Technical Service Desk
Monday through Friday
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Assistance with Blackboard
Monday through Friday
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Email: Blackboard Coordinator
Mountain Empire Community College provides distance learning opportunities for its students who are unable to attend classes on the college campus or who prefer the online learning environment. The distance learning opportunities at MECC meet all quality standards set forth for traditional on-campus programs to carry out the mission of the College and to support the initiatives of the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).
Blackboard™ is the Internet based course management system used by MECC. Mountain Empire Community College requires that all students either use a secure login and passcode to take online courses.
Distance education courses at Mountain Empire Community College can also require proctored assignments, including examinations. A proctored environment is provided on campus in the testing center located in the Office of Student Services. Students completing proctored assignments or exams in the testing center are required to verify their identity by presenting their college ID or another acceptable form of identification as stipulated in the MECC Testing Center Guidelines. Students who are unable to take proctored assignments on-campus can arrange for an alternate proctored environment through MECC’s Assistant Coordinator of Distance Education. MECC does not charge any additional fees for the purpose of verifying student identity. If external identity verification services are required or if the student chooses to use such services, the student is responsible for any and all costs incurred.
Extended Learning Institute
MECC also offers Services Distance Learning (SSDL) courses through Northern Virginia Community College’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI). Students have the opportunity to take unique online courses that offer a broader choice of career and educational content. These shared courses can also help those students with a few course requirements to complete degree requirements. Course descriptions are available on the Extended Learning Institute web site.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are distance education courses the right fit for me?
While it’s true that online courses bring greater flexibility and convenience to taking college courses, online and hybrid courses are best suited for self-motivated students who are comfortable with independent learning. Before registering for any MECC Distance Learning course, you should make sure that you have certain technology-based skills. Prior to registering, it is recommended that students review this Skills Checklist to see if they are prepared to participate in distance learning courses:
- Locate a file on hard drive, USB flash drive, and/or server
- Save a file to a specific drive and folder
- Change drives
- Connect to an ISP
- Navigate between two or more applications without closing and reopening (multi-tasking)
Web Browser Skills
- Go to a specific URL
- Print a page
- Follow a hyperlink
- Conduct a basic search using a search engine
- Use an Internet address
- Enter a message subject
- Reply to a message
- Send a message
- Open a message
- Forward a message
- Create a folder
- Save a message into a specific folder
- Delete a file
- Add a name to the address book
- Retrieve a name from the address book
- Paste text from a word processor
- Send an attachment
- Open and/or save an attachment
Word Processor Skills
- Open a new file
- Open an existing file
- Save a file
- Rename (Save As) a file
- Cut, copy, and paste text
- Format text
- Change line spacing
- Print a document
What are the distance learning course formats offered by MECC?
- MECC Online Courses: Online courses may be taken anywhere there is access to the Internet. While classroom attendance is not required, your instructor may require synchronous weekly sessions via Blackboard Collaborate or another web-conferencing software.
- Shared Services Distance Learning Courses (SSDL): SSDL courses are online courses available to MECC students through a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA)’s Extended Learning Institute (ELI). Students register for, pay for, and take the class like any MECC class. There is an SSDL Liaison on campus to help students navigate through some of the different requirements of taking an SSDL course.
- Hybrid Courses: Hybrid courses combine classroom learning with online learning. In a hybrid course, a significant portion of the class learning activities are online, which reduces the amount of time spent in a traditional, face-to-face classroom. Students benefit from the quality instruction and flexibility of both the online and classroom learning environments.
- Ed2Go Online Instruction Center: MECC offers a wide range of highly interactive courses that you can take entirely over the Internet for professional development, personal enrichment or to prepare for industry certification examinations.
- Water/Wastewater MOOC: Water/Wastewater courses are available on MECC’s Water/Wastewater Distance Learning website. Classes taken through this program can be applied to an Associate in Applied Science Degree with a Water/ Wastewater Specialization. The information on the Water/Wastewater site is totally free; however, only those who are officially enrolled in the courses will receive credit and be allowed access to assignments and exams.
What Are the requirements to enroll in a distance learning class?
Good habits and regular participation are the foundation for success in distance learning. MECC has established some essential policies and practices to ensure your success.
- Online Attendance – Distance Learning students need to establish a regular study schedule and must communicate with their instructors frequently. Students must follow a schedule of assignments, testing, and other attendance criteria established by their instructors. This will involve at least one activity each week.
- Placement Testing – Students may be required to take placement tests and complete all recommendations and prerequisites before enrolling in a distance learning course.
- On Campus Meetings – Some courses may require some on-campus meetings such as labs and clinicals. Some online programs have required synchronous online sessions that you will attend through a virtual classroom in Blackboard. Any required campus or virtual meeting will be listed in section notes of the course schedule.
Proctored Testing – For many courses, students will be required to take proctored tests/exams at MECC’s Testing Center.
Distance Learning courses require students who have the computer knowledge and skills to:
- send and receive emails with attachments
- conduct Web searches
- download information from the Web to your computer
- recognize and use links
- find, download, and install programs and plug-ins from safe sources
- do basic word processing, such as formatting, cutting and pasting, and inserting graphics
- navigate effectively between two or more applications
- scan for and remove computer viruses
- Successful completion of ITE 119 is strongly recommended
You may also MECC’s computer labs. Failure of your computer is not justification for failure to complete your work. Make sure you have a back-up available. If you cannot come to one of our campus computer labs, you will need to find another alternate. Some courses may require additional software.
Distance Learning courses are accessible through the Internet and you will need to access assignments, transmit completed work to the instructor, interact with other students, and receive graded work. To take a distance learning course you must have:
- A computer with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, or Mac OSX (or later) operating system
- A modern Windows or Mac computer with 500 megabytes (MB) RAM or better (1 GB recommended)
- 800 x 600 screen resolution (1024 x 768 recommended)
- 1 gigabyte (GB) of hard drive space (40 GB recommended)
- A reliable Internet connection (broadband recommended)
- A current, secure browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome – two recommended) with cookies enabled
- Standard word processing software (Google Docs can be accessed by VCCS students)
- Current virus scanning software
- A VCCS student email account
- CD-Rom drive, sound card and speakers (may be needed for some courses)
- Additional plug-ins and software as required for your course
Can I use my smart phone To complete coursework?
MECC offers several learning applications to facilitate access on mobile devices. These applications will help to keep you connected and allow your learning journey to continue across time and location.
VCCS Mobile is your gateway to college services and information. This app is available for Android and iOS (Apple) mobile devices. Download it from your app store and select your college. You can navigate between VCCS colleges if you attend more than one. VCCS Mobile will give you access to course listings, the student information system (SIS), academic and events calendars, library, campus directory, and a map to campus. It even provides quick access to emergency numbers for each campus. It is a mobile tool box that you can keep in your hand.
Blackboard Mobile Learn provides mobile access to your courses on our Blackboard learning management system (LMS). Using Mobile Learn, you can accomplish much of your classwork on the go while hanging out or in transit (not while driving). Download it from the app store for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and webOS mobile devices.
Blackboard Collaborate Mobile is your tool for mobile Web conferencing. Several academic programs at MECC use Collaborate for synchronous class meetings. With the Collaborate Mobile app, you can join these meetings from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device (including Kindle Fire). A number of professors use Collaborate for online office hours so you can make a quick connection while you are waiting, shopping, or traveling (but not driving). Download this from your app store and be ready to collaborate.
Special Note for Out of State Online Students (non-Virginia)
State Authorization and Student Complaint Process
State Authorization is a legal issue dealing with an institution’s adherence to state requirements for colleges to secure authorization to offer instruction in that state. Mountain Empire Community College has been approved by Virginia to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. NC-SARA is a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of post-secondary distance education.
Prospective students living outside Virginia interested in degree or certificate programs that require internships, clinicals, or licensure upon graduation should check with their individual states regarding any special limitations on allowable online courses.
MECC’s Student Grievance Process is detailed at https://www.mecc.edu/students/catalog-and-student-handbook/. MECC strives to provide the highest quality educational opportunities available. However, if a conflict does arise, our efforts are meant to resolve your grievances, complaints, and concerns in an expeditious, fair, and amicable manner.
In accordance with the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA), the complaint procedures outlined in the Student Handbook are subject to oversight of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) in complaints arising from students living outside Virginia who are enrolled in online course(s) through MECC.
SCHEV Student Complaint Process. Complaints must follow the college’s customary resolution procedure prior to being referred SCHEV under State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) procedures. Grade appeals and student conduct appeals are not allowed under SARA.