Using Blackboard

Information for Online Students

A new version of Blackboard is rolling out. Starting fall 2011, some classes will use the new version, Blackboard Learn, while most will use Blackboard Vista. During the next academic year, you may be enrolled in Blackboard Learn or Blackboard Vista courses. In fall 2012, all courses will be taught in Blackboard Learn.

If you have never taken an online or hybrid course before, please review the following:

  • Technical Requirements: see the Connecticut Community Colleges Blackboard troubleshooting page & the Personal Computer Configuration requirements
  • Please take the SmarterMeasure self-assessment. If log-in information is not available in your Blackboard course or if you would like to take the assessment before enrolling, send an e-mail request to sandbox@mcc.commnet.edu with your name, Banner ID, the name and number of the online or hybrid class in which you are enrolled. The ETDL staff will provide a username and password for you.
  • Online Learning FAQ

If you registered for an online course by mistake or if you decide you are not prepared for online learning, select another course as soon as possible. If you need assistance with course selection, contact the Advising and Counseling Center at 860-512-3320.

How Online Learning Works

In most cases, you will do all of your learning in your online class via your computer. Some instructors, however, may ask that you come to campus for an orientation session or tests. Please contact your instructor for details.

If you are enrolled in a hybrid course, you will have on-campus class meetings and online coursework. The number of on-campus meetings may vary according to instructor, so be sure to check your schedule carefully.

Online learning is provided through Blackboard Vista, an electronic environment that includes a grade book, discussion board and electronic access to course materials that may range from simple text files and Web links to PowerPoint presentations, audio files, videos and simulations.

Although MCC’s online courses provide flexibility that allow you to access information and participate in course discussions anytime and anywhere via a computer and an Internet connection, these are not self-paced courses. Just as in any MCC course, you will have weekly deadlines for assignments, discussions and assessments. The content and expectations in an online course are the same as in an on-campus course at MCC. In an on-campus course you talk to your instructor and fellow students and listen to their comments. In an online course these “conversations” take place in the discussion forums or via e-mail messages, increasing the amount of reading and writing you will do in addition to your normal coursework. Before enrolling in an online course consider the ways that you learn and communicate most easily. 

On average, you can expect to spend the same number of hours working on your online course as you would on a campus course, without the time and expense of travel to and from class.

Take a video tour of Blackboard.

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New and Returning Online & Hybrid Students

Course Availability

When your course is available, it will appear on your “MyBlackboard” page when you log into Blackboard via myCommNet. All courses will be listed on Vista, but those using Learn will have a message directing you to Learn.

Log-in directions are below. The tutorials and links provided on this page will help you understand how to find materials in your course and communicate with your instructor.

Courses are generally available two weeks before the first day of the semester; however, your instructor may choose to wait until the first day of the semester to allow access.

Note that your previous semester’s courses can still be accessed 11 weeks into the new semester.

Reasons You May Not See or Be Able to Access Your Course

  • Your instructor has restricted access until the first day of the term.
  • You are not properly registered (including payment of fees)
  • A technical problem
  • Browser cache needs to be cleared. Click here for instructions.
  • Check the Browser Tune-up Page & use the Check Browser tool
  • At the start of a new semester, your previous semester's courses will be deleted after 11 weeks

If, on the first day of the term, you are properly registered, your instructor has not blocked access to your course, and you still do not see your course listed, check back to this website for help instructions. If, once logged into myCommNet, additional assistance is required, call the ETDL Sandbox at 860-512-2857 or e-mail sandbox@mcc.commnet.edu. Evenings and weekends, refer to the myCommNet/Blackboard support page.

Whenever you call the Help Desk, be sure to provide your name and Banner ID number, the name of your course and the full CRN (for example: CSC B101 Introduction to Computers, CRN 20059,) the type of computer you are using (Mac or PC), the browser you are using (for example: Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) as well as the browser version, a clear description of the problem and the troubleshooting steps you may have already taken.

Be sure to log in to your class well before the first day of class. Be aware that some courses have a required orientation session on campus; look for information in your Blackboard course site.

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Let’s Get Started

Log into myCommNet

You will use myCommNet, the community college system portal, to access your online courses and to access Student Self-Service. Use Student Self-Service to access personal, academic and financial aid information; to register for courses and make credit card payments to MCC.

You will use your NetID to log onto myCommNet. If you don't have it, use the NetID Lookup Utility.

The link to myCommNet is located at the bottom of the MCC web page  http://www.mcc.commnet.edu under this icon:

My Commnet

Make sure you bookmark the myCommNet url (http://my.commnet.edu)
so you can access myCommNet even if the MCC web site is down.

Follow this link for instructions on how to log on and use myCommNet.
http://www.commnet.edu/portal/

Resetting Your Password

If you have forgotten your NetID password, you may use the web reset utility at: www.commnet.edu/netid/password.aspx (from a computer already logged in). If the web reset utility is unsuccessful, contact the Registrar’s office at 860-512-3220 (e-mail GenInfoRegistrar@mcc.commnet.edu) or the Help Desk at 860-512-3456 (e-mail HelpDesk@mcc.commnet.edu). You may download a NetID reset request form from the MCC website http://www.mcc.commnet.edu/pdf/MCCResetPIN_ReisssueID.pdf
and fax it to 860-512-3401. You also may walk into the Registrar’s Office (Lowe Bldg. Room L157) or Help Desk (Lowe Bldg. Roomm L204) for assistance during normal business hours.

For more information: http://www.mcc.commnet.edu/offices/irt/netID.php 

How to tell if your course is in Blackboard Vista or Blackboard Learn

If your course is completely online or hybrid, you will have received an e-mail or letter explaining which system is being used. In any case, all courses will have a site in Blackboard Vista. If you access a course in Blackboard Vista which is being taught in Blackboard Learn, you will see a message directing you to Blackboard Learn.

If you are not enrolled in any courses using Blackboard Learn, you will not see the Blackboard Learn icon on the myCommNet page.

Accessing Your Blackboard Course

When you log into myCommNet, you will be on your Home page. Click on the “Student” tab. To access Blackboard Vista, click on the Blackboard Vista icon in the upper right corner of the myCommNet page. If you are taking a course that is using Blackboard Learn, click on the Blackboard Learn icon, also in the upper right corner of the myCommNet page.

Logging Out of BlackboardProperly

Be sure to use the log out link in the top right corner of Blackboard Vista or Blackboard Learn. Do not merely close your browser window as this will not end your session and could result in slow performance for all users.

Tutorials and Orientation Materials

Tutorials that will help you learn how to use Blackboard are available on your “MyBlackboard” pages in Blackboard Vista and/or in Blackboard Learn. To access the tutorials, click on
MACC_111302 - Blackboard Vista Student Orientation” for Vista
orBlackboard Learn Student Orientation” for Learn.

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If You Have Questions or Need Help

With your coursework

Contact your instructor.

With logging into myCommNet and/or Blackboard

Look for help on the Browser Tune-up Page & use the Check Browser tool.
Try clearing your browser's cache. Click here for instructions.

With myCommNet

If you have forgotten your NetID password you may use the web reset utility at: www.commnet.edu/netid/password.aspx. If the web reset utility is unsuccessful, contact the Registrar’s office at 860-512-3220 (e-mail GenInfoRegistrar@mcc.commnet.edu) or the Help Desk at 860-512-3456 (e-mail HelpDesk@mcc.commnet.edu). Students can walk into the Registrar’s Office (Lowe Bldg. Room L157) or Help Desk (Lowe Bldg. Room L204) for assistance during normal business hours.

For more information: http://www.mcc.commnet.edu/offices/irt/netID.php

With Blackboard

IF AFTER SUCCESSFULLY LOGGING INTO myCommNet you have difficulty accessing Blackboard from within myCommNet:

Call the ETDL Sandbox at 860-512-2857 during regular business hours or e-mail sandbox@mcc.commnet.edu.
Evenings and weekends, refer to the myCommNet/Blackboard support page.

Whenever you call the Help Desk or the ETDL Sandbox, be sure to provide your name and Banner ID number, the name of your course and the full CRN (for example: CSC B101 Introduction to Computers, CRN 20059,) the type of computer you are using (Mac or PC), the browser you are using (for example: Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox) as well as the browser version, a clear description of the problem and the troubleshooting steps you may have already taken.

One piece of information that is very useful in troubleshooting is whether or not your course is listed on your Student Self-Service page, accessible through myCommNet. Please check this out and include the information in your communication with the ETDL Sandbox.

NOTE:

The ETDL staff cannot reset NetIDs, so please direct myCommNet login issues to the Registrar’s office at 860-512-3220 (e-mail GenInfoRegistrar@mcc.commnet.edu) or the Help Desk at 860-512-3456 (e-mail HelpDesk@mcc.commnet.edu)

Financial Aid:  860-512-3380 or online.
Registration: 860-512-3221
Textbooks: Textbooks for online courses may be purchased from the MCC campus bookstore. You may order books online from the bookstore at: http://www.efollett.com.
Online tutoring:  http://www.eTutoring.org
Success Coaching for adult students: http://www.adultsuccesscoach.org/
E-mail sandbox@mcc.commnet.edu for login.

For helpful information on a number of subjects, check out the MCC Blackboard Vista  or Blackboard Learn Student Orientation course sites, check out the MCC Blackboard Vista or Blackboard Learn Student Orientation course site which you will see listed on your myBlackboard page. Also, please visit the ETDL Documentation page.

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Last Update: August 08 2012
For additional information, contact: ETDL Department