Online Learning Today Episode 2

Welcome to Episode 2 of the Online Learning Today Podcast. In today’s episode we’ll be discussing required course technology. Whether you’re taking your first online course or you’re a veteran online student, it’s important to make sure your device meets the system requirements. We’ll be discussing these requirements along with recommend software to have installed.

First up are the basic system requirements. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a computer with Windows 7 or higher, or macOS 10.8 or higher. While Blackboard can work on a mobile device, we highly encourage students to complete work on a computer. You’ll also want to make sure you have a reliable high-speed internet connection. This becomes critical when taking any kind of assessment. If you’re internet isn’t reliable it’s possible that you could get kicked out of your exam.

If you are working from your mobile device, we recommend downloading the Blackboard App as it’s optimized for mobile learning. This is available for free for iOS, Android, and Windows. Simply search for UTRGV and enter your username and password. Be sure to enable push notifications so you’ll be notified of new announcements, grades, and more.

The next application we recommend downloading is Microsoft Office. While some instructors upload PDF documents, others may upload Word and PowerPoint files. Lucky for you, UTRGV offers Microsoft Pro Plus for FREE to all university students and employees. To download it, simply login to Office 365 via the myUTRGV Portal and click Install Office on the right side of the page. This will download the full Office Suite onto your computer. In addition to this, you also have 5 TB of online storage!

Depending on the course, you may also need the Respondus Lockdown Browser. With the lockdown browser installed, it creates a secure testing environment by preventing students from accessing other websites and applications during an exam. The instructor may also require the use of a webcam and microphone depending on the type of assessment being given. To download the lockdown browser, you’ll need to access the Student Support Tab in Blackboard. From this page, the links will be available in the Student Resources module. To ensure you’re ready for your exam, you’ll want to open the lockdown browser and complete the system check tool. This will verify everything’s working and test your webcam and mic, if needed.

Moving beyond the specific applications you’ll be using, there are many other factors that play into course technology. One of these being the skills you are expected to have upon entering your course. At UTRGV, online students are expected to know how to use and send emails with attachments, create and submit files, use the copy and paste tool, know how to download and install software, and being able to use Blackboard.

However, if you need help installing supported software, the COLTT Help Desk and IT Service Desk are available to walk you through the installation process. The COLTT Blackboard Help Desk is available 24/7 via phone support, and Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM on campus. The IT Service Desk is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM via phone and on campus.

In addition, you can find a variety of Knowledge Base articles online. For Blackboard and other related online learning tools, please visit UTRGV.edu/online and click the Getting Support tab. For IT supported articles, visit UTRGV.edu/it and click How-To.

That wraps it up for Episode Number 2. We hope you found this information helpful.