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Technical Requirements for Taking Online Courses at BSU
Before students begin their online learning, there are a few technical requirements that are needed for academic success.
Although you can use a tablet or smartphone device to access course sites, it is important to consider the convenience of a PC or Mac computer for accessing course readings, taking exams, taking part in online discussions, writing papers, and more. Be sure personal computers have Microsoft Windows 7, 8, or 10 for the PC or OS X for the Mac as your operating system. If your computer is not equipped with a webcam, consider purchasing one for communicating with instructors and classmates.
The Maxwell Library Circulation Desk has loaner devices, i.e., laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, wireless hotspots, etc. available for you to borrow. For more information, please contact the Circulation Desk at 508-531-1392 or visit https://www.bridgew.edu/technology/itloaners.
Other Recommended Technology
High Speed Internet
A high-speed internet connection (i.e. cable, DSL) is important, especially for watching course videos and taking part in any video-conferencing discussions.
Although we highly recommend using the Google Chrome browser, Blackboard is supported on a number of different browsers (i.e. Chrome, FireFox, Safari). To ensure that your browser will work with Blackboard, visit Blackboard’s Browser Support page. In addition, use Blackboard’s Browser Checker feature to ensure that your browser has all the necessary plug-ins to use Blackboard on your computer.
Bridgewater State University User Account
Your Bridgewater State University user account to gain access to BSU email and Blackboard is automatically created for you. Be sure to log in to BSU email and Blackboard regularly. Contact Information Technology at 508.531.2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions about your BSU user account.
Microsoft Office Suite
Install the Microsoft Office Suite (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on your Mac or PC to complete course assignments. As a Bridgewater State student, you are allowed up to 5 downloads of Microsoft Office for the Mac or PC on your personal computers from BSU's Office 365 support site . Contact Information Technology at 508.531.2555 or email@example.com for installation assistance.
Your instructor may be sharing PDF (Portable Document Format) files. Download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader application to your personal computer, tablet, or smartphone to read PDF files. Contact Information Technology at 508.531.2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org for installation assistance.
If you are a Microsoft Windows operating system user, you can download free Microsoft security tools to protect your personal computer. If you are a Mac Operating system user, protect yourself with the Avast Free Mac Security application. Contact Information Technology at 508.531.2555 or email@example.com for installation assistance.
Although not a requirement, many students prefer to print out course readings, e-books, and assignments and read from the printed text. If you fall into that category, consider purchasing a low-cost inkjet or laser printer.
Blackboard Mobile Learn App
Access your Blackboard course sites on the go right from your smartphone or tablet with the Blackboard Mobile Learn App.
Use note-taking apps like Microsoft OneNote (part of the Microsoft Office suite) to keep yourself organized and on task.
Guidance on Recording in the Classroom and in the Virtual Classroom
Last edited: 05-08-2020
In order to provide consolidated guidance on recording of material and activities in BSU classrooms and/or during University sponsored activities, please see this guidance on permissions and requirements. It is important to note that consent to record must be received in most cases according to Massachusetts law (MA General Laws Part IV, Title I, Chapter 272, Section 99). Exceptions are listed here as part of this guidance document. Thank you for your support in making the classroom experience productive, safe, and accommodating for all participants.
Permission to Record
If the student does not have a Letter of Accommodation granting the audio recording of lectures, then recording is at the professor’s discretion with notification of other parties being recorded (pursuant to Massachusetts law). Students must ask and receive permission prior to recording with any device. Faculty may notify participants of their intention to record using existing prompts sent automatically to all participants by recording technology platform.
Recording with Blackboard Collaborate Ultra
Blackboard Collaborate Ultra provides instructors with a web-conferencing tool for conducting synchronous lectures and discussions with their classes. Instructors can share an audio and video feed using a webcam, conduct instant polls with students, share their desktop or a software application to teach students about a particular topic, and record class sessions for students to review on their own at a later time.
Instructors can designate students with presenter role, allowing students to perform live presentations with slideshows for the class. Instructors have control over initiating and ending a session recording; students cannot record class sessions in the presenter or participant roles. When a session recording is initiated, all members of the Collaborate Ultra room are notified.
To learn more about Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and holding synchronous online discussions with your students, please contact the Teaching & Technology Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students with ADA Letters of Accommodation
If the student has a Letter of Accommodation granting the audio recording of lectures, however, the recording must be permitted. An exception would be only when the Professor asks all students to discontinue taking notes. The function of the recording is essentially to facilitate note taking for the student. For example, students may be in a discussion that elicits the sharing of personal information. The professor may guide the class to discontinue notetaking and recording to protect student anonymity. This would be an appropriate time to limit the recording of course content for all students.
Two-party consent laws do not override the ADA’s reasonable accommodation requirements. The Disability Resources Office consents to the recording through the Letter of Accommodation and the professor is notified that the class will be recorded. The professor should NOT announce it to the class, as they would not announce any other specific accommodation, but they could add a general accessibility statement to their syllabus if they felt particularly compelled to:
“This course may be audio recorded as an accommodation under ADA/504 laws, but only with permission from the Office of Disability Resources and notice to instructor(s).”
In regard to intellectual property rights, the instructor’s right to privacy or copyright does not override the students right to accommodation. However, students are required to delete all recordings at the end of the semester and notified recordings are only for their personal use. These expectations are communicated in writing to the student on their Letter of Accommodation.
For assistance navigating the topic of recording in the context of an approved accommodation, please contact Jenna Shales, Associate Director of the Disability Resources Office at email@example.com or by calling 508-531-2194.
Unapproved Recording of Classes or Classroom Discussion
Faculty concerned with the unapproved recording of classes or classroom discussions may refer such concerns to the Office of Community Standards. The Student Code of Conduct addresses alleged violations which include unapproved audio/visual recordings of classes either in person or virtual. Additionally, all University policies such as the Responsible Use of Information Technology Policy apply.
To discuss any concerns related to the unauthorized or unapproved recording of and use thereof may be discussed with Peter Wiernicki, Director, Office of Community Standards at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 508-531-1737.
If it is believed that federal, state, or local law, or conduct that would violate the legal rights of others has occurred, the Bridgewater State University Police Department is available for consultation and assistance by calling 508-531-1212.