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Is Distance Learning Right For You?: Do I Need a Computer for Distance Learning?

Do I Need a Computer for Distance Learning?

Yes, you will need reliable access to a computer for Distance Learning. While taking classes online at Germanna Community College, you will be expected to keep up with digital coursework provided to you as well as communicate with your professor. All of GCC's online courses will require you to access material and complete coursework over the internet.

What Kind of Computer Will I need?

You will need a computer that can:

  • Reliably connect to the internet

Your participation, attendance, assignments, and exams will all require you to be able to access a stable internet connection on a regular basis. You will need to be able to reliably connect to the internet to ensure that you are actively participating in your classes and able to complete your coursework by their assigned due dates.

  • Run a word processing program or office suite

Your classes will require you to link to or upload files to assignments. To create these files, you will need to have access to an office suite. Our recommendations are using the Microsoft Office Suite or Google G Suite. You can find more information about these suites and how you can obtain them here. 

Some internet browsers will not function or display content correctly on the websites you will need to use while participating in an online course. We recommend that you use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. You can also visit Canvas's browser support page for information.

  • Run and play video from YouTube or other sources

Your online classes may have you watching videos as a part of lecture material or other class activities. It is important that you can watch videos from sources like YouTube.

Will I Need Internet Access?

Yes, a stable internet connection is necessary while you are participating in Online Learning. While taking online courses at Germanna Community College, you will be expected to:

  • Check your student email account often

Your student email account will be your primary method of communication with your professor. You will need to be able to check this email account often to be up-to-date on your courses and to be able to communicate with your professors properly.

  • Access lecture material and complete course assignments online

You may be required to access lecture material, complete assignments, or upload documents online for your classes.

  • Manage your Germanna myGCC account online

Through your student myGCC account, you will be able to register for classes, view your class schedule, access your student email, and sign in to your student Canvas account. You will need to regularly ensure that all of your information is up-to-date in your account.

What Do I Need to Know About Computers?

To succeed while participating in Online Learning, you will need to know how to:

  • Use a mouse and keyboard comfortably

Nearly all of your coursework will be completed using a computer. Competency with a mouse and keyboard is necessary.

  • Use an Office Suite and Word Processor​

Your courses will require you to create and submit documents created with a word processor or office suite program. You will need to be able to comfortably use these programs to complete your assignments.

  • Navigate the internet with an internet browser

Your courses could require you to visit many different websites to access lecture material and complete assignments.

  • Manage your chosen internet browser and keep it updated to the latest version

Whether you've chosen to use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, you will need to be able to comfortably manage your preferred internet browser. You'll need to be able to clear your internet history and cookies and allow sites to use popups. You will also need to ensure your chosen internet browser is up-to-date, as an out-of-date internet browser may cause some websites and applications to not function.

  • Manage your student email, including sending and receiving attachments

In addition to communicating with your professor over email, you may also be required to submit assignments by sending a document or file to them as an attachment over email.

  • Manage, download, and upload documents and files to and from your computer

You will need to be comfortable managing, saving, and organizing files and documents on your computer.

  • Be familiar with Canvas and all of its features

Canvas is Germanna Community College's chosen Learning Management System (LMS). Canvas is the hub where your professor will post announcements, assignments, and exams. You will need to be comfortable using Canvas in order to check course announcements, check your grades, complete assignments, and take exams or quizzes. Note that classes may require you to do some of these things in other applications, in addition to Canvas. You can access Canvas online through your myGCC account.