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IRSC Computer Students'
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


FAQ (lists) are posted to provide quick answers to questions that are asked frequently by users of a service. This FAQ is intended to serve students taking computer classes from professor Randy Gibson of the IRSC . Many questions asked by students relate to issues that are defined by policy or procedure rather than conceptual issues that relate to course content. If you have a question of this nature, look in the list of Frequently Asked Questions below to find the answer before approaching your instructor. If you have a question related to course content, first review the web pages related to that content (or chapter) on your instructor's web site. If you do not find an answer in this list or on the web site, then contact your instructor.

The answers listed below represent your instructor's best estimation of general answers to common questions and might not apply to specific situations. Many are based on college policies which can change from semester to semester. Ultimately, it is the student's responsibility to seek out the correct answer to any given question. Generally, the best place to start is either by reading the IRSC [College Catalog] or by calling the IRSC [Information Center]. The text below in boldface should help to quickly identify the topic of each question.


Table of Contents

Policy FAQ

Can a student attend an alternate section (class meeting) of a course other than the one in which he or she is registered?
What is the attendance policy for my course?
What is the grading policy for my course?
Can I miss any exams or projects?
What if I have course work that is not done at the end of the semester?
How do I withdraw from a course?
What is an Incomplete (I) grade?
Are all courses offered by the Computer Science Department available online? (Are online courses easier?)
How should I resolve conflicts with my instructor?
How can I commend my instructor for good work?

Procedural FAQ

What should I do if/when ____________ ?

My course is cancelled or not offered when I need it
I lost a storage device (or anything else) in class
The instructor's web site appears to be down
I have trouble uploading assignments
I have trouble attaching a digital photo to an email
I miss a class meeting
I leave a message for my instructor and it is not acknowledged
My instructor does not show up for class

Where can I find ____________ ?

A syllabus or schedule for my class
Information about my free RiverMail (student email account)
Information about my Blackboard (eLearning server) account
Software for my class


Policy FAQ

Can a student attend an alternate section (class meeting) of a course other than the one in which he or she is registered?
Normally, yes - if there is space in the classroom and appropriate resources are available. Students (including online students) are typically welcome to attend an alternative meeting of Professor Gibson's classes. Students considering this should check the schedule in the posted syllabus for the alternate class meeting to verify that the other class is covering the same material and not having an exam or some other exclusive activity. Look under the Where can I find section below to learn how to find a schedule for each class.
What is the attendance policy for my course?
The IRSC [College Catalog] states that "Regular class attendance is required at IRSC. Students are expected to adhere to the policies set by each instructor. Students who receive financial aid or V.A. benefits should refer to the Financial Aid section of this catalog for further information on attendance." Your course syllabus might include additional requirements. If you have not printed and retained a copy of the syllabus for your records, you should do so. Look under the Where can I find section below to learn how to find a syllabus.
What is the grading policy for my course?
Read the course syllabus. If you have not printed and retained a copy of this for your records, you should do so. Look under the Where can I find section below to learn how to find a syllabus.
Can I miss any exams or projects?
Read the syllabus for your course. If you have not printed and retained a copy of this for your records, you should do so. Look under the Where can I find section below to learn how to find a syllabus. In all cases, you should contact your instructor as soon as possible for instructions. If you are instructed to go to an [IRSC Assessment Center] to resolve the issue, be sure to take a picture ID with you and check their hours to be sure that you allow enough time to perform the task.
What if I have course work that is not done at the end of the semester?
If you are passing the course without the undone work, then you might qualify for an "Incomplete (I)" grade. If not, then you will be assigned a failing grade. In the case of a failing grade, you might qualify for the college "Grade Forgiveness Policy" (see the [IRSC College Catalog]). In all cases, you should contact your instructor as soon as possible for instructions.
How do I withdraw from a course?
A distinction exists between withdrawal from an individual course as opposed to withdrawing from school. Students may withdraw from school (meaning to drop all courses for a given semester up until the week before final exams. Students may withdraw from individual courses only up until the deadline listed in the [Course Schedule] for a given semester. In any event, a student should first speak with his or her instructor before withdrawing to discuss alternatives that might exist. Students who receive financial aid or benefits that might be effected by withdrawal also should consult with the governing agency prior to taking any action. If withdrawal is desired, the student must submit the proper form(s) to any IRSC Enrollment and Student Services office on any campus. In some cases, withdrawals can be initiated on the college web site, but these will not be official until the appropriate signed document is received by the college. Do not expect your instructor to withdraw you from a course. Although an instructor may have that right, it is the student's responsibility!
What is an Incomplete (I) grade?
The typical circumstances under which a student may request an Incomplete (I) grade are:
  1. The student was performing adequately in the course near the time of the request.
  2. The instructor believes that the student's excuse for failing to complete the course work within the current semester is valid (beyond the control of the student).
  3. The instructor believes that the student can reasonably complete the course within the following semester.
When a student is assigned an incomplete ("I") grade, it is his or her responsibility to make whatever arrangements are required by the instructor to satisfy the course requirements. The student does not register again, nor pay for the course again. Essentially, the instructor defines the work that must be completed to satisfy the course requirements. If the student completes the work to the instructor's satisfaction, then the original grade is officially changed to whatever grade the student earned with the completed work. IF THE STUDENT DOES NOT COMPLETE THE WORK WITHIN THE FOLLOWING SEMESTER, THE "I" GRADE REVERTS TO AN "IF" (Fail)! The assignment of an "I" grade might impact a student's ability to receive financial aid. Students are advised to consult with a financial aid counselor before requesting an "I".
Are all courses offered by the Computer Science Department available online? (Are online courses easier?)
No (and No). Many courses are offered online to accomodate the diverse schedules and lifestyles of our students. However, some courses are not suitable for online delivery. Our department strives to make online courses equivalent in quality and difficulty to face-to-face classes. And yet, distance learning is not for everyone. It requires a very disciplined and self-motivated student. A list of classes offered online each semester can be found through the [IRSC College Catalog] and [IRSC Schedule].
How should I resolve conflicts with my instructor?
If you are experiencing any difficulties in your course, please work directly with your instructor to resolve the issues. If you are unable to settle your concerns with the assistance of your instructor, you can contact the Department Chair, (Professor Rod Waller at 462-7667 or rwaller@irsc.edu) who will assist you or advise you about contacting the Academic Dean or Vice President.
How can I commend my instructor for good work?
A simple note to an instructor is always appreciated. If you want to speak with someone of superior rank, the people to contact (in order) should be:
  1. Assistant Dean of Advanced Technology at 772-462-7575 or by email.
  2. V.P. of Applied Science & Technology at 772-462-7235 or by email.

Procedural FAQ

What should I do if/when ____________ ?

My course is cancelled or not offered when I need it
If you are having schedule difficulties, you should arrange a meeting with the instructor who is teaching the desired course to discuss the situation. It is possible that an alternative such as an online class or a contract for Directed Independent Study exists. Our goal is for students to succeed. In situtations where students are hampered by circumstances beyond their control, our department will try to find appropriate alternative courses to substitute for required courses that are not available. Requests for course substitution should be made to Rod Waller, the Chairman of the Computer Science Department in writing or by email.
I lost a storage device (or anything else) in class
Typically, when inexpensive items are found in a classroom, they are left on the front table for a few days to allow students to find them. Each campus maintains an official Lost and Found area where items are sent ultimately. On Main Campus, it is located in the office of the Dean of Students. On the other campuses, it is located at the front office. Personal items such as memory sticks and books should always be labeled by their owners to assist in recovery.
The instructor's web site appears to be down
Try the backup web site at
If that does not work, try other web sites to be sure that your Internet access works. If the problem appears to be with your instructor's site, please notify him by email or phone.
I have trouble uploading assignments
That type of problem can have a few different causes. The most typical ones (and the actions to handle them) are:

Note that these actions must be done before logging into , NOT while logged in.

Normally, these actions will solve the problem. If not, contact the IRSC eLearners' Support Staff as explained on their Web page at .

I have trouble attaching a digital photo to an email
See the Web page entitled HowTo: Shrink a Digital Photograph.
I miss a class meeting
Check the schedule of the syllabus for your course to see what you missed and what is approaching. If you have not printed and retained a copy of this for your records, you should do so. Look under the Where can I find section below to learn how to find a syllabus. In most cases, you should contact your instructor as soon as possible for instructions. Do not simply wait for the next class and risk falling behind.
I leave a message for my instructor and it is not acknowledged
Understand that in today's complex high-tech world, systems sometimes breakdown. Messages can get misdirected, erased or simply lost. If you do not receive acknowledgement of an attempted communique within a reasonable period of time, try contacting your instructor by an alternative method. Do not expect a reply to email messages sent late Friday afternoon until sometime Monday morning. Do not expect responses to telephone messages left at your instructor's home until sometime the following day. Teachers have a life too. The most reliable way to contact Professor Gibson is to:
  1. Telephone him at his office during office hours.
  2. Send an email to his IRSC Email Account or via the .
  3. Telephone him at his home (see syllabus for number) between 8:00 AM and 9:00 PM.
If all else fails, leave a message with the office of the Assistant Dean of Advanced Technology at 772-462-7575.
My instructor does not show up for class
First check to be sure that your class is really supposed to meet that day and has not been cancelled for some reason. Look on the classroom door and boards to see if a note has been left. On the Main Campus, check with the office of the Dean of the Assistant Dean of Advanced Technology at phone extension 7575. On other campuses, check at the front office. If you cannot find your instructor, send an email to indicate your presence and ask for instructions, then make the best of the situation. If you can study independently, do so. Otherwise leave.

Where can I find ____________ ?

A syllabus or schedule for my class
Look for a web page under your course listing on the instructor's web site at http://www.gibsonr.com/classes/ or the backup web site at . Under each course, there will be a Syllabi and Schedules link leading to information about each academic section of a course.
Information about my free RiverMail
Look for a web page on the college web site at [www.irsc.edu/students/rivermail/rivermail.aspx?id=3047]. It explains how to activate and access your free student email account.
Information about my (eLearning server) account
Look for a web page on the college eLearning server at . It explains how to access information about each of your classes on that server. For 24/7 tech support using the server, read the page at [https://help.edusupportcenter.com/shplite/IRSC/home]. Telephone support is available at 1-888-281-5187.
Software for my class
The college has paid for a service called "Microsoft Imagine" (formerly called "Dreamspark Premium") that allows current IRSC students studying within the Computer Science or Digital Media departments to obtain a wide variety of Microsoft software including the Windows operating system, programming compilers, and [much more] free of charge. Note that Microsoft Imagine is different from the popular ordinary Dreamspark (through DreamSpark.com). Microsoft Imagine accounts are typically created by your academic department at the start of the school year with access credentials sent to student email accounts. Computer Science or Digital Media students who have not received any such notification can request a free Dreamspark Premium account by filling out the [Microsoft Imagine Account Request Form]. After this form has been verified by the account administrator, you will be sent an email confirmation with [access instructions].
The popular Microsoft Office application suite is not available through Dreamspark Premium, however IRSC students can obtain the latest version of this software for free through their account, provided through Microsoft and referred to by them as your "Office 365" account. Instructions for using this account to access and install Microsoft Office on student computers can be found at:
[http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/install-office-on-your-pc-or-mac-with-office-365-for-business-HA102822111.aspx]
For non-students, a variety of reasonable subscription plans for MS-Office software can be found on their [MicrosoftStore website].
Computer Science students who are interested in acquiring free [virtualization] software, can [request an IRSC VMWare account].
Any other software needed for courses with Professor Gibson will be explained within the web pages for each course on his Instructional Web Server.

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