Be proficient in the technical skills BEFORE you enroll in an online course
If you decide to take courses online you will need to be proficient in various technical skills. Your online instructor will expect that you know how to:
- Use e-mail (including proper e-mail etiquette).
- Add attachments to e-mails.
- Use the Internet (including Internet browser functions).
- Manage files on your computer (including opening, saving, and retrieving files).
- Use Microsoft Office or other compatible productivity software.
Log in to Blackboard often, at least 3 to 5 times each week
Like other forms of electronic communication, Blackboard records each time you login and the course areas you visit while online. Your instructors will know whether or not you are participating (just as they would in a face-to-face class), so make sure you participate to the fullest extent.
Do your written work “offline” in Word or a similar type of document
Instructors will not be lenient when hearing that you lost your work just as you were going to send it. All Internet users know that service will often be disrupted with no warning. If you work offline and save your files to disk, you don’t have to worry about being disconnected before you finish and submit your work.
ALWAYS save your files before you send them to your instructor
Again, the electronic world is uncertain. Always save a copy of your files in case something gets lost in cyberspace. It’s your responsibility to complete and turn in assignments; instructors cannot assign a grade based on work they’ve never seen.
Use the recommended web browser
Blackboard Learn works with most web browsers for PCs and Mac computers, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome. But in order for Blackboard to function most effectively it is recommended that you use the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Technical support specialists have recognized error and malfunction trends with users accessing Blackboard courses using the Internet Explorer browser, and some software programs used by faculty to enhance online courses do not support Google Chrome.
It is also recommended that you always use the most current version of browsers to make sure your course functions work properly and pages display quickly. It is also important that you maintain the latest security updates.
Confused? Need help? Have questions?
First, ask your classmates! Use the discussion board or the messages tool to ask your fellow students how to solve a technical problem…chances are, there are some “computer wizards” in your class who can find a solution to your problem. Next, ask your instructor, especially if the problem deals with an element of the course design. Finally visit the Blackboard Student Help Desk or contact the E-Learning Specialist for help.