Navigating Online Courses

See below for information on major aspects of navigating college courses, particularly online courses: reading your syllabus, communicating with your instructors, using your textbooks well, using Blackboard, and managing your time and tasks well.  You will also find some resources on mental and emotional health. 

Reading the Syllabus

The syllabus is the roadmap to your course. Please view the video or written guide below to get the most of your syllabi!

Guide to Reading Your Syllabus

Communicating with Your Instructor

In order to be successful in an online course, you will need to communicate with your instructors. The written guide and video below will show you the best ways to communicate with your instructors.

Communicating with Your Instructors

Using Your Textbooks

Boost your learning with these three strategies for using your textbooks well!


Blackboard Help

If you are accessing Blackboard for the first time,                  click here for our Blackboard Help guide.

If you need more help, contact the Help Desk by email: [email protected]

The Library has a helpful LibGuide that will walk you through submitting an assignment, posting on the Discussion Board, checking your grades, and more. Click here to access the Blackboard LibGuide! 

Other Blackboard Resources:

ICC Blackboard Help Page

General Student Blackboard Help

Assignment FAQ

Course FAQ

Grade FAQ

YouTube Playlist for Blackboard Learn: For Students

Uploading Videos, Sharing Files from Google Drive 

Managing Tasks and Time

Online learning may seem overwhelming to those who are new to it. Here are a few recommendations to help you continue to successfully participate in your courses:

  • Check in Daily: Log into your Blackboard and ICC email daily.                                                                                  Staying on top of notifications and announcements will help you have a successful online experience. Instructors will communicate class updates in the tab labeled announcements, located on the sidebar within each course.
  • Develop Good Study Habits: Set up an at-home class schedule for yourself. Determine what time you will start school each day and which class you intend to work on first. Remember that you need to allow enough time for classroom time and study time. In other words, some of your time will be spent checking Blackboard and your email and participating in your online class, and some of your time will be spent reading, taking notes, and working on homework assignments. Do not try to do all of your work in one day. Pace yourself in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. You might choose to devote certain days of the week to completing work for specific classes.


Learning in a new environment can be challenging –but a challenge is a good thing! As you use the strategies you learned above to succeed in online courses, you might also be facing the uncertainties and life challenges that many of us are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources below address healthy thinking, coping with anxiety, and handling unexpected trauma.

Healthy Thinking

Depression has a way of making us feel worse about ourselves, our situations, and our lives. Sometimes depression must be controlled with medication, but often it can be controlled with healthy thoughts. This handout contains a few tips about how to “think healthier.”

Stop Anxiety from Taking Over 

Here are a few more tools you can use as you navigate your anxiety. It isn’t easy, but once you begin positive self-talk, reframing your problems, and worrying less, your anxiety will begin to  subside.

21 Ways to Handle Trauma

There is no doubt about it: COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives. With the chaos in the world, remember to take care of yourself. You are currently experiencing a traumatic event. It won’t be as traumatic for some as it is for others, but it is important to take care of yourself during this time. Here are 21 ways you can do this.