Self Care Resources

Student Assistance Program (Free and Confidential)

PCC is pleased to announce the Student Assistance Program, a NEW resource that is free and confidential for you and your family.

  • Licensed, experienced counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Choose between phone, Web-based, and in-person options.

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Financial Consultations
  • Legal Consultations
  • Online Resources: databases, streaming audio/video files, articles, webinars, a discount program, and more

Call 800-633-3353 or

Log in to > My Portal Login > Work-Life

Username:  pacer50   Password:  guest

Please see the attached PowerPoint for additional details

Distance Learning


Netiquette is another word for online communication guidelines. 

Netiquette can be summarized by three simple understandings: remember that there is a human being on the other end of your communication, treat that human being with respect, and do not transmit any message that you wouldn’t be willing to communicate face to face. 

Due to the nature of the online environment, here are some things to remember: 

  • Be careful what you write about others. Assume that anyone about whom you are writing will read your comments or receive them in away other than intended.
  • Avoid offensive language, especially comments that might be construed as discriminatory.
  • Be careful with humor and sarcasm. One person’s humorous comment may push another person’s buttons or may even be seen as offensive.
  • Avoid putting words into full capitals. Online, all-caps is considered SHOUTING.
  • Write descriptive subject lines. Some people receive so much email that they begin to delete some messages without viewing them. To avoid this fate, make sure your subject lines are descriptive.
  • Use writing tricks like “emoticons,” acronyms, and extra punctuation, but use them judiciously. Online communication has spawned a whole school of tricks you can use to look extra clever 😉 (an “emoticon”) and get your message across to listeners.
  • Respect other people’s intellectual property. Don’t post, display, or otherwise provide access to materials belonging to others, and cite references as appropriate.
  • Always think before you write. In other words, without the use of non-verbals with your message, your message can be misinterpreted. So please think twice before you hit submit.
  • Keep it relevant. There are places to chat and post for fun everyday stuff. Do not stray from the discussion in the assigned questions.
  • Make sure that you are using appropriate grammar and structure. In other words, do not write “R U” instead of “are you”. There are people in the class that may not understand this type of abbreviation, not to mention it does nothing to help expand your writing and vocabulary skills. Emoticons are fine as long as they are appropriate. A smile is welcome, anything offensive is not.
  • Treat people the same as you would face-to-face. In other words, it is easy to hide behind the computer. In some cases, it empowers people to treat others in ways they would not in person. Remember there is a person behind the name on your screen.  Treat all with dignity and respect and you can expect that in return. 

Communicating with your Instructor

Your online instructor is a busy person but is prepared to provide the assistance you need to complete your online course. You will enjoy your course more and make fewer mistakes if you establish regular contact.

Here are some hints for communicating with your instructor:

Check in with your instructors regularly

Don’t be afraid that you will bother your instructor with too much mail. Increased communication will save both you and your instructor time in the long run. Share your experience of the course–both your confusions and what you like.

Don’t be offended if your instructor points you to other resources

Your instructor receives a great amount of email and course messages. To stay sane, he or she will often refer you to other resources that should answer your question instead of rewriting an answer that appears elsewhere. This is to help you become aware of resources in your course site and to help your instructor get through long lists of mail.

Use course messages or email as your first mode of communication

This is an online class, and one of the goals is to make the course available at any time of day from a variety of places. You and your instructor will not always be (and in some cases, may never be) online at the same time. That makes course messages and email, an “asynchronous” form of communication, an ideal way to interact. Please use course message or email as your first contact option.

Don’t be afraid to try other forms of contact

Sometimes, forms of communication other than course messages or email will be more appropriate. Sometimes nothing can replace the immediacy of phone or face-to-face contact. Other times, you’ll want to interact with both your instructor and other students via the discussion board or email. Or maybe you will prefer the privacy of a letter for certain extremely sensitive topics. A variety of contact information for your instructor is available under the “Instructor” and “Syllabus” buttons.

Check your email and course messages regularly

Sometimes your instructor will send time sensitive material via email or course message. If you only check your email or course message once a week, you may not get the message until it is too late. Even if you do nothing else for your online course on a particular day, you should try to check your email  and course message once.

Use specific subject lines for your messages

Your instructor will make decisions about which email messages to read first. Use specific subject lines including your class name to help them do this sorting. If you need an immediate answer, put the word “urgent” in your email title. If you have a question, start the subject with “Question about…” Refer to specific assignments when needed.

Be specific in the content of your messages

To help your instructor respond to you, be specific about who you are and what you need. In every message, identify your full name, the course you are taking (and section you are in, if there is more than one), the assignment, reading, or unit you are working on, and the specific information you are requesting in reply. This will help your instructor answer your question quickly and completely.

Your Instructor will usually respond within 48 hours, sometimes earlier

He or she needs time to process email and think about your question or research answers before writing back. If you don’t receive a response within that time frame, send your message again. Accidents can happen, and your instructor may have lost your original message or not realized that a response was requested. Again, this is not personal, but a mistake that anyone can make when he or she deals with hundreds of messages a day. Be persistent, and your question will be answered! If you must have an earlier response, put the word “urgent” in your subject line or try a phone call.

Learn how to communicate effectively online

More hints about this topic are available in the “Course Assignment Guide” in the “Syllabus” about enhancing communication and participating in discussion forums.

Skills for Online Courses

If a student doesn’t have the skills listed below, one may have difficulties with portions of the online course. 

Ask your instructor for sources you can use to improve your skills or contact the  Learning Commons  for help with learning these skills.  

The successful online students knows how to:

  • Start, shut down, and reboot a computer.
  • Use a keyboard and a mouse
  • Use his or her Internet Service Provider or otherwise gain access to the Internet.
  • Access URLs (web addresses) on the internet.
  • Use online search tools to locate materials on the web.
  • Navigate forward and backward on web sites with links, frames, image maps, and other elements.
  • Troubleshoot a URL or link that is not working.
  • Recognize when a “plug-in” is needed to view a particular web page.
  • Print pages in the programs he or she uses, especially web browsers.
  • Send, receive, reply to, and forward email and course messages.
  • Send and receive email and course attachments.
  • Use a word processor.
  • Copy and paste text across documents and software applications.
  • Save a document or other file to a particular location.
  • Find a file or document previously saved.
  • Other skills may be needed for specific online courses or instructor practices but mastering the skills above should be enough to provide a strong base for academic success.

Username & Password

Same username and password for your Microsoft 365, email, Blackboard, Webadvisor, Aviso, and Self Service accounts.


Username will use a combination of your initials, last name, and student Identification number. 


  • 1st letter of your first name
  • 1st first letter of your middle name
  • All letters of your last name
  • The last two digits of your student identification number
  • For email include
Example: If your name is Jane R. Student and your student ID# is 0123456, and a birthday of 01/21/65
  • Your username would be jrstudent56
  • Your Office 365 email is


Password is case-sensitive and is a combination of your part of your last name and birthday. 


Your password, if you are a new student

  • 1st letter of last name (UPPER)
  • 2nd letter of last name (lower)
  • 6 digit birth date (MMDDYY)  
Example: If your name is Jane R. Student and your student ID# is 0123456
  • the default password is Js012165

Change or Unlock Account

Change your password or unlock your account

Go to

Learning Commons

Virtual or In-Person Tutoring with PCC Staff

Welcome to the PCC Learning Commons tutoring scheduling program!

WC Tutoring by appointment with PCC tutors. 

Sign up at

We look forward to working with you!

Students can either choose to …
  • e-mail their assignment for review by a tutor
  • set-up a virtual tutoring session

When you login to schedule an appointment, use the “Limit to:” drop-down box to select a subject/course and see only the tutors of your subject/course.

If you have questions or need help with the registration process or scheduling an appointment, please call the PCC Student Help Desk at 336-322-2138 or send an e-mail to


  • You will be prompted to set up an account. (Instructions listed on login screen)
  • If this is your first time, please click the blue “Register for an account” link on the left. 
  • As you are registering, please use YOUR PCC email address (this format ) and use the same password that you use for Blackboard, WebAdvisor, etc.  
  • After you have registered, return to this page to log in and schedule an appointment. 

NC Live – Online Database

NC LIVE (North Carolina Libraries for Virtual Education) serves as a gateway to a rich array of electronic information. You have access to full-text magazine and journal articles that support the assignments in this course. You may access NC LIVE databases remotely from your home, office, etc.

To find out how to get remote access privileges, check out the  Learning Commons web page.

Ms. Vanessa Bass
Reference Librarian


Solving Technical Difficulties – Try These Steps

Determine the scope of the problem. This takes practice, but it will do no good to complain to your instructor if the problem is with your home computer or your Internet Service Provider.

How to fix common issues prior to asking for help

Here are some ways to tell

  • If you can’t get your computer to work at all or if your computer frequently freezes, but not at times that seem to have anything to do with each other, the problem is probably with your own hardware or Local Area Network. Whoever maintains that network or computer will have to find a solution. Your instructor or other technical contacts might be able to help.
  • If your computer works, but you can’t get online, are frequently bumped offline, or have access problems at a particular time of day, the problem is probably with your Internet Service Provider. Call the provider’s technical help resources.
  • If you can get online, can visit other Internet sites, but can’t get to the course site (or can’t get the course site to display correctly), the problem could be many things, but may be a problem with the server that the course is on. Consult the instructor or the technical support staff at the college. They can help you determine if the server is down, if it can’t be accessed from certain places, if you forgot a password, or if the problem lies elsewhere.

Try these steps

  • Save any work if applicable and possible.
  • Write down what programs were open and what you were doing when the error occurred. Write down the exact text of any error messages.
  • Reload (also called “refresh”) the web page.
  • Refresh the web browser page.
  • Restart (also called “reboot”) the computer.
  • Try another browser.
  • Make a short list of the things you’ve tried and the specifications of your computer. Call (or email if you can) for help.
  • Write down the solutions to problems you encounter. They’ll probably come up again and you may not remember how you fixed them. Learning to troubleshoot computers is a cumulative process.
  • Inform the instructor of problems or mistakes in the course site such as broken links. He or she can’t fix the problems if no one lets him or her know the problems are there.
  • Let your instructor know if technical difficulties will prevent you from completing work. He or she might be able to help you find a place to work, solve your problem, or extend a deadline.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for technical help from a variety of sources but be nice to the people who help. Their job is hard, and you’ll need them again. Don’t blame them for the problems.
  • Finally, accept that problems are going to occur. Computers are complex and complex things break in interesting ways. If you keep a level head and learn from the experience, you’ll survive and be better prepared the next time problems occur.                                                                                          

Web Browsers

The most important factor in using Blackboard is making sure that you have the right browser version. Blackboard supports all newer stable versions of Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.

Users should consider downloading the recommended browsers. When encountering a difficulty using Blackboard, before contacting technical support, please try your action in another browser.

Often times just switching browsers will resolve the issue.


To run a check on your browser  Blackboard Learn Browser Checker.

For information on other browsers and versions that work with Blackboard visit  Blackboard Learn Browser Support.

If you are unable to view discussion postings, quiz windows, and download links, then you may need to disable the pop-up blocker within the browser settings.

Internet Connection Times Out

Some Internet connections may ‘time out’ your connection to the Internet if there is no activity coming from your machine – for example when you are composing an answer to an essay question or discussion board post.  Blackboard itself will time out after 60 minutes of inactivity.

Here are a few ways to resolve this issue

  • If you are using wireless Internet, please try and directly connect to your Internet source.
  • For quizzes, please click the save button, located right of the screen, after you answer the questions.
  • For quizzes, your professor may have deployed the quiz one question at a time. This would resolve the time out issue for quizzes/exams.
  • For non-quizzes, please open up word pad, word doc, or text file to type your answers/responses. When you are finished, please copy/paste (upload file) your answers and submit everything inside Blackboard.

Microsoft 365

Information and Installing

PCC students have free access to Microsoft Office 365

Login at PCC Email and other apps 

Students can download Microsoft Office 365 to their computers 

  • First login to Microsoft 365
  • Using button at top right “Install Office
  • Install apps on computer, phone, & tablet

Microsoft Office 365 Apps included or can be install:

  • Outlook – email
  • Word – create typed documents
  • PowerPoint – create slides
  • Excel – calculations
  • OneDrive – cloud storage
  • SharePoint – share files
  • Stream – video storage
  • Calendar – create calendar
  • OneNote – keep notes)
  • Teams – work in groups/teams; share files; chat
  • Forms – create input form
  • People – save contacts
  • Publisher – create flyers
  • Access – create databases
  • and more tools

One Drive for Cloud Storage

Microsoft OneDrive allows users to store files and personal data like Windows settings or BitLocker recovery keys in the cloud, share files, and sync files across Android, Windows Phone, and iOS mobile devices, Windows and macOS computers, and the Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X and S consoles.

Information on how it works


Sending a Course Message

Follow these steps to send a message:

  • Click on Tools, and then select the Course Messages icon.
  • Click Create Message.
  • Click on the “To” box. From the list of people involved with the course, select the person.

Sending an Email

Sending e-mail messages to selected users:

  • Click on the “Course Tools” button located at the left of your screen.
  • Click on the “Send Email” button.
  • Click on “Select Users” or another category. 
  • Select User, then click right arrow button to move user over to Selected box. 
  • Enter Subject with topic.
  • Enter message and check spelling.
  • If needed, attach a file.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the gray “Submit” button.

Accessing/Downloading Content Files

Is your browser software blocking file downloads?

You may need to set your browser to allow file downloads from the Blackboard website.

To prevent Internet Explorer 8 from blocking file downloads:

  • On the Tools menu, click Internet Options.
  • Click the Security tab, and then click the Custom level button.
  • Scroll to the Downloads section of the list, and under Automatic prompting for file downloads, click Enable.
  • Click OK, then click Yes to confirm the change, and then click OK.

Do you have pop-up elimination software running?

Pop-up elimination software such as Pop-Up Stopper, Pop-Up Zapper, Ad-Aware, etc.

If you are using software to control or eliminate pop-up windows, you may need to disable this software while you use Blackboard. In some cases, this software can prevent Blackboard materials and quizzes from opening properly. Pop-up killing or ad-blocking functions are built into some anti-virus, internet security, personal firewall, and browser programs. For some browsers, holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard while you click a link may bypass the pop-up blocker and allow the file or window to appear.

Do you have the software needed to open the file you are trying to access?

Some documents provided in your course may require specific software to open them. If you do not have the appropriate software to open a particular document (such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint), you will need to contact your instructor. If you are using Microsoft Office 2010, and you are asking to login to view a Blackboard file, try clicking Cancel once or twice to get past the login screen.

  • If you are trying to access a pdf document, you may need to download a pdf reader such as  Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • If you are having difficulty opening PowerPoint documents, but you have PowerPoint software, you may need to update Microsoft Office with a patch or service pack. To get more information on available updates, visit the following website:  Microsoft Office Downloads.
  • Problems accessing content files might be caused by not having the documents (especially Microsoft documents) closed before trying to upload them. Make sure you’re saving and closing the file before trying to attach in Blackboard.
  • If you are not getting the attachments window at all, you may have a popup blocker turned on. Pop-up killing or ad-blocking functions are built into some anti-virus, internet security, personal firewall, and browser programs.

Reading Assignments

Much of the course content will come from chapters in a text or other reference materials. As you progress through the course, ensure that you plan quality time to read all the materials as indicated in the module assignments.

To complete the reading assignments effectively, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure that you have quality time to read material carefully.
  • Take notes and/or highlight material in text for future review.
  • Periodically review materials to be most prepared for quizzes, exams, and other assignments.
  • Contact your instructor if you have any questions or comments about the readings.

Discussion Board

Discussion Basics

  • The discussion board is a tool for sharing thoughts and ideas about class materials.
  • Depending on how your instructor set up your course, you access the discussion board from either the course menu or a course area, such as a content area, learning module, lesson plan, or folder.
  • The main Discussion Board page displays a list of available discussion forums. A forum is an area where users discuss a topic or a group of related topics.
  • Click a forum title to view the messages. Forums containing unread posts appear in bold. In some cases, will not see the messages for other students till you post your message first. 
  • Within each forum, users can create multiple threads. A thread includes the initial post and any replies to it. When creating a forum, your instructor has the option of allowing or not allowing you to start threads. A moderated, graded forum used to evaluate student performance will be tightly controlled, and you cannot create threads. Other forums are designed for users to share opinions and thoughts on tangential or unrelated topics.
  • Course groups can have their own discussion boards that members create using the groups tool. Group discussion boards are available only to users who are members of the group. If a group discussion board is available, access it from the groups link in the course menu or in the My Groups area.
  • When moving through the different parts of the discussion board, use the internal navigation, such as the breadcrumbs path and course menu to return to a previous page. Using the browser navigation controls can result in page load errors.

Starting a Discussion

Once in the discussion forum you wish to participate in, click the “Thread” button to add a new thread.

Fill in the resulting box and “Submit.”

For good results, keep the following in mind

  • Save in MS Word  for a backup copy.
  • As a special note, you may wish to create your message in a word processing program, then copy and paste it into the discussion thread message box. Why? You can conduct a spell check of your work in your word processor whereas you are unable to do so in the Blackboard program. In addition, you can have a copy of your work to re-post if you run into technical difficulties.

Read any prompts carefully

A prompt is the assignment to which you are responding. In some cases, the prompt will be posted as the start of a thread in the discussion forum. In others, the prompt will be listed under “Assignments.” In either case, read the prompt carefully. Make sure that you understand everything that it requires before you start to respond. If you have questions, ask for a clarification from your instructor, or at least let others know what you are unsure about in your posting.

Post something that shows thought

One of the great things about discussion forum communication is that you can think before you respond. Discussion forum prompts are almost always open-ended questions, so even if it seems that the assignment only needs a short answer, assume that you should provide some explanation or narrative about that answer. The challenge is to do this without getting too long-winded!

Include examples and supportive arguments, not just opinions

Discussion forums are not just a place to put opinions and feelings. You should also include specific examples, statistics, quotes, and other support materials. On the other hand, you are encouraged to include your opinions too. These will make all of the details more interesting!

Cite your Sources

It’s OK if you borrow ideas from your readings or conversations, but you should attribute these ideas to their source. You can give the official citation of reading material (online or in print) or simply attribute ideas from your classmates. For instance, “In her posting, Shelly said … That made me wonder about …”

Post your initial response early in the assignment period

If you wait until the assignment due date, others will not have a chance to respond to what you have said. Your instructor will not have as much time to notice or think about your posting, and a lower score may result. Post your first message early in the assignment period, then return later and respond to others. You’ll get more out of the experience and get a better grade.

Replying in a Discussion

It’s called a discussion forum because people are actually supposed to discuss things! Clever, huh? That means it will only be useful if you respond to others, not just post your own messages. You will not get the best results or grades from this kind of communication if you don’t react to your classmates.

To respond to a message, simply enter the appropriate forum, then click on the subject of a message. Read the message, and if you want to respond, scroll to the bottom and click “Reply.” Type your message and “Submit.”

Here are more hints:

Don’t agree with everything

“Good idea!” “I agree,” or “I think the same thing” are not worthwhile responses. They don’t add to the conversation. If you do agree with the poster, then try to add another example or clarify the point more. It’s OK to have a different opinion. On the other hand…

Don’t disagree with everything

You won’t impress anyone by being critical of every posting that is made. Try to be generous in interpreting others. Ask clarifying questions if you are not sure you understand.

Search for balanced replies

When you respond to others, try to include both positives and negatives about what they have said. Tell them what you like about their ideas or compliment their intentions. Then let them know what part of their response they should consider giving more thought or looking at again.

Replies should be useful

A good reply will give everyone following along more to think about. If it is critical, the critique will be specific, clear, and point toward possible improvements. Often, asking more questions is the best sort of reply. A good reply will encourage the poster to respond again. Hopefully, they will look forward to more interactions with you in the future.

Attack arguments, but don’t attach people

Don’t get personal in a discussion forum. At the worst, be generous and assume that it is the person’s idea that you don’t like, not the person. Attacks against the person will lose friends and participation points for you. So will racist, sexist, ageist, and other bigoted comments. So will profanity and obscenity. Let’s stay civil!

If you encounter difficulties or the argument gets too hot, let your instructor know

Your instructor will be checking the forum regularly, but may miss a critical posting. If someone posts something that upsets you, talk to your instructor about it. In some cases, he or she might help clear up misunderstandings, or if necessary, delete an offensive message from the discourse.

Submitting Assignments

Assignments list the name, description, and attachments for class work. Students complete the Assignment in a separate file and send it back to the instructor. They can include comments for the instructor if they choose. Assignments may be individual or given to every member of a Course Group.

On the Upload Assignment page, students can add comments and specify files to attach.

Follow the steps below to submit an Assignment:

  • Select the Content Area from the Course Menu that holds the Assignment. For example, the Modules area.
  • Click the name of the Assignment. The Upload Assignment page appears.
  • Complete the Submission field if necessary.
  • Click Browse for Local File or Browse for Content Collection Item and select a file to attach.
  • Enter a Name of link to file. If the field is left blank, then the file name becomes the link.
  • Click Attach File.
  • Complete the Comments field if necessary.
  • Click Submit when the page is complete.

Save an Assignment:

The Upload Assignment page has a Save as Draft option available. This option allows the user to save the Assignment and continue working on it later. Once the Assignment is complete the user can submit it.

Accessing Quizzes or Discussions

Is the quiz available?

Check the dates/times listed for quiz availability. If the end date/time has passed, you will not be able to access the quiz. Please contact your instructor if you have questions about availability. Blackboard Help Desk staff cannot change quiz availability.

Do you have pop-up elimination software such as Pop-Up Stopper, Pop-Up Zapper, Ad-Aware, etc.?

  • If you are using software to control or eliminate pop-up windows, you may need to disable this software while you are taking a quiz in Blackboard. In some cases, this software can prevent Blackboard materials and quizzes from opening properly. Pop-up killing or ad-blocking functions are built into some anti-virus, internet security, personal firewall, and browser programs.
  • For some browsers, holding down the CTRL key on the keyboard while you click a link may bypass the pop-up blocker and allow the file or window to appear.

Taking Quizzes or Exams

Below are some general tips that you might find helpful:

  • Do not use a wireless connection.
  • Loss of connection may cause the test to become locked. Use a reliable computer with a high-speed Internet connection if possible.  If wireless is all that is available at your residence, consider using a computer lab on campus.
  • Make sure that the Blackboard window is maximized.
  • meaning that it covers the entire computer screen.
  • Turn off any Instant Messaging or e-mail notification.
  • If you receive an Instant Message, Blackboard may assume that you have abandoned the quiz and erase any answers you have entered.
  • Be certain that you are ready to take the quiz/test before clicking on the link to the quiz/test.
  • Most quizzes/tests can only be accessed once and the minute you click on the link, you will have accessed the quiz/test.
  • For quiz questions displayed one at a time, use the left and right arrows on the page to navigate through the quiz.
  • Do not double click buttons.
  • Click test buttons once and wait patiently for the screen to refresh as you move from one question to another.
  • Never use the browser’s Back, Forward or Refresh buttons.
  • Use the Save button after completing each question. 
  • This will prevent the browser from timing out.  Blackboard will timeout after 60 minutes of inactivity.
  • When you are finished answering all items, click the “Submit” button at the end of the quiz/test (scroll to the bottom of the page). 
  • Note: Once you submit the answers you cannot make any changes.
  • If you encounter any problems taking the quiz/test, contact your instructor immediately.

Wikis, Blogs, and Journals


A wiki is a collaborative tool that allows you to contribute and modify one or more pages of course related materials. The wiki page is an area where users can collaborate on content. Users within a course can create and edit wiki pages in the course or within a course group. Instructors and students can offer comments and your instructor can grade individual work.  Wikis are an effective way to contribute and modify one or more pages of related material.

Additional Information on Blackboard Wikis


A Journal can be used as a self-reflective tool to post your opinions, ideas, and concerns about your course, or discuss and analyze course related materials. For example, you can describe problems faced and how you solved them. Your instructor can direct journal entries to be more formal in nature and narrower in focus by listing topics for discussion.

Your instructor can choose to make journal entries public, allowing all course members to view all entries. You can read what other students wrote and build upon those ideas.  When used in the group area, members of a group can view and comment on each other’s entries for a group journal. The group can communicate with their instructor as a whole and all members can benefit from the comments made.

Your instructor can grade group journals and apply the grade to every member of the course group. Journal entries can also be used solely for communication. In either instance, you can make multiple entries for one journal topic. 

Additional Information on Blackboard Journals


A blog is your personal online journal. Each blog entry you make can include any combination of text, images, links, multimedia, Mashups, and attachments. Blogs are an effective means of sharing knowledge and materials created and collected by the group in the course. You can post to the blog and add comments to existing posts. Use your blog to express your ideas and share them with the class.  As the owner of a blog, you will want to create multiple entries over a period of time. Your instructor and course members can then add comments. A blog can also be owned by the course or a group. In the Group area, all members of a group can create entries for the same blog, building upon one another. Any course member can read and comment on a Group blog but cannot make entries if not a member of the group. Your instructor can also offer comments and grade individual posts.  

Additional Information on Blackboard Blogs



Assignments may be individual or given to every member of a Course Group.

Send Group Email

Instead of sending e-mail or course messages to all members of your group(s) at once via Group Pages, you may send e-mail to selected members by following the steps below:

  • Click on the “Communication” button located at the left of your screen.
  • Click on the “Send E-Mail” button.
  • Click on “Send E-Mail to Single/Select Groups.”
  • Select the group or groups to which you would like to send your e-mail message.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on the gray “Send E-Mail” button.
  • In the new window that appears, enter the subject heading and message to be posted in your message. (As a special note, you may wish to create your message in a word processing program, then copy and paste it into the discussion thread message box. Why? You can conduct a spell check of your work in your word processor whereas you are unable to do so in the Blackboard program. In addition, you can have a copy of your work to re-post if you run into technical difficulties.)

Group Projects

Peer Group Projects In your course, you may be asked to participate in projects with other students. It is possible that you will be placed in online discussion groups where you will be expected to have meaningful dialogue with a small number of other students in the course. It is also possible that you will team with other members of the course to complete an in-depth research project. If you encounter a peer group project assignment in any module you are working through, please review the instructions for the assignment very carefully. If you discover that your class requires your participation in peer group projects, the following information will be helpful for you to communicate with the other members in your group(s). 

Group Pages

If you go to the “Group Pages” link in the “Tools” segment of this course (not available in all courses), you will find a number of ways to connect with the other members in your specified group(s). These options are available to you if selected for you by your instructor:

    Additional Information on Blackboard Groups

    Additional Information on Blackboard Groups

    Testing with Respondus Lockdown Browser

    Some tests will require the student to use Respondus LockDown Browser

    First Time User – Installation

    First Time User should install the Resondus LockDown Browser prior to starting test. Window and Mac versions are available.

    • Students must download and install PCC’s Respondus LockDown Browser
    • Install Respondus LockDown Browser
    • Click on INSTALL NOW and follow installation instructions

    Window Users

    Opening LockDown Browser to take a test requiring the LockDown Browser:

    • Close all windows/files on computer
    • Desktop or search: LockDown Browser app (looks like a pad lock)
    • Follow prompts (closing any open windows/apps/files, test equipment, etc.)
    • Log into Blackboard
    • Open Test
    • Take test, and Submit
    • Log out of Blackboard and Exit LockDown Window

    Accessibility Tools

    Blackboard Ally is a tool to help make your course content more accessible. Download alternative accessible formats of your course files – choose from semantic HTML, audio, electronic braille and more.

    Accessible files include readable text for screen readers, pictures with captions, and easy-to-navigate content. Ally creates multiple accessible alternatives from the original documents in your course. You can download accessible formats anywhere that files are used.

     Accessible Formats

    Ally generates alternative formats for these file types:

    • PDF
    • Word
    • PowerPoint
    • OpenOffice/LibreOffice
    • HTML

     Ally creates these alternative accessible formats:

    • OCR version for scanned documents
    • Tagged PDF version of Word, PowerPoint, and OpenOffice/LibreOffice
    • Semantic HTML
    • ePub
    • Electronic braille

     Find Accessible Files

    • Students will see a small button to the right of each document in Blackboard when they hover the mouse over the document name. For keyboard users, the button will appear when the keyboard focus moves to the button when tabbing past the document name.
    • Once you found your course file, select the file drop-down and select Accessible versions. A pop-up window lists accessible file options. Accessible versions may vary depending on the file type. Choose a version and select “Download”. If this is your first download of a specific file type, a Preparing download notification appears. The download may take multiple minutes to complete. Once your file downloads, you can open or save the accessible version.

    Safe Assign

    SafeAssign is based on a unique text matching algorithm capable of detecting exact and inexact matching between a paper and source material. SafeAssignments are compared against several different databases, including:

    • Internet – comprehensive index of documents available for public access on the Internet
    • ProQuest ABI/Inform database – more than 1,100 publication titles and about 2.6 million articles from 1990s to present time, updated weekly (exclusive access)
    • Institutional document archives – contains all papers submitted to SafeAssign by users in their respective institutions
    • Global Reference Database – contains papers that were volunteered by students from Blackboard client institutions to help prevent cross-institutional plagiarism

    Technical Tips:

    • If the paper you are submitting has images in it, the images must not exceed 2MB or the submission may fail.
    • The name of the file should not contain any spaces or special characters.
    • If you have tried uploading as one file format without success (a .doc or .docx for instance), try saving the file as the universal .rtf format.
    • Papers uploaded to SafeAssign cannot be larger than 10MB or contain more than 5000 sentences.
    • Supported browsers for use with SafeAssign are Internet Explorer and FireFox.  Other browsers may not function properly.
    • If you have submission difficulty, you may need to clear your browser’s cache and cookies, then reset your browser. You should also be sure that your browser is not blocking popup windows.

    Additional information – Blackboard instruction on Submitting Assignments with SafeAssign


    Instructors may be using Zoom for instruction or virtual office hours. 

    Click on the link provided by your instructor within Blackboard or email and follow the directions. Student do not need an account, but can create a free limited account at   Zoom  website.

    Install the Blackboard App

    The Blackboard app provides an intuitive way for you to interact with courses, content, instructors, and other students. The Blackboard app shows only the courses where you’re enrolled a student.

    Your device needs one of these operating systems to run the Blackboard app.

    • iOS 11.0+
    • Android 5.0+
    Blackboard App

    From your device, access the appropriate online app store.

    Installing the Blackboard app

    • From your device, access the appropriate online app store.
    • Open the Blackboard app
    • Search for the full name of your school. If you’re unable to find your school, try modifying your search. If your school is part of a larger institution or district, try searching for that name instead. If you still can’t find your school, contact your school’s IT help desk.
    • Log in with your Blackboard Learn username and password. These are typically the same credentials you use to access your Blackboard courses on a computer.

    In the Blackboard app, you can perform these tasks:

    • Tests and assignments are included in Course Content. You can view an assessment’s details, complete the attempt, and submit within the app.
    • See the current activity and participate in discussions. Read and reply to posts.
    • Within each course, read announcements sent by your instructor to keep you motivated and on track.
    • Timely reminders pop up on your device for announcements, new tests, upcoming or past due tests, new grades, new content items, and new courses. No need to navigate anywhere else—just swipe from the notification to start working.
    • You can download course files and view them offline when you have limited or no internet connectivity. Your institution might need an update for you to see this feature in the app.

    Blackboard and Login Help

    Blackboard Learn Help Website

    Blackboard Learn Help  for students which provides common Issues and popular pages.

    Help with Blackboard or Login Issues

    PCC Student Help Desk

    PCC – Student Help Desk for Distance Learning Questions

    Contact the PCC Distance Learning Student Help Desk at:

    • (336) 322-2138 or 336-322-2300
    • or

    Monitored during normal work hours.

    Blackboard – 24/7 Technical Support (non-PCC staff)

    For times when PCC’s Distance Learning Help Desk is not open….

    • 24/7 assistance is available at 866-852-5588
    • 24/7 Support
    • Technicians that respond to this phone number are NOT PCC employees.

    Learning Commons and Distance Learning Employees

    Dr. Walter Montgomery, Dean of Learning Commons and Educational Partnerships

    (336) 322-2258

    Donna Whitlow, Distance Education Instructional Design Specialist

    (336) 322-2216

    Blackboard Help

    Contact your instructor

    Contact Learning Commons Staff

    Contact Donna Whitlow

    Student Support Services

    Disability Contact

    Disability Services Contact

    If you have a disability or special need that may affect your academic performance and are seeking accommodations, it is your responsibility to inform the Disabilities Counselor as soon as possible. It is important to request reasonable accommodations early enough to give the Disabilities Services Office adequate time to consider your request and recommend reasonable accommodations. Instructors will provide necessary reasonable accommodations based on recommendations provided.

    Karla Sears                                                                          



    Piedmont Community College’s Course Management System, Blackboard, is Section 508 compliant.  Blackboard strives to make all its products as accessible as possible. To learn more about assistive technologies, visit

    Financial Aid Contact

    Financial Aid Contact

    Tasha Williams

    336-599-1181, ext. 2170