Frequently Asked Questions

The only difference is the manner in which course materials are accessed. Every online course is the equivalent in content and academic rigor to those in a traditional classroom.

Online courses are available over the internet. The student accesses all course materials via a user name and password provided by the college and completes research and assignments independently.

Motivated, self-directed, mature students with busy schedules tend to be most successful in online classes. However, any student who requires the convenience and flexibility of an online course should consider the option. In all cases, strong reading and writing skills are strongly recommended for prospective students.

You may register for your online course by mail, phone or fax by providing your VISA, Master Card or Discover information. Contact the Registrar's office to find out the last day for mail, phone and fax registration at 617-228-2422. You may also register in person until the last day for evening credit courses. Once you have registered for your course, visit the BHCConline Distance Education page and read the Welcome Letter posted. 

The majority of online instructors are full-time faculty members at member colleges. In all cases, the instructors have undertaken extensive training in online instruction and have redesigned their existing classes to best accommodate this mode of instructional delivery.

That depends upon the instructor and to some extent, the provider college. Often, the provider college will have academic advisors and student advocates who can answer your questions or forward specific inquiries to an instructor on your behalf. Be sure to visit the distance education office at your institution for more information.

Online courses enjoy the same transferability as those offered by the provider institution in a traditional classroom environment. As with all courses, students must consult with the transfer institution.

You must have basic computer skills, such as sending and receiving e-mail, word processing, cutting and pasting within documents, toggling between applications and using e-mail attachments. For specialized courses, other skills may be required. These requirements will be listed under "Special Considerations" in the course description.

BHCConline courses can be accessed with most of today's desktop or laptop computers - both PC and Mac. High speed Internet connection (DSL/cable) is recommended, especially since you will uploading and downloading files frequently - and some of the file sizes may be large. See the Technical Requirements page for more details.

Once enrolled, students may contact instructors via e-mail. In some courses, instructors hold regular live chat sessions, post electronic office hours and list telephone numbers where they can be reached. Early reports from online students suggest they have as much, if not more, access to instructors in an online course than in the traditional classroom setting.

That depends on the course and your abilities. In general, you should plan on spending at least six to ten hours per week, per course. Some courses may require more.

Courses with lab requirements are considered "Special Consideration" classes and may be handled in a variety of ways including (but not limited to):

  • Issuing students a lab packet that allows students to perform labs at home, individually;
  • Issuing compact disks or videotapes with step-by-step instructions for completing lab work;
  • "Special Consideration" requirements will be noted in the course description for these classes.

Most instructors understand that problems arise that may prevent students from completing their work in a timely fashion. If effort has been expended and significant progress achieved, in-progress (IP) grades may be available. However, the instructor is the sole arbiter concerning the completion of work in his or her course, absent any institution-wide policy at the provider college.

Yes, students can use familiar outlets such as or to purchase textbooks online. Students are advised to consult the BHCC Bookstore first, as online providers can be out-of-stock or in a back-ordered situation which may cause serious delays.