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Choosing an Online Class

Find out if an online class will be your right choice.

Personal Requirements

  • Comfort level with computers - install software, work with major applications, text, images
  • Internet skills, availability to be online at least twice a week
  • Ability to stay on task without direct supervision
  • Understand written instructions
  • Ability to prioritize your own workload.

Computer Requirements

  • Recommended hardware: 500 MHz Pentium III Processor; 128 MB RAM; 20 gig hard drive; 17" Monitor; 56 Kbps Modem; CD ROM Drive; Windows 95, 98 or XP
  • Web browsers: Internet Explorer 4.0 or later; Netscape Navigator 4.0 or later
  • Have a valid e-mail account
  • Have Internet access
  • Have a word processor.


If I am not in a class that meets with a teacher, then how do I learn?
Your instructor remains an integral part of the learning process and provides you with specific course instructions and guidelines. Depending upon the class, a variety of tools are used which help you in learning the course content - CD's, study guides, computer programs, textbooks and Internet Web sites.

Will I have a schedule to follow?
Some Internet instructors provide a week by week schedule. Other instructors allow students to self-pace their learning.

Do I earn the same amount of credits for an online class as I do for a face-to-face class?
Yes, as you are required to learn the same material. The only difference is the course delivery method.

May I take an Internet class if I don't have a computer?
Yes, you may use the computers that are available in the college's computer labs or library.

I have a computer but no Internet access. Is there something I can do?
The computers in the college's computer labs and library have free Internet access. To connect your own computer to the Internet, investigate different Internet Service Providers (ISP). Some offer free Internet access.

Is registration done differently for online classes?
No. You register for an online class exactly the same way you register for any other course. More»

Will I have to come to campus very often?
That depends on your specific course and instructor, but most online courses do not require on campus visits. For best results, check the online Web site of the class you are taking, or contact the instructor.

How is testing handled?
Some tests can be completed at home, others must be proctored at the ECC Testing Center. For best results, check the online Web site of the class you are taking, or contact the instructor.

Does taking a course online affect its transferability to other colleges?
Each college sets its own policies concerning the courses and credits they will accept. ECC transcripts do not differentiate between online and face-to-face courses.

If I start the course late or go at a slower pace and find I can't complete the course by the end of the semester, what happens?
Some instructors may allow you to receive an incomplete grade (I) at the end of the semester, providing you have successfully been making progress in the course and completed an appropriate level of the course work to date. The decision is up to your instructor and you will need to formally request an (I) grade directly from your instructor. Any student starting a course late or intending to move through the course material at a slower pace is strongly encouraged to discuss this with the instructor prior to registering.

What if I experience technical problems?
If you are having technical problems getting or staying connected to the Internet, please contact your Internet Service Provider. Once you are online and have problems with a course Web site, contact your instructor and/or the ECC distance learning helpdesk,, 847-214-7620. Hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon. - Thurs., 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Fri. It is important you communicate problems to your instructor so he/she is aware.

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