It’s the first week of the term. You’ve got your books stacked, your desk organized, and your laptop updated. All systems appear to be operating until you log in to your MyExcelsior account and realize you have no idea how to use Blackboard. What do you do now?
Students sometimes drop classes because they don’t “get” our online classrooms. It’s not because they can’t figure it out but because they give up when faced with the challenge of a new format. If I had a penny for every student who told me they weren’t “tech savvy” I’d be… well… let’s just say I’d have a lot of pennies. No one is denying online learning is tricky but you signed up for an online course for a reason, now let’s make it work! You just need some extra time, a little patience, and a dash of perseverance.
I’m sure you have heard of CCS 100 EC Student Experience and BB 100: Blackboard Orientation*. Advisors and coaches alike push these tutorials like it’s our job. The reason: They work! These tutorials were developed to help students become familiar with Excelsior technology, services, resources, and offices. The best part is that both tutorials are available to students as soon as they become enrolled, so they can be completed before registering for courses. Talk about a having a leg up! Now, get logged in and check them out before you get started in your course.
So, you’ve checked out both tutorials and you still have questions. Who do you contact? While our Technical Support Office is available 24/7 to answer questions via phone, we do suggest checking their website for notifications and FAQ’s. Their site also provides all points of contact, so you can choose which works best for you. Tech Support not available? You can also contact your Academic Advisor or Student Success Coach for more detailed questions. If we don’t know the answer, we can sure find someone who does.
OK, you’ve exhausted all resources and still have questions. Now what? Drop the course? While it is possible that online learning is not for you, it’s more likely you are lacking confidence around this new technology. Coaches work with students to build confidence around technology and navigating the online classroom all the time and we find it best to just take some time to click around. We promise you won’t break anything! If you change a setting or make a blank post, who cares? You’re learning a new skill and that takes time. Prepare to make mistakes. Also prepare to learn from those mistakes. With every click of the mouse you get one step closer to “getting” the online classroom.
*Please note: As I write this post, the College is just beginning a migration from Blackboard to the Canvas learning management system. If you have a course in Canvas this term, you should check out the Canvas tutorial.