Frequently Asked Questions

Wondering about your readiness for online learning?

Q. How can I know if online learning will be right for me?

A. Whether this is your first time taking online classes, or you have taken a few online courses in the past; you will find that our Quest for Success free short course is tailored to your needs and is focused on enhancing the academic and technical skills needed for success in the online learning environment. Mendocino College Quest for Success

Q. What skills do I need to be a successful online student?

A. Review the top ten tips at ThoughtCo 10 Ways to Be a Successful Online Student 

Wondering about your computer abilities and needs?

Q. What kind of internet connection is needed?

A. You must have regular, reliable internet access if you are to succeed in your course. For our Learning Management System, Canvas, you can read the most current specifications for your computer at What are the basic computer specifications for Canvas? Make sure you have a back-up plan (use of a campus, library, work, or a friend's system) in case you experience problems with your own computer or your Internet Service Provider.

Q. What programs might I need to have on my computer to support my online classes?

A. In a fully online class, your computer is not only an essential tool for getting homework and assignments done, it is the physical classroom! Just as campus classrooms should be designed and equipped for learning, your computer needs to be ready, too!

Both PCs and Macs work fine, as long as you have a reliable and stable internet connection. Please read Canvas's information on supported browser's to ensure you're using a current version and have the correct plug-ins installed. The Canvas by Instructure app is the mobile version of Canvas that helps you stay current with your courses anywhere you go. Download the Canvas by Instructure app on Android and iOS devices.

In addition, below is a list with links to software you might need to read handouts and submit assignments:

Wondering about the structure of online classes at Mendocino College?

Q. Are there required meetings for your online classes?

A. Although there are no scheduled class meetings for most online classes (see individual course orientation or syllabus; links are available on the appropriate Distance Learning Course Schedule link), you must log on to the course a few times a week. Your instructors expect you to log on to the course site weekly, participate in discussions, turn in assignments, and take exams.

Q. Are the online courses self-paced?

A. No. Our online courses have set schedules, weekly deadlines, and beginning and ending dates. They are instructor-led. You will not be left alone. If you have special needs and must follow a slower (or faster) pace, please discuss your situation with the course instructor. He/She may be able to alter course deadlines to accommodate your needs. Our online instructors are dedicated professionals who are very interested in your success. They are the heart of our online courses.

Wondering about communicating with your instructors?

Q. How can I contact my instructor?

A. Instructor emails are available on the course orientation pages available on the Distance Learning Course Schedule. You can also use the faculty directory to find email and phone numbers.

Q. What kinds of support can my instructor provide for me?

A. Please notify your instructor immediately if you are having problems accessing course materials over the Internet or via email, depending on the course delivery method. These problems include, but are not limited to, accessing the course (inactive or wrong URL), inactive or incorrect password, returned email messages, etc.

Also, do not put off contacting your instructor if you are having problems understanding the material. Do not just quit logging on. If you don't "show up" for any length of time, you may be dropped from the course. Please refer to your instructor's syllabus for his/her "attendance & withdrawal" policy.

Please remember that your instructor is NOT responsible for teaching you:

  • how to send attachments.
  • how to conduct web searches.
  • word processing commands.
  • how to download.
  • how to set up your hardware and software.
  • how to configure your email.

Be sure you have the necessary technical knowledge, equipment, and software to succeed in an online course. Call 707-467-1024 to request an orientation to online learning session during the first week of each semester. An online video orientation to Canvas is also available. In addition, we recommend that you take CCS 124 Becoming a Successful Online Student to gain some of the skills listed above.