Updated March 18, 2020
On March 11, 2020 the university announced that it was suspending classes due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in order to protect the health of the campus community. In order to safeguard the health of our students, the university has ordered faculty to move all instruction to an online platform, and has recommended that we use an interface called Blackboard Collaborate Ultra to conduct remote classes in real time. Here’s how to gain access to this interface, in seven easy steps.
1 Students can use the Quad Commons computing lab, which will remain open 8:30 AM to 11:00 PM, M-F. You must use a headset or a normal set of earbuds.
2 It takes a couple minutes to gain access to the Blackboard Collaborate interface. Please know that you can log into our class sessions up to fifteen minutes before the class starts. I’d like to have everyone already logged in and ready to go the moment class starts. Okay?
3 Remember that Blackboard works most efficiently on Firefox and Google browsers. If you’re using your own computer and you haven’t been using one of these browsers, I strongly suggest downloading one of them right this very minute.
4 If you’re using your own computer, try to find a reasonably quiet place for our online class sessions. If you have a lot of noise around you, the ambient sound entering your computer’s microphone will make it hard for me and your classmates to hear each other.
5 Right before class time (US EST) log on to Blackboard like normal, and then click on the Coronavirus Classroom link that has been added to the menu. Blackboard Collaborate will then ask you to test the microphone and video camera on your computer.
6 Once you have completed your audio and video tests, you will finally arrive at the Blackboard Collaborate page. Click into that day’s session. You can also dial into the session via the phone number listed in the session.
7 Once you are all the way into the session, unmute your microphone so everyone can hear you. Since everyone’s voice is amplified, keep quiet; if you have to talk to someone in the room with you, mute your mic first so you don’t disturb the rest of the class. If you want to ask a question or make a comment, click on the icon of the little guy with the raised hand and I’ll call on you. Whether you make your video feed available is up to you. You’re now ready for class.
If for whatever reason you miss a class session, please know that you can view and listen to a recording of the class by clicking as indicated on the screenshot to the right.
Virtual Office Hours. I’ll be in my virtual office MTWR 1-2 , just like in the syllabus. If you need to meet at some other time, email me and we’ll set up a time to meet virtually. You click into office hours just like you click into a class session, and you can also dial into an office hours session via the phone number listed in the session.
© D. R. Koukal