Getting Started

Preparing for Distance Learning

  1. Get Oriented
    • If you are new to distance learning at GRCC, be sure to complete the Introduction to Distance Learning (IDL) tutorial, which can be found by logging in to Blackboard and selecting the option under “My Course List." NOTE: The IDL is temporarily optional during COVID-19. 
    • The ATC Computer Lab also offers a face-to-face "Basics of Blackboard" orientation that is held on campus.
  2. Get familiar with your computer
    • Know how to: 
      1. Use your computer
      2. Download and upload files
      3. Navigate and open multiple tabs in your browser
      4. Troubleshoot general issues. 
    • It's also important to have reliable and high speed Internet access.
  3. Read Everything
    • Be sure to read all course information, syllabi, instructions, contact information, and schedule information. 
    • Follow the instructions in the syllabus to stay current and to ensure assignments and participation requirements are submitted before the due date.
  4. Log In Daily
    • Your course will become available in Blackboard on the semester start day, if not earlier. Start out strong and be sure to log in on the first day. It's helpful to have a regular study routine that includes logging into Blackboard daily. 
    • You should also check your GRCC campus email daily. Email is used by online professors to communicate important deadlines and information.
  5. Be Self-Disciplined and Engaged
    • Stay active and timely in the online class discussions and assignment submissions.
    • Keep a calendar or checklist for assignment due dates.
    • Set your priorities and manage your study and class participation time intentionally. The key is to have a dedicated time set aside for your course work and to minimize obstacles that hinder you from studying and participating.
    • Self-motivation is also important so that you can remember to log in frequently to participate and to engage in learning. 
  6. Set Realistic Expectations
    • Online and hybrid courses will require at least the same amount of time as the on-campus equivalent. If you spend three hours in lecture per week and six hours studying per week for a three-credit course on-campus, then you will likely spend three hours online and an additional six hours studying per week for a three credit online course. 
    • It is also important to remember that you do not get instantaneous feedback in online courses like you do in a face-to-face course. Your faculty member should communicate with you their turnaround time for emails and grading assignments. 
  7. Believe and Ask for Help
    • Believe you can do it! Have confidence in yourself, your academic ability, and expect to be successful! Be aware of where you need to improve and don't get behind. 
    • Your instructor is the first person to contact if you have any questions related to the content of your course. 
    • See FAQs and Who to Contact [link to this page] for non-course-related questions.


Introduction to Distance Learning

  1. Where do I find this tutorial? You will see a link to the “Introduction to Distance Learning" tutorial when you first log into Blackboard ( It will appear under “My Course List.” Simply, click on the link to enter the course.
  2. What if I can’t log into Blackboard or my student email? If you need to set/reset your password, go to If you require additional assistance, please contact IT Customer Support at (616) 234-4357.
  3. What is required to complete the IDL? You will need to complete all four (4) modules and pass the final assessment with at least a 70%.
  4. What happens if I don’t receive a 70% score? You can review the modules and take the final assessment until you receive a 70% score. If you don’t complete the tutorial and receive a 70%, you will not be able to enroll in future online or hybrid classes.
  5. What if I don’t plan on taking distance learning classes right now? You will still need to complete the IDL (and receive a 70% on the final assessment) to take an online or hybrid class in the future. You will not be able to register for a distance learning class without it. Don't wait until registration begins!
  6. Why is this mandatory for students who are new to distance learning at GRCC? Our research shows that the success rate has been about 10% lower for distance learners. The IDL modules focus on the four areas where students seem to struggle - using tools in Blackboard, communications, how online learning works at GRCC, and success strategies (e.g. time management). Because Blackboard will be your online classroom, it is important to understand how to login, and to learn how to use the tools before your class begins.

Ready to register for an online course?

Can't find the online course you need?

GRCC offers many courses online. However, if there is a course that we do not currently offer, you have the option of taking the online course from one of the other community colleges in Michigan. All courses and credits are easily and seamlessly transferred. 

For a list of courses available this semester through Michigan Colleges Online, please visit the MCO website.