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DISTANCE LEARNING ORIENTATION
FOR STUDENTS

         Distance-learning (DL) classes at Howard University allow you to earn a degree or take a class on YOUR schedule! These classes are perfect for working students or those who may not have enough time in their daily schedules to squeeze in that last needed class.  DL also suits the needs of students who live far from campus, or students who have no access to transportation. On this page, you will find information to help you decide if a DL class is appropriate for you as well as directions to orient you to the unique DL environment. If you are interested in a particular course or program, please contact the appropriate school or college.

Considering Technical Requirements:

  1. What type of computer do I need to participate in a DL class?

  2. What computer skills do I need to succeed in a DL class?

  3. What kind of Internet browser should I use?

  4. What software will I need?

  5. How do I find and activate my HU email?

  6. I don't use HU email. Can I specify my preferred account?

  7. Where can I get technical support?

 

Accessing Resources:

  1. How can I access library resources?

  2. How can I contact professors or administrative staff?

  3. Will I need local access to special facilities (e.g., a video-conferencing room or proctored testing center)?

  4. Are there any online tutorial services?

  5. What textbooks and materials will I need for my DL class?

  6. How do I purchase textbooks?

  7. What if I have a disability?

  8. How can I access other course materials?

Enrolling in a DL Course:

  1. What DL classes does Howard University offer?

  2. What are Howard's requirements for enrollment in a DL class?

  3. How do I apply for financial aid?

  4. How do I register for a DL class?

  5. When will my course start?      

  6. Can I receive advising?

  7. Will my course run on a fixed schedule, or can I work at my own pace?

 

Taking a DL Course: 

  1. How can I access my DL classes?

  2. Do I ever have to come to the Howard campus?

  3. How can I view my Howard University transcript?

  4. Why is there so much homework?

     

Considering Technical Requirements:


Q1 What type of computer do I need to participate in a DL class?

 

 

A. Blackboard is designed to work cross-platform, so it's okay to use a Mac computer.

Web Browsers: Windows

Browser

XP

 

Vista

Notes

IE 8

Compatible

Compatible 

 

IE 7

Compatible

Certified 

 

Firefox 3.0.x

Certified

Certified

Must run version 3.0.3 to use the Learning Environment Connector.

Web Browsers: Mac

Browser

10.4

10.5

Firefox 3.0.x

Certified

Certified

Safari 3

Certified

Certified

Safari 2

Compatible

Compatible

Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 are not supported for Blackboard Learn. It is recommended that Firefox 1.5 and 2.0 users upgrade to Firefox 3.0 to access the latest security patches and Mozilla support. Mac OS 10.3 is not supported for use with Blackboard Learn. Java Virtual Machine
Java Standard Edition 5, 32-bit (1.5.x) and later is the supported version for all operating systems.

Key to Support Levels

Certified

Certified configurations are fully tested and supported.

Compatible

Compatible configurations are partially tested but should function properly.

Not Supported

The configuration is not tested or supported by Blackboard.

Note that the faster your system is, the better it will perform, especially when the use of multimedia is involved

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Q2 What computer skills do I need to succeed in a DL class?

 

A.  DL courses are conducted exclusively in an online environment. So, while there are no technical requirements for participation, you should be comfortable with Internet navigation and word-processing applications such as MS Word.


      NOTE: If your class is offered via the Blackboard course management system, you can start learning Blackboard skills before your DL class begins. For help, visit the Blackboard FAQs for Students.

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Q3 What kind of Internet browser should I use?

 

 

  • A. We recommend using the latest version of Mozilla's Firefox. However, Blackboard will run in Internet Explorer (version 4.0 or higher). For AOL users, there are two main caveats to be considered:

    ·             AOL may not display all course management system features correctly. Thus instead of viewing your course pages via AOL directly, connect to the Internet using AOL, and then open a new browser window such as  Internet Explorer.

    ·             When the user’s idle time exceeds the allotted minutes, AOL will automatically disconnect from the server. This could lead to loss of all unsaved work, including answers to your online test in progress. To avoid this catastrophe, users are advised to access their course management system (Blackboard, WebBoard, etc.) via Internet Explorer. Or open another AOL browser window to another site and click on a link in that window often to maintain the ISP server connection.

     

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Q4 What software will I need?

A.  The necessary software depends entirely upon your professor and what materials he or she posts in your course site. It would be wise to go ahead and download the viewers and readers for the most commonly-used applications. You can find these here.

      Please note that if you have an older computer with previous versions of selected applications (e.g., Word ), these may be incompatible with newer versions. In these instances, you may find it necessary to either update your software or go to a computer lab to take advantage of the most recent applications. You will probably need Microsoft Office or at least MS Word.

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Q5 How do I find and activate my HU e-mail?

 

A.  Go to http://www.howard.edu/technology/tutorials/network/find_username_internet.htm .

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Q6 I don't use HU email. Can I specify my preferred account?

 

A.  Yes. You only need to make sure that the email account you use most frequently is entered into your online course site (e.g., Blackboard) and Bison Web. For instance, to do this in Blackboard, click the TOOLS button, select EDIT PERSONAL INFORMATION, and enter your preferred email address in the appropriate text box.  To specify your preferred e-mail in Bison Web, log in and go to PERSONAL INFORMATION.

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Q7 Where can I get technical support?

 

       Go to http://www.howard.edu/technology/students.htm.

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Accessing Resources:


Q8 How can I access library resources?

 

See the directions for remote access.  Then do the following:

1.   Check the Howard University Library’s eReserves link.

2.   Access the Howard University Library’s online collection of restricted eJournals and databases. If the page does not open, be sure to enable cookies on your computer. This can be done in Internet Explorer by going through the following steps:

3.   Request an interlibrary loan.

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Q9 How can I contact my professors or administrative staff?

 

A.  Your professors will normally include their contact information in the course syllabus. However, to search for a professor’s contact information by college/ department before the course begins, click here. To search by name, click here. To find out the contact information for administrative offices or staff, go to http://www.howard.edu/ or call the Directory at (202)806-6100.

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Q10 Will I need local access to special facilities (e.g., a video-conferencing room or a proctored testing center)?

 

A. Find out from your course instructor, as this depends on the course in question. Check the course syllabus or contact your instructor by clicking here.

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Q11 Are there any online tutorial services?

 

A.  Although, Howard University is pilot-testing an online writing center, the university does not currently offer online tutorial services. However, performing a Google© search for the desired tutorial should yield helpful links such as Darling's Grammar and Purdue's Owl for writing assistance.

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Q12 What textbooks and materials will I need for my DL class?

 

A.  Your professor should list the required materials on the class syllabus posted on your course site.

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Q13 How do I purchase course textbooks?

 

A.  Purchase course textbooks by visiting the Howard University Online Bookstore. Compile your list of required textbooks from the syllabi provided for each course.

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Q14 What if I have a disability?

 

A.  Howard University provides Special Student Services for students with a disability. Click here to find out more.

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Q15 How can I access other course materials?

 

A.  You can access other course materials through different means:

  1. Your instructor will probably post many materials inside your course site, including links to web-based sources.

  2. Your instructor may place other materials online through the Library's eReserves.

  3. Your instructor might provide CDs or DVDs that contain supplementary resources. These may also accompany your class textbook.

  4. The World Wide Web is always an indispensable educational resource. Go to google.com and type in keywords regarding the topic. This will provide an array of useful links that can serve as supplementary course materials.

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Enrolling in a DL Course:


Q16 What DL classes does Howard University offer?

 

A. See the Distance Education Notice

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Q17 What are Howard's requirements for enrollment in a DL class?

 

A.  The requirements for enrollment in a DL class are the same as those for a traditional course and can be found on the admissions information page.

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Q18 How do I apply for financial aid?

 

A.  Visit the Howard University financial aid page for information on financial aid (whom to contact, how to apply, and so on).

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Q19 How do I register for a DL class?

 

A.  Registering for a DL class is the same as registering for a face-to-face class:  You register online via Bison Web.  To find out more about this process, please refer to the Student Reference Manual for the semester in which you are registering.

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Q20 When will my course start?

 

A.  Normally, your online course(s) will follow the same school calendar as on-campus courses.

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Q21 Can I receive advising?

 

A.  Yes. If you cannot come to Howard University to receive face-to-face advising, you can receive it over the telephone or via e-mail. Contact your school or college’s Office of Student Services to obtain your advisor’s contact information.

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Q22 Will my course run on a fixed schedule or can I work at my own pace?

 

A.  Because most online courses follow the same calendar as on-campus courses, they normally run on a fixed schedule. This means that there is a set deadline for turning in assignments and taking online tests. In addition, you may be required to hold simultaneous online discussions ("live chats") at specified times.

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Taking a DL Course


Q23 How can I access my DL classes?

 

A.  Most DL classes at Howard are conducted via Blackboard. To access your courses on the web, go to http://blackboard.howard.edu/, log in to the Blackboard system and locate your particular class in the COURSES box. For instructions on how to use Blackboard, visit the Blackboard FAQs for Students. 

 

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Q24 Do I ever have to come to the Howard campus?

 

A.  Again, this depends on your course. Some courses might require that you take a proctored examination, for which you will need to be physically present on campus. Contact your professor for details.

 

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Q25 How can I view my Howard University transcript?

 

A. This can be done in the following steps:

      If your online course is run using Blackboard, you can also view a breakdown of your course grades by going to the specific course’s homepage and doing the following:

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Q26 Why is there so much homework?

 

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