About Online Courses at GVSU
Unlike in a traditional in-seat class, you won't have a specific time and place to "meet". You will use Blackboard as your classroom, and when you log-in, you may be the only one to access the course site at that time - or you may not know if anyone else is also logged-in. If you are new to online learning, this may feel strange at first, but you'll soon realize that it's one of the advantages of taking an online course: most of the time, you can access the course materials, learning activities, and discussion when it is convenient to you.
Find Your Course
A fully online course will not have a specific "start" time the same way a traditional on-campus meeting class will. You should access your course site in Blackboard no later than the first day of the new semester and look for the announcement and any instructions from your professor. Your professor will guide you to the course syllabus and any directions for getting started.
- TIP: Be sure to check your GVSU Gmail account in the days before the new semester begins.
- TIP: Login to Blackboard before the semester start and become familiar with the technology.
You may receive an email from your professor with instructions prior to the course beginning. Go to Blackboard and log in with your username and password. If it is the first day of a new semester, you should see your course listed and you can click on the link to access your course site. There you will find instructions from your professor for getting started. If you are registered in Banner and do not see your course before the first day of classes, contact your professor if you are concerned, or wait until the first day of classes to look again.
Meet Your Classmates
You may be asked to post an introduction on the course discussion board (learn about the discussion board). This discussion board will be a great place to "meet" your classmates, so be sure to check back often as new classmates join you. Although your course will likely be paced similarly to an on campus course with weekly due dates and deadlines, you have the flexibility of being "in class" when it is convenient to you at any time, 24/7.
Virtual Office Hours and Live Class Meetings
Your professor may request one or more "synchronous" class meetings. This means that, using an online technology, such as Blackboard Collaborate, you will log-in to the course site at the same time as everyone else and access a link to a "classroom." If you have a webcam, then your professor and your classmates will be able to see you when you talk. You will be able to see others who have webcams when they talk. With a microphone, you can speak and be heard. Check out the Blackboard Collaborate Tutorial and the Student Help for Blackboard website for support.