Remote Learning Resources for Students

Are you ready to learn remotely?

Dear Students,

With the announcement that the remainder of spring semester will be conducted remotely, you may be anxious about what to expect. Although each faculty member will approach a course differently, we hope to provide you with the tools to be successful in all circumstances. Below is some very basic information, categorized by service and the best resources for you to access for questions and assistance. More information will be forthcoming in the following days, but we will be mindful for the need to be targeted, clear and concise in what we communicate, along with how and when we do so. For now, we hope to help you prepare for remote learning!

First Things First

You will need high speed internet service. Regardless of the format your faculty member will adopt – Blackboard, email, etc. -- internet access will be crucial to your success. If you do not have internet, there are several providers that are offering free access to households. Below are links to a few of those providers:

*We have heard from some students that the links above aren't working. We suspect some providers have been overwhelmed from interest. Some people have indicated they have had success by searching for free WiFi in their area on Google and proceeding from there.

Ensure that your personal computer is updated and secure. If you don’t have a Framingham State issued notebook computer to use, then you’ll need to take extra steps to make sure your computer is secure. Run Windows updates and be sure your antivirus is up to date and scanning for threats.

If you do not have a laptop, you may purchase the “recommended” laptop and have it shipped to you. Learn more on the ITS Technology Recommendations page.

Need Tech Help?

Contact Information Technology Services (IT) at FSU:
508-215-5906
it@framingham.edu
Link to FSU’s IT website

How to Tackle Remote Learning

Taking a course remotely may mean that you need to adopt a new approach and new study habits. Below are some steps you can take to get started.

  • Get into the habit of checking your FSU email and BlackBoard account daily.
  • Make a list of all your classes, your professors’ names and email addresses. You may find this information on myFramingham under the Academic tab and Current Schedule; you may also find your schedule and faculty contact information on Starfish.
  • Understand how your professor intends to complete the course. Will they use Blackboard or another way to deliver the course content? Read all emails from your professors and make notes about that on the list you created above.
  • Be organized! Create a separate folder for each course. Schedule time to do coursework on a regular basis, participate as requested and stick to your schedule for the duration of the course. If you allow too many days to pass by without a login, you may find it difficult to catch up.
  • Download your class syllabus from each course site to understand expectations and understand your instructor’s communication and instructional continuity plans. It is likely your professor will post an updated or modified syllabus and taking time to read this is extremely important.
  • Become familiar with any tools your professor is using to teach your class. See the Blackboard and ETO helpful resources below.
  • Make note of your due dates and confirm with your professor how your assignments are collected. CASA has tools that can help you with this.
  • Gather everything else you will need to be productive. Think about what you will need if your professor uses real-time video conferencing: does your computer have a built-in microphone and speaker? Do you have a headset for your phone? Do you have your class notes, textbook or other equipment, like power adapters, that you’ll need?

Need Academic Help?

Contact CASA:
508-626-4906
academicsupport@framingham.edu
IT@framingham.edu for technical assistance;
or email the Library at reference@framingham.edu

How to Manage Technology

Working remotely, you may be asked to use technologies new to you and your professor. The information shared below is included to answer some of your basic questions.

What do you need to know about Blackboard?

Many of your faculty are using Blackboard to deliver classes remotely. All that is required to connect is a computer with a browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari) and connection to the Internet. Blackboard is used by faculty and students to share information and course materials, to engage in critical thinking activities and collaborate online. If you are new to Blackboard or need a refresher, take the Blackboard 101 course for students, or email IT@framingham.edu.

For mobile users

The Blackboard Mobile Learn app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Use the app to receive notifications, view content, review grades and more. If taking a test or responding to the discussion board, we recommend that you log in on a computer (laptop or desktop). More information on the Blackboard Mobile Learn app can be found at: Blackboard Mobile Learn.

How will my professor lead real-time class meetings?

Some professors may ask you to sign into a class meeting using a tool in Blackboard called Collaborate Ultra. You will find the session linked in your course space or under Course Tools. Collaborate is used most often to hold virtual class meetings, share content, and hold class discussions. Some professors may also use Collaborate to run office hours and advising. For the best experience, you will need a microphone-either built into your laptop or computer or an external device such as a USB microphone or headset.

Once you join a session it will open in your browser, so you don’t need to install any software.

If you need assistance using the tool:


What is Panopto?

Your instructor might record their lectures or make video demonstrations for you and share that material via Panopto in your Blackboard course. As a student, all you have to do is click and watch the video. In this way, the tool is like YouTube.

In some cases, your instructor might ask you to make your own recording of a presentation or demonstration using the Panopto recording tool. If that happens, additional resources will be provided to guide you through the process. Watch the following Panopto “Get Started” videos (2 minutes, 29 seconds; 3 minutes, 9 seconds; you will be prompted to login to your Blackboard account).

Why would I use VoiceThread?

VoiceThread is a relatively new tool in Blackboard that may be used to host asynchronous discussions, present class materials, and invite discussion on those materials, as well as for student presentations. VoiceThread allows for multiple modes of participation in discussions by allowing responses as video, audio, text, or any combination. This bridges the gaps in social presence typically found in online courses by allowing all participants to see and hear the presenter, as well as their presentation, image, or other course materials. For anyone with disabilities, all videos are closed-captioned.

If you are asked to use this tool in your classes, reference this Student Guide to VoiceThread.

Need Help?

Your first point of contact with technology questions is Information Technology Services (IT) at FSU by calling 508-215-5906; sending an email to it@framingham.edu, or visiting FSU’s IT website.

How will CASA and Disability/Access Services Help?

The Center for Academic Success and Achievement remains committed to help students realize academic success. Once classes resume March 30, we will offer professional math and writing tutoring as well as Supplemental Instruction through the Blackboard learning platform; online tutoring for many subjects remains available through ThinkingStorm; and disability accommodations will be available, including extended time, textbooks in an alternative format, and many other reasonable accommodations. Professional staff also will be available to help students transition to remote learning through academic coaching. More information will be posted shortly, so check back often and watch for emails.

Need Accommodation Help?

Contact CASA by calling 508-626-4906 or emailing academicsupport@framingham.edu.

How the Library Contributes to Your Success

Even though the library is closed to walk-in visitors, librarians are still here to help you! A librarian can answer any questions you have about library resources or the research process. Don’t know where to get started on your research paper? Need to find an article? Contact a librarian! Librarians will be available to answer questions over email or by remote appointment. Updates about the library and hours of remote reference are posted on the Library website.

Need Library Help?

Contact reference@framingham.edu to get your questions answered or to setup a remote research appointment.

We hope this helps prepare you to learn remotely! More details will be coming soon, so please continue to check your student email and FSU’s social media outlets.

Student Services Center

The Student Services Center (SSC) is closing to foot traffic as a health and safety precaution, until further notice. The Student Services Center includes the Office of Financial Aid, the Student Accounts Office, and the Office of the Registrar. If you need assistance from any of these offices, please plan to call or e-mail them.