High-Speed Internet Access
Many instructors will be using web conferencing or video lectures to teach at least part of their courses, so you will need access to a reliable high-speed internet connection.
If you don’t already have access to a reliable high-speed internet connection, don’t panic! We have options for you:
- Borrow a WiFi hotspot from Hamersly Library. Visit the “Computing checkout” section of the Library’s Covid-19 page for more information.
- You may be eligible for free service from Comcast or other internet providers, depending on your income. For Comcast, go to their Coronavirus page and click “Apply Now.”
- While most buildings on campus are currently closed, the WUC is still open and has WiFi access for all students. The computer lab in the WUC is open, and has a printer available for students to use; the lab is on the 1st floor, across from the elevator. The current hours for the WUC are Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm – we recommend contacting them (503-838-8261 or email@example.com) to confirm their hours if you are traveling to campus to utilize this resource.
NEW: Emergency Broadband Benefit (monthly discount on broadband internet service)
From the https://www.fcc.gov/broadbandbenefit:
The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a temporary FCC program to help households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic. The FCC is mobilizing people and organizations to help raise awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit. The materials below are available for public use. You can download and customize the materials to meet your needs, including by adding your logo to co-brand.
As of May 12, 2021, eligible households will be able to enroll in the program to receive a monthly discount off the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or by visiting GetEmergencyBroadband.org.
Computer / Laptop / Tablet
You’ll probably be able to use your phone for some course activities, like joining web conferences, but we recommend using a computer for assignments, tests, and most other activities.
If you don’t have a computer/laptop/tablet, the library has computers available to loan to students.
- Visit the “Computing checkout” section of the Library’s Covid-19 page for information about a borrowing a computer from the Library.
Minimum computer specifications
If your computer can browse the internet, it is probably adequate to complete the activities for your courses:
- Many of the applications being used for remote instruction run in a web browser
- We recommend using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer
- If you use a pop-up blocker, you may need to disable it on the websites used in your courses
Audio and Video
You’ll need a way to listen to videos, discussions, and other course content, and a way participate in discussions.
- Headphones (with a microphone) are best, as they avoid creating an echo, but you can also use the built-in speakers and microphone on your computer.
- When you’re in a synchronous (live) class or meeting, mute your microphone when you’re not speaking – each of the web conferencing services has a button that lets you do this easily. This will help make the audio more clear.
- You can borrow headphones from the library: use this form to request mail delivery.
You will need a basic video tool such as a webcam or a smart phone with a camera.
- You do not need to have a video tool to participate in a live class or meeting, and your instructors may even ask everyone to turn their video connection off in order to lower the bandwidth needed, to improve the audio quality. However, you may find it helpful to use video in virtual meetings with only a few participants (e.g., for working on group assignments).
- Some coursework may require you to record a video (e.g. speaking activities in a language course). While you should do your best to create a video that is easy for the instructor to review (e.g., minimize background noise, make sure there is plenty of light), the video doesn’t have to be perfect. It is okay to record it with your phone or the webcam you’ve had for ten years.
- More information about recording and uploading video is in the “Tools” section below.
Tools and Tips
Strategies for Success
- Strategies for Succeeding in Online/Remote Classes – resources created by the Student Success and Advising Office at WOU
- Making Studying Easier During Remote Learning – guide to finding/creating a study space, even in a busy household. Created by Hamersly Library.
- WOU Professional Etiquette video series – created by Professor Leanne Merrill (Math), these videos have tips on getting help from staff and professors, writing emails (in a way that will get the quickest response!), what to do if you have a complaint, and more.
- 10 Ways for College Students to Succeed During COVID-19
- Take time to recharge. You may need more breaks and downtime than you did last term, and that’s okay.
Tips for Internet Speed & Bandwidth Issues
If your internet access has usage/bandwidth limits, or is slow or inconsistent, there are some things you can try to help minimize the amount of bandwidth needed:
- Chris Brooks, a Computer Science instructor, suggested using software to limit which apps can use the internet. He uses TripMode (available for both Windows and Mac; free trial available); another option is GlassWire (Windows only).
- When seeing each other isn’t important, turn cameras off for meetings. You can toggle your camera on and off as desired, but eliminating video will significantly reduce the amount of data.
- If video is important but resolution and quality is not critical, turn off HD video. This goes for both live and recorded video. Even when visual clarity is very important to the context, experiment by dropping the resolution a step and see if the quality suffers appreciably.
- Mute your audio when you aren’t speaking. Audio isn’t as much of a bandwidth hog as video, but it does reduce use somewhat.
- Limit screen sharing to when it’s absolutely necessary. If possible, save what you want to share to Google Drive or other online space and send everyone a link.
- Connecting your computer directly into your internet router with a network cable is usually a more stable connection than connecting wirelessly. This won’t affect problems coming from the internet service, but by eliminating one potential source of issues, your computer may be better able to compensate for other stability issues.
- Limit high-bandwidth applications used by your own device and others’ devices using the hotspot, either actively or running in the background. The typical culprits are online games, streaming music or video (Netflix, Spotify, etc.), other websites with dynamic content, and uploads and downloads of large files. You can identify and manage data hogs on your device: On Windows, go to Task Manager–>App History; on Mac, go to Activity Monitor–>Network.
Videos can be created and shared with your instructor in many ways. They may ask you to use a certain method; if not, choose the method you are most familiar/comfortable with.
Record video directly in Moodle using PoodLL
PoodLL is Moodle’s built-in audio and video recorder.
- Make sure your microphone and/or webcam are set up.
- Click on the assignment you need to submit to and then click Add submission.
- Check the box next to “This assignment is my own work, except where I have acknowledged the use of the works of other people.”
- Click on the icon of a microphone or camera to begin recording.
- If this is your first time, you will be required to accept a user agreement before proceeding. Make sure you do so.
- Create your recording – you’ll know the player is actually recording because a timer will be counting at the top of the PoodLL recorder.
- Clicking the square stop button will end your recording session.
- Clicking the pause button (parallel lines) will pause your recording, which you can resume by pressing the audio/video record button at the far left of the recorder.
- After you push stop, you can push the play button on the far right to replay what you’ve recorded.
- Once you are satisfied with your recording, click Upload and wait for the top of the player to display “Uploaded successfully”.
- Click Save changes at the bottom of the page.
Record video and upload to YouTube
- If you upload video to YouTube (or another video hosting site), you can copy the link into Moodle (or email it to your instructor, if that is what they have requested).
- Make sure the video is set to “public” or “unlisted” so that the instructor can view it when they click on the link.
- This tutorial explains the basic steps for recording a video and uploading it to YouTube.
- All of these platforms allow you to create a free account, so you can try them out before your first class. You can host a “meeting” with just yourself, or invite a friend to get an idea of how the chat function works, etc.
- Some general tips apply to all the platforms:
- Consider your background: open your camera before you connect, so you can see what the other participants will see behind you.
- Find a quiet location.
- If you have young children, have someone watch them during the class, if possible. However, we understand that this isn’t always an option, especially right now. Many instructors will also have young children at home while they are teaching.
- For older children, help them decide what activities they’d like to do during that time. If they would like to observe the class, please check with your instructor in advance.
- Make sure you’re muted when not talking.
- Ask questions using chat.
Canvas is the university’s learning management system. Online courses use Canvas and many face-to-face courses also leverage Canvas for activities, assignments, and to share content. You should log into Canvas regularly to check for updates in your courses.
Connecting to Canvas Canvas
- To connect and log in, click on the Canvas button in your Portal
- Questions / Help
- Click on “Help” on the Canvas toolbar to find links to the Help Guides, live chat and phone access to the support team, video tutorials, and more.
- Canvas uses your WOU PawPrint account and Portal to log on. If you encounter problems logging int Canvas, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to verify your WOU account and password.
Software & Apps
- Microsoft Office 365 (Word, Excel, etc)
- Sign in at office.com
- Your username is your WOU login plus “@mash.wou.edu” (so if your email is email@example.com, you’d enter firstname.lastname@example.org), and your password is your normal WOU password.
- Google Apps
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Products for creating and editing images, photos, video, audio, and other creative works, such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, etc.
- Follow the instructions on this page to use Adobe Creative Cloud products at home.
Help and Support
WOU faculty and students can access 24/7/365 technical support. Support is available by phone, live chat, or email.
- Phone: 866-901-5128
- Live-chat: You must be logged in to Canvas to access live chat. Select the “help icon” from the left-side menu and choose the option “Chat with Canvas support”.
- Email: You must be logged into Canvas to acess live chat. Select the “help” icon from the left-side menu and choose the option “Report a problem”.
This support is offered directly by Instructure, Canvas’ vendor, and their expertise and availability make them a great option for answering your questions or troubleshooting problems.
General Technology Support (Zoom, email, portal, etc)
University Computing Solutions (UCS)
503-838-8925 (call or text)
Other Academic Technology or Canvas-related Concerns
The Center for Academic Innovation provides technical support for Canvas and integrated tools. We recommend you contact Canvas support directly, but are available to answer additional questions or if you cannot reach Canvas support. Contac thte Center for Academic Innovation at askAI@wou.edu.
WOU has many free tutoring options, all of which are now being offered remotely.
- Visit our main Free Tutoring page for information about all of the available options.
- Schedule appointments through WCS (blue button at the top of your WOU Portal) for these tutoring services:
- Visit the websites for these tutoring services to access their remote tutoring:
Please visit Hamersly Library’s COVID-19 Updates and Resources page for the most up-to-date information on library access and services.
- The Financial Aid office is available to help. Contact them by phone (503-838-8475) or email (email@example.com).
- If you have federal student loans in repayment, payments are not required and interest is suspended between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Visit the Federal Student Aid Office’s FAQ page for more information about this option.
- The WOU Food Pantry is still open – visit their web page for hours and directions.
- Call or text 211, or search their website to find help with utility payments, food, child care, housing, and other needs.
Counseling and Health
The Health and Counseling Center is still offering in-person urgent care visits, and is offering most other services remotely. Visit their home page for details on how to access these services, or contact them at 503-838-8313.
Anyone with a fever, subjective or checked with thermometer, currently or in the past 48 hours, must call 503-838-8313 to speak to one of our providers, who will instruct you on what to do next.