Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Course Modalities

What course modalities does GCC offer?

  • In-Person/On-Campus/Face-to-Face: Students meet face-to-face on a campus on a particular day and time.  You may participate via video conference from a campus other than the originating campus (i.e., where the instructor is).
  • Online:  Students participate online at a location, day, and time of their individual choosing.
  • Online (At scheduled times): The course is taught fully online but must be accessed virtually on specific days and times as directed by the instructor.
  • Online (Some scheduled times required):  The course is taught fully online, with some of the work required of the student accessed virtually on specific days and times, as directed by the instructor.
  • Hybrid: The course is taught at a specific location on a specific day and time (as with in-person classes), but part of the course is also completed online.
  • HyFlex: Students may choose, on a day-by-day basis, to participate in-person or online or through a combination of online and in-person.  Students may also complete all or part of the in-person component of the course using “zoom” or similar technology from any location. This option offers the student the most flexibility.

Which modalities/formats are offered for courses in my degree program?

Some degree programs offer one or more courses in multiple modalities while other programs offer a single modality.  Programs may be planning to diversify their course modalities in the future.  Please check with your advisor or program director for more information.

Is one course modality easier than another?

The specific processes and experiences of an in-person course versus an online course certainly will vary in some aspects.  For instance, you may participate in discussions but classmates and the instructor will not be in the same space as you, which does change the dynamic.  While certain aspects will differ across modalities, all participants will be expected to achieve the same Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) associated with the course.

Why are some courses only offered in one modality/format?

Each degree program is responsible for the courses and modalities it offers.  Please direct questions to your Program Director.

May I take a variety of course modalities/formats to complete my degree program?

Perhaps.  If your degree program offers one or more courses in multiple modalities, then you may select the course modality you wish to complete the course and your program.  Please direct questions to your Program Director.

May I attend an in-person/on-campus/face-to-face course remotely?

Some courses are hosted at one campus and link to one or more campuses via video conference.  In this sense, you may join the course remotely from a participating campus.  However, you may not be able to join the course remotely from your own location; check with your instructor.

May I attend an online asynchronous or an online synchronous course at a location of my choosing?

Yes.  You are free to participate in the online course from any location that has internet access, including a GCC campus, home, coffee shop.  For online synchronous courses, you should find a location free from excessive background noises.

Why is GCC offering courses in different modalities/formats?

Today’s college students are seeking flexibility in how, when, and where they pursue a college degree.  While many follow a more traditional path, attending in-person courses on campus, others seek the convenience of participating remotely.  Some want to join a course session “live” while others want to engage in pre-recorded content at a time that best meets their unique schedule.
In short, GCC is offering different modalities/formats because that is what our students want.

A course I need to take is offered in multiple modalities/formats, but I am not sure which will work best for me.  Is someone available to help me decide?

The first person you should look to is yourself:  What is your honest self-assessment about your learning needs, preferences, and strengths?  Do you want or need the accountability of a set day, time, and/or location?  If yes, in-person or online synchronous is your modality.  Do you want the flexibility of participating from a remote location, like your home, job, or local library?  If yes, online synchronous or online asynchronous is best.  Do you want the most flexibility to choose where and how you participate, session to session?  If yes, HyFlex is your choice.
Reach out in advance to your GCC Success Coach and Program Director, and if possible, the instructor, to discuss particulars about modality options and experiences for the specific course.

If I have a question about course content, assignments, grading, or related matters, where may I get help?

Depending on the specific nature of the question, reach out to the instructor or a course colleague.  It is a good idea to connect with a “course buddy” at the beginning of the term, so you may reach out to one another for help as needed.
Online and HyFlex courses should each have a “Student Lounge” discussion forum for students to ask course questions.

If I have a technical/computer problem or question, where may I get help?

If you have a technical question or problem with your course, first check the “Find Help Here” section of your course in Blackboard. If you cannot resolve your problem through the help resources in the course reach out to your instructor.

What are the technical requirements (e.g., hardware, software, environment) to participate in an internet-based (online) class session?

  • A desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.0 or newer with at least 4 GB RAM.  You should have administrator rights on the device, which allows you to add, modify, or delete content and to change settings.  Tablets that meet these specifications may be acceptable.  Chromebooks and smart phones are not recommended, as they lack certain needed capabilities.
  • A webcam and/or microphone—built-in to most laptop computers.  Check with your instructor, as some may require only a microphone but not a webcam.
  • Computer speakers and/or headphones (wired or wireless).
  • Firefox or Chrome web browsers are most compatible with the GCC online Learning Management System (i.e., Blackboard LMS) and other content and resources used by instructors.  Use the most current version.  You may need to add Chrome extensions for some online features to work.
  • Students participating in live online video conferences may need to download and activate free software, associated with the platform being used by the instructor (e.g., Zoom, WebEx) when they log into a video conference.
  • Many GCC courses use the Blackboard online LMS to manage various functions of the course.  Additionally, some instructors use third-party products and/or links to content outside of Blackboard, which may present other hardware and/or software requirements for you.  Seek clarification from your instructor about all third party products and/or outside content and how to receive user support, including technical support. 
  • Reliable internet access, wireless or wired.  Be wary of open wireless networks, which may allow unknown and unwanted persons to access your computer.
  • Unless specifically noted by your instructor, documents (e.g., reports) should be in .doc or .rtf format.
  • A private and quiet environment to minimize background noises being transmitted/heard by others and to aid you in focusing on the course session. [As they are viewing prerecorded content, online asynchronous participants may opt for a less strict environment.]