Keep Learning Step by Step

 Keep Learning Step-by-Step (PDF version)

In these challenging times MSU faculty and staff have come together to keep teaching and help students to keep learning. These steps will help you be successful in continuing to learn.   

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A note on Social Distancing: As we try to contain the proliferation of the coronavirus, consider using Zoom as a tool for communicating and working with your fellow students. Whether your professors use Zoom to teach or not, it can be a valuable resource for staying in touch. If you have not done so already, use the Zoom Installation Guide for MSU to create your Zoom account!

Step 1: Prepare for remote learning

If you are new to remote and online learning, please go through the MSU Blackboard Orientation course which provides tutorials on how to use Zoom as well as Blackboard. You can go through the entire course or just earn the Orientation badge that guides you through learning the basics. Knowing the platforms in which you will be working could significantly reduce your stress level. All students are enrolled in this course- look for it in your courses list under the title Student/Blackboard Orientation – SP20.

Learning online can be an intimidating experience, especially if you have never done it before! This article by Johns Hopkins University offers Five Essential Online Learning Strategies. The Blackboard Orientation Course provides many other resources, including tips on Time Management and communicating with professors.

Check for changes in your course syllabi. Your instructors are working diligently to create high quality learning experiences just for you. Please be patient as they learn and grow right along with you! If your instructors decide to use Zoom to teach or provide office hours, take some time to get to know the program before your first class. Jump right in and give it a try. Chris Gonnella and Alissa Perkins from Extended Learning are available during business hours from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for test runs. Other students using Zoom may also be available to help test.

Prepare a space in your home where you can comfortably attend your classes and turn on your camera. Check out the Virtual Background feature in Zoom for a little fun.

Check your internet speed and make sure it can support Zoom traffic. For group calling, you should have at least 3 Mbps for upload and download speed. To see both on the site, click the Learn More button. 

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Also, consider plugging directly into your router using an Ethernet cable to maintain a reliable internet connection. If you need assistance with checking your internet speed or with getting an Ethernet cable, consult with Matt Dalrymple from Information Technology Services.

If you do not have internet or a computer to work on, please contact Dr. Andrew Pflipsen as soon as possible.

Step 2: Check your MSU email address daily

Email is the official method of communication for MaSU students. Please check it at least once a day (preferably more). The instructional situation in many classes is very fluid right now so expect changes.

Step 3: Check your access

Your instructors will notify you of the instructional tools that you will need going forward. Most will be using Blackboard, and some may employ Zoom for remote, real-time meetings and/or office hours. Please ensure that you have an active Mayville State Zoom account. If you do not, use the Zoom Installation Guide and the Quick Start Guide for Students, then contact Chris Gonnella or Alissa Perkins from Extended Learning or Dean Kostuck from Information Technology Services if you still have questions.

Blackboard will be utilized by all professors, so please login with your Campus Connection credentials at if you have not done so already.

If your instructor requires YuJa, use the YuJa Student Guide and other help documents as needed.

YuJa Proctoring or ProctorU may also be employed by your instructors. Check the syllabus and /or class announcements for more information.

Step 4: Use your resources

A few important resources are listed here. Check the Mayville State Student Resources page for more or contact your advisor.

Byrnes-Quanbeck Campus Library – The Library is closed during this crisis, but library staff are available to assist you virtually and many of the library collections are available through the library’s databases. Contact a library via the Ask a Librarian chat on the library’s website.

Information Technology Services – The folks in this office provide technology support for laptops and peripherals. Contact them if you have trouble with your microphone and webcam, for example.

Extended Learning – Reach out to Extended Learning if you have questions about instructional technologies such as Blackboard, YuJa (Alissa Perkins), Qualtrics and Zoom (Chris Gonnella).

Disability Support Services – If you have a documented disability or you find yourself unable to complete coursework due to illness, contact Katie Richards to discuss options for accommodations.

Academic Advising – The Academic Advising Center supports students in all divisions in many ways, including with referrals to necessary campus resources.


Step 5: Action Steps for Success

Learning with Zoom

When possible, arrive at least 30 minutes early to each class being held via Zoom, especially on the first day.

Test your equipment and practice using audio and video. Instructions are available in the Quick Start Guide for Students.

After testing your equipment, read the hints provided in the “splash screen” displayed by the instructor. Remember to note the Zoom moderator’s contact information and feel free to contact him or her as needed.

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Say hello to your instructor and other students when you enter the meeting. Try turning on your camera to see if it works. This will help with testing audio and video connections before class. This is a good time to run a test if the audio or video is not working (see the instructions on the splash screen).

The instructor will start class on time even if some students are having technical issues. If you are experiencing problems, get in touch with your moderator as soon as you can. This is another reason to get there early to test your equipment – if several students are having trouble, problems will be handled on a first asked first served basis. Please be patient with the support team as we try to help everyone.

Learn about etiquette and expectations during the first class and ask any questions right away. Your professor will revisit them as needed.

Have fun! Zoom can be a powerful tool for interacting with and engaging with other students!

Learning with Blackboard

Check your email daily – this will be a primary method of communication by instructors.

Respond to any Starfish warnings immediately – stay in touch with your instructors and advisors. If warnings are issued, handle respond to them immediately.

Stay on top of discussion forums – forums are one of the few ways that online learning can promote a sense of community and foster social learning. Stay up to date with forums. Carefully compose forum posts to contribute to the conversation.

Ignore the myths – Online instruction is often seen as “the easy way out” or an “easy A” but that is far from accurate. Learning (and teaching) online can be very challenging for some people, due to the lack of immediate and in-person feedback. Don’t fall into this trap!

Isolation – Especially in this time of social distancing, do not allow the online learning environment to further isolate you from other students and your professors. Reach out as often as you need to and then some! Stay in touch with others and ask for help when you need it! Use Zoom to help you “un-distance” yourself!