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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Learning Online

Do all students in an online course need to be online at the same time?
How will I communicate with my classmates and my professor in an online course?
Will there be any times when our class has to meet in person?
Where in my course can I find the lecture and course materials?
How do I access the UVM library from off-campus?

Technical Questions

What is Blackboard?
If I need it, how can I get technical assistance if I am enrolled in an online course?
What is the best browser to use to access my course?
I am not sure if my computer can open PDF files. How can I find out?
How do I know if I will be able to watch any videos contained in my online class?


Do all students in an online course need to be online at the same time?
No. UVM online courses are asynchronous, which means that students do not have to log onto the course at the same time. However, there are specific due dates and times when assignments, discussion activities and tests will be due.

How will I communicate with my classmates and my professor in an online course?
There are numerous ways in which you may be expected to communicate with your classmates and your professor. Depending on the course, you may use a variety of tools within Blackboard to interact such as discussion forums, blogs, email, wikis and journals. In some courses you will be expected to work on group projects and you will work collaboratively with your group members to complete such work. All of the communication guidelines and expectations will be explained in detail in your course Syllabus.

Will there be any times when our class has to meet in person?
If you are taking an online course, you will not meet in person as part of the course requirements. Your professor is often available on-campus if you wish to schedule a time to meet in-person or at a scheduled time via a conference call. If the course is a hybrid/blended course, there will be on-campus meeting times as a required part of the course. For hybrid/blended courses, all meeting times are listed in the course registration information. Your course syllabus will also list all scheduled meeting times.

Where in my course can I find the lecture and course materials?
Often times the lecture and course materials can be found from the ‘Course Materials’ or ‘Course Modules’ link on the left menu inside your course. Your instructor may decide to change the name of this link to best reflect their course. There will always be a link on the left menu of your course that links to the lecture and course materials and your instructor will let you know what that link may be called.

How do I access the UVM library from off-campus?
Accessing the library from off-campus requires you to connect to the library via EZProxy. http://library.uvm.edu/services/distancelearn.php. Click the ‘Connect from off campus’ link, select EZProxy then login using your UVM NetID and password. Connecting in this way allows you to access library databases, electronic journals and other e-resources as if you were on campus.

What is Blackboard?
Blackboard is the Learning Management System that UVM uses for our online courses. Each time you log into your online or hybrid/blended course you log will log into Blackboard. To access Blackboard, go to http://bb.uvm.edu

If I need it, how can I get technical assistance if I am enrolled in an online course?
Within your online course in Blackboard, there are numerous ways to get technical assistance if you need it. Here is a link to our Help Page.https://bb.uvm.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_21_1

What is the best browser to use to access my course?
Firefox is the recommended browser and is most compatible with Blackboard. The following list of Blackboard Supported Browsers and Operating Systems you may find helpful, too: Blackboard Supported Browsers & Operating Systems

I am not sure if my computer can open PDF files. How can I find out?
To help you answer this question, we have provided a link to a PDF document. The following document, Profile of a Successful Online Student is a PDF document. If you clicked the link and can open and read the document, your computer has the appropriate software (Adobe Reader) to open PDF files.

If you were not able to open and read the PDF document above, we recommend downloading the latest free version of Acrobat Reader.
Download the Free Adobe Acrobat Reader.

How do I know if I will be able to watch any videos contained in my online class?
Some, but not all, of our online courses include videos. The following video, Tips for Online Learning, is from YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UGb_5hY-Pk (captioned)

Click the play button. If you can hear and see the video, you are most likely able to watch videos in your online course. If you are not able to play this video, we recommend contacting the UVM help desk and they can help you troubleshoot:
https://bb.uvm.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_21_1