If you work with technology, sooner or later you are bound to run into a problem of one sort or another. Here are some tips to help you keep technology failures from ruining your day.
Anticipate what might go wrong and devise alternative plans.
You won’t be able to anticipate everything, but make a list of common problems (like Blackboard or the Northeastern network being down) and critical points in your course (like assignment submission dates or online quiz dates).
Discuss potential problems with students upfront.
At the beginning of the semester, brainstorm potential problems with your students and agree on solutions together. What should they do if an assignment is due, and they can’t access Blackboard? If they find a broken link in a course or your course suddenly disappears from their myNEU portal?
Keep contact information for technical support handy.
Print out the Blackboard Support Contact Information and tack it up in your office. If all of your support information is on your computer and you can’t get your machine to boot, your frustration level will rise.
If one technical support resource doesn’t give you what you need, try another.
The Blackboard Support for Instructors directs you to the following resources:
- Blackboard’s Instructor “Training Center”
- Blackboard’s Online Support for Instructors
- Instructor’s Manual located in the Blackboard control panel under “Assistance” and
- telephone support numbers.
Provide technical support resources to students.
Do what you can to minimize students using you as a help desk. At the beginning of the semester, make sure they know what their technical support options are. A Blackboard student manual can be found in the Tools section of each course (if you haven’t disabled it!). You may also want to direct students to Blackboard Support for Students found on the Blackboard login page.
List policies and resources in your syllabus.
Policies regarding late assignments attributable to technology issues (everything from server shutdown to lost files) should be stated in your syllabus. Additionally, simply copying and pasting information from Blackboard Support for Students into your syllabus can do a lot to ease your students’ transition to learning online.
Model problem-solving for your students.
Help students learn how to take responsibility and develop accountability. When you encounter technical problems, model how to find solutions rather than complaining and blaming technology for failures.