Online and Hybrid Courses
After you register
If your course is designated as a hybrid online course, be sure that you have made a note of the on-campus class meeting times and locations. You should have all of the meetings in your schedule so that you know that you will not have any course conflicts. Next you should make sure that you can access and navigate your online course site.
If your course is designated as fully online, then you will need to make sure that you can successfully access your course and navigate Blackboard.
|Accessing your course|
Expect your online and hybrid course to begin the first week of the semester. (Check the dates on the GVSU academic calendar.) Log-in to Blackboard prior to the beginning of classes to confirm your username and password. You will want to make sure that any issues with access are resolved before classes begin.
There are several ways to get to the Blackboard log-in page. Many begin with the GVSU homepage (http://www.gvsu.edu). Click on "Quick Links" and select "MyBlackboard". (You may want to bookmark the page once you open it.)
You will then see the prompt to enter your GVSU username and password. Remember, this is the username that will have the first letters of your name (and not your G#.)
|Familiarize yourself with Blackboard|
It is a good idea to make sure that you are comfortable with Blackboard prior to the beginning of classes. Go through the Introduction to Blackboard self-paced tutorial site to familiarize yourself with the technology that you may be using in your course. To find the tutorial, go to the Blackboard log-in site, click on "Guest Access" and instead of logging in, look for the Blackboard Tutorial box with the "Introduction to Blackboard" link. This will take you directly into the tutorial.
Please note that you only have "guest" access at this level, which will provide a preview to many of the Blackboard features, but communication tools are only available to those who use their GVSU username and password. If you would like full access to the tutorial, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following, "Please enroll me in the Blackboard Tutorial." Within 12-24 hours, you will be enrolled in the tutorial site and when you log-in to Blackboard, you will see it listed under the courses in which you are enrolled, with full access.
When going through the Introduction to Blackboard tutorial, be sure to verify that your computer meets the minimum technology standards to run the standard GVSU software. Although it is possible that your initial course will not use all of the available features, you should test them just to be certain. You will be prompted to do this in the tutorial site.
It is imperative that you check your GVSU assigned email account. All students have a GVSU gmail account for university related email, including any email sent to you from myBanner or from Blackboard. (Go to the IT Website for Frequently Asked Questions about your email account.)
Your professor may send an email prior to the class beginning with initial instructions. The email may direct you to any important changes about the class, about accessing the course site and syllabus, expectations, an assignment to complete before the beginning of class, contact information, etc. Don't miss that email!
If you do not receive an email from your professor, then you can either email your professor if you have questions, or log-in to Blackboard to find your course site listed.
If you do not see your course site listed when you log-in to Blackboard,
- verify that your registration is current in Banner. If it is, and
- it is prior to the first week of classes,
then keep checking back until your professor makes your course available.
If it is after the beginning of the semester, please contact your professor to ask for instructions. Your professor may need to know that you do not see the course site listed and that you have verified your enrollment.
|Get your books|
If you are not on-campus, you can order your books from the GVSU bookstore. Use the Textbook Look-up to find which books are required for your course. Read the Textbook Ordering Information that is posted so that you are aware of how online ordering works. You will need to allow 7-10 days for order processing and shipment.
Note that you can order other items from the bookstore as well, including clothing, accessories and gifts!
|Make a contingency plan|
We all like to think that it is unlikely that you will have a technical issue during the semester, but it frequently happens. Before your class begins, make sure that you have a contingency plan. The last thing that you will want to happen is that you lose your computer access when you have an assignment due! Many professors will indicate that a technology problem is not a valid excuse - you should have planned ahead and had a contingency plan. If the computer that you use to access your online course crashes, what is your back up? Do you have another computer? Do you have another location identified where you will have full computer/internet access available when you need it? If your internet connection fails just before the deadline to submit an assignment, how will you be sure that your assignment is submitted anyway?
- Work ahead! If you procrastinate, it is far more likely that any computer glitch will impede your ability to participate or submit your assignment on time. If you plan ahead, and your computer gives you trouble, you will still have time to use a back-up plan.
- Identify at least one other location or computer that you can use. If your primary location for working on your online course is on your home computer, where can you go if your home computer fails? Do you have a family/friend/workplace near by where you can have last-minute emergency access? Can you count on your public library or rent time at a local shop? Know your alternatives!
- If you have more than one computer at home so you have a back-up computer if one fails, what will you do if your Internet connections fails? Again, be sure that you have a back-up plan in place.
- Once class begins, identify classmates that are willing to team with you for technology support. If something fails you, can a classmate help you out? (For example, if you cannot email your professor, how will you reach them if you are cut-off from your computer?) Your online community can be your best resource.
Page last modified September 9, 2010