Five Tips for Kicking Off
PTS Online Classes
1. Get Cozy with Webex
All you really need for your first week of online learning is Webex. Most faculty are posting links to their Webex classes on Blackboard in a new Digital Learning tab on your class page. Watch this fab video (made by the one and only Mary Kyner) to discover all you need to know about Webex in under 2 minutes.
2. Join Us for Webex “Walk-in” Support
The Office of Digital Learning is continuing to offer support hours for students from 1-5pm Monday through Friday. Click here to join, and you’ll find a member of out team ready to talk with you through Webex. This time is for answering any questions you may have about digital needs.
3. Take a Breath and Advocate for Yourself
This is all a lot. We know. And it’s different for all of us — health issues, rising anxiety, family or children at home, lack of structure, loneliness — and we are all feeling the loss of our regular routines and sources of support. If particular challenges are making it difficult for you to keep up with your classes, here is the suggested course of action:
- First, email your professor. Tell them of your situation, and ask for a clear path toward passing the class, given the challenges you are facing.
- If, after emailing your professor, you need further support to successfully complete the academic term, please email email@example.com
Remember that we are all in transition here. It will be very helpful for your instructors to hear from you as they continue to pivot and revise their course requirements in light of the ongoing situation.
4. Boost Your Wifi Connection
Cut other drains on your Wifi as you are able. Make sure your phone (unless you’re using it for Webex), Smart Watch, tablet, etc. are not connected to the Wifi during class if you don’t need them to be.
If you have a bad Wifi connection, use an ethernet cable to connect your laptop. You may need an adaptor for this (check amazon). You will have a stronger connection and you will be less likely to lose connection in the middle of class.
PTS Wifi has been installed for all those who moved in from the dorms. If you’re using you own router, make sure your computer doesn’t try and get real smart and join the PTS Wifi automatically. It’s fine to use it, but we’re hoping to save the bandwidth on that connection for those of you who are newbies and don’t have routers.
Professors have been urged to record classes. If you are unable to connect to your live class for any reason, please contact your professor for an asynchronous way to track with the class. Rest assured these recordings are only accessible to your class. They cannot be downloaded, and faculty have been instructed not to share them beyond Blackboard. Note that is a FERPA violation for you to share these links beyond your class. Many professors have already put contingency plans in place if they lose connection for any reason during class. Be sure to find out if your class has a contingency plan and what it is.
5. Practice Social Distancing
Remember, we’re in a public health crisis. Follow the government mandates for extreme social distancing for the protection of our community. Remember this note, from seminary’s coronavirus update page: If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, or shortness of breath, contact your health care provider and seek medical attention. Stay in your residence or dorm room out of respect for the community, and notify Jan Ammon by completing this form. We would like to keep track of the health and wellness of our students. If you are ill and unable to participate in online classes, please contact the Dean of Student Life.