an online course as long as you have access to the Internet on a computer that meets the minimum requirements.
Every registered Garden City Community College student has credentials for their OneLogin dashboard. Credentials for OneLogin makes it possible to access Canvas and other educational technology portals from any computer that is connected to the Internet.
Computers are available on-campus for use by online students. These are in the Saffell Library and the Academic Building (ACAD 1212).
Public libraries often have computers that are available to students. Before starting the class, check on their policies for downloading and make sure that their open hours meet your class needs.
While it is possible to complete some online work from a mobile device, there will be assignments that are not able to be completed through a mobile device alone.
For best performance, participate in online courses with a computer that supports the most recent browser versions. Most technology recommends using a computer five years old or newer. This is a summary of the basic system requirements to take a Buster Online course based on Canvas and the other educational technologies that are used.
- Windows: 10 and 11
- Mac: macOS 10.12 to 12.0+
- iPadOS: 11.0 +
- ChromeOS: at minimum, a version that Google makes available through their Long Term Support (LTS) channel. For more information, visit: https://chromereleases.googleblog.com/search/label/LTS
Memory: 4+ GB of RAM
Processor: 2+ GHz
Download bandwidth: 5+ Mbps
Additional Considerations: A webcam, microphone, and speakers.
The following are educational technologies that used in Buster Online courses with links to their specific system requirements.
Canvas: Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) that contains the learning modules and assignments. Canvas system and browser requirements can be viewed in the Canvas Community at the following links:
- What are the browser and computer requirements for Instructure Products?
- What are the computer specifications for Canvas Studio?
Cengage Unlimited: Cengage is a textbook provider. As a Buster Online student, students have already paid for Cengage Unlimited access through student fees. To use Cengage Unlimited, students will first sign in through Canvas (see above). Courses that use e-texts provide the link to the text within a learning module in a Canvas class.
For checking computer readiness, Cengage Support provides a list of the system requirements for their most common textbook platforms:
Respondus Monitor: Respondus Monitor uses a combination of a Lockdown Browser and automated proctoring through a webcam that students use to record themselves during an online exam. Respondus Monitor should only be downloaded from a link within the modules of a Canvas course.
Tuition and fees are listed in the GCCC Catalog or on the Tuition and Fees page. For more information on tuition and fees, call the Business Services Office at (620) 276-9619.
Course(s) will be available in Canvas, GCCC's Learning Management System. Students access Canvas from GCCC's OneLogin Dashboard.
Students receive login credentials prior to enrollment in courses. Additional information for log-in can be found at the Technology Information page.
After enrolling, the courses that a student enrolled in are added to the future course list in Canvas. Even though the classes are listed as future courses, they will not be viewable by students until the week before the class starts. Classes are published for viewing in the week prior to the start of the term, with most courses published by the Friday prior to the class start date.As classes appear, students should read the course syllabus and schedule to prepare for coursework. Buster Online courses are organized by Modules. After reviewing the syllabus and schedule information, students should go to the modules in a Canvas Course to view the instructors' learning materials.
If you have questions about an assignment, schedule, or course content, you should contact your instructor. Instructors provide contact information in the course syllabus and the home page of the Canvas class.
If you are having issues logging-in to OneLogin to access your Canvas, complete the
Password Reset form.
If you are having problems with the Canvas Learning Management site, you can contact the Canvas 24/7 Help Desk at by logging into Canvas and selecting the help tab on the bottom left.
If you need additional support, contact the GCCC Online Services team at email@example.com or 620-276-9666.
In most online classes, students have digital access to their course textbook. Instructors use either Cengage textbooks or digital Open Educational Resources. As a GCCC student, your Cengage Unlimited access is included in your student fees. Cengage Unlimited provides access to course e-textbooks.
There are a few technical programs who require texts that are not from Cengage because of subject requirements. The full textbook list can be found at the Broncbuster Bookstore website. Any text listed as Cengage will be available, without additional purchase, as an e-book or text platform within your Canvas class.
Students access e-textbooks through the learning modules in their Canvas courses. After accessing Cengage through Canvas the first time, it is also possible to order rental texts at a reduced price through Chegg. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
While Buster Online classes are asynchronous, meaning they do not meet at a scheduled time, an online student will still need to be able to schedule their own time to complete work throughout the week. Expect to spend at least as much time (and possibly more time) on an online course as you would on a traditional course.
A formula for estimating how much time to schedule is 40 hours multiplied by total credit hours. That number is divided by the weeks of the course. If a class is 3 credit hours and is 15 weeks long, it would be 40* 3 credit hours /15 weeks, which would be about 8 hours a week.
An accelerated class which meets 8 or fewer weeks, would require more time. The Assignment of Credit Hour Policy provides a helpful chart for estimating how much time to schedule for a week.
Within a week, successful online students block out time in their schedule throughout the week to complete assignments. While you may need to adjust the following pattern for short term classes and specific course start dates, it works for keeping pace with a course:
- First day of the new week: Find your Canvas module(s) for the week, read overviews, scan readings and lectures, and plan for completing work throughout the week.
- First half of the week: Work through assignments and content and identify any questions about assignments or material that you have and share that with your instructor and classmates. Participate in any weekly discussions.
- Second half of the week: Finish assignments for the week, review any feedback from previous weeks, and review the syllabus or modules for any major project that may be building over modules. Return to weekly discussions and add additional thoughts.
- End of week: Review and study any material. Finish and submit any missing work from the week.
Students who block time in their schedules spaced throughout a week learn more and stress less. Online classes provide flexibility in participation, but they are not designed to be completed successfully in a weekend.
Complete your Orientation.
- Students who are new to online, should sign up for an Online Jumpstart . Jumpstarts are live webinars that introduce new online students to educational technology, online support structures, and the information needed to be successful in an online class.
- Student should also complete their Virtual Orientation which is available from the OneLogin dashboard.
Know Your Resources.
- Online Services provides technology troubleshooting support as well as guidance with taking an online class. Students can contact us anytime at email@example.com.
- Through Canvas, online students have access to the Comprehensive Learning Center (CLC) and the GCCC Writing Center. Both groups use peer tutoring and have Zoom appointments available for distance online students.
- In online classes, students also have managed access to online tutoring through Tutor.com. Students start with a few hours of free access. More can be assigned if there is time still available.
- Successful students seek support. Each student has limited time with Tutor.com in online classes, can also use the CLC and the Writing Center.
- Online Students can also participate in various support services, if they meet other program requirements, such as TRIO's Student Support Services or the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP).
Schedule Your Time:
- Block out time on your calendar to "attend" your classes online.
Bring the virtual world into your physical world.
- Learning is an active process. Making flash cards, taking notes with a pen in a notebook, completing problems, or brainstorming off the computer supports your learning.
- Print selected materials, like major project assignment directions, that you can refer to offline.