For those of you taking online classes, CSU East Bay provides student support services that can be accessed remotely and conveniently, just like your courses.
Registering with Accessibility Services as an Online Student
Students enrolled in online classes who seek disability services can contact our office through phone or e-mail. The process for registering with us remains the same as for other students; however, many online students are unable to attend the on-campus intake appointment. If your location or circumstances prevent you from joining us on campus, we can schedule your intake as a phone appointment, an e-mail or instant message discussion, or by voice and video internet calling (e.g., Skype).
During a remote intake, your counselor may have you access the following documents:
Using Accessibility Services as an Online Student
Students taking online courses are responsible for providing an appropriate home or remote study area, including any needed accessible furniture, computer software (e.g. JAWS, Kurzweil, Zoomtext, Dragon), and computer hardware (e.g. accessible mouse, keyboard, monitor).
Accessibility Services may assist students with other supports or accommodations, such as extended time for testing, accessible media, early registration, disability management counseling, or referrals. Contact your counselor for more information.
Top 10 Tips for Online Students
We occasionally get computer-related questions from online students frustrated with a technical problem interfering with their courses. We asked our technology department for some suggestions and they came up with this list of top ten tips.
1) Know where to get help. If you're stuck, try calling the Learning Commons in the Library (510-885-4203 for the Hayward campus; 925-602-6725 for the Concord campus), e-mail the CSUEB Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or create a service ticket (at http://servicedesk.csueastbay.edu). Provide as much detail as you can: date and time, computer, browser, contact information. Also, keep your instructor updated on the issue.
2) If Blackboard doesn't work, try a different Internet browser. Internet Explorer usually works best, then Firefox, Mozilla, and Safari. If Blackboard doesn't work in any browser, email email@example.com
3) Use Browserhawk to check your browser for plugins, Java, etc. The url is: http://webapps.csueastbay.edu/browsertest/ Follow the recommendations.
4) Try every viewing option in the discussion board. Figure out which tools work best for you.
5) Turn on the Visual Text Box Editor. Login > Personal Information > Set Visual Text Box Editor Options > "Yes" > Submit [Disregard this hint if you are using JAWS.]
6) Be aware of Blackboard's downtime. The Blackboard server is backed up every night between 12:50am and 2:30am pacific time. You will not be able to work on your courses during this time. Do not start a test that you will not be able to finish before 12:50am pacific.
7) Learn to use Save As. Be able to save documents in different formats: .rtf, .doc, .txt, etc.
8) Learn to do a Screen Shot. On a PC, press the "PrtScn" button, open MS Word or other word processor and choose Edit > Paste. This will paste a screen shot into the document (crop if necessary.) This document can then be sent to the helpdesk. Often a screenshot will reveal the nature of a problem to someone who is troubleshooting. On a Mac, hold down the Control, Command (Apple) and Shift keys, then press "3." This will put the image in the clipboard, and you can then paste it into a document and crop if necessary.
9) Don't be afraid to engage the instructor. Instructors will use Blackboard differently, so you need to be flexible and ready to embrace whatever tools or methods an instructor chooses to use. Ask questions.
10) Use a virus checker and keep it up to date.
Suggestions for Taking Online Exams
Online tests can also pose a problem, especially when time is short and technical difficulties surface. Below are online testing tips from our Tech Services department.
Check Your Computer Configuration
Your computer may not detect network activity while you are taking an online test and may cut off your connection. This is especially true if you are using a dialup connection. Make sure your ISP or modem software will not cut off your connection if no activity is detected. If you try to submit the test without an Internet connection, you will lose all of your answers and will have to retake the test.
If you do not trust your Internet connection at home, consider using a CSUEB computer lab. The connections in the labs do not time out (including those in the Learning Commons section of CSUEB Library). If you use a lab, ask the lab tech to restart the computer you will be using before you start. This will shut down and clear any programs that may be running in the computer's memory that may cause problems with Blackboard's testing tool.
Before Taking the Test
- Remember that Blackboard goes down for maintenance every night between 12:50 AM and 2:00 AM pacific time. You will not be able to work on your course during this time. Ensure that when you start taking a test that you will be able to complete it before 12:50.
- If possible, take the test during normal working hours (9:00am - 5:00pm). If something goes wrong, there are people working on campus who can help.
- Make sure to use either the latest Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator browser. The browsers that are part of an ISP package such as AOL or Earthlink are not as full featured as the standard IE or Netscape browser and may be problematic when taking online tests. Using other browsers, such as Opera or Safari is not recommended.
- Turn off Instant Messenger
- If you are using software that blocks pop-up ads or that offers any type of online "protection" turn it off.
- If it is an essay exam, open up a word processor before you enter the test so you can compose and save in the word processor, then copy and paste the answers into the test when you're finished. In addition to being able to save your work on your local computer, working in a word processor also offers the advantage of spell and grammar checks.
While Taking the Test
- Do not resize the test window. You will be kicked out of the test environment if you do this.
- Record your answers on paper or in a text file, in case you are forced to retake the test. If it is an essay test, open a word processor first, enter the test, compose your answers in the word processor (saving often), then copy and paste your answers from the word processor file into the test. Submit the test when you're finished. If the test does not submit, your answers are saved in a file on your computer. You can contact the instructor, explain what happened, and proceed from there. See the "If Something Goes Wrong" section below.
- Take the test in an environment with no distractions, if possible. The presence of family members, pets, telephones, etc. can cause you to lose your focus.
- Avoid multi-tasking, unless you're saving essay answers as described above. Close unnecessary applications and avoid surfing the web in another window or browser while taking the test.
If Something Goes Wrong
Things can happen. Power outages, connection problems, and other technical difficulties are always a possibility. If you are unable to complete or submit the test, do not panic. Contact the instructor who will give you instructions on how to proceed. Usually it is only a matter of clearing and resetting the test. Ultimately though, this is your instructor's decision.
You may also report a problem to the Service Desk. Response time is dependent on the time of day and call/email volume.
If you are reporting a problem to either your instructor or the Service Desk, make sure to include any error messages that may have displayed, as this can provide a clue to solve your problem. Be as detailed as you can when describing the problem - include the date and time of the problem, description of the computer you were using, Internet browser information, the course you are having problems in, and your contact information.