Resources for Online Learning
Your instructors consider several things when deciding how to deliver their courses online: content, engagement, and learning outcomes, as well as class size and their own technical expertise. Therefore, the way you interact with course content online may differ from class to class. Here’s a list of resources to help you acclimate to new technologies, or use familiar technologies in new ways.
Technology Resources and Support
Basic Technology Needs
Desktop or laptop computers are ideal. Tablets and smartphones can work but may be too small to see content, especially during video conferencing. A webcam (built-in or separate) is helpful during video conferencing, and an instructor may require it for an online, proctored exam. If a webcam is required and you cannot get access to one, make sure to let your instructor know as soon as possible, and ask for an alternative arrangement.
Internet connectivity will be essential to your learning. If your wifi is slow or inconsistent, be sure to ask your instructors to record any video conferencing and to make the recordings available for the class to download and view anytime. For more resources, review NC Broadband Connectivity Resources.
E-Learning Support and Technology Loaners Through NC State University Libraries
NC State University Libraries currently have a limited pool of laptops for students for long-term lending which can be delivered to you wherever you are. They also take requests for other items (calculators, etc) that students may need for the semester. Submit a Tech Lending Special Request.
Mail delivery is available to any NC State student for books and other physical items through our Tripsaver service.
NC State University Libraries provides help through chat as well as video or phone consultations. You can get help with textbooks and e-books, and the Libraries also has a collection of video tutorials that address common research challenges and access to LinkedIn Learning, which offers video courses in software, creative, and business skills.
NC Broadband Connectivity Resources
In response to COVID-19, the North Carolina Department of Information Technology developed a list of free or affordable service offerings from vendors across the state. Click here to access broadband resources that could be useful in troubleshooting issues students may be encountering.
Commonly Used Instructional Technologies
Although your instructors may be using other technologies as well, here are some tips on some of the most common ones supported at NC State.
Instructors may use Zoom to teach classes synchronously (in real-time) and in much the same way as they hold classes in person. In Zoom, your instructor or any participant can share documents (including lecture slides, etc) while talking through them, raise their hands to be called on or just speak up, ask questions via chat, and hold breakout discussion groups. Instructors can record Zoom sessions and make them available to students to view at a later time.
- If your instructor has not announced that they will record Zoom meetings, ask them if they can do so and place the recordings in an accessible location or link to them in Moodle.
As an NC State student, you already have a Zoom account. Your instructor will provide a link to join the class meeting, generally by posting the meeting link in Moodle or emailing the link to the class. Chrome is the recommended browser for Zoom.
Join a Zoom meeting
The following resources will help you get started using Zoom on a desktop or laptop computer:
If you are using a mobile device, you can download the Zoom mobile app for your device
Create your own Zoom meetings
Sign in to your free NC State Zoom account on the web or sign in through the Zoom app directly by using the “Sign in with SSO” option. The company domain is “ncsu”. NC State’s standard Shibboleth login screens will be used to complete the login process.
Want to schedule a Zoom meeting directly from Google Calendar? Add the Zoom add-on to Google Calendar and when you schedule a meeting, you can choose to “Add conferencing” and select “Zoom Meeting” from the list of options.
Alternatively, when you are logged in to NC State Zoom Web Conferencing, you can click on the meetings tab on the left and then “generate a new meeting.” From there, you can copy and paste the meeting URL and send it in an email.
DASA has collected some additional Zoom resources here, including tips to keep your meetings safe and secure.
Video Conferencing Etiquette
Prior to Zoom Class
- Arrive before the scheduled time to test your Audio and Video.
- Prepare content you intend to share ahead of time and toggle it behind your Zoom screen (if applicable). This ensures you’ll be ready to share your screen when called upon.
During Zoom Class
- Be present and engaged during synchronous learning opportunities, just like in a face-to-face class.
- Keep your microphone muted except when it is your turn to talk.
- For discussions, enable your video camera and use the ‘Gallery View’ so that everyone can see each other. For very large classes, you may be asked to stop your video.
- Use the buttons underneath the participant window to raise your hand, agree or disagree, provide feedback on the pace of the lecture/discussion, or indicate if you have had to step away for a short break.
- Share your screen when it is your turn to share your presentation or content with the class.
- Refrain from any side conversations during the Zoom class.
- Do not talk over or interrupt other students or the instructor. Use the ‘raise your hand’ icon.
- Click on the ‘chat’ button to see and participate in the ongoing chat discussion. Your instructor may not be able to monitor chat at certain times during class.
- You can send a chat to “everyone” or just specific people. The host (your instructor) will be able to see all chats, even those that go to individual people.
- Position your webcam at eye level or higher. Experiment for best angles and lighting.
- Make eye contact. Try to look at your webcam as often as possible.
- Use the gestures and mannerisms that you would typically use in person.
- Please treat this as you would our in-person classes in terms of dress and appearance. Your camera should not reveal anything potentially offensive.
Remember, be patient with your instructors. This is the first time many of them are teaching online so this is new to them as well.
Moodle is a web-based tool (often referred to as a learning management system or LMS) used for web-enhanced and online courses. Instructors may use Moodle to facilitate class communication, provide course materials and deliver assignments and other assessments.
Accessing Moodle Courses
To access your courses that use Moodle, you will need to go to https://wolfware.ncsu.edu. To log in, click the “Log in” button in the upper right-hand corner and log in with your NC State Unity ID and password. Once logged in, you will see your current courses on the My WolfWare main page.
If you are not yet familiar with Moodle, review the Learning with Moodle tutorial for guidance on how to navigate the Moodle interface and practice using common activities such as Assignments, Forums, and Quizzes.
Keep in mind that instructors use Moodle differently and may choose specific tools based on their course goals. Ask for clarity about course materials and activities if you need it.
Tips for using Moodle
- Check the Announcements forum regularly for updates from your instructor. Announcements will also be sent to your NC State email, but the Announcements forum is a place where you can see all past announcements in one location.
- Check due dates for assignments and other Moodle activities. Communicate with your instructor if you anticipate needing some flexibility for completing them.
- Before taking a quiz, make sure you have a strong and reliable internet connection. Also, be certain you are ready for it and that you have enough time to complete it without interruption.
- When posting to a discussion forum, you may want to first compose your response in another text editor (Google Docs, Word, etc.) and then copy and paste it into the Moodle. This will ensure that you have a copy in case a disruption occurs before you are able to post.
- Follow basic online etiquette when posting to forums:
- Maintain professionalism.
- Share your point concisely and clearly. Stick to the point when writing posts.
- Verify facts before posting.
- Provide proper credit, citing and referencing others’ work as appropriate.
- Check for spelling/grammar errors and do not use slang.
- Respect others with an appropriate choice of language.
- Be careful using humor online. It can easily be misinterpreted.
Disability Resources Office
The Disability Resources Office has compiled a list of resources for students with disabilities. Please visit their Student Strategies for Online Learning
NC State Help Desk
The Help Desk (919) 515-HELP or email@example.com is available for technical support. You may experience longer than usual response times during a disruption.
NC State University Libraries
The Libraries have many resources for students’ remote-learning needs.