Congratulations and Welcome, TRCC Distance Learning Community!
22 Tips for Online Learners
Mobile Technology (iPad, Droid, phones)
The Three Rivers website changed extensively during the past couple of years. The college’s website transformed into a new look and feel. The site has two components, typically called the main website and the Extranet. The main site will be geared primarily toward helping brand new students find the information they need to enroll in the college and their courses. The Extranet will have more of the informational resources current students, faculty, and staff have come to expect. As a now current student, you are reading this on the Extranet. You will be able to reach either section directly, main (www.threerivers.edu) and Extranet (www.trcc.commnet.edu) or through crosslinks to the other on each site. Prospective students and continuing students many times need the same things and there is overlap in the information as the main site continues to evolve. If you cannot find what you need on one, check the other. Some areas, such as the collection of past syllabi on the Extranet, may require you to log in with your myCommNet ID and password. (See below.)
If you have not done so previously, we recommend that you take the SmarterMeasure assessment (http://trcc.smartermeasure.com/). Initial username= 3Rivers, Initial PW= 3Student. Your advisor or professors may ask you to email them your results so please make sure to get this done as soon as you can. If you have additional questions or comments after sign-up, email me at TR-DistanceLearning@threerivers.edu.
To get to your courses, the library databases, final grades, and your student information, visit myCommNet which can be accessed from the green myCommNet and Email icon on the Dashboard in the lower right-hand of Extranet subpages and the lower left-hand section of the Extranet main page, www.trcc.commnet.edu. The initial password at myCommNet will be based on a case-sensitive combination of 3 letters of your birth month, the ampersand, and last four digits of your social security number, which you will be required to change after the first login. (Ex: Apr&9876, Jan&0001, Aug&7654)
You can access your courses one week before the semester starts by going to the Student Tab after logging into myCommNet. From that page, choose the Blackboard icon in the upper right corner of the page.
BLACKBOARD LEARN & BROWSERS
Please note that your course(s) listed at the top of the email you received prior to classes, will be taught using our Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS). If you are taking a course at another CT community college, the learning management platform and login are the same. If you are using Blackboard at any university including CT state universities and Charter Oak State College, the platform may have significant differences.
Use browsers such as Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari to access your courses. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Edge browsers (cursive “e” icons) are not recommended for use within courses. You should run the “Browser Check” utility located on the Blackboard home page to ensure your browser is compatible with Blackboard.
We recommend that you have installed at least two browsers, e.g. Chrome and Firefox (PC) or Chrome and Safari (Mac). Old stored passwords and cached failed pages can be difficult to clear without support. Having a second browser may allow you to work around a problem until you can contact support.
The Microsoft Teams platform is rapidly becoming a fixture in the educational technology of the campus. It is used for real-time web conferencing, audio and video calls to college personnel and students, group activities, and some sharing of content. You can access your account at https://teams.microsoft.com/, using your myCommNet ID and password.
Many of our courses use portals that connect to the textbook publisher’s materials. Publisher portals by companies such as McGraw-Hill and Pearson will have their own set of instructions for login and usage. You can usually find these in the professor’s introductory information, announcement, or syllabus. If you cannot find it, contact your professor.
MOBILE LEARN or Bb STUDENT APPS
You can also see your courses using the Blackboard Mobile Learn app OR the Bb Student app either of which can be downloaded using the iTunes Store (IOS/Apple), Google Play (Droid/Chrome), or Blackberry App World. If there is a cost for either app, you are not viewing the correct version. This video can help: Learn app video
Currently, there is no app for Blackboard Mobile Learn in the Amazon store (Kindle) but you can still use myCommNet/Blackboard within the browser.
After downloading the app you will need to sign in. When signing in to the app, search and find “Connecticut Community Colleges” rather than Three Rivers.
Blackboard contains a FREE Student Orientation course – Essential Blackboard Skills for Students and Orientation – available through your course list (My Institution page). The orientation will become available usually near the start of the semester. Please take the time to review this orientation.
Although to some students it does not have the instantaneous feel of texting, student email using Office 365 is the official means of communication for administrative purposes. You can read about it on the student tab in myCommNet or from the student email button in the lower right corner of the college Extranet page (www.trcc.commnet.edu). Remember that in each place WHEN YOU LOGIN to email you will be entering your NetID and password, not the email address. Please make sure that you are regularly checking this email account.
Since student email is the official means of communication, you cannot opt-out of the email system nor can you opt-out of any particular administrative email types (surveys, Title IX, college announcements, etc.). Failure to use student email is a tremendous disadvantage to students who would miss important information. The College only emails information that is required or relevant to you as a student. Types of emails include but are not limited to the following.
- Relevant to your studies such as communication with professors and advisors
- Important for your continued status as a student such as registration and testing dates
- Pertinent to student life such as campus events and activities or student club/organization information
- Required by authorities with governance over the college such as the CT Board of Regents, the State of Connecticut, the New England Commission of Higher Education, and the federal government
The College does not send emails for commercial purposes and does not share your email address with third-party vendors unless they are working with us for our educational purposes.
FREE MICROSOFT OFFICE DOWNLOADS AND APPS
As part of your student email account, you will have the ability to download a copy of Microsoft Office to your computer or tablet. This will get you full versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and some others. Up to five devices are covered. How to download is covered under the student support page. This document shows you how to navigate to the Install page in your college email.
Versions of Office are available for both the Windows and MAC operating systems but they may be slightly different in features and capabilities. In addition, the MAC version does not include the Access application. If you are enrolling in a distance learning course that requires Office, you should contact the Computer Science Program Coordinator Patrick Burton to determine which operating system and Office version are required for the course.
For password problems on-campus contact the student services registration office or the IT Service Desk. For questions about the course construction, communicate with your professor in the forum she or he indicates. You can get online or phone support from the CSCU System’s help desk at CSCU System’s Blackboard Help Desk: 860 723-0221.
A student support page is also available.
Best wishes for a successful semester!
–A. Caffary, Educational Technology Specialist and IDEA Center Coordinator, TR-DistanceLearning@trcc.commnet.edu