Student Technology Resources for Remote Learning

In the event students need to utilize distance learning, it is important that academic activities can continue. Become familiar with the TU technology tools that make remote learning possible. 

Prepare in advance 

HAVE THIS  RECOMMENDED EQUIPMENT  

  • Computer (PC or Mac).  
  • Webcam with microphone - these are usually built into laptops/computers.
  • Headphones – these are essential to prevent distracting echoes.
  • Secure, reliable, high-speed Internet access - research and optimize your home connectivity now, to ensure future successful distance learning and exam taking.
  • An Ethernet cable – directly connecting your computer to the Internet is more reliable and stable than Wi-Fi, which is important when participating in online courses, events, meetings and presentations.
  • A hotspot - if you don't have reliable, high-speed Internet access, check with your mobile provider to see if you can activate your phone’s hotspot feature. This allows connection of laptops to the Internet, and usually, hotspot data is counted differently than regular phone data use.

FOLLOW THESE BASIC RECOMMENDATIONS 

  • Download the Blackboard app to your mobile device.
  • Check browser recommendations for Blackboard. 
  • Bookmark the Student Blackboard Resources webpage, and use the self-help docs for submitting assignments and other important tasks.  
  • Install and test Student Technology Toolkit applications/software on your computer and mobile device.
  • Check your TU email and Blackboard for important updates from your instructors on how they'll be operating their courses.
  • Save your work. Store non-confidential files on your Google Drive or OneDrive. Use OneDrive if you need to share a file with a faculty or staff member. 
  • Visit OTS Training’s  Self-Help Learning Resources webpage for PDFs and videos that help explain how to use TU technologies. 
  • Use myTU as a one stop site for accessing important TU links. Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari are the recommended browsers.

Connecting, accessing and storing

Task Use this service How to use it
Access Blackboard, check assignments and grades  Blackboard
Bb Student Resources
Access TU email   Webmail Powered by Google Webmail Powered by Google resources 
Use the Office 365 suite (Word, Excel, SharePoint, PowerPoint, OneDrive)  Office 365 Office 365 resources
Register for classes, make schedule changes, pay bills, and check grades PeopleSoft/Towson Online Services Self-Help guides from the Registrar's Office

Use Adobe Creative Cloud software (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.)

Adobe Creative Cloud Adobe CC resources
Send an oversized file (larger than 25MB) or confidential document to an instructor or fellow student  File Delivery Service (FDS)  Watch this video 
Reset or change an expired password  NetID Tools
Watch this video
Store non-confidential files and share documents  OneDrive (Office365) or Google Drive

OneDrive Self-Help (PDF), Google Drive/Webmail Powered by Google resources 

Online meetings and collaboration

Task Use This Service How To Use It
Attend a meeting set up by your instructor  Collaborate Ultra (Blackboard), Webex Meetings or Zoom Collaborate Ultra resources, Webex resources, Zoom resources 
Attend a meeting recorded by your instructor  Collaborate Ultra or Panopto (both through Blackboard) Collaborate Ultra resources, Panopto resources
Collaborate on group projects, schedule and attend meetings remotely using voice and video  Webex MeetingsWebex Teams or Zoom. Learn about the difference in features.

You'll first need to activate your account. 

Webex resources 
Zoom Resources

Security

  • Be aware of suspicious email (phish) and internet scams. Report a phishing email by forwarding it to .
  • Make sure your personal computers are protected with up-to-date antivirus software-especially if you're using them to access TU resources. Learn more.
  • Be sure you have the latest updates installed for your personal computer's operating system.
  • Use trusted and secure wi-fi whenever possible.
  • For resources and more info visit TU's Office of Information Security website. 

Support Options 

GENERAL TECHNOLOGY HELP 

For help with technology-related issues like connectivity, service, or login issues, use the chat tool below to contact Student Computing Services. See hours and other support options, including email, text message and phone, at Support & Self-Help Resources. 

You can submit a TechHelp online service request at any time.   

BLACKBOARD 

If you need help with Blackboard, contact the TU Blackboard team. See the TU Blackboard site for support options and hours. There are also student specific Blackboard resources for advice on navigating, communicating, submitting assignments, using discussion boards, taking tests and other operations.   

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the free resources available for students who need to remain connected? 

If you have an iPhone or Android phone, some data plans allow the phone to become a mobile hotspot (tethering). Check www.towson.edu/wireless for options to explore.

Can I use my phone or mobile device exclusively, or do I need a computer? 

Faculty are encouraged to design activities for mobile devices, so consider downloading the Blackboard app. Depending on the course and nature of assignments, using only a smart phone or tablet might be challenging. If it's difficult to participate due to device or Internet service limitations, let your professors or Student Affairs know. They might be able to connect you with helpful resources.

  I’m part of a campus student group. How can things be kept organized and connected when off campus?
 
  • For general communication with members, consider a WordPress (PDF) site which can be requested through Involved@TU.
  • Online meetings can be scheduled and attended using WebEx Meetings and Webex Teams. Learn about the difference in features
  • To share and work collaboratively on files, use your Office 365 OneDrive or the GoogleDrive associated with your student Gmail account. Student organizations can use a SharePoint site, a group OneDrive space, assigned through the group’s faculty/staff advisor.
  • You can also  a virtual “Ask Me Anything” session, and SCS will help your student group figure out what works best for your organization.
  Distance Learning has me feeling more susceptible to viruses and malware; what protective measures are suggested?
 

Learn more about cyberthreats through OTS' Office of Information Security, keep your OS and antivirus software updated, and be aware of email phishing attempts. Forward suspicious emails to for feedback and to protect TU. Use an antivirus program; Microsoft Windows Defender and Avira Antivirus for MacOS are both free.

  When I run applications in TU’s Virtual Workspace, they seem to be slower than I am used to. What can I do about it?  

Virtual Workspace (PDF) can be accessed three different ways: web browser, locally installed client, and mobile device. You’ll get the best performance by installing and running the Horizon client on your personal home computer, particularly for resource intensive applications such as SPSS or ArcGIS. Log into https://vw.towson.edu, select Horizon Client from the top of the applications grid, and follow the installation instructions. 

I need to record a presentation at home and share it with my professor; what are my options?

If you need to record a slideshow (e.g., PowerPoint) with narration and webcam presenter video, consider one of these tools. Each allows you to combine your computer screen, microphone, and webcam feed into a single video product.

  • Panopto Recorder – Record directly to a Panopto assignment folder in your Blackboard course. For this to work, your professor must first enable an assignment folder in the course. See Adding Video to an Assignment Folder (PDF / video) and the Panopto Quick Reference Guide (PDF).
  • Screencastify – use this simple Google Chrome browser extension to record screencasts. Video can be saved as MP4 and/or shared via most online services. Download Screencastify.
  • TechSmith Capture – (formerly Jing) is a free, user-friendly application for recording screencasts. It includes 2GB of web storage from which you can share your recordings. Download TechSmith Capture.
  • Sceencast-o-matic – get free and premium editions of this long-running screencast recording tool. Download Screencast-o-matic.
I have a question that isn’t answered here. How can I get help?
  • Contact Student Computing Services to connect directly with our staff.
  • Request a virtual Ask Me Anything session for your student group, whether it’s an SGA-affiliated organization or a class project group. SCS staff will answer questions about any technology topic that affects you. Email to get started.
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