Tips for success

Technology tips for success in online classes

(First: if you are new to online learning, review Successful strategies in an online class below.)

Within online classes you will be using a variety of websites, media players, and multimedia. You should plan to download the Firefox or Safari browser as a backup (or as your main browser) in case your primary browser does not work for you.

Here is a list of the most common programs, browsers, plug-ins, and media players used within online courses:

  • Free Office Suite: If you do not have or do not want to buy the Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), consider the following free office suites for a Windows' PC (Open Office) or a Mac (Neo Office). 
  • Free Office Suite:Google Docs. This is the easiest program to use and allows users to work on documents (text, PowerPoint presentation, spreadsheet) through a web browser. In addition, a user can invite, by email, other people to view or collaborate on the same document and track changes very easily through a color-coded system. Last, Google Forms are also web-based and allow for easy survey creations; once created they are automatically merged with a spreadsheet to track the submissions. This is a very easy and useful web-based program for students and faculty. To review  the 3-minute training tutorials, please go to the following link Google Docs Training Tutorials, scrolling down the page until you see the heading for Google Docs.
  • Free Office Suite - Smartphone/iPad access: Google Docs edits/creation on smartphones and iPads:
  • Second browser: consider downloading and using Mozilla's Firefox browser, Google's Chrome, or Apple's Safari browser when viewing your online course if your primary browser causes problems (i.e., Internet Explorer or Safari).
  • is an easy way to create a brainstorm session, org chart, or series of idea bubbles.
  • Dropbox offers free online storage (starting at 2 gigs and going up to 8 gigs)
  • Evernote is an easy way to take notes and organize digital information for an individual or collaborate with a group.
  • Komposer is a free html editor.
  • FlavorsMe is one of many free services for basic website templates.
  • Jing is an easy way to make up to a 5-minute video of anything on your computer screen.
  • is one of many free image editors/image sites.
  • Windows Media Player: go to and search for Windows Media Player Update.
  • Flip 4 Mac - Windows Media Player plug-in for the Mac: go to
  • Quicktime player: go to Apple's Quicktime Player page.
  • Flash player
  • Shockwave player
  • Tips for Online Student Success Video


  Successful strategies in an online class

Please review all information below before taking an online course.

Before class begins:

  • Know how to access your course: All online courses have a common website starting point: Desire2learn (DVC's course management system). To access your online course, you will enter your Insite Portal id and 6-digit birthday (default unless you have changed it).
  • Know where to find out if your class has a mandatory meeting: Some classes have mandatory course meetings while others are entirely online. If on-campus meetings are required, these dates/times will be listed in the college schedule with the course. In WebAdvisor/portal, you may have to click on the course link to see this information.
  • Pick up your books at the Book Center (there may be an website access code you need and it would be available through the Book Center.)
  • New Online Students - Strategies to Learn Online: College of the Siskiyous' Surviving in an Online Course
  • New Online Students - Are Online Courses Right For You?: Mira Costa's Test Your Potential as an Online Student 

 Multimedia development

  • Podcasts, profcasts, video, and audio files are used in many courses to illustrate elements of a course. By updating your Windows Media Player, Flash and Shockwave players, browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari), and Quicktime player, you will be able to access this material. At the top of this page you'll see the typical free software/browsers used within online courses.