Rock Valley College

Student Success in an Online Learning Environment

With the COVID-19 virus suddenly moving classes online, you will need to shift your current approach to learning in your courses. Check out the items below to help you be successful in an online and at-home learning environment. Everything from tips to being successful, using campus resources from home, how-to videos for EAGLE and other RVC processes, and some fun ways to social distance! 

Please continue to monitor your College-issued RVC email, RVC Alerts, and the dedicated COVID-19 website. If you have not already signed up for RVC Alerts, you can do so at

Be Gracious: None of us planned on this happening. Be patient with staff and faculty members. They are figuring things out too. We will get through this together. Communicate with compassion.

Bring Time Management to the Forefront: Time management is the most important skill you will need while taking an online class. There will be no physical class to attend, so you have to make sure you keep track of assignments, take time to learn the material and study, and not let a day go by without thinking of your class. Be aware that faculty will not be available to you 24/7. As you manage your time, build in time to wait on responses to emails or phone calls.

Check Email and EAGLE Regularly: Check your email and EAGLE classroom several times daily.

Wait to Change Your Schedule: Some professors will decide to have asynchronous classes, meaning that they will post materials and you can work on things at your own pace on your own time. Other instructors may choose to host virtual classes in real time. Wait to hear from your instructors before changing your work schedule or taking on other responsibilities.

Rethink Your Approach: As you learn how your instructors will shift their instruction, you may find that you need a new approach to studying. Brainstorm ideas for new ways of looking at information. Talk with your classmates to get new ideas. If you find yourself at a loss for how to study or learn in this new format, the Office of Student Success has several resources to help you. 

Don’t Assume Online Classes are Easy: It’s true that you can complete online coursework more at your leisure, but that doesn’t make the material easier. If anything, online classes can be harder because you aren’t going to a lecture class, you’re learning on your own, and it’s entirely possible to just forget about the class if you don’t actively plan time for it. 

Learn Your Resources: Spend some time playing around with the EAGLE page for your online class. Click links, open tabs, download documents. This will make it easier when you need to find something on EAGLE, because you’ll have an understanding of how it’s organized. If you have questions, email your instructor. Be patient with their responses as they are also balancing a lot.

Block Your Work Time: Have dedicated study blocks for each class. Working on the same class at the same times each week helps you build a routine that is easier to manage. Do not try to convince yourself to work. Instead, focus on a specific class on specific days and times because it is what you do MWF at 4PM, for example.

Set Up a Good Workspace: Set up good lighting and comfortable seating. Lighting in the room should be at least as bright as the computer screen to avoid eye strain. Try to Eliminate Distractions. Limit social media; don’t have it open in another tab. If you’re working on an assignment that doesn’t need Wi-Fi, then turn it off. Putting a barrier between yourself and a social media account can help. Try to find a quiet place to study. Let family members or housemates know not to distract you when you are “in class.”

Break Down Tasks: Look ahead at your assignments and try to schedule them in your calendar in small increments. Have a paper or project? Mark off the weeks until it’s due every week, then add in a goal each week for what you’d like to get done for that project. What do you have due every week for the class? Mark down what days you’ll get what done. Have a response and a vocab test every week? Maybe do the response over the weekend and make flashcards for next week’s vocab test every Wednesday.

Be Mentally Engaged: Take notes. Just because your online class isn’t in a lecture hall doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take notes. Writing down important information helps you learn, keeps you engaged in the material, and helps you study for tests. Create sections, sub-sections, highlight important facts or vocab. Are you really absorbing the information? At the end of every study session, or chapter, or section, ask yourself if you really understood what you were learning. If not, see if you can write down a few questions, pinpoint where you got confused, or re-read the material if that would help.

Ask Questions: Online students do not have the advantage of raising their hands to ask the professor a question in class. Instead, you will need to contact your professor by phone, email, or other means if you need help clarifying concepts, assignments, discussions, etc. The more you ask, the more you know!

Create Accountability: If you’re having trouble holding yourself responsible for completing assignments on time, pair up with a fellow classmate, or enlist the help of a spouse or friend to check in as an accountability partner. You can also contact the Office of Student Success and Academic and Transfer Advising to schedule a check in with one of our staff.

VIDEO: How to Register for RVC Classes via Online Services

Click by click instructions showing you how to search and register for summer and fall RVC classes via Online Services.

VIDEO: How to Access Student Email

This is where all official Rock Valley College mail gets sent to. It's important to check this and stay up to date with what is happening at the College.

VIDEO: Student Academic Profile via Online Services

This tutorial focuses on how you may run and review a program evaluation of the degree that you are working toward.

VIDEO: Waitlisting for a Rock Valley College Course

Rock Valley College offers a waitlist option for specified courses to give students an opportunity to obtain a seat in a filled course if a seat opens up for any reason.

Please check back for additional content, as these videos will update regularly!

Personal and Success Counseling

RVC Personal and Success Counseling will continue to provide mental health and academic support during this time. You can email Andrea McCauley, Personal and Success Counselor, at or call her at 815-921-4105 (messages will be checked regularly throughout the day), or by messaging through Eagle/Canvas App (select Course: RVC Community Group and send to: Andrea McCauley). For life threatening or severe emergencies, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.

Student Services

All services are still operational and ready to assist students. Here is a list of all contact information for the office you may need (we recommend sending an e-mail to the departments for a quicker reply):

I need to set up an appointment with someone, how can I do that? 

We are currently using Zoom and an Online Chat service to help students.  Contact the office to set up an appointment and they will reach out to you after to let you know the next steps to connect virtually.

I don’t know who to contact or can I contact someone from student services instantly?

Click on the “Support Online” icon on the RVC website (bottom right of your screen). We are currently staffing the online support from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. to assist student general questions or help get you connected to the correct college personnel. 

What if I need help after 6:00 p.m. or the office I need is not listed above?

Click on the icon you see after hours that says "Support Offline" Leave us a message with your question or concern and we will forward it to the correct department. 

How can I turn in my financial aid paper work?

You can e-mail the forms to or use the drop box that is located outside of the Student Center.

How can I withdraw from a class?

Normally you would have to come into the Records Office, but at this time you can receive help by sending an e-mail from your student e-mail address to for help with this process.

If you’re having any issues at all please reach out to the Dean of Students:

Terrica Huntley
Phone: 815-921-4284

RVC Bookstore

While campus is closed to the public, we will continue serving customers through our website, phone (815-921-1680), and emails.  We are currently offering free UPS ground shipping for online orders.  Also, Barnes & Noble College has partnered with VitalSource to provide ebooks made available through some of the publishers free of charge. This does not include courseware or books from all publishers. 

Disability Support Services

We all have been presented with an enormous challenge to transition courses to an online format. While this change is going to affect many students, it will be especially felt by some of the most vulnerable students, such as those who have disabilities. It is important to keep the needs of these students in mind, as students who are currently receiving in-class accommodations (ex., accessible media, transcription, ASL, testing accommodations,…) will continue to need accommodations.  And likewise, some students may have found your brick and mortar curriculum accessible but now may need an accommodation in the new online delivery format. Many situations will require flexibility and decision-making on a case-by-case and individualized basis.  Disability Support Services is available to assist you and we want to encourage you to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.  You can contact us at (815) 921-2371 or

Online Tutoring and Writing Center

Available online through Upswing 24/7. Meet online with an RVC tutor, RVC Writing Center coach or an Upswing tutor who specializes in your subject/course. For an RVC tutor or RVC Writing Center coach, search by tutor/coach name or search by the course you are enrolled in. To meet with an RVC Writing Center coach about a paper or written assignment that is not for an English class, use the search words – Writing Center.  Upload a Written Assignment for a RVC Writing Center coach or an Upswing writing tutor to review for you. Keep in mind, on average, that your paper will be returned to you with feedback within 48 hours. Visit the online Writing Lab to learn step-by-step how to tackle and master the writing process. Format citations in MLA and APA for your Works Cited or Reference List page with a super-fast, online citation engine.

Upswing How to Videos:

Help using Upswing:

RVC Library

Don't exactly know what you need for your assignment or where to find it? Librarians are available online by CHAT through the library webpage Monday - Friday, 10am - 12pm and 3pm - 5pm. To chat, look for the green "Chat now" button. You may also email, or call (815) 921-4619 to leave a message for a librarian to return your call. For more information on library support for online learning, please visit

If you have additional questions about physical materials, current checkouts, Interlibrary Loans, or other general library questions, please email or call (815) 921-4615 to leave a message. 

We understand we have not addressed all student services normally offered by the College in this section. All services are being evaluated and solutions developed for how to offer them during this time.

Virtual Tours and Museums 

Experience the best museums from NYC to France to Seoul in the comfort of your own home. Check out these sites to go on virtual tours of different museums and specific exhibits.

Check out some cool places around the world from National Parks to National Landmarks. 


Animal Webcams 

Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! Just want a cute and cuddly distraction? Check out several different animal live cam options from watching silly sea otters and curious elephants or just mellow out to the hypnotic drifting jellyfish. 


More Fun Things To Do! 

Check out other resources to stay up to date on county, state, national, and world news related to COVID-19. You can also find local organizations supporting individuals in their time of need because of COVID-19 related job displacements, food insecurities, and family needs. 

Northern Illinois Food Bank 

Illinois COVID-19

Wisconsin COVID-19


Boone County Health Department

Winnebago County Health Department

Ogle County Health Department

Xfinity Wifi: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots and then launch a browser.

Charter Service Area: In an effort to ensure Americans have necessary access to online resources, qualifying households with students can get 60 days of FREE access with a Spectrum Internet account. Available for households with K-12 or college students, limited to new accounts who do not already have a Spectrum Internet subscription, installation fees will be waived. In addition, Spectrum WiFi hotspots will be open for public use. Call  1-844-579-3743  to enroll.