Whether you are enrolled in an online, hybrid, or face-to-face course, you will use Blackboard and/or other technology resources to communicate, complete tasks and view course content when learning remotely.
This page has information to support your use of these tools in the event that your courses are moved to online delivery.
Prepare in Advance
Practice Safe Computing
Protect your computer, identity and privacy. Be sure your computer has antivirus software and learn how to protect yourself on the web.
Be Aware of COVID-19 Scams
Please be aware that scams and phishing emails are targeting people’s growing fears of the coronavirus in order to steal their usernames, passwords, credit cards and other sensitive information.
Exercise caution in handling any email with a COVID-19-related subject line, attachment, or hyperlink, and be wary of social media pleas, texts, or calls related to COVID-19.
Boise State offers free Microsoft Office and select statistical and mathematics software for installation on personal computers.
Microsoft Office can be installed on up to five computers, including phones and tablets, for each Boise State account.
Mobile apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets are also available for Blackboard, G Suite (Google Apps), and Zoom.
Internet Access and Wireless Hotspots
- Free or low-cost internet: If you don’t have internet access at home, visit the National Digital Inclusion Alliance’s website to learn about Free and Low-Cost Internet Plans. There are several options to consider, including some temporary offers available due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Boise State offers eduroam WiFi coverage to approximately 50 parking spots in front of Albertsons Stadium, West Campus lot.
- Most students carry a powerful computer in their pocket. Mobile apps for Microsoft Office, Blackboard, G Suite (Google Apps), and Zoom are available for free from iOS and Android app stores and work over cellular connections. (Students may install Microsoft Office on up to five devices, including phones and tablets.)
- Many internet and cellular providers are lifting data caps and offering other benefits for their customers during this time. Check with your provider to understand any additional benefits for your plan.
- Please keep in mind that other devices on home networks will impact your speed (e.g., if a family member is streaming Netflix or playing online games). If you do experience network issues, check with your Internet Service Provider. Contact the Help Desk if needed.
- Check for local resources in your community such as colleges and schools that may offer public WiFi access.
- Most wireless phone service providers offer personal hotspot service to be added to wireless plans to create a WiFi network from a smartphone. This option can also provide greater WiFi range. Check with your carrier for details. The Help Desk can assist you with setting up your hotspot if needed; contact us at (208) 426-4357, firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat online.
Update Your Software
Be sure your computer’s operating system and applications are patched and updated.
Pay close attention to ensuring you are running the latest versions of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, or Microsoft Edge browsers.
Contact the Help Desk for assistance if needed.
Communicate with Your Instructors
Check In, Ask Questions
Communication is essential when a course is online for a semester, or if you participate in a single class meeting.
If your instructors use Blackboard, check your Blackboard site(s) and your Boise State email account at least once each day for important information.
Be sure to communicate clearly with your instructors if you have questions or need assistance.
Chat, Voice, and Video
Solutions for Remote Learning and Collaboration
Several platforms are available for voice/video/chat conferencing when working remotely.
- Consider using your smartphone to join remote classes, since it probably has a better microphone than a laptop. Test and see what works best for you.
- If your computer does not have a built-in camera, you can also use an external USB camera for video conferencing.
- Have a set of earbuds/headphones (especially ones with a built-in microphone) for attending online courses and meetings.
- If your computer does not have a built-in microphone, use an external device such as a USB microphone or headset.
- Close other programs and limit streaming/large downloads while you work. Other programs on your computer may consume processor or network resources. Try disconnecting or limiting use of other non-essential devices on your network.
Zoom makes it easy to share screens and host real-time video conversations, host live web broadcasts, and record to a computer or cloud for easy sharing.
In addition to laptops and desktops, Zoom chat and video conferencing apps are available for iPhone, iPad, or Android. A phone conference line is included with your Boise State Zoom account, making it easy for participants to join meetings using a phone.
Google Hangouts Meet
Create, join, and participate in video meetings with up to 250 people using Hangouts Meet through Boise State G Suite. Hangouts Meet is available for all devices.
While you can invite as many people as you want to join, you can’t have more than 250 people in a Meet at once.
- Learn how to access and use Google Hangouts Meet at Boise State
- Tips for better Hangouts Meet calls from home
Panopto provides features for live webcasting, screencast recording, and live discussions. Capturing a lecture with Panopto is as easy as opening a laptop and clicking “record.”
Strategies for Success
Support and Assistance
- Ask questions. In fact, ask a lot of questions! In remote courses you should expect some lag time for feedback from your instructors, so set aside time to look through each week’s assignments and ask your instructor questions via email or Blackboard discussion board.
- Be sure to clearly communicate with your instructors to understand timelines for completing activities and assignments, as well as any issues or problems that may prevent you from engaging in your remote courses.
- Instructors are aware that not all students have the same access to webcams, computers, and the internet.
- Many remote courses require you to interact with your peers and instructors through video or collaboration tools. Treat your classmates like they’re in the room with you, and find constructive ways to support each other.
- Most students carry a powerful computer in their pocket. Mobile apps for Microsoft Office, Blackboard, G Suite, and Zoom are available for free from iOS and Android app stores and work over cellular connections. (Students can install Microsoft Office on up to five devices, including phones and tablets.)
- Over 800 public computers are available for use throughout buildings on the Boise State campus (you may want to consider bringing your own cleaning wipes, or ask the Zone in the Student Union or Zone in the Interactive Learning Center to wipe down a computer workstation).
- Don’t wait until the last minute to reach out for help if you feel stuck! Contact the Help Desk at (208) 426-4357, email@example.com, or chat online if you need technology assistance.
- Visit the Office of Information Technology’s website for resources to help you use Microsoft Office, G Suite (Google Apps), Blackboard, and more.
- The Advising and Academic Support Center offers free online tutoring for help in all subjects.
- The Writing Center offers free online consultations to help you with your writing assignments.
- If you require additional accommodations for online learning visit the Educational Access Center’s website.
Allow Time for Remote Learning
Give yourself more time than you think you need to complete assignments. Online classes can require more time than face-to-face, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking an extra hour or two to finish your work.
When learning remotely, awkward posture or an improper setup may increase the risk of injuries caused by poor ergonomics.
Here are some tips to help:
- Use a good chair. If you don’t have a good chair, add pillows for back/leg support.
- Raise or lower your chair so your shoulders are relaxed with the elbows around 90 degrees (or use a pillow or seat cushion if needed).
- Support your feet on an object if they don’t firmly touch the ground while sitting.
- Raise or lower your monitor (or put it on top of an object). The top of the monitor should be at or slightly below eye level.
- If possible, your monitor should be separated from your keyboard and mouse. If you raise your laptop, consider using an external keyboard and mouse.
- Take short breaks for ergonomic exercises and stretches as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.