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Frequently Asked Questions

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The Basics

Students who are most successful in online courses are those who are self-motivated, self-disciplined (able to make and stick to a study schedule), and who have good technology skills.

Before taking signing up for a class, check out our Online Readiness Quiz

Once you are in an online class we recommend that you take two online tutorials, available on the Virtual Valley Student Resources webpage, or by clicking on the links below:

An online course is conducted entirely over the internet. Course materials are posted on a course website.  Most online courses never require meeting on campus. However, there are some professors who do require students to attend an orientation session or take exams on campus. Make sure that you understand the instructor's attendance policy before enrolling in a class that will have meetings that you know you won't be able to attend.

A hybrid course combines online learning with face-to-face class sessions on campus with your professor and your class mates. The campus sessions meet on a regular basis. However, you do spend less time in the actual classroom than you would in a regular class.

Go to the Virtual Valley Homepage

Click on the link that says “Online Schedule of Classes.” You will find the classes listed by semester.

Students taking online classes are more likely to be successful if they possess the following technology skills before starting their course:

  • Know how to use a mouse and keyboard to select and start programs, and to enter information.
  • Know how to connect to the Internet and use web browser software to locate information on the Internet.
  • Know how to create and manage folders on a computer, including finding, uploading, downloading, and saving individual files.
  • Know how to send email attachments
  • Know how to download and install "plug-in" software such as media viewers, java, etc.
  • Know how to manage security settings on your computer through the Internet browser software and firewall.
  • Know how to use word processing software such as Microsoft Word to create, edit, and print text documents.
  • Know how to "cut and paste" and "copy and paste" within documents.
  • Know how to send and receive messages using e-mail.

If you need help developing any of these skills prior to taking an online class, study the following two tutorials, available on the Student Resources page of the virtual valley website:

The short answer is no. Online and hybrid courses teach the same material as our on-campus courses.

Online classes may even require more weekly work, but they are more convenient.

Students who have poor technology skills or who need the discipline of regularly scheduled class meetings in order to stay on task are likely to feel that online courses are more difficult than classroom-based courses.

Students who have good technology skills, are self-disciplined, regularly make time to study and complete assignments, and have good reading and writing skills are likely to feel that online courses are similarly challenging to on-campus classes.

Yes. The exact same content is taught in online as in a traditional course that meets on campus.

All online and hybrid courses are developed by LAVC faculty.

These courses are reviewed by the department chair and an instructional designer.

For course components that are online, you do not normally have to be online at a certain time. Instead, you can study when it is convenient for you, as long as you complete and submit required assignments and tests by due dates indicated in the syllabus.

Some instructors may require small group or other discussions to take place at a schedules time, which is often negotiable. Contact your instructor for any specific time requirements.


Getting Started

ETUDES stands for "Easy-To-Use Distance Education Software" and is the program LAVC uses to teach its online classes. ETUDES is a ìcourse management systemî (or CMS), which is a computer program, available over the Internet, that is used to facilitate an online class.

You will officially have access to your class by 11:59 p.m., PST, on the first day the class starts. Some instructors do open the class earlier, so check periodically.

To login to all your online classes, you just need to go to one portal link, login with your ETUDES username and password, and all your ETUDES online classes will be there.

Make sure you are using correct username and password:

See tutorial lesson: Logging into Your Online Class

Contact LAVC help desk by email, phone, or drop-in lab location: Help Desk Info

Contact your instructor

To find your instructor for your online class follow these steps:

  • Go to the Virtual Valley Home Page
  • Click on the link to the "Online Class Schedule"
  • Click on the semester of your class, for example, Fall 2009
  • Find you class on the list
  • Click on the link to your instructor's name or call the phone number listed for him or her

It is a good idea to contact your instructor before the start of class to find out if there are any specific requirements you need to know about before you begin.

For help with any ETUDES problem or question, contact the ETUDES Help Desk by email, phone, or drop-in lab hours. This should ALWAYS be your first option.

For self-help, visit the following Self-Paced Online Tutorials

For a lesson on how to send email attachments, see the following tutorial:

For a lesson on how to send an attachment within ETUDES, see the following tutorial:

To find an instructor's website (if they have one) follow these steps:

  • Go to the Los Angeles Valley College Home Pag>
  • Click on the link "Students Resources"
  • Click on the link "Instructor Web Pages"
  • Find your instructor on the list
  • Click on the link to your instructor's name

Hardware and Software

If you are taking an online class or a hybrid, you don't need to go out and buy a computer. HOWEVER you do need frequent access to a reliable computer.

LAVC does have a computer lab in BJ 103. For lab hours see the following link: Help Desk/Computer Lab Information.

For more information about the lab, contact Ken Freeman at (818) 947-2568.

No. LAVC offers its online classes through the ETUDES-NG course management system, which is available over the Internet. All you need is a good computer with a reliable Internet connection.

However, some instructors may require purchase of special programs, such as Microsoft Word, or other discipline-specific software. Check with your instructor prior to the beginning of the class for any additional software requirements.

Yes, you need an active email account. Those are available for free from Gmail, Yahoo, etc.

Regular access to a good computer

Reliable Internet access. While dial-up modems will work, they are very slow, so cable or digital Internet connections are recommended.

Note: If AOL is your Internet service, you will not be able to use your AOL browser, but will need to download another browser.

  • For more information about computer, Internet, and browser requirements, see the System Requirements.

A good word processing program, such as Microsoft Word (some professors require this program).

Check with your instructor to see if there are any additional equipment requirements prior to taking class.

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