Overview of HCC Online

General Information about HCC Online

Students taking online courses complete weekly assignments at their own computers and communicate with their professor by using a Learning Management System (LMS). HCC's LMS is called Eagle Online (Canvas). Students complete assignments, take tests, and complete all other coursework just as they would in an on-campus class.All courses require textbooks.  Some online courses may require students to meet on campus for orientations, labs and/or exams.    

HCC Online credit courses are semester-long courses in the following lengths:

  • 16 week regular term
  • 12 week second-start during the fall and spring semesters
  • 10 week summer
  • 8 week fall, spring and summer
  • 5 week Summer I & II
  • 4 week mini term 
  • Real Estate courses are offered in 5 or 6 week flex entry session

They are equivalent to on-campus courses and typically earn 3 semester hours of credit. No distinction between online classes and on-campus courses is made on the college transcript. Students should consult an HCC counselor for more details on transferability of courses.

Any HCC student may enroll in online courses provided they have met the prerequisites for that course. However, HCC Online courses may not be appropriate for everyone. These courses require additional self-discipline and motivation. For a self-assessment of your aptitude to succeed in a HCC Online course, we recommend you complete SmarterMeasure assessment.  More information about this assessment is found on this website under the “Online Readiness” link.

An HCC professor is assigned to each course and students contact this professor when they turn in assignments, need assistance, have questions, or for any other course-related information/interaction. Information on how to contact the professor is provided through your course/orientation at the beginning of the semester.

All HCC Online students, both new and returning, are required to attend an orientation session for each course taken. Orientations should be available from this website starting 10 days before your class begin.

Textbook information will be available at your orientation.

Textbooks for HCC Online courses can be purchased at the Central Campus bookstore. Call ahead to ensure that your text is in stock. Books can also be transferred from the Central Campus bookstore to any other HCC bookstore. Textbooks may also be purchased online or reserve your textbooks online for in-store pickup go to the HCC bookstore webpage for more information http://hccs.bncollege.com

Review Sessions for Examinations
Review sessions are held before examinations for many online classes.


Students enrolled in online courses may take 2-4 in-person, proctored exams during the semester. The testing schedule is available on this website.

Counseling and Advising

HCC Online Counselors are located at the HCC Administration Building at 3100 Main Street and can be through the HCC Online Advising and Counseling form. Please contact them with questions regarding your educational program or degree objectives.

Students With Disabilities
Any student with a documented disability who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Disability Support Services (DSS) office. Professors are authorized to provide only the accommodations requested by the DSS office. You are strongly encouraged to contact the DSS office before the start of each semester to request accommodations to allow sufficient time for accommodations to be arranged. Once your accommodations have been approved, the DSS office will email you a PDF copy of your accommodation letter for you to forward to your DE instructor(s) on the first day of class within the Eagle Online learning management system.

For current tuition costs, see the Tuition Calculator section of the HCC Student website. In addition to tuition, beginning Fall 2010 a $32 HCC Online fee will be assessed for each course taken.

A student who has been a legal resident of the State of Texas for at least one (1) year immediately preceding registration and lives in the HCC District will be classified as an In-District Resident. A complete set of rules and regulations for determining residency is available at each HCC college.

HCC Online Mission - "Removing the Barriers of Location and Time"

HCC Online removes the barriers of location and time by:

  • Collaborating with Instructional Services to provide a comprehensive array of online credit courses, certificates, and degrees to increase college access to the communities we serve.
  • Providing innovative online student advising and counseling services from application to graduation.
  • Leveraging online technologies to provide multiple avenues of technical and instructional support for faculty and students.
  • Offering free, confidential, academic tutoring for students in an asynchronous online environment.

HCC Online Administration

Lorah Gough
Director of HCC Online

Eva Gonzalez
Program Coordinator (DE)

Patricia Jensvold

Chameeta Denton
Advising Manager

Deborah Hardwick
Online Tutoring Manager

Doug Sutherland
Sr. System Administor (DE)

Faisal Shabbir
Eagle Online Customer Support Manager (DE)

Research and Initiatives

Executive Summaries and Reports

The Effectiveness of On-Line Tutoring at HCC
Executive Summary of Findings of Online Tutoring Effectiveness

SmarterMeasure Executive Summary
SmarterMeasure is a web-based tool that assesses a learner's likelihood for succeeding in an online learning program.

Identity Proofing for Online Student ID Verification
A final report of a study performed at HCC to determine the value and efficacy of biometric technology to create more secure online student authentication

Identity Proofing Student Survey
A student survey of the biometric signature ID pilot referenced above

Online Readiness

SmarterMeasure - Before you enroll in HCC Online Classes, be sure to look at these helpful resources to find out if you are a good candidate for a HCC Online Learning.

SmarterMeasure is an assessment that measures online readiness. It is an indicator of the degree to which online learning and/or learning in a technology-rich environment will be a good fit. 

Although SmarterMeasure is free to the public, HCC students wanting to enroll in HCC Online Developmental courses or a student success course (with less than 12 college hours) must take SmarterMeasure and obtain acceptable minimum scores. If HCC students do not have acceptable scores, they will be stopped from enrolling in these HCC Online courses. If minimum scores are not reached, students can enroll in hybrid, web-enhanced, or in-person modes, if all other course prerequisites are met. 

Upon completion of SmarterMeasure, students will receive a score report that will help explain strengths and opportunities for improvement, and it will also provide student success resources and tutorials. 

Minimum Scores Required on the Following Sections:

80 - Overall Technical Competency

50 - Technical Knowledge

60 - Reading Competency

15 - Typing

HCC STUDENTS: You must take this assessment through the My Academics > Begin My Assessment link found in your HCC Student Center account. Take the time to rate yourself honestly. Please enter, to the best of your ability, an answer for each question on the assessment. 

PUBLIC/PROSPECTIVE INTEREST: You may proceed by selecting the guest username provided in the drop-down menu. Please note, taking it through a guest account will not satisfy certain HCC requirements. 


* Username: hccs * Password: student

Access SmarterMeasure Guest Account

For questions regarding SmarterMeasure please use our AskHCCOnlineCounseling online help form.

Myths - Please read here to dispel some common misconceptions about taking Online Courses.

Successful Online Students

Ten Myths about Online Classes

Anne Hughes (2005) developed an important list of ten myths that are important for anyone who is considering enrolling in an online class to understand. These myths are as follows:

Myth #1 – Anytime, Anywhere…Well Not Exactly

Myth #2 – Cramming Your Work into One Log-on Session

Myth #3 – Online Courses Are Easy Credits

Myth #4 – Online Courses Do Not Follow the Regular Semester

Myth #5 – Broken Computers Are Great Excuses

Myth #6 – A Computer Will Be Provided

Myth #7 – You Will Be Taught How to Use a Computer

Myth #8 – I Can Hide Out and Remain Anonymous

Myth #9 – It Is OK To Procrastinate

Myth #10 – There Is No Personal Attention from Your Teacher

Myth #1 – Anytime, Anywhere…Well Not Exactly

Student: I can do my work anytime I want to from any place in the world! I’m so glad that these online classes don’t have deadlines! That means I can just submit assignments whenever I feel like it at my own whim. What a great way to take classes!!!

Teacher: One of the nice things about online classes is that you can take it from anywhere in the world. That opens the door for lots of diversity that might not happen in the traditional classroom. You can have someone from China, someone from Seattle, someone from New York all interacting together, however, in order for this to happen most online classes have a very structured learning environment with deadlines set by the professor. This is to ensure the best online experience for everyone so that everyone is at the same place at the same time, interacting with each other. Not twenty-five people doing their own thing. Deadlines and due dates are what help to keep the class together.


Myth #2 – Cramming Your Work into One Log-on Session

Student: These online classes are perfect for my busy schedule. Since time is tight I can log on one time a week and cram all the work into one sitting. I am sure I’ll get a lot out of that experience. I am sure I will learn more doing it all at once instead of spreading it out like in a regular class.

Teacher: Most online classes require students to log on several times a week to ensure active participation and maximum learning. It is very difficult to take in all the material in one sitting. And because of the nature of the class with no physical contact, it is important to maintain contact by logging in several times a week. Students have expressed excitementlogging in several times a week to see if there is email or new discussion responses, questions that have been asked that need answering so logging in several times a week stimulates learning by keeping students in contact with the learning environment. Online classes are not just about gathering information; they are rich integrated learning environments just like the traditional classroomand as such require attendance several times a week.


Myth #3 – Online Courses Are Easy Credits

Student:I have signed up for five regular classes and that is quite a load. I’d like to take another class to speed things along. I think I’ll sign up for one of those online classes as an extra. I am sure it is not as much work as traditional classes so it will be like getting free credit not much work to put out.

Teacher: Taking an online class, as an extra would be a big mistake. Because of the nature of online classes with so much reading, these classes tend to take more time than a traditional class. Students are encouraged to take no more than two online classes at one time due to the intensive reading required and the extensive time commitment. Many students find that an online class takes between seven and ten hours per week. Certainly taking a full load and taking an online class would interfere with student success. Students need to go into an online class knowing that the class will require as much, if not more time and effort as any traditional class.


Myth #4 – Online Courses Do Not Follow the Regular Semester

Student: My family is planning a two-week vacation to the Bahamas that falls at the beginning of the fall semester. I think I will take one of these online classes because I have heard that they don’t follow the regular semester schedule that you can just start and stop whenever you want. This way I could go on vacation and then start the class. And, there is a camping trip with friends that comes during the last two weeks of school. Since these online classes have no start and stop dates I can do these online classes between my vacations. What a great opportunity these online classes are, they let us do it all!

Teacher: Most online classes follow the traditional semester calendar with beginning and ending dates the same as traditional classes. In addition, professors online also have similar attendance policies as traditional classes. Students must log on a certain number of times per week to ensure they meet the attendance requirements. While some classes have more lenient attendance requirements, most professors feel that students need to be as present in an online environment as they would be in a traditional environment. Camping trips and vacations should be planned during semester breaks. An online class is not just about information. It is an important and viable community of learners. Students popping in and out of class at whim will only lead to feelings of distance and isolation and could result in an unsuccessful online experience.


Myth #5 – Broken Computers Are Great Excuses

Student: My computer broke last night and I can’t get it fixed until next week. I have two assignments due at the end of this week. Well, I’m sure I’ll get an extension because it is not MY fault that the computer broke down. I’ll just call the professor and ask for an extension for the assignments. I mean, after all, how can he or she expect me to do assignments on something that is broken? It’s not like I have two computers.

Teacher:With computer accessibility on the rise, students have many options in dealing with breakdowns of their own system. Most instructors will not accept excuses involving broken down equipment. Most colleges have a computer center that students can use. In addition, public libraries provide Internet access; Kinko rents time on computers and provide Internet access and Internet cafes are beginning to pop up all over the world. With this much availability, the motivated and committed student can always find a computer to complete assignments on time. The same standards are set in traditional classrooms. Students are not given extra time if their printers break down, or their typewriter ribbon has run out. All students in all classes are expected to deal with the calamities of technology and to produce assignments accordingly. At the beginning of most online classes instructors suggest students have in place a backup plan in case of a computer breakdown. If students heed this warning then when, and if this happens, the student will implement the backup plan and proceed in the class. The need for an extension is a moot point. This type of critical thinking on the student’s part is a necessary skill in dealing with technology in all facets of life today.


Myth #6 – A Computer Will Be Provided

Student: Ok, I’ve been waiting for someone from the college to contact me about providing a computer so that I can begin my online class. School starts soon and I haven’t heard anything yet. I’ve called a friend who says I can use his computer “sometimes”. However, that would be kind of a drag if he’s not home, so I guess I’ll just wait for the computer provided by the college. If it’s not here on time, then I can’t do the work. I’ll just wait until someone calls me. (HCC does not provide home computers for students).

Teacher: Most colleges aren’t required to provide computers to students to take online classes. Students are required to provide their own access to a computer and the Internet. As stated before, there are places students can go for emergencies, but students should have their own computer for the bulk of the work. Consider the computer part of the materials required for the course. Trying to work around a friend’s schedule will only lead to frustration and an unsuccessful online experience. Students must have a working computer up and ready to go by the first day of class. However, it is a good idea to have a back-up plan just in case your computer breaks down. Learn the hours of the computer lab. (HCC does not provide home computers for students).

Myth #7 – You Will Be Taught How to Use a Computer

Student:I have never used a computer before, but I am sure that I can learn while I am taking this online class. And what’s the Web? I hear all this talk about the course on the web, but I guess someone will explain it to me when I start the course. I never learned how to type, but that shouldn’t be a problem as I can hunt and peck pretty well. I’ll figure it out. It can’t be that hard.

Teacher: Students need to have minimal computer competencies such as knowing basic word-processing knowledge and a working knowledge of the Internet (what it is, how to get to it, how to navigate around it, how to send an email, etc.). In addition, because of the amount of writing required in online classes, students should know how to type with some accuracy and ease to avoid endless hours of frustration. These are not skills that can be learned in conjunction with taking the class. They are skills that should be mastered before the class begins.


Myth #8 – I Can Hide Out and Remain Anonymous

Student: I very shy, so I’m glad these online classes don’t have any discussion. I usually sit in the back of the room and hope the teacher doesn’t call on me. Thanks goodness all I have to do is writing assignments in this online class. No one will get to know me.

Teacher: Most online classes have a discussion component. Students are required to participate in online discussions and, according to students who have done so, are able to get to “know” each other in a very open and honest way. This discussion, while not “face to face” still allows a wonderful exchange of ideas and the opportunity for “shy” students to open up in an unthreatening and protective environment. Often shy students respond that the online environment helps them gain confidence in their ability to interact with others, a confidence not available in a traditional class.


Myth #9 – It Is OK To Procrastinate

Student: I have trouble doing my homework without someone pushing me, but I’m sure this aspect of my personality won’t interfere with taking an online class. I always get to it, eventually. When I’m done with more important things.

Teacher: Students who take an online class need to be very self-disciplined and motivated. Students need to be independent learners who can take responsibility for completing assignments on time and meeting set deadlines. It is very easy to get behind since there is no teacher standing up at the front of the class reinforcing what’s due when. Students must be able to set their own schedules and stick to them. Online courses provide flexibility, in terms of when the assignment is done, but students need to be able to manage this flexibility accordingly and not use that flexibility to put off doing the work. Online classes put more of the responsibility on the learner.


Myth #10 – There Is No Personal Attention from Your Teacher

Student: I don’t want to take an online class because there is little or no contact with the professor. I mean, it’s not like she’s going to be on the screen talking to me, so how will I know she is there? I need to feel as if someone is really paying attention. I’m sure that can’t happen online.

Teacher: Actually, students who have taken online classes say they feel more connected to their professors than in the traditional classroom. Most professors are logging on daily, checking for questions, assignments, problems, and usually get back to students right away. Students have commented that the online environment feels like someone is “always there” instead of just there twice a week as in a traditional class. There is still the option of calling the professor on the phone for clarification.

Hughes, Anne (2005). Online learning: Is it for me? Retrieved August 3, 2005 from http://www.monroecc.edu/depts/distlearn/minicrs/10mythsindex.htm. Used by permission.


Student Complaint Resolution

Student Complaint Resolution

Complaint resolution for HCC’s students enrolled in online courses while residing outside of Texas:

The first step is to follow HCC student complaint procedures on the Student Procedures website (see both Course Grade Appeal and General Student Complaints).

If the issue is not resolved, students may contact:

Certificate/diploma and program Issues: 

The Texas Workforce Commission's Career School section at 512-936-3100 

Degree-granting program issues: 

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Office of General Counsel

A form is needed to initiate a complaint and are available at THECB Student Complaint Website

Complaints can be filed either by email to Studentcomplaints@thecb.state.tx.us or by mail to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, Office of General Counsel, P.O. Box 12788, Austin, Texas 78711-2788

Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) accredits Houston Community College as one body.

Complaint Resolution for other states. If you have a complaint about a school outside of Texas, Please see this Web site SHEEO for contact name and phone number.


Types of Online Courses

There are 3 types of instruction at HCC that may include online activities and curriculum. To get to the correct system for your course activities view this page

There are 3 types of instruction at HCC that may include online activities and curriculum. To get to the correct system for your course activities select from the following:

  1. HCC Online Courses  - HCC Online classes, for all practical purposes, will involve 85% of instruction being offered electronically.

    This semester HCC Onilne is using two different systems:  Eagle Online 1 and Eagle Online 2.  You must go to the HCC Online Orientation to get to the correct server for your course(s). You will click on the Go to Class Room button for each course when classes begin. You might have classes on both servers. Do not assume that the course materials are in the same place or on the same server as the last semester.

  2. Hybrid Courses - Hybrid courses meet 50% of the time in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment and deliver the remainder of the course through electronic means. Your instructor will tell you in-person or on the syllabus where to find your online activities.

  3. Traditional - Traditional courses meet 100% of the time in a traditional face-to-face classroom environment and may deliver some of the course through various electronic means. Your instructor will tell you in-person or on the syllabus where to find your online activities.