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Center for Teaching and Learning
Do I need to go through VPN to access Blackboard/Google Classroom or Meets/MIDS?

No! You can access Blackboard directly from your home computer at https://www.usna.edu/Blackboard. Google Classroom can be accessed through the Google Suite – same as your email and Google Drive. MIDS can be reached at https://midsweb.usna.edu/.

What are the best options available for non-tech-savvy faculty?

If you would like to give a traditional lecture that is recorded for you to share with your students, there are three rooms set up that can accommodate this. The rooms are Nimitz G004, G006, and G008. These rooms are available all week (3/16-3/20) from 0800 – 1500 and you can reserve a time by emailing MSC at msc@usna.edu.

To manage on your own, the method with the least modification to our normal class preparations is to record your lecture using Panopto and share it through the default Blackboard settings. You can share materials in Blackboard or even over email. For EI, the phone still works!

If you would like more specific guidance, please stop by CTL for individual help!

Is there enough ITSD support for issues faculty and students are likely to encounter?

We don’t know at this point. We will have to be flexible and share solutions as everyone learns and discovers things that work!

What about using Zoom?
  • Free Zoom License: Zoom offers a free license which allows up to 100 participants but limits meeting time to 40 minutes with three or more total participants (Note: Zoom has temporarily lifted its 40-minute time limit for free licenses for people who have .edu email addresses). 
  • USNA has acquired a one year Zoom for Education license for 100 hosts. Each host can have unlimited meetings and each meeting supports up to 300 participants. Please contact Dr. Julie Zhu (zhu@usna.edu) if you are in need of a Zoom for Education license. 

Zoom Help Document

What do I do if I don’t have a laptop and my desktop has neither a camera nor microphone?

There are a limited number of microphones that CTL has available for lending out. There are some webcam options suggested by MSC that can be found here. Delivering material asynchronously can be done without sound or video. If you still want to provide video lectures, you can record on your phone and upload that to Blackboard or Google Classroom.

You can also arrange to have your lecture recorded through MSC. The rooms are Nimitz G004, G006, and G008 and they are set up to accommodate this. These rooms are available all week (3/16-3/20) from 0800 – 1500 and you can reserve a time by emailing MSC at msc@usna.edu.

If you would like more specific guidance, please stop by CTL for individual help!

Is there an inventory of rooms that have computers with microphones and cameras?

Not at this time. However, the rooms Nimitz G004, G006, and G008 are set up with these capabilities. These rooms are available all week (3/16-3/20) from 0800 – 1500 and you can reserve a time by emailing MSC at msc@usna.edu.

If we supply our own webcam and microphone, will it work with our government-issues computers (pre-approval for USB connection)?

Yes. These are plug-and-play devices that have been approved for use with our computers.

Can the document camera views be broadcast online and/or recorded?

Yes, with a few caveats. The document camera must be one of the newer models (Elmo TT-12 – see picture below) and it must be connected to the computer using a ‘mini usb to usb’ cable. Most classrooms are not set up with this capability. If you happen to be in a classroom with this model of document camera connected to the instructor computer, you can record the document camera input through Panopto, see the video tutorial “How to Record Document Camera Input with Panopto? ” for detailed instructions.

In addition, the rooms Nimitz G004, G006, and G008 are set up that to accommodate this. These rooms are available all week (3/16-3/20) from 0800 – 1500 and you can reserve a time by emailing MSC at msc@usna.edu.

doc camera

Do midshipmen have working cameras on their laptops?
Some midshipmen have cameras. The Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023 all have cameras. However, the class of 2020 does not.
How can I share handwritten notes (in real time) with my students?

You have a number of options depending on what will work best for you.

  • If you have a tablet PC or iPad you can use Panopto to record and a software tool that allows you to write directly on the screen.
  • You can angle the camera on your laptop or an external Webcam so that it shows the paper you are writing on or the board you are using. Then using either Panopto or Google Hangouts Meet to broadcast to your class.
  • You can use a document camera to capture your writing and show it via Panopto or Google Hangout Meets. There are technological caveats to this approach (see the answer to Can the document camera views be broadcast online and/or recorded?).
  • You can place your phone in such a position to record your writing. See Amy Ksir’s clever set up shown in the picture below. You can use this method with Google Hangouts Meet to share both handwriting and screen in real-time with an interactive class. To do this, you can use your phone to join the Google Hangouts Meet as another participant to present the handwritten notes. 

If you would like more specific guidance, please stop by CTL for individual help!

Record Handwritten notes

How should I get graded work back to my students?

This depends on what type of work you are returning. If you have work submitted prior to the switch to online, the best solution may be to scan and email or post to Blackboard/Google Classroom. It may be possible to get papers back to students once they return, but details on what will and won’t be possible are not known yet.

For the assignments submitted online there are ways to add comments using MS Word, Adobe Acrobat or within Blackboard or Google Classroom. If you own a tablet PC or iPad it is possible to write on the work and save the marked up document to return.

If you would like more specific guidance, please stop by CTL for individual help!

I am a course coordinator. How do I share lecture material (including videos) with all sections using Blackboard? Using Google Classroom?

This answer depends on the LMS your course is using.

  • For Blackboard:
    • The easiest way is to share a file/folder in a Google Drive with the instructors who can then get the material to put on their own Blackboard course sites, or create a hyperlink to the material if the share setting is set to “Anyone with the link can view”..
    • If you want to have the actual material on Blackboard itself, the course coordinator can create a folder for the Course in the Content System (under Organization Content >> Your Department Org Folder) and put material there. All instructors can then get the material from the folder to put on their own Blackboard course sites or create a links to the file/folder on the Content System, see here for detailed instructions
    • The course coordinator can post materials to all sections if he/she is added to the course as an instructor (submit a Web help desk ticket to be added).
  • For Google Classroom:
    • The easiest way is to share a file/folder in a Google Drive with the instructors who can then get the material to put on their own Google Classroom sites, or create a hyperlink to the material if the share setting is set to “Anyone with the link can view”.
    • Each section can put the course coordinator as another instructor. The Course Coordinator can then share the material in the Classroom Google Drives so that each section instructor has access and can share with their students.

If you would like more specific guidance, please stop by CTL for individual help!

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