Online Learning

Rio’s distance education programs are designed to give you more convenient ways to earn college credit – especially if you are unable to make regular trips to our main campus. The online learning experience at Rio Grande provides greater flexibility in your course schedule without jeopardizing the quality or personal nature of instruction you usually find in traditional face-to-face classrooms.

Online learning also helps to empower you by giving you more freedom and responsibility for your education, which is a very exciting prospect for many students. So, if you are ready to take control and make the move toward becoming an independent life-long learner, then it is time to get online! Use the links on the right to begin.

At the University of Rio Grande we are continually searching for ways to provide a wider range of nontraditional learning opportunities. Please fill out our survey so we may find better ways in which we can serve your needs.

eLearning - Is it right for me?

Taking an online class has many advantages, including increased flexibility in completing homework assignments, the ability to communicate with your classmates and your instructor from the convenience of your own home, and enhanced access to written materials including Internet resources, saved chats and instructor’s announcements.

However, an online class is not for everyone. For instance, if you need the discipline of meeting on campus several times a week or you enjoy the in-person interaction between other students and your instructor; you are more likely to succeed in an on-campus class. The following are characteristics of students who would do well in an online class.

Successful online students must have both technical skills and study skills.

Technical Skills

You don’t have to be a computer wizard to have the technical skills necessary to be a successful online learner, but you do need:

  • To be able to navigate the Internet
  • To type and use a mouse
  • To know how to save, edit, and open documents
  • To be able to use your RioNet email
  • To know how to attach a file to an email

Study Skills

A successful e-learning student exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Is self-motivated and does not need a lot of direction and motivation from an instructor
  • Is self-disciplined and can budget time wisely to meet deadlines
  • Enjoys the challenge of learning on his or her own and likes to read to learn
  • Takes charge of his or her own learning and is willing to ask questions and get help when necessary
  • Understands and remembers what is read
  • Communicates well in writing
  • Needs a flexible schedule but understands that flexibility does NOT mean the course will be easy

Online Course Readiness Checklist

Before enrolling in or making the decision to continue in your online course(s), be sure that you are:

  • Comfortable with the computer skills required to be a successful online student.
  • Able to learn the Blackboard system quickly and effectively.
  • Comfortable “reading to learn” and monitoring your own comprehension.
  • Aware of where to access resources and support for online learning.
  • Comfortable communicating only through written messages or e-mails.
  • Aware of academic integrity and know what it means to plagiarize or be dishonest.
  • Understand the policy and consequences of academic dishonesty.

Basics for Taking an Online Course

When you register for an online course, you should expect equivalent content and opportunity for learning as students who take the course on campus. Online courses are not “easy” replacements for on-campus classes and they are not for everyone. If you need the discipline of meeting in the classroom several times a week and you enjoy the in-person interaction between other students and your instructor, you may be more likely to succeed in an on-campus class.

How does communication work in an online course?

Communication tools will be available within your online course. University of Rio Grande requires that you use your RioNET student e-mail account, or the instructor may even give a phone number and appropriate hours to call if you need assistance. Communication preferences and expectations will be outlined on the course syllabus or within course information and guidelines provided by your instructor. Keep in mind that many online instructors DO NOT have an office on campus, so it is very unlikely that you will be able to meet face-to-face with some of your online instructors. Knowing how to communicate with your instructor should be one of the first items you get comfortable with in your online course.

Are there deadlines in an online course?

There will be very clear and explicit deadlines for all work in your online course. This includes written submissions, communication on the discussion board or other interactive tools, and tests and quizzes. Typically, course work is assigned either in weekly, and deadlines are communicated in advance. Once you see what work is due for that week, you can complete it at a time convenient for you and submit your work by the deadline.

Do online courses use e-books?

Textbooks for your online course should be obtained the same way you purchase books for your regular courses. While e-books are available from the bookstore, you could still be required to use a traditional textbook for your online course and it is your responsibility to obtain the book before the online course begins. Contact the bookstore on campus to check and order what is required for the course.

What types of things to faculty expect from online students?
  • Very carefully review the syllabus and ALL other information provided by the instructor. It will answer most of the questions you have about the course up front.
  • Understand how to navigate the course in Blackboard. It is very important to become familiar with what is located on each link on the Course Menu.
  • Complete your work on time and meet all deadlines.
  • Actively participate in the course THROUGHOUT each week in course discussions or other interactive activities designed by your instructor. Failure to do so is reflected in attendance reports.
  • Ask questions you have about assignments well before the deadlines. Don’t wait until the last minute to get clarification on assignments. This will give your instructor time to respond and give you time to complete your work before the deadline.
  • Act with academic integrity. Never have someone else complete your online work. And it is extremely important that you cite the sources you use in your written assignments to avoid plagiarism.
  • Be polite in all online communication and correspondence. It is easy to misinterpret tone in e-mails, messages, and discussion posts, and to get frustrated when you cannot speak to someone face-to-face. Be patient and polite in your online coursework.
  • Understand how to use computer software, including saving and uploading files to the web. If you cannot use a web browser or basic software applications included in Microsoft Office, you should consider taking on-campus courses only.

Navigating Your Online Course

On the first day of classes, your first task should be familiarizing yourself with the structure and organization of the course, specifically where everything you need is located. Like your regular courses, each instructor will organize the course differently to meet the objectives and timeline of the class. There are a few items that are common in every class you take online that you will need to know including (1) how to log in, (2) how to find your materials, and (3) how to get help when you need it.

Logging In

You can access Blackboard from the college’s homepage by clicking the myRio at the top of the page.

All students at the time of class registration will be provisioned a RioNET user account that provides authentication and access to networked resources including:

  • Campus Computer Log-in Access
  • eduRoam Wireless Network Access
  • Office365 E-Mail (web and mobile)
  • Blackboard Learning

Know your RioNET Account

All Rio Grande students, faculty & staff are provided a RioNET account which provides login and authentication services for networked services including campus computers, wireless, email, and Blackboard. 

RioNET student usernames are the letter “s” followed by the student’s ID# (s#########).

RioNET email address is their RioNET account followed by (


Login to Blackboard

  • The account used to login to Blackboard is your RioNet Username and Password.
  • Your Username is “S”and your student ID number.
  • Your Password is the same password used when logging in to your University of Rio Grande Email account.  
Using the Course Menu

After selecting a course from your My Courses list, the Course Menu appears on the left side of your course window. It is the cornerstone for the organization and navigation of your course. Your instructor created links on the Course Menu to present your tools and materials to you. Remember that your Course Menu is the way that you will access everything in the course. It is your starting point for all activities.

Technology for Online Learning

Computers or mobile devices with supported Learning Management Software (LMS) are typically used in support of Online Learning. It is difficult to dictate what students use, but the basics are still worthy of outlining. Online learning can involve the use of email, the Blackboard LMS, publisher websites(sometimes reached through Blackboard), and various video conferencing technologies. Each Online Learning modality comes with some requirements for device and Internet connectivity (type and bandwidth).

Video applications and movement of large files will have a higher demand on Internet capacity/bandwidth.Mobile devices, desktop computers, and laptops are acceptable. Keyboards are highly recommended over touchscreen text entry. Windows, MacOS, and Chromebooks can interact with Rio’s Blackboard system. Some browser restrictions apply, and a Browser Check tool is provided in Blackboard.

Mobile devices offer specific Blackboard apps which are provided for iOS and Android platforms. Broadband access is a must. Internet data connectivity comes in many access formats such as: Cable, DSL, Fixed Wireless, and Cellular are among the many services that provide Internet connectivity. Blackboard is generally tolerant of satellite Internet, except for video conferencing due to the delay factor called “latency”.

Getting Help

When you need help using Blackboard or completing a task in your online course, there are resources available to help, including:

  • Students are enrolled in the URG Student Guide to Blackboard course. You will find a link to this course under the “COURSES” tab once you have logged into Blackboard. You can use this course for reference if you have any questions about how to use Blackboard and any of its tools/features.
  • Your instructor is always available to you. Contact him or her using the communication tools provided in the course via RioNet Email
  • You can contact Randy Simpson with anything questions you may have or any other help that you would need by phone Monday through Friday 8:00am – 5:00pm at ext. 7230 or by email

Apple Support

We provide assistance with Apple products which include Macintosh, iMac, iPhone and the iPad. These services are open to students and faculty alike. For hardware issues, you should contact a nearby Apple store. The nearest Apple locations to Rio Grande are at Easton (614-478-5592) or Polaris (614-987-1430) in the Columbus

Audio-Visual Equipment (Projectors, Podiums, etc.)

IDMS provides support for all audio and video equipment on campus with the exception of the theater. Examples of AV equipment include multimedia podiums, overhead and LCD projectors, sound systems, videoconferencing equipment, SMART Boards, radio studio equipment, video cameras, etc. We also provide video and audio duplication.

Online Courses/Blackboard

Rio Grande offers several online and hybrid classes to students. Our team offers support for Blackboard and the Graduate Forum. If you are having difficulty accessing your course or having other difficulties within an online course and can log into your Rio Grande e-mail, contact us. If you cannot log into your student e-mail contact Allen Hudson ( at Campus Computing and Networking.

Rio Grande Cable Access (CH15)

RGCA, Channel 15 is a local access channel operated by the University of Rio Grande. It provides an outlet for student-produced shows and programming. It promotes activities of interest to students and local viewers. We are always in search of content to better serve the student population. If you have any ideas or would like to produce a show contact us.

Video Conferencing

Rio Grande has three videoconferencing classrooms on campus: Anniversery Hall Rm. 202, Bob Evans Farms Hall Rm. 111, Wood Hall Rm. 228. Each of these rooms is equipped with a Polycom system. We provide support for the sound, video, and videoconferencing systems in these rooms. If you are having problems with this equipment, please contact us.

Web Sites

The University of Rio Grande & Rio Grande Community College websites are maintained by a variety of authors spanning the campus. If you are having trouble accessing, adding, deleting or creating content, please feel to contact us.

Computer Lab Support

Rio Grande provides computer lab services throughout the campus. Each computer lab contains computers (number varies) with specialized educational software, usually a printer and internet access. Most computer labs are closed with the exception of two open labs (Davis Library and Rhodes Student Center).


RioNET email is comprised of two separate email systems; one for staff & faculty, and the other for students. All email related issues are handled by the office of Campus Computing & Networking. Students – Hosted by Microsoft Office 365. Staff & Faculty – Hosted by Microsoft Office 365. Prior to being able to use either email system, all users (staff, faculty, and students) must activate their RioNET accounts. Please use our Password Portal to activate your RioNET account. Your new password must be between 6-16 characters in length, and cannot contain spaces.. If you cannot access your account, need help configuring email on your mobile device, or just have some general questions about email, then CC&N can help.

Internet Connections

Rio Grande provides network and Internet connection services for all staff, faculty, and students. 1Gbps wired Ethernet (IEEE 802.3) connections are available for all campus computers, residents, and some classrooms. Students in residence halls need to provide their own straight/patch Ethernet cable, which can be purchased from the Rio Grande Bookstore. One port per pillow is the standard in the residence halls. For rooms that do not have enough connections, switches can be borrowed from Campus Computing & Networking for free. Routers, servers, and related devices are prohibited from campus without prior approval from CC&N.. IEEE 802.11b/g wireless connections are also available in several locations across campus. Two wireless networks, RioGuest & RioSecure, are accessible to all guests, students, staff, and faculty. CC&N requires all computers connecting to RioNET & ResNET to be updated, have adequate antivirus, and anti-malware protection. Contact Campus Computing & Networking for more information on connecting to the secure wireless and obtaining recommended software.

Windows Support

Campus Computing and Networking provides desktop support for the entire campus. Faculty and staff members are assigned a computer ranging from desktops to laptops. We also provide support ranging from hardware to software installation/troubleshooting to virus removal and much more.


Rio Grande proudly announces all new wireless networking equipment throughout all campus buildings and soon outdoor areas. A separate WiFi FAQs section now exists to handle most common questions. RioGuest is the recommended network for visitors to campus. RioSecure is for all students, faculty & staff with RioNet user accounts. Specific connection issues should be directed to the Campus Computing & Networking staff.

Student Information System/Student Space

MIS provides support for Student Space. Student Space is our student information system that allows individuals to check their grades, register and manage their classes schedules. MIS is also responsible for completing institutional research, maintaining administrative software for the campus, and all internal, state and federal reporting. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Virtual Office Systems/VOS

MIS hosts most all of the campus business systems off-campus in a commercial data center with redundant site data backups. VOS hosts the MIS business applications is a Citrix virtualized environment which requires users to have a VOS username and password. Please feel free to contact us if you need access to VOS or if you have any questions.

Does Rio Grande have wireless networking on campus and where?

The campus has wireless networking equipment in every building, including the Residence Halls, Davis Library, dining facilities classrooms and non-academic spaces. Outdoor systems are located on Allen Hall, Moulton Hall, Lyne Center and the athletic fields.

How do I connect to RioNET Wireless?

Three main wireless networks (SSIDs) exist. RioGuest is for visitors and Windows computers needing configuration for the RioSecure Network, or devices unable to support the WPA2 Enterprise security encryption. •Display available wireless networks - several will appear. •Choose RioGuest - "RioGuest" is the wireless passphrase. •Open a web browser - it should open to first RioGuest login page. •Click Agree for the Acceptable Use Policy on the first page. •Enter your e-mail address on the second screen - click Login. •A final web page will be displayed when connected. RioSecure is for all students, faculty and staff with a RioNET username & password. This is the preferred network for wireless use. •Choose RioSecure. •A login will be displayed as your device attempts to install security certificates. •Please enter your RioNET username and password. •iOS will display a screen requesting your acceptance of two certificates. •Android will display a screen requesting "Identity" and Password Anonymous Identity may be left blank. •Windows systems require a manual process to install the certificates. Please reference the next FAQ. RioInstructional is a network for specific instructional areas.

Does the RioNET Wireless support computers, tablets and phones?

The wireless network can connect all devices capable of standard WiFi A, B, G & N standards that support secure (WPA2) networking. Without getting technical, let's say that RioNET Wireless is new and highly secure. Some older legacy wireless devices may be problematic. Campus Computing & Networking has tested several models and brands of phones, tablets and laptop computers. Each one is different in how the device requests authentication and loads our security certificates. Only Windows devices require the RioSecure for Windows (Aruba QuickConnect) installation process. Please contact Campus Computing & Networking for assistance

What does BYOD mean and is it important?

BYOD = Bring Your Own Device (also known as => Bring Your Own Disaster) Today, many people own a device which can connect to the Internet through a wireless connection. BYOD is a term used in the industry when discussing how the location permits connections from personal deivces to their Internet and how services like printing can be managed and provisioned. Other considerations involve security, loss of personal information when a device is lost and how BYOD devices could subsitiute for corprorately provided computer systems managed by the host organization. With wireless networking, special care is taken to separate corporate work networks and general Internet-only access. Only University owned computers when properly configured can access the business side of RioNET - otherwise, all systems are directed to the comodity Internet.

I am having problems. What am I doing wrong?

Not connecting is frustrating. Every effort has been made to make RioNET Wireless both robust and transparent, while still maintaining a high level of wireless security (encryption). Here are some tips... •RioGuest is a "click-through" experience providing each connection encryption through a "pre-shared key" (WPA2 PSK) - use "RioGuest" as the passphrase. •RioSecure is a higher encryption level and devices must support WPA2 EAP. This will require a RioNET valid username and password! •Users with older devices which do not support the WPA2 EAP should use the RioGuest network. RioNET Wireless supports the highest encryption standards for RioSECURE and older devices are not equipted to use this high security standard. •Windows systems must be pre-configured for RioSecure using the RioSecure for Windows process from the RioGuest network. Procedures are outlined in another FAQ. •In some instances, after running the RioSecure for Windows utility it soesn't automatically switch over to RioSecure. The user may need to select RioGuest and choose "forget". Don't worry, if you need RioGuest will show up again, This just help tell your computer to make RioSECURE the preferred & default connection. •Windows systems must have Microsoft .NET and Windows Updates installed for proper RioSecure implementation. •Apple iOS, MAC OSX, Android and other operating systems like BlackBerry and Linux will all have different experiences and steps for authentication and acceptance of WPA2 EAP security certificates. Again, Rio Grande has made every attempt to make RioNET Wireless easy to use and secure! •Help - it still won't authenticate! Please make sure you are using just your RioNET username - not your e-mail address. Passwords are case sensitive and difficult to type on phones and tablets. Be carefull and verify if you have a "Show Password" option.

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Eduroam is an international system of authentication for the wireless networks of the eduroam initiative members. Rio Grande has completed the technical infrastructure to make eduroam compliant to RioNET users. RioNET users MUST login to the RioNET "eduroam" wireless SSID first to properly prepare their device with required security certificates before using eduroam on off-campus sites. Eduroam security certificates should be ready once we complete the background task of creating a Windows certificate loading utility. iOS devices only require a RioNET user's email and password. This process is very similar to the RioSecure for Windows certificate loading process.

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Expected username & passwords

Instructional Design & Media Services (IDMS) Remember, the IDMS Office is a great place to stop for walk-in assistance with your online questions. While assistants can’t help you complete assignments or change instructor settings, they can show you how to access a quiz, post to the discussion board, submit an assignment, or send a message to your instructor. You do not need an appointment to come to the IDMS Office; just stop by when you are on campus for on-demand assistance. Support staff hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. or you can contact that office by email 

Location:  Wood Hall Room 127 (next to the Student Lounge)

Campus Computing & Networking (CC&N) Services provided to the Rio Grande community include the campus network infrastructure, Internet connectivity, desktop computing, computer lab management, and server virtualization, and phones/voice mail. It is our goal to support the campus technology needs of the university stakeholders with effective professional services enabling the faculty, staff, and students to achieve their goals.  Support staff hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. or you can contact that office by email 

Location: Dormitory Alley – Basement of Moulton Hall 


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