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Before Your Online Course Starts

There is plenty you can do to make your first online course a good experience. Before your course starts, you should:

  1. Read the course syllabus and become familiar with the format of the course.

    Check the course website to view the course syllabus. Be sure you know what will be expected of you. If you have any concerns or questions about the course, contact the instructor. Syllabi for online courses can be accessed here.
  2. Obtain the course textbook and supplemental materials

    You can obtain your texts from the Allegany College of Maryland bookstore--on site, or request that your texts be mailed to you (301-784-5348, there is an additional fee for shipping).  If you purchase your text onlien from another source, use the book's ISBN number  to be sure you order the correct textbook. If you choose this route, be sure that the textbook can be shipped and received in time for the beginning of class.

  3. Identify all of the equipment and tools you need for the course.

    In addition to the computer requirements stated in "Prerequisites for Taking an Online Course" some courses require additional hardware or software. Be sure to check all of the requirements for a course before signing up for the course. If you still aren't sure what you will need, email the instructor in advance.

  4. Make sure all your systems are up and running before the course starts. Check your system for:
    • Browser version and settings.
    • Speakers
    • Microphone (not required for all courses)
    • Microsoft PowerPoint
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader (not required for all courses)
    • Windows Media Player (not required for all courses)
  5. If some of this software is missing and your instructor indicates you will need this software, click  here to download it.
  6. Update your basic computer and Internet knowledge.
  7. Familiarize yourself with Brightspace

    Allegany College of Maryland uses Brightspace to conduct online courses. You do not need to purchase software to use Brightspace; however, you will need a login and password to access it. You should receive a letter from the Office of Distance Learning no later than 3 days prior to the beginning of classes with your username and password.
  8. Be sure you understand the rules about Plagiarism and Copyright

    Just as in face-to-face courses, you are expected to abide by the code of student conduct policy as defined in the student manual under "Policy Regarding Student Cheating".
    • Plagiarism

      As a college student, you are expected to know what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. You are strongly encouraged to get more information at

      The Allegany College of Maryland Student Handbook defines plagiarism as:

      the submission, as your own work, of papers or parts of papers actually written by another; including in your own work a passage written by another person without giving due credit; i.e.quoting or paraphrasing without proper citation of source.

      Academic Dishonesty also includes failure on your part to keep your current and past assignments out of the hands of other students who may misinterpret their origins. It is suggested that you keep a record and/or rough draft of written or other work until you have received your final grade.

      Disciplinary action for failure to abide by the "Policy Regarding Student Cheating" is defined in the ACM Student Handbook on page 63.

    • Copyright

      You are expected to respect copyright ownership of all course content, other students work, or any information presented to you throughout the course. Students shall not copy, publish or distribute copies of course content, other students work, or other course information, or retain copies past the end of the completion of the course.
  9. Internet Use Policy

    Students are expected to abide by the college's Internet Use Policy as defined in ACM Student Handbook.