Distance & Alternative Education
Online and Hybrid Courses
Distance education offers Austin Community College (ACC) students a convenient way to earn college credit through online and hybrid courses where the majority of instruction occurs when students and faculty are not in the same place. These interactive, web-based classes are designed for students who desire flexibility in their studies. Course content and transferability is identical to classes offered on campus, giving students more scheduling options and a wider selection of classes to meet their needs.
ACC offers four types of distance education courses to choose from:
- ONL (Online)
Course instruction is online. Tests will be taken online. Some tests may require proctoring. Students can access online proctoring on their own computer for free. Online courses eliminate geography as a factor.
- DLS (Synchronous Virtual Class Meetings Required)
Course instruction is online. Course instruction includes required real-time virtual class meetings at the days and times listed. Tests will be taken online. Some tests may require proctoring. Students can access online proctoring on their own computer for free. Online courses eliminate geography as a factor.
- HYD (Hybrid)
Most course instruction is online (more than 50%). There is at least one mandatory on-campus component (e.g., on-site lab work). Distance testing may be allowed. Students need to be aware of the on-campus requirement when registering.
- DLC (Campus Testing Required)
Course instruction is online. Tests are taken in the Instructional Testing Centers on campus. Distance testing is not allowed. Students need to be aware of the on-campus testing requirement when registering.
The enrollment and registration process is the same for distance education courses as it is for on-campus courses. Fully online degree and certificate programs are offered. Visit the ACC Online website for complete program information.
Distance Education Course Orientation
All distance education courses begin with a mandatory orientation. Refer to the course section description in the Course Schedule to find orientation instructions for the class. Students who fail to meet a course’s orientation requirements risk being withdrawn from the course for non-attendance. Students should contact the course instructor immediately to clarify any questions about the orientation or other course requirements.
Distance Education Course Delivery in Blackboard
Distance education classes are taught using Blackboard, the College-approved learning management system for online course delivery. Classes may use additional hardware and software, but the College-approved learning management system must serve as the gateway.
- Secure Access to Blackboard
Students use their unique ACCeID and password to securely login to Blackboard.
- Course Availability in Blackboard
Courses are available in Blackboard for students no later than the Friday before the session begins. For students who register after the session begins, it may take up to 24 hours for the course to appear in Blackboard.
- Course Confidentiality in Blackboard for Students
Only work submitted to open forums, like discussion boards, can be accessed by other students in the class. Assignments, grades, and correspondence are not viewable by other students.
- Professional Use Expectations for College Information Systems
The following statement appears on the Blackboard login page regarding the expectations and policies that all users must abide:
“Users are expected to comply with ACC’s Administrative Rule on the Use of College Information Systems, and to be familiar with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Proceeding to use college information systems indicates your awareness of and commitment to comply with the above-referenced guidelines. If you are unsure of these guidelines or disagree with them, you are expected to exit now and consult with your supervisor or advisor.”
Distance Education Testing Options and Procedures
Most distance education courses offer online testing options. Course-specific testing options and instructions are provided in the syllabus.
DLC (Campus Testing Required) courses require testing to be completed in the Instructional Testing Centers on an ACC campus. An ACC Student ID card is required to use the Instructional Testing Centers. Visit the Instructional Testing website for guidelines, locations, and hours of operation.
Procedures for Protecting Student Privacy in Distance Education Courses and Programs
Austin Community College (ACC) protects the privacy of all students including distance education students through strict adherence to the rules of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended (FERPA). The official FERPA statement is available for student and public view on ACC’s Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) page and in the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act section of the catalog.
ACC is committed to protecting the privacy of students enrolled in all courses and programs regardless of the mode of instruction (online, hybrid, classroom). All College policies regarding student privacy and information security apply to distance education courses and programs. All ACC students, employees, and faculty teaching distance education courses and programs are expected to uphold these policies.
Identity Verification in Distance Education Courses and Programs
- ACC Student ID Card
ACC students, including those enrolled in distance education courses, are issued a Student ID Card as proof of identity. Students obtain their ACC Student ID card in person at any campus Admissions & Records Office. Students must provide an ACC Student ID card to use services on campus, including the Libraries, Learning Labs, and Testing Centers.
ACC assigns all students a unique identifier called an ACCeID. Students use their ACCeID and password to login to ACC’s online applications. To ensure that a student who registers for a distance education course is the same student who participates in and completes the course, students are required to use their ACCeID and password to login to Blackboard, ACC’s online learning management system.
Confidentiality in Distance Education Courses and Programs
- Keep your ACCeID and ACCmail account information secure. Do not share your login and password information with anyone.
- Do not give anyone unauthorized access to the Blackboard course.
- Use the ACCeID Manager to reset passwords and update login security questions. Contact the Help Desk for assistance with ACCeID problems.
Distance education faculty are required to use Blackboard, the college-approved learning management system, for course delivery to ensure security of student work and grades.
- Use Blackboard or ACCmail for all official communication such as providing feedback on student work, releasing grade information to students, etc.
- Keep student work, scores, and grades confidential. Students in the course should not have access to other students’ work or grades.
- Keep your Blackboard login and ACCmail account information secure. Do not share your login information with anyone, give anyone unauthorized access to the Blackboard course, or assign any student the role of instructor or graduate assistant in Blackboard.
- Follow the college’s guidelines and FERPA guidelines for sharing student educational record information with other faculty, staff, parents, or others outside the college.