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The Student Success Commons at York County Community College: Online Learning

Welcome to the E-Learning (Online Learning) Section

Welcome to your go-to place for online learning resources and support. 

Nervous about taking a test or quiz online? Need some tips on writing a discussion post? Not sure how to be successful in a class that uses online features?

Whether you have any questions or just need some assistance adapting to the online learning environment, this is the right place to be. On this main page you'll find tips for using Zoom, a downloadable test-taking resource, essential information for communicating in an online setting, and more!


Click here for step-by-step instructions for logging in the MyYCCC Portal.

Click here for help logging into Brightspace, as well as tutorial videos, app info, and more.

Make sure you have your syllabus on hand throughout the semester and know how to utilize and navigate it well!




Accessing Your E-book!

Zoom 101

Zoom is a web-based, video-conferencing tool that is easy to use and may be used by YCCC staff and faculty to communicate with students remotely.


You will need:


Simply select the meeting ID link provided to you for the meeting. Zoom will launch in a web browser or from the Zoom app for mobile devices. If you see a popup requesting permission to open the Zoom meeting be sure to choose "accept" "yes" or "Open Zoom meetings".


(Click to enlarge)

  1. Mute/unmute audio. When meeting with a tutor you will generally need to make sure you are unmuted.
  2. Start/stop video.
  3. Open the chat sidebar. If you are having trouble hearing audio or speaking, you can open the chat bar. You can also send files and documents via the chat (see number 5).
  4. Share screen. When working with a tutor you may be asked to share your screen. Before joining a Zoom meeting, make sure Zoom has system permission to share your screen.
  5. Share file. If you need to send a file like a Word Document, a PDF, or a text file you can send it directly through Zoom.
  6. Current speaker/your profile picture. You'll see whomever is speaking, while the host will either see whatever your camera is aimed at or (if your camera is off) your profile picture.

For more detailed information and video tutorials, go to the Zoom online knowledge base at:


  • Make sure you're in a quiet environment where you will not disturb others nor be disturbed during meeting.
  • Join your meeting early to allow time to test your audio/video to make sure it is working properly.
  • Consider using headphones or earbuds with a mic if possible to avoid background noise interrupting the meeting.
  • Using a camera for video is sometimes optional. Communicate with the meeting host on what will be required.

Communicating in an Online Class

Netiquette: the correct or acceptable way of communicating on the Internet Follow these simple rules and guidelines to ensure you communicate as effectively (and appropriately) as possible in your online class.

There’s a time and a place for everything - BUT IN MOST SITUATIONS TYPING IN ALL CAPS IS INAPPROPRIATE IN AN ONLINE CLASS. Most readers tend to perceive it as shouting and will have a hard time taking what you say seriously, no matter how intelligent your response may be. If you're typing in all caps because of vision issues, there are ways to adjust how text displays so you can still see without coming across as “yelling.”

2. Sarcasm can (and usually will) backfire.
Sarcasm has been the source of plenty of misguided arguments online, as it can be incredibly difficult to understand without seeing or hearing the person offering the comment. What may seem like an obvious joke to you could come across as off-putting or rude to someone online, as they can’t hear your tone or read your body language. So, as a general rule, it’s best to avoid sarcasm in an online classroom.

3. Use proper formatting.
While it may be tempting to write messages in neon green and include 30 emoticons, your best bet is to stick to the basic black text color, and avoid unnecessary affectations. If you need to emphasize something, use bold or italicized words.

4. Read first.
Take some time to read through each of the previous discussion post responses before writing your own response. If the original post was asking a specific question, there’s a good chance someone has already answered it. Submitting an answer that is eerily similar to a classmate’s indicates to the instructor that you haven’t paid attention to the conversation thus far.

5. Be kind.
It can be easy to forget that there’s another person on the other side of the screen, with their own opinion and feelings regarding the topic at hand. Make a point to be respectful in your comments even if you disagree or dislike someone’s position. Be polite and courteous.

6. Use appropriate language.
You should “speak” online just like you would in an on-campus class. Avoid coarse, rough, or rude language.

7. Proofread!
This is an academic environment so good grammar and formatting count. Check your spelling and write in complete sentences. Abbreviations that are used for text messages and instant messaging are not acceptable on academic discussion boards. Avoid run-on sentences, or large blocks of text with no paragraph break,

8. Respect other people's privacy.
You may be exposed to some personal information about your classmates that needs to be handled with care. Do not take screenshots or reshare information without the original poster’s consent.


In an online class, discussion posts are the main way students and professors interact with the course’s ideas, lessons, and each other. The best discussion posts demonstrate an understanding of the course material and present a cohesive argument with evidence to back it up.

The following six tips can help you generate an effective post.



Complete any assigned readings or videos before writing your post. As you’re going through course material, make connections between the text and your own life. Immerse yourself in the readings so when you’re ready to begin writing, you’ll be fully prepared to present an authentic, meaningful response. Be sure to review your instructor's feedback on previous assignments to make sure you follow all expectations.



To make sure you understand the assignment instructions, consider these questions before you start writing:

  • Purpose: What question, video, topic, or required reading are you being asked to respond to?
  • Particulars: What is the word limit? When is the due date and time? What sources are you expected to draw on?
  • Response type: Are you being asked to reflect on personal experience, determine a solution to a problem, compare two ideas, or make an argument?
  • Formatting: What formatting has your instructor requested? If no specific formatting is indicated, follow general APA guidelines.
  • Expectations: How will your discussion post be assessed? Consult your course materials or instructor.



The point of a discussion post is discussion. Engage your fellow students by developing a strong argument or presenting your own unique perspective (depending on post requirements set by your instructor). Be specific, clear, and concise. Support your statements by referring to course materials or other sources if required. 



Include personal or professional experience (when it’s applicable), and support your ideas with textual evidence. Offer real-world application of these ideas to bring added value to the conversation and resonate with other students. Remember to always relate direct references to concepts you’re learning about and establish those connections with evidence from academic sources.



Do something extra that requires others to think and respond to the ideas you’re sharing. Use topic sentences to bring all points together and dig deep to find connections beyond the surface. Be sure that you have proposed a unique perspective that can be challenged by your classmates.



In doing so, you’ll have a better chance to ensure the post is cohesive, coherent, and complete. Make sure to check all spelling and grammar. Just because it’s a discussion post doesn’t mean it should be messy.



Post your response, engage with your classmates, and continue to ask follow-up questions. Be an integral part of the conversation and add value to what is being discussed. Some of the best online discussions continue in the minds of others long after you post to the discussion forum. So the next time you post, ask yourself: What can I write that will add value to the conversation?

Writing is a process and one that requires consistent work and attention. Keep at it, and do not hesitate to reach out to an SSC writing tutor for support!


Adapted from; May 27th, 2021 by K. N. (2021, November 19). How to write a strong discussion post [infographic]. JWU College of Professional Studies. 

Guidelines for Participation on the Discussion Board

1) Messages should relate to the subject matter and provide information, opinions or questions about that topic.

2) Your main point should be clear and focused and add relevant information to the topic that is being discussed.

3) The more interaction the better! A good message is one that prompts others to reply or object. A focused and pointed message that produces replies from others and moves the discussion forward is having an impact on the learning environment.

4) The discussion board is a place where ideas are interpreted and language is explored. A good message should explore, explain, or expand on a concept or connection. The message should not simply state “I agree; good post,” but rather expand upon an idea by asking a question, sharing web links related to the topic, or adding an example to clarify the topic.

5) Post early during the activity so that there is enough time to generate discussion. Adding your message at 11:58 when the activity period is over at 11:59 will not allow a meaningful discussion to develop.

6) Proofread! This is an academic environment and good grammar counts. Check your spelling and write in complete sentences. Abbreviations that are used for text messages and instant messaging are not acceptable on academic discussion boards.

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