Distance Education Student Resource Guide

Distance learning is a means by which SC State University extends its resources in the areas of instruction, research and service to citizens of the state of South Carolina, the nation, and the world. Online courses and programs promote rigor and quality, by utilizing emerging educational technologies and sound instructional strategies.

The Distance Education Student Guide is intended to serve as a reference guide for students taking distance learning courses. The Distance Education Student Guide provides students with information they will need to be successful in courses taken at a distance.


The mission of distance learning at SC State University is to prepare highly skilled, competent and socially aware graduates to enable them to work and live productively in a dynamic, global society. Our strategic initiative is to ensure the alignment of online programs and courses to workforce demands by providing quality instruction and selecting appropriate emerging technologies that enhance the online learning experience.

Distance Learning Platforms

SC State University uses Blackboard Learn 9.1 to deliver courses at a distance. Blackboard Collaborate is an interactive web conferencing platform that allows instructors to record lectures, conduct virtual advisements, conduct live presentations (synchronous sessions) and facilitate collaborative learning online (group presentations, etc).

Learning Management System

What is Blackboard?

Blackboard Learn is a course management system for instructors to put class materials on the internet. It provides a variety of tools to facilitate teaching and learning. All online courses at SC State University use the Blackboard Learn course management system.

The basic tools used in a Blackboard Learn course includes a syllabus, Learning Module, discussions, calendar, email, announcements, grade book, exams, and assignments.

**All “on-ground" credit courses and some non-credit courses use Blackboard Learn as a supplemental tool to enhance face-to-face teaching.

Recommended Browsers

Blackboard supports five primary browsers for Learn releases. Links to the sites for the browsers are provided below:

**Run the browser checker to see whether Blackboard Learn supports your browser.

Browser Supported Desktop* Browser Versions

Chrome** 36+

Edge** 20+

Firefox** 31+

Internet Explorer 11+ (Windows only)

Safari 6+ (Mac OS only)

Minimum Computer Requirements for Blackboard

Your computer should have at least: 4GB of RAM and Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.5, or higher.

NOTE: Chromebooks use the Chrome operating system which is not a supported operating system for Blackboard. Some areas of Blackboard require Java on your computer, and Chromebooks do not support the use of Java. Be sure you have access to a Mac computer or Windows computer so you can fully participant in your online course.

Please do not rely exclusively on a tablet or a smartphone to complete an online course. Not all features in Blackboard will be accessible on tablets and smartphones.

Recommended Software & Plug-Ins
  1. Java – is a programming language that developers use to create applications on your computer.
  2. Natural Reader - A free screen reading software that allows you to listen to any text on your PC.
  3. WinZip – Compression Software. Zip, protect, manage and share all your files quickly and easily.
  4. Adobe Acrobat Reader – Software for viewing, printing, and sharing PDFs. ·
  5. Adobe Flash - multimedia software platform used for production of animations, rich Internet applications, desktop applications, and mobile applications.
  6. Real Player - The Symbian version of RealPlayer allows mobile phones to play Real Audio, RealVideo, MP3, 3GP, AMR and other media formats. It is provided as freeware.
  7. Microsoft Office 365 – SCSU students have access to one free download of Microsoft Office 365 (for more information contact the IT help desk at helpme@scsu.edu)
For Mac Users:
Apple iTunes & Apple QuickTime

Accessing Blackboard Learn 9.1

Accessing Blackboard Learn 9.1

Single Sign-On allows a user to access university applications using one set of login credentials. To access the Blackboard Learning Management System, enter your assigned network account username and password to login the SCSU Apps and click on the Blackboard icon.

Can’t login? Get username and password help

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Blackboard Support

Need assistance using Blackboard? Having technical issues? Click here to access SCSU’s Blackboard Support Services webpage. Students can contact Blackboard Support Services by phone, via live chat or by e-mail by clicking on the Create Case feature.

Blackboard Support Services are available 24 hours per day.

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Blackboard Maintenance and Upgrades

The Blackboard Learning Management System requires periodic downtimes to allow for system maintenance and upgrades. Blackboard upgrades that require downtime are usually conducted between academic terms, while Blackboard maintenance may occur within an academic term, system downtime for maintenance is usually scheduled during non-peak usage hours (12:00 am – 6:00 am). Students will receive a minimum of one week’s notice regarding system downtown for upgrades and maintenance (when possible).

Blackboard Emergencies

While less likely, emergency system shutdowns are possible; students will be notified of emergency shutdowns by University Computing Information Technology Systems (UCITS) or by the Blackboard Administrator. The best effort will be made to provide at least a two-hour notice to all Blackboard users in the event of an emergency system shutdown. The notice will be sent out via campus email and in an announcement that is visible to users within the Blackboard Learning Management System.

Student Services

Academic Advising

Academic advising is a collaborative relationship between students and academic advisors committed to ensuring students accomplish their academic and career goals. Recognizing the diversity of ages, backgrounds, and needs of our students, SC State University is committed to providing the advice and resources that students need as they progress through their degree program curriculum from initial admission to graduation. Although Academic Advisors will be available to guide the advising process, students have the ultimate responsibility for completing academic requirements as outlined in their academic curriculum.

The Academic Advising Handbook outlines the minimum advising policies and procedures to be implemented by all undergraduate academic programs at South Carolina State University. Academic programs may have additional requirements and procedures unique to their programs of study.

For information about academic advising, contact:

Student Success and Retention Programs

South Carolina State University

P.O. Box 7013 Orangeburg, SC 29117

Phone: (803) 536-7142

Email: ssrp@scsu.edu

Student Success and Retention Programs
The Student Success and Retention Programs (SSRP) is a university-wide initiative designed to increase the number and percentage of students retained at the University. The Student Success and Retention Programs serves as a point of entry for all new students, beginning with summer orientation. The Program consists of a comprehensive network of retention and other support services through six components: (1) New Student Orientation, (2) University 101, (3) Academic Support Services, and Student Support Services.

Student Success and Retention Programs

South Carolina State University

P.O. Box 7013 Orangeburg, SC 29117

Phone: (803) 536-7142

Email: ssrp@scsu.edu

Campus Resources

Disability Services

The Office of Student Disability Services (OSDS) at South Carolina State University offers a variety of services for students with documented disabilities including but not limited to students with learning disabilities, those who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who are visual or mobility impaired, and/or those who are diagnosed with a psychiatric or medical disorder(s).

The mission of the Office of Student Disability Services is to provide and coordinate academic and other support services and programs that enable students with disabilities to maximize their educational potential, participate in and benefit from all aspects of University campus life, and increase the level of awareness of the University’s faculty and staff about disabled students needs. We also seek to foster a positive attitudinal and behavioral response from faculty and staff when interacting with persons with disabilities.

For information about disability services, contact:

Office of Student Disability Services

South Carolina State University

P.O. Box 7508

300 College Street NE, Orangeburg, SC 29117

Phone: (803) 536-7142

Email: ssrp@scsu.edu

Patricia A.H. Middleton, M.A.

Student Services Coordinator

Phone: 803-536-7245 or 803-536-8700

Fax: 803-536-8702


The Miller F. Whittaker Library was constructed in 1969 with the mezzanine addition in 1979. Various print and electronic collections are housed in more than 47,500 square feet of space. The library provides resources to meet the instructional and research needs of students and faculty.

For more information about the resources available at the Miller F. Whittaker Library, contact:

Purchase textbooks and buy SC State gear at the SC State Bookstore!

Contact Information:

SC State Bookstore

300 College Street, Orangeburg, SC US 29117-0001

Get Directions

View Store Hours


Phone: (803) 536-8739

Fax: (803) 531-4671

Testing Center
The South Carolina State University Assessment Center is dedicated to providing proctoring services to facilitate and support student success by providing examinations and resources to assist academic and professional development both internally to our students and externally to the Orangeburg community, including surrounding areas. The Assessment Center provides a proctored environment and services for the administration of course tests, common exams, and institutional requirements via e-learning technology (Blackboard™).

The Assessment Center is committed to adhering to best practices in administering examinations as outlined by the National College Testing Association’s (NCTA) Standards and Guidelines. The Assessment Center is located on the third floor of Belcher Hall on the SC State campus.

For more information on testing services, contact:

Assessment Center

P.O. Box 7637

300 College Street NE, Orangeburg, SC 29117-0001

Phone: 803-533-3996

Email: testingcenter@scsu.edu

Student Support Services
Student Support Services provide comprehensive services that are designed to increase student academic performance in a caring and nurturing environment and graduate eligible students who are capable of participating actively in a global society.

For more information about student support services, contact:

300 College Street NE, Orangeburg, SC 29117-0001

Phone: 803-516-4529

Email: bjefferson@scsu.edu

Career Services
Career Services at South Carolina State University is committed to helping students and alumni develop career and life-planning skills, acquire experience, master job search strategies, and seek rewarding employment. The Career Center facilitates mutually beneficial relationships between employers, faculty and staff, students and alumni in order to meet the dynamic needs of today's workplace.

For more information about career services, contact:

Career Center 2nd Floor Belcher Hall, Suite 250

P.O. Box 7068

300 College Street NE Orangeburg, SC 29117

Phone: (803) 536-7033

Email: CareerCenter@scsu.edu

An Effective Online Student

Technical skills are a major focal point when referring to a specific skillset needed to be a successful online student. Technical skills are imperative in online learning, as these skills enable students to complete assignments as well as other assigned tasks. Being a successful online student requires more than just a certain level of technical skills. Taking online courses requires students to possess:
  • time management skills
  • organization skills
  • netiquette
  • writing skills
  • study skills
  • motivation

Attendance & Participation

You are expected to access the online course asynchronously, using the Blackboard LMS account provided to you. Participant “attendance” in an online course is defined as active participation in the course as outlined in the course syllabus. You are required to login weekly and review the week's course material. Weekly participation in and completion of specified learning activities is required to successfully complete this course. Depending on participant need, one or two synchronous sessions will be scheduled as check-in opportunities during the course.


Netiquette is etiquette for Communicating Online. The following are “netiquette” guidelines:

  • Treat one another with respect. It will be expected that we will not attack one another personally for holding different opinions.
  • Do not use all CAPITAL LETTERS in emails or discussion board postings. This is considered “shouting” and is seen as impolite or aggressive.
  • Begin emails with a proper salutation. Starting an email without a salutation or a simple "Hey" is not appropriate.
  • When sending an email, please include a detailed subject line. Additionally, make sure you reference the course in the message and sign the email with your name.
  • Use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. Text messaging language is not acceptable.
  • Use good taste when communicating. Profanity should be avoided.
  • Re-read, think, and edit your message before you click Send/Submit.

Academic Integrity

Some basic practical guidelines for students on how to avoid some of the most common types of academic misconduct are:

Know the Rules

Familiarize yourself with the SC State Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook. Make sure ask questions if you don’t understand. Both publications can be found on the SC State University Website.

Always get assignment directions from your professor.

If a classmate gives you bad information, even by mistake, you could still get in trouble. Make sure you understand and clarify assignment instructions with your professor.

Don’t give away copies of your work without permission.

Once your work is in someone else’s hands, you don’t know what they are going to do with it and they might copy without your consent. Check with your professor first.

Procrastinate wisely.

You can’t always get every assignment done early, so be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses. Citations can take time to do correctly, so waiting to the last minute to cite a long paper or project risks errors of sloppiness or desperation. Prioritize tasks/assignments to complete them efficiently and effectively.

No electronic devices! - The moment you pull out an unapproved electronic device during a quiz, test, or exam, you are automatically considered cheating even if you’re just checking the time.

Avoid plagiarism - If you use someone else’s words in your work, make sure you:

  1. Put those words in quotation marks (or use block quotes);
  2. Clearly identify the source of those words; and
  3. Include enough information to find that source as part of your comprehensive list of source (i.e. works cited, reference page, etc.).

If your professor can’t tell what words were authored by whom, or can’t track down all the sources you used, that’s plagiarism.

Use in-text citations and list all sources - If you use someone else’s ideas in your work (i.e. paragraph), make sure you:

  1. Identify where you got those ideas from,
  2. Identify who came up with those ideas; and
  3. List the sources used.

**Remember that it only counts as a paraphrase if you truly put it in your own words and faithfully represent what the source was trying to say.

Always do original work - If you want to turn in something you wrote in the past (such as reusing a paper you wrote for another class), get permission from your professor first. Re-use without permission is self-plagiarism.

Ask for Help - Life happens, if you’re struggling tell your professor as soon as possible to get help. Students who are proactive about asking for help are more successful in completing online courses.

Own up to mistakes- People make mistakes. Academic misconduct resolution processes usually reward students who take responsibility for their mistakes with more lenient consequences. Be honest.