Virtual College of Texas

Students

What We Offer

VCT assists you in working with your local community college to get courses you need when you need them if they are not available at your local college.

You register at your local community college for online courses in the VCT Course Schedule that are provided by other Texas community colleges. While you receive instruction provided by other colleges, you remain your local college’s student in every way. Your local college supports you with the same level of services it provides to you for any other course.

Students served by VCT since 1998

VCT started serving students in 1998. Semester totals of individual students served since then exceed 49,700 individual students. Those students have enrolled in approximately 68,000 courses.

Student satisfaction with VCT courses

As reported by individual VCT member colleges, students completing end-of-course evaluations rate VCT courses about the same as the courses originated at the local, home college—or slightly higher.

Are You A Candidate?

Courses are available to you at your home (local) community or technical college if:

  • Your local college participates in VCT.
  • The desired course(s) are listed in the VCT Course Schedule for the semester in which you need the course.
  • Your college approves the course.

Why must your college approve courses?

Approval of each individual course that a college receives (or hosts) through VCT must be approved by the appropriate college department. It is a requirement of Texas colleges' accreditation body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

If your local college participates in VCT but does not allow you to enroll in a requested course, it is probably because the course was found not to align with the college's same course in a significant way. Please remember that in making judgments about courses to make available to you, community colleges are complying with specific SACSCOC requirements, which cannot be ignored.


VCT Benefits

With access to VCT's statewide schedule of online courses, you are less likely to miss out on a critical course at the point you need it. Many students have been able to graduate on schedule because of VCT.

  1. You register locally for the course no matter which college offers it.
  2. You pay in-district tuition regardless of the college delivering a course, providing you reside in the local college's district.
  3. Your local college supports you with the same quality, locally-delivered student services received by all other students at the college.
  4. Your local college maintains a single transcript for all your course work, regardless of which colleges provide the courses you take through VCT. You will not have to deal with multiple transcripts at multiple colleges if you transfer your courses to another college or to a university.

Distance Learning

Distance learning, sometimes called e-learning, is a formalized teaching and learning system specifically designed to be carried out remotely over the Internet or other forms of electronic communication. It is suggested that e-learning has removed geography as a defining element in the student-institution relationship.

VCT courses are usually computer-based (online) courses delivered over the Internet. These may also employ various other technologies such as podcasts, instructional videos, and/or interactive videoconferencing.

Course content, college credit, and transferability of distance learning courses are the same as for campus-based courses, and distance learning students have the same rights, privileges and obligations as on-campus students.

Distance learning courses are as vigorous as on-campus courses and require AT LEAST as much dedicated time. Typically, successful students report spending more time - not less - on a distance learning class than they do for a regularly scheduled, campus class.

Not all students are well suited to distance education. While it provides students greater flexibility, distance education courses also require good time management skills, self-motivation and self-discipline. For a quick indication if you’re prepared for distance education, take these easy-to-use distance learning self-assessments, provided by Austin Community College.

Learning Style Survey:   http://dl.austincc.edu/students/SelfAssess.php

Technical Skills Checklist:   http://dl.austincc.edu/students/TechCheck.php

Distance learning has become almost exclusively associated with online courses, and those courses now comprise over 99% of VCT’s course offerings. Other media also are used for distance learning, however.

ONLINE: In an online course, traditional classroom instruction is replaced by instruction that takes place over the Internet, so access to a computer with an Internet connection is required. The instruction is typically asynchronous, which means that students and faculty do not need to log-in to the course at the same time. Faculty-student and student-student interactions take place in online formats. As in traditional classroom instruction, Internet courses incorporate textbooks and other hard copy materials. Tests often are administered in on-campus testing centers.

INTERACTIVE VIDEO: Two-way video courses require students to attend class at specific times at a designated site, which is equipped to send and receive video. The classes are live, with the instructor at one location and students at one or more sites elsewhere. Live interaction takes place between students and the instructor and among students at various sites.

Reliable and consistent access to a computer that meets the requirements to participate in an online course is the student’s responsibility.

Note: Some courses may have additional software requirements. Please see the course syllabus or contact the course instructor for special requirements. In addition, difficulties experienced by a Virtual College of Texas (VCT) student should be reported immediately to the student’s local college VCT Coordinator.

Access to high-speed internet access is highly recommended.

Browsers

  • Mozilla Firefox - Current Release Channel
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Google Chrome - Current Release Channel
  • Safari 4.x, 5.x

** Internet Explorer 6 & 7 are no longer supported by Blackboard **

All browsers are required to have the following features enabled:

  • Cookies
  • JavaScript
  • Active Scripting
  • Pop-up Windows

Required Software

  • Java 7and later - The free Java plugin is required for the Visual Textbox Editor, Discussion Forums, Grade Center, and other Blackboard components.
    • Windows - Download Java
    • Macintosh - Java for Macintosh computers can be obtained via Software Updates

Get appropriate counseling and advice from a counselor or academic advisor at your local college to develop a degree plan. This degree plan will outline the specific courses you need to take in order to accomplish your educational goals.

Purchase the correct textbook(s) and/or course materials. However you acquire your textbooks, make sure you have the correct ISBN number(s) for the book(s). For the most current textbook information, refer to the course syllabus.

Read your course syllabus carefully and note all deadlines and due dates. Pay careful attention to any special instructions, guidelines, or requirements provided by your instructor.

If you experience problems, be sure to contact your instructor by telephone or email sooner rather than later.

Stay in close contact with your instructor. If you have difficulty reaching your VCT instructor, contact your VCT Coordinator.

Student Rights & Responsibilities

Your rights and responsibilities at your local college as a student enrolled in a VCT-offered course are the same as those of any other student at the college. Consult your college's catalog, student handbook, and web site regarding student rights and responsibilities.