“Students are not alone as they navigate the waters of Blackboard and online learning."
With Bridgewater State University switching to online education for the remainder of the semester, BSU employees have a message for students: We’re here to help.
Online classes at BSU are facilitated through Blackboard, a virtual learning environment and course-management system. Students new to online learning often need help making use of the system’s many features.
“Students are not alone as they navigate the waters of Blackboard and online learning,” said Eric LePage, ’98, G’06, executive director of the Teaching and Technology Center.
LePage’s department serves faculty preparing for online education. Additionally, staff in Information Technology, the Academic Achievement Center and across BSU are helping students.
“We’re all working very hard to support them and we acknowledge this is not easy for anyone, particularly students who may have made a deliberate choice not to take online classes,” said Lauren Folloni, ’05, executive director of the Academic Achievement Center.
The extra week of spring break offers an excellent opportunity for students to become familiar with Blackboard and prepare for the remainder of the semester.
When students log into Blackboard, they will discover a Blackboard Help - Students section with video training resources and a link to a self-paced tutorial about Blackboard and online learning basics, LePage said.
BSU’s experts offered some tips for those unfamiliar with online learning:
Students should identify a distraction-free environment to complete schoolwork. They should monitor their BSU email for updates from faculty and the university, and review their courses to see if they have outstanding assignments.
Students should read syllabi changes and directions from faculty and ask questions about anything that is unclear.
When instruction resumes on March 23, Bears should continue to participate in class. They may not be able to interact with classmates and faculty as they are accustomed to doing. However, Blackboard offers alternatives such as discussion boards. Draft posts in a word processor and copy them into Blackboard.
Online learning requires increased self-motivation. Organization is key, so students should establish a schedule with time dedicated to classwork.
“Create a schedule that’s realistic that they can stick to to get their homework done,” Folloni said. “Do not procrastinate. Do not let assignments sit and wait.”
“We’re going to be available to provide them the online support they need to get through the transition,” Folloni said.
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