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Getting Started with Online Learning

If you're interested in the idea of online learning, but you still aren't sure if it is really for you, think about what it offers. Online learning is convenient and provides flexibility to complete your coursework any time day or night. But, you may be wondering if online learning is different from taking the same course in a traditional classroom. Online courses are not for everyone. They require at least as much time and commitment as traditional courses. Before you consider taking an online course, make sure you have time to focus on your coursework, feel competent using computers, and have good reading and writing communication skills. Take the survey below and visit the sample class before making your decision.

Is online learning for me?
The online environment is not for everyone. Unfortunately, some people may have an unrealistic impression or the incorrect idea that taking online classes is the "easy" route. Although you might not have to attend classes, you will still have to:

  • read your textbooks and other materials
  • write papers
  • engage in class discussions with classmates/teachers by posting to discussion boards
  • complete activities, tests or other assessments
  • participate in individual and group projects
  • spend as much time on your online class as you would if attending on campus

In many ways, online courses can be more difficult than their traditional on-campus counterparts. To get a good idea of your chances for success as an online student, take the survey to find out if online learning is the answer for you.

You can also view the Online Student Readiness Tutorials.

What does Canvas look like / How can I find out more about Canvas?
Find out how to get started with Canvas.

Do I have the technology and system requirements?
All Distance Education classes at RCCD use Canvas.  Check out the Canvas browser & system requirements.

How do I know what courses are available through Distance Education?
The schedule of classes includes a list of courses that are available fully online and courses that combine online and face-to-face instruction. See the course schedules for Riverside, Moreno Valley, and Norco.

Is there a list of courses, certificates or degrees that are offered through Distance Education?
Faculty determine which courses will be offered as fully online or as hybrids. Not every course is available through distance education. Each year the list grows and, as a result, many certificates and degrees are offered 50% or more through distance education:

How do I login my Distance Education classes?

    NOTE: If you recently registered, it may take up to 4 hours before you will be able to access.
  • Before logging into Canvas, be sure that your browser & system have met the requirements listed on
    the Canvas system requirements page
  • Go to the Canvas login. All distance education courses are accessed from the Distance Education webpage.
  • Your username is the same as your RCCD issued student email address.
    Examples for an RCCD student email address with the name of John Doe might be:
  • New students using Canvas: your default Password is "newstudent" (all lowercase, no quotes).
    Returning students using Canvas: your Password has not changed from what you last used.  
  • Once logged into Canvas, you will see a list of your classes on the Dashboard or Courses link.
  • Be sure to vist the Getting Started with Canvas shell for more information, how to get help, tutorials and more!

What if I need help during or outside of normal business/school hours?
Support and help are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week because we want you to have help when you need it. Contact Canvas Support toll free - Canvas help is available 24 hours a day / 7 days a week by calling (844) 603-4264.
You can also click the Report a Problem link from Help & More link on the main login screen, or within the global Canvas Navigation.

What if I need help with WebAdvisor?
Information and login tutorials are available at

Can I order my textbooks online?
Order your textbooks online for delivery or reserve them for pickup on-campus:

I live in another state, why am I having problems enrolling in a Distance Education class?
Federal regulations require RCCD to ask for authorization from other states to offer distance education to students who live outside California. More information about the regulation, board policy and grievance contact information can be found on the Student Resources page.