Quality Online Learning

  • Students studying outdoors at a bright blue picnic table.

    Online courses offer you a great deal of flexibility, such as anytime and anyplace access to your classes. Nearly all of Century course offerings are currently available online, and many programs can even be completed entirely online. This opportunity to complete programs in an online or face-to-face format existed prior to Spring 2020 and will continue post-COVID. Exceptions are for some technical programs where hands-on learning may be required (e.g., nursing, dental assistant, automotive, etc.). Those courses are currently arranged under health and safety guidelines.

Courses may be offered in completely online, mostly online, blended/hybrid (partly online/partly in-person), or completely in-person. Please click on the course search site to see current course offerings by delivery format. In addition, the college offers non-credit courses, professional certificates, and customized training online. Please see online career training for a list of available non-credit learning opportunities.

Types of Online Classes Available

Below are the types of online learning opportunities at Century College along with a link to explore how a particular program may be offered. Please note that most programs are offered in multiple formats.

Asynchronous and Synchronous Courses

  • Asynchronous means that there are no class times where students must meet at the same time with instructors. Some students prefer these for more schedule flexibility although all classes require time devoted to coursework each week.
  • Synchronous means there are scheduled class times where students meet together at the same time. Some students prefer these for the greater interactivity although all classes will have multiple ways to interact with your fellow students and faculty.

Delivery Methods

  • Online Courses may be mostly (more than 75%) or completely (100%) online, with asynchronous and/or synchronous components. Courses that are mostly online may have up to two in-person meetings.
  • Blended/Hybrid Courses may have 25-75% of instruction online with regularly scheduled in-person meetings.
  • Hyflex courses offer a flexible course structure that allows students to attend classes in person, online, or both throughout the course duration. Currently Century College does not offer hyflex courses, but will in the near future.

How to Find a Course by Delivery Method Code

  1. Go to eServices
  2. Search for a course
  3. The Delivery Method code will display on the far right under "Delivery Method"

Online Course Examples

Course: Intercultural Communication
Instructor: Dr. Amanda Olson

Course: Physical Geography
Instructor: Kenny Tapp

Accessing Support Services

Online Learning Technology

Online learning involves several types of technology to communicate with faculty, staff, and other students. Below are links that will support you in using the below technologies:

Free/Low Cost Internet and Computers

Information Technology Services has two open Computer Centers providing computer access to all registered Century College credit students. Staff is available to provide assistance in the use of the computer equipment.

Free and Low Cost Options for Internet

  • Internet Essentials - Comcast is offering an "Internet Essentials" package free for low-income customers for 60 days if applications are received by 12/31/2020. Internet Essentials offers qualified, low-income individuals 25 mbps in-home internet access for $9.95/month. The Internet Essentials program also has options to buy refurbished low-cost computers.
  • MIDCO Lifeline - Lifeline is a federal program intended to put home, phone, and internet service within the reach of qualifying families - giving low-income households affordable home phone or internet access.
  • Minnesota Office of Broadband Development - This site provides information on digital literacy, reduced rates for broadband service, and discounted computers.

Free and Low Cost Options for Computers

  • Computer loan - you may be able to borrow a laptop, Chromebook, or desktop from Century College if you need a computer. Please talk with either your advisor, counselor, or instructor, who will then make a request for you.
  • PCs for People - This option provides low cost internet and computers to individuals who meet certain eligibility requirements. The internet access is provided with mobile hot-spots, which would allow students to take it wherever it is needed.
  • Refurble - Provides low cost refurbished machines to students. 
  • Minnesota Computers for Schools is able to make free refurbished laptops available to students in need. They have a large supply now. These laptops are generally 3 years old and donated by businesses. They have newly installed Windows operating systems. Follow the instructions to apply.

Accessing Support Services

Succeeding in Online and Hybrid Learning Environments

New Learner’s Checklist

Here is a checklist for you to help you succeed in online and hybrid classes. It consists of preparing yourself, preparing for the technology, what to do when the class first opens, and what to do throughout the semester.

Netiquette

Netiquette is short for Internet etiquette. It is a code for appropriate communication rules on the Internet. Learn the basic rules of netiquette for your online classes.

Computer Requirements

To run a system check, go to your D2L Brightspace login page and click on "Please click here for a System Check before you login."

To complete an online degree program or take courses completely from your home computer, your computer system will need to meet some basic minimum requirements to be able to use D2L Brightspace, our online learning management system.

Check the college website and/or D2L Brightspace for specific course requirements.

Software

You will need the following software:

  • Operating System: Windows 7 or higher or Mac OSx10
  • Office Suite: Office 365 - Minnesota State provides this systemwide

Hardware

You will need the following hardware:

  • Computer Type: Laptop or desktop
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 processor or higher
  • Hard Drive: 160 GB hard drive or larger
  • RAM: 4 GB required
  • CD-RW/DVD Combo Drive, optional
  • Ethernet Network required
  • Wireless Network required
  • USB Flash Drive - 1GB+

Additional Information

When you enroll in a program or course with a specific school, check with that school for additional options and requirements (e.g., Microsoft Word is required by many online instructors) specific to online learning.

  • D2L Brightspace Support Site: up-to-date information, recommendations, and requirements for the D2L Brightspace learning management system.
  • Software training for students: Century College provides access to a wide variety of software resources and training. Some examples include Office 365, Adobe, and LinkedIn Learning.

Planning for Success

Here is a student success toolbox that can provide you with important insights about how to succeed when taking online and hybrid courses.  
 
Tool 1: Am I Ready for Study?
You may ask yourself if you are ready for online learning. This tool can help you answer this question and provide personal advice based on your responses. There are only five sets of questions, so it doesn’t take long to complete.  

Tool 2: Do I Have Enough Time?
Do you have enough time to complete classes online? This tool can help you calculate the time you spend on other activities and provides advice on how much study you could realistically do in your free time. This is only a guide.

Tool 3: Who Can I Ask?
Who can help you as you take online classes? This tool can help you identify people who might support you and give you advice on how to succeed in your online classes.

    Tips and Expectations for Online Learning

    Here are top tips from Century College faculty to help you succeed in online learning!

    Netiquette

    1. As in face to face communication, there are unwritten rules and expectations about how to interact online. Learn the basic rules of netiquette, or how to communicate online appropriately.

    Communicate

    1. Check email & D2L daily. Forwarding email only works for receiving, not sending, messages, both in D2L and your Century account.
    2. Communicate with teachers and tutors! Allow 24-48 hours for responses, list your course/section (ECT 1001-90, for example), and use your Century account.
    3. If in doubt, ask. Others may have the same question, and the instructor can answer everyone with one post.
    4. Tell family and others what you need to study online, and collaborate on a way to meet the needs of others in the household as they do things online, too.

    Be Strategic About Studying

    1. Break down big assignments into smaller tasks to do throughout the semester. Do not wait until the last minute!
    2. Find a quiet place for study and limit outside distractions, including social media.

    Be Realistic About Your Time

    1. Plan 3-4 hours of homework/study time per credit per week, including what would normally happen in-class.
    2. Actively, intentionally schedule tasks, due dates, and time for lessons or assignments.
    3. Be careful not to lose track of time if you are researching online (very easy to do!).

    Don't Let the Technology Overwhelm You

    1. Learning new technologies like D2L can feel impossible, but there are wonderful resources to help you, and you can do this.
    2. Be patient with yourself, your instructor, and those around you as we all learn how to navigate this new situation. We are in this together!
    3. Ask for help or extensions, whether due to technology or other challenges; we know you are trying your best.
    4. Save your work to your computer frequently, just in case something goes wrong with the technology.

    Connect With Others

    1. Join a study group online to go over course materials and assignments.
    2. Actively participate in online discussions and activities.

    Take Care of Yourself

    1. Get enough exercise and sleep. 
    2. Take breaks between blocks of study time.

    Just for Fun

    1. Consider changing the background in your Zoom meeting!
    2. Reward yourself after completing your online learning goals!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What do I need to do to prepare for taking an online class?

    You will want to confirm the start date of your class, which is listed on your registration confirmation. This can be seen on your registration account (where you registered online) under "View/Modify Schedule."
    You will not be loaded into the class in D2L Brightspace (the web application used for online or web-enhanced classes) until 25 days before the class starts.

    If you feel you need to contact the instructor before that, you may want to call or e-mail him or her. Your instructor's name will also be listed on your registration confirmation or you can consult the Faculty Directory.

    How do I login to D2L Brightspace?

    On your myCentury home page, click on the D2L Brightspace icon, located right next to the Email icon.

    How do I log into Zoom?

    Click on myCentury. Then click on the Zoom tile on the myCentury homepage. Then click on the Sign in icon to configure your account.

    How do I activate my StarID?

    How do I check my Century email before classes start?

    Click on myCentury. Then click on the email tile on the myCentury homepage. Enter your StarID and your StarID password.

    How do I sync Century email to my phone?

    How do I login to Continuing Education/Customized Training courses?

    Go to the CECT login page.

    What if I need technology help. Where do I go?

    Call the Student Help Line 651-779-3295 at or go to Minnstate COVID-19 Student Technology Help.

    Commitment to Quality Online Teaching and Learning at Century College

    Century College is committed to following the research-based standards established by Quality Matters for online and hybrid learning environments. The college currently employs eight faculty and staff who are certified as Quality Matters Peer Reviewers or Master Reviewers and had its first course achieving QM certification in 2016.

    Century College has been offering courses online since 2003. The number of online or hybrid courses has grown significantly in recent years along with faculty in teaching in online learning environments. That experience was leveraged in the spring 2020 semester as a corps of skilled faculty peer mentors worked individually and with departments to enable to remote teaching. The college recognizes that the learning environment extends beyond the classroom and had made all support services such as the library, academic advising, personal counseling, and disability services, available remotely. 

    Faculty are supported by college and system support teams. The college is supported by a team is made up of a dean, instructional designers, faculty peer mentors, and IT staff dedicated to supporting online learning excellence. Faculty serving as peer mentors are often recognized experts in online learning outside Century College. Faculty ensuring quality with the availability of able to utilize course templates, individual consultations with instructional designers and peer mentors, workshops, and online teaching “bootcamps” for new instructors. In addition, the Minnesota State System provides system level support to institutions through access to quality teaching and learning technology, professional development courses for faculty, and 24/7 student support services like tutor.com.

    NC-SARA logo

    Century College has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

    nc-sara.org