eLearning & Distance Education
Fitting Study Into Your Everyday Life: Howard College is a major provider of quality eLearning educational programs, courses, and service resources. Our eLearning programs are relevant to the needs of today’s student. Our eLearning courses are delivered in several different formats such as online, hybrid, and enhanced. Our goal is to provide eLearning services to all HC students, at all times.
Instructions and information
- Complete the school application process: Use the Online Application via ApplyTexas.
- Complete the financial aid process: Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) first. Already completed your FAFSA? Use these additional Financial Aid Resources. For guidance and awareness of the rules and regulations that apply to distance education where financial aid is concerned, contact a Financial Aid representative.
- Contact your Howard College academic advisor. For guidance and assistance with developing and achieving your academic goals, contact an advisor in HC’s Academic Advising / Career Services office.
- Login to your Blackboard course site at http://howardcollege.blackboard.com.
Log into MyHC and Blackboard using the first letter of your first name, plus your full last name, plus the first four digits of your HC student ID number, without the dash. Initial passwords will be capital H, plus small case c, plus your nine-digit HC student ID number, without the dash. If you need help to reset your password, call our automated system at (432) 264-5106 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Read the course syllabus thoroughly; know what is expected of you in the class
- Get comfortable with the course site; know how to access assignments, calendars and other requirements
- Obtain all required materials including textbooks and electronic media associated with the course. Visit our Howard College Online Bookstore
The eLearning program at Howard College is defined as the formal educational process that occurs when instructors and students are not in the same physical location for the majority (more than 50 percent) of instruction. Successful eLearning students often demonstrate an extra measure of dedication and perseverance. These students typically learn to learn independently, utilizing available tools within various learning environments, such as Howard College’s Blackboard Learning system.
It is your responsibility to have access to a computer with a reliable internet connection that is fast enough to handle the types of material you will need to view in your class. This may include large video files that will not work on slower internet connections or older computers. You will need access to a high-speed internet connection. The faster the internet connection – the better your online experience will be.
You also need a computer that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements. Our recommendation is that you will probably need a computer that is no more than five years old since older computers are more likely to have problems displaying your class material. A Mac computer will also work with Blackboard Learn, but we recommend downloading the Firefox browser for Mac. However, some classes may have some material that requires access to a Windows computer. Many classes require access to Microsoft Office programs including Word and PowerPoint. You’ll also need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer to be able to view PDF files (Mac computers sometimes have another program for viewing PDF files, which will also be acceptable). For some classes, additional software may be required as specified by the instructor.
Your computer should have at least: 4GB of RAM and Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.5, or higher.
NOTE: Chromebooks use the Chrome operating system which is not a supported operating system for Blackboard. Some areas of Blackboard require Java on your computer, and Chromebooks do not support the use of Java. If you use a Chromebook, please be sure you also have access to a Mac computer or Windows computer so you can fully participate in your Blackboard class. Some things will not work on a Chromebook.
Also please do not ONLY rely on a tablet, including an iPad, or a smartphone to use Blackboard. Not all features will work on tablets. You will need access to a full computer to be able to do everything in your Blackboard class.
Most browsers work with Blackboard. If you’re having problems while using one of them though, switch to a different browser to see if that resolves the issue. We have found that it is best to avoid using Internet Explorer, even though it is supposed to be supported since it seems to have the most issues when used with Blackboard.
Warning: As new operating systems and new browsers are released, it may take a little while before Blackboard will function 100% with the new system. You may want to wait a month or so before upgrading, if possible, to give Blackboard some time to make the necessary changes to their program.
Settings to check and fix
” For Windows computers, make sure you’re using Firefox or Google Chrome internet browsers. For Mac computers, make sure you’re using Firefox or Safari internet browsers.
” If one browser isn’t working, try another to see if it works.
” Click this link to see if the browser you’re using is supported by Blackboard. Blackboard Browser Check
” Trust pop-ups from http://howardcollege.blackboard.com
” Add http://howardcollege.blackboard.com as trusted sites if you use Internet Explorer. In Internet Explorer: click Tools, Internet Options, Security tab, click the Trust Sites icon, click the Sites button, type http://howardcollege.blackboard.com in the “Add this website” box and click the Add button. Click the Close button and then the OK button (Firefox does not have an option to add a trusted site).
” If you’re having problems with an item in Blackboard, try clearing the browser cache. If that doesn’t work, try clearing the Java cache. If you’re unsure how to clear your browser’s cache, browse to Google.com and enter the search term, “how to clear browser cache for (enter the name of your browser)”
Avoiding problems when taking an online test
” Plug into an internet connection rather than use a wireless connection. Wireless connections may drop in the middle of your test. Please do not use the mobile app to take your test. It is more reliable to use a regular computer with a plugged-in connection.
” If one browser isn’t working, try another to see if it works. Firefox seems to work better in general with this version of Blackboard over Internet Explorer, so you may want to use Firefox when taking a test.
” Close all other programs including Skype, Facebook, email programs, chat programs, etc.
” Don’t double-click the test link. You only want to single-click it. You don’t want to have two instances of the test open at the same time.
” Don’t open new tabs in the browser or click in other tabs that are already open. Don’t open other applications. Don’t re-size the window where the test is displaying. Don’t click anything outside of the test window.
Getting help with Blackboard
Help Desk is now monitored 24/7, 365 days per year!
For Password Resets, call 432-264-5106
For Blackboard Support, email: email@example.com
Your instructor can help you with questions about due dates, a test that you didn’t get to finish, and other general course questions. You should use the Course Messages tool inside of your course in the left-hand menu to contact your instructor.
Windows 7 or higher
1 GHz processor
2 GHz or faster processor
2 GB of RAM
4 GB of RAM or higher
1024 x 768
1024 x 768 or higher
Free Hard Disk Space
5 GB of free disk space
20 GB or higher of free space
Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a consistent minimum speed of 1.5 Mbps.
Broadband (high-speed) Internet connection with a speed of 4 Mbps or higher
IE11, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox
Firefox for Windows or Mac and Google Chrome
Java is required to use Blackboard. Visit the Java support page for information about troubleshooting Java.
Macromedia Flash Player
Flash may be required to play videos within the Blackboard system. You can download Flash from the Adobe website.
Students are required to have regular, reliable access to a computer with a stable broadband Internet connection.
All Howard College networked computers are configured to use Blackboard and will have most software needed to complete online coursework. If additional software is needed on an HC lab computer, please contact the administrator of the lab for assistance.
If your computer is publicly accessed off campus or is loaned to you, you may be prohibited from downloading files or software. Be sure to never save your passwords on a publicly accessed device as this could cause your account to be compromised.
For more information about using mobile devices with Blackboard, please visit the Blackboard Mobile section of the website.
Blackboard was designed to work on Windows and Macintosh based systems. At this time, Linux is not a supported operating system with Blackboard.
Please note, while the minimum allowed Windows operating system is Windows 7, students are strongly advised to use a newer operating system for Windows machines (i.e. Windows 8 or 10).
The processor (or CPU) is the brain of your computer. Much like a human brain, it tells the computer what to do and when to do it. The speed of your processor is determined by how many commands it can perform in a given second and is measured in hertz (Hz). The higher your processing speed, the faster your computer is able to execute commands.
Because the Blackboard is an interactive, multi-media environment (videos, slideshows, exams, etc.), you need at least a 1 GHz (1 GHz = 1,000,000,000 Hz) processor to handle these operations. Most new computers come with at least 2 GHz installed out of the box.
Your computer’s memory is the temporary storage place for commands and information. When your computer is processing information, part of that data is stored in the memory to be accessed later. This allows the computer to quickly retrieve that information which helps your computer run faster.
When your memory gets filled up, your computer will begin storing this temporary information in a file on your hard drive. When the computer has to access this temporary data from the hard drive, it can slow down your system because it is faster for your computer to read this information from memory than to read it from the hard drive. The more RAM (random-access memory) you have, the faster your computer can access this temporary information.
To function properly, Blackboard requires a high-speed Internet connection (cable modem, DSL, satellite broadband, WAN, LAN, etc.). The minimum Internet connection speed to access Blackboard is a consistent 1.5 Mbps (megabits per second) or higher. You can check your speed settings using the speed test on this website.
Consistent means that your connection does not fall below 1.5 Mbps during regular usage. If your speed is slower than 1.5 Mbps, you may need to find an alternative way to access the Internet either by finding a different Internet service provider or using the wireless connection at a public facility (i.e. computers on the HC campus).
The first step to see if your computer is set up for Blackboard is to check your browser compatibility. We strongly recommend Blackboard students use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox for Windows or Mac because it is the most compatible with our current Blackboard system.
Generally, it is a good idea to have multiple browsers installed on your system for a couple of reasons.
First, you always want a plan B. If you are trying to perform time-sensitive tasks in Blackboard, you don’t want to waste time troubleshooting your browser or downloading a new browser. Having multiple browsers already installed allows you to quickly switch to a different browser when you have a browser related issue.
Second, it helps to rule out browser related issues. If you are having problems in one browser and not another, then you know there is something going on with your browser or its settings. If you are having the same problem in multiple browsers, then you’ll know that it is either a system issue or something related to Blackboard.
We do NOT recommend that students use Internet Explorer with Blackboard due to the security and other features that interact negatively with the system. If you need assistance with your Internet browser, please visit our Browser Support page for tips on troubleshooting common browser problems.
Java is a programming language and software platform that is required for certain features of Blackboard to function properly. Some of the important features of Blackboard which use Java include assessments, surveys, discussions, file uploading, and downloading.
Additional Software and Plug-ins
Most of the materials you will be accessing in Blackboard will consist of web pages, Microsoft documents or Adobe Acrobat files. However, instructors may choose to upload content in a variety of formats. Below you will find a list of common file types that may be used in Blackboard. The software required to view these files is given and links to downloadable versions of the software have been provided if available.
.zip • .rar • etc.
.rar • .zip • etc.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
.doc • .docx
HC students may download MS Office
programs FREE from their HC student email.
For email access and support contact your local
HC campus IT department.
.doc • .docx
Common File Extensions
Macromedia Shockwave Player
.fla • .swa • .swf
.mov • .qt
Media Player Classic
.avi • .vlc • .wmv
VLC Media Player
.avi • .vlc • .wmv
Microsoft Security Essentials
Ad-Aware Spyware Removal
SpyBot Search and Destroy
Remember: These are minimum requirements. Your instructor may have additional requirements in order to achieve the learning objectives of your class.
Students with Disabilities
It is the goal of Howard College to create inclusive learning environments. If there are aspects of the instruction or design of any course that results in barriers to your inclusion or to the accurate assessment of achievements such as time-limited exams, inaccessible web content or the use of non-captioned videos, please notify the instructor as soon as possible.
For information about HC’s disability support services, please contact the Disability Resource Center at 432-264-5020.
A variety of devices and operating systems were used to test the supported browsers. Support is not limited to these specific operating systems. The desktop browser versions above are supported regardless of the particular device or operating system on which they run.
Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Mac OS 10.8, Mac OS 10.9, Mac OS 10.10, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, Chrome OS
iPod Touch, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S, iPhone5c, iPhone 6, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad Mini 3, iPad Air 2
Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, HTC G1, LG C800 myTouch, HTC One, Galaxy Note 2014, HTC One M8
Windows Mobile Devices
Venue 8 Pro, Lumia 520, Lumia 930
Chrome OS Devices
Chromebooks use the Chrome operating system which is not a supported operating system for Blackboard. Some areas of Blackboard require Java on your computer and Chromebooks do not support the use of Java. If you use a Chromebook, please be sure you also have access to a Mac computer or Windows computer so you can fully participate in your Blackboard class. Some things will not work on a Chromebook.
Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. The two most recently available versions of JAWS are used during accessibility testing of each Blackboard Learn release.
Java and other browser plug-ins
JRE versions 7 and 8 are the recommended versions for features that depend on it. JRE version 6 may work but could result in unexpected behavior. Your best bet is to allow Java to update automatically so that you always have the latest version.