Student FAQ


What is an online course?

Online courses are completed entirely online through the internet without meeting in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. They are self-paced to an extent, but do have due dates throughout the term (they are not correspondence courses). A course offered online has the same educational objectives as a course taught in a traditional classroom: to help you acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities appropriate to a specific course and body of knowledge. 

DMACC uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver online courses. DMACC Tech Support and Distance Learning only support and my.dmacc software. If your instructor uses a publisher's site, you will need to contact your instructor if you have questions or difficulties (or contact the publisher's support). You will get access to your online course one day before the course begins. Buy or order your textbook ahead of time. Log in the day before or the day the course begins. 

Am I ready for an online course?

Students taking online courses should know how to:

  1. Assess your own technical abilities
  2. Obtain regular access to a computer and the Internet, and have a backup plan
  3. Perform basic computer and Internet browsing functions
  4. Communicate efficiently and effectively in writing, text, chat, voice and voicemail
  5. Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines
  6. Direct your own learning
  7. Work independently

What are my responsibilities for an online course?

As an online student it is your responsibility to do the following:

  • Access your course on a regular basis -- preferably two or three times per week
  • Read the syllabus and determine due dates and test dates and put them on your calendar. The instructor may use a calendar within the course that you can also utilize.
  • Manage time to complete tasks and meet deadlines.
  • Use appropriate online communications etiquette and follow the instructor's guidelines for discussions and e-mails.
  • Develop and use an alternate plan if your primary point of access to the online course fails -- in other words what will you do if your computer crashes? It is your responsibility to keep up with your course work even under unforeseen circumstances. If your car broke down, you would not quit going to class, but would find an alternative method to get to campus. The same theory applies to your online course.
  • If life intervenes, make sure you contact your instructor immediately to make arrangements (i.e., to work ahead or submit assignments late).

How long do I have to complete my online course?

The majority of DMACC's online courses are 15-weeks in the fall and spring terms and 10-weeks for the summer term. Check the DMACC course schedule for your course(s).

Do I ever need to show up on campus to take an online course?

DMACC's policy states that an online student cannot be required to come to campus for any online courses. However, an instructor can require you to have a proctor for tests. DMACC has testing centers that can be used for these proctored tests or if you are too far away from one of our campuses, you are welcome to find your own proctor and have them fill out the paperwork required by the instructor. Web blended courses will have a face-to-face component along with the online component.

Do students get the same information/content in an online class that another student will get in an on-campus class?

Yes, all DMACC online courses must meet the same competencies as their face-to-face (F2F) counterparts and the rigor must be sufficient so that the required learning does take place. However, how you do activities in your online courses will differ from how you might do activities in a F2F class. All online courses will transfer in the same way as their F2F counterparts. In your transcript, they will not be identified as online courses.

When do I start my online course?

Online courses are NOT self-paced. Check the DMACC course schedule to see when your course begins.

When is it right for me to take an online class?

If you need help choosing classes, the order in which to take classes, determining how classes transfer, or anything else related, please see the Advising WebSite

What if I need help while I'm taking an online class?

Contact your instructor first. Online tutoring is available through SMARTHINKING. Learn more about SMARTHINKING. On-campus peer tutoring is also available; contact the Ankeny tutoring office at (515) 965-7004 for information about the location nearest you.

Faculty members in the Academic Achievement Center on each campus provide free homework help on a drop-in basis. Some centers also offer free study skills, writing, and math workshops. Find the AAC hours and subject areas in which assistance is available at the campus nearest you.