What computer skills do I need to take an online course?
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Basic computer skills are highly recommended.  These basic skills include: word processing, file management, using email and internet searches.

Some courses require advanced computer applications (spreadsheets, for example, in certain accounting courses) or require downloading and installation of plug-ins (for example, Real Player or QuickTime) in order to access streaming audio and/or video clips.

Adobe Connect Student FAQ
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Connect FAQ for Students/Participants

 

What is UC Connect?

UC Connect is a webconferencing system that enables live, interactive web meetings, virtual classes, on-demand presentations and courses, and group collaboration. Through UC Connect you will be able to see and hear your instructor, view shared applications and whiteboards from their computer, and in some cases, broadcast your own audio and video to the rest of your classmates and instructor.

How will I access UC Connect?

UC Connect is accessed through the URL: connect.maine.edu, or through links created by your instructor posted in a Blackboard course or webpage, or sent to your email address.

What is my login and password to UC Connect?

You will use your UMS ID to login to UC Connect.

Do I need to install software to use UC Connect?

You will need an Internet connection, a web browser, and Adobe Flash Player Version 8 or later to attend a web conference. No additional software needs to be installed, as long as your computer?s operating system and browser match the recommended versions. You can test your computer for the correct software versions, or install the needed components, by opening:
http://connect.maine.edu/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

 

If your instructor has required you to communicate in your course with audio through a microphon, you will need the Acrobat Add-in to extend the capabilities of Adobe Acrobat.  Choose to install the Add-in when using the hardware test linked above.

Will my computer’s hardware work with UC Connect?

The minimum hardware requirements for using UC Connect are:

Windows
Intel® Pentium® II 450MHz or faster processor or equivalent (1GHz recommended)
128MB of RAM (512MB recommended)

Mac OS
PowerPC G3 500MHz or faster or Intel Core? Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor
128MB of RAM (512MB recommended)

Will I need a microphone or webcam to participate?

Your instructor will determine whether microphones or cameras will be used in your course. A headset with integrated microphone is recommended. USB webcams from many different manufacturers are compatible. If either is used in your course, test them before you need to use them in your course.

Will my Internet connection be sufficiently fast to work with UC Connect?

A high-speed DSL or Cable connection is strongly recommended. Wireless home networks may also be used but a wired Ethernet connection is strongly recommended.

Where can I get help with setting up and using UC Connect?

For help with logging in and connecting to your course, or basic assistance, UMS Tech Support is available M-F 8am to 7pm by phone (800-696-4357) or by email at techsupport@maine.edu

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Using UC Connect

Participating in your first Connect meeting (video)

Setting up your computer for VoIP (video)

Webconferencing FAQ
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How will I access UC Connect?

Using your Maine Street UMS ID, login at https://connect.maine.edu

Do I need to install software or add hardware to use UC Connect?

The only required software is Adobe Flash Player version 9 or later, and a recommended package: Adobe Acrobat Add-in.
Optional software programs are available in the Connect Resource Center (Flash Paper, etc.). An online test is available that will prompt you to install both these packages, if undetected by the test. Note that the Connect Add-in is required for screen sharing.

How are courses created in UC Connect? How are students/participants added to the Attendees list?

For the webconferencing pilot, UC personnel will create the necessary Meeting Rooms for each pilot participant, and add registered students or participants in the Attendee list.

How are my students/participants notified about my course?

The unique URL for each Meeting Room can be distributed via email, posted as an External Link in a Blackboard course, or placed in a faculty’s webpage. The link is persistent as long as the Meeting Room exists. Email sent from within Connect has the advantage of automatically including links to the hardware test and software installations mentioned above.

Can someone who is not registered/enrolled attend a UC Connect course?

Yes, if the Meeting Room is set up for Open Access. Those in the Pilot who will be using UC Connect to tutor a general student population will “invite” those students through an email link, or by sharing the URL for the Meeting Room over the phone.

Can my students work collaboratively in UC Connect?

UC Connect can be used for group activities in Break Out Rooms, however, you must be logged into the Meeting Room for students to use this feature.

What type of computer can I use for UC Connect?

UC Connect will work with the following Operating Systems

What do I need to broadcast audio/video in a UC Connect course?

Broadcasting live video works best with high-speed broadband connections. Attendees with slower connections could experience irregular or choppy display. At a minimum, a USB headset with integrated microphone is recommended. This will reduce the possibility of echoing audio in a UC Connect Meeting. For video, a USB webcam, or firewire camera can be used. Sending live video through UC Connect is a bandwidth intensive operation. It is recommended that you use a wired Ethernet connection at LAN speeds for both video and screen sharing in UC Connect.

What file types can I share through UC Connect?

Connect supports file sharing for the following formats: A single PDF, PPT, SWF, HTML, FLV, JPEG, GIF, PNG, or MP3 file. Flash video (FLV) can include Camtasia files exported to Flash video, Flash animations (SWF) & FlashPaper documents (Windows only). Apple Keynote presentations and HTML pages can also be used. Note: these file types can be viewed in the Share Pod and made available for download by participants.

Where can I get help in setting up and using UC Connect?

For issues dealing with student/participant connectivity, VoIP and camera use and, meeting URLs, UMS Tech Support is available M-F 8am to 7pm by phone (800-696-4357) or by email at techsupport@maine.edu

For issues dealing with Connect features, Meeting Room setup, Attendee lists, training and documentation, contact Glenn LeBlanc, Rich Frino or, Scott Kimball.

Computer Requirements for Hosts and Presenters:

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business, or Enterprise (32-bit edition) Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or later Mozilla Firefox 2

Microsoft Windows XP Professional or Home Edition Service Pack 2 Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7 Mozilla Firefox 1.x, 2.x Mozilla 1.x or later Netscape 7.x

Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x Mozilla Firefox 1.x, 2.x Mozilla 1.x Netscape 8

Windows hardware requirements Intel Pentium II 450MHz or faster processor or equivalent (1GHz recommended when screen sharing) 128MB of RAM (512MB recommended)

Mac OS X v10.4, 10.5 (Intel) Firefox 1.5.0.3, 2.x Safari 2.x Mac OS X v10.4 (PowerPC) Safari 1.x, 2.x Firefox 1.x Mozilla 1.x Netscape 7.x or later

Mac OS hardware requirements PowerPC G3 500MHz or faster or Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor (1GHz recommended when screen sharing) 128MB of RAM (512MB recommended)

Additional requirements Adobe Flash Player 9 or later Bandwidth: 56 DSL/cable (wired connection recommended)

If I take an ITV course via delayed viewing, how do I access the streams ?
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If you take an ITV course via delayed viewing, you should check with your instructor, or UC Learning Services at 1-800-868-7000, for his or her policy on delayed viewing. If travel to a site or center is required to view the streams, you should call your registration location to schedule a time to do so.

What do I need to take a course?
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To take an online course a student should have a computer with Internet access. Some courses have specific additional requirements which are listed in the course description.

To take an ITV course a student must be able to travel weekly (at least) to a course location in Maine.

To take a videconference course a student must be able to travel weekly (at least) to a University of Maine System campus, a University College Center, University College of Bangor, the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, or Lewiston-Auburn College.

If I want to contact the instructor for more information regarding one of these courses, who do I call to receive that information?

Please call the Teleservice Center at 1-800-868-7000 or (207) 621-3408 or e-mail University College Learning Services.

How are courses delivered?
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Courses are delivered on-site, online, and via interactive television and videoconference. On-site courses are traditional classes where the university instructor is in the classroom with the students. Most of our eight University College Centers offer a selection of on-site courses.

 

Online courses generally don’t require classroom attendance (some online courses require occasional on-site attendance for meetings and proctored exams). These courses use computer conferencing (Blackboard, WebCT, FirstClass), e-mail and the World Wide Web for communication, research, and information resources. Students who don’t have access to the Internet from home can participate in these courses from the computer lab at their local University College Center. Students taking courses at high school sites should always schedule computer time first.

 

Interactive television (ITV) courses are broadcast live by faculty from the university campuses to University College Centers and sites across Maine. Students attending at these sites view the class on TV monitors and interact with the instructor and other students using a toll-free classroom telephone. Another form of ITV (videoconferencing), available at campuses and University College Centers allows two-way video interaction. Most ITV courses use computer conferencing to deliver course materials, hold discussions and encourage interaction.

 

ITV and online courses may use videotapes for part or all of the course material; others may include streaming video and/or audio technology, enabling students to view and/or listen to the class on a multimedia PC connected to the web. Check course descriptions carefully for special instructions.

 

Since many courses use computer conferencing as part of the course, take a moment to visit our Steps to Successful Online Learning for more information and a self-survey that will help you decide if these courses are right for you. And to be sure you are well-prepared for your course, see our Guide to Using Blackboard

I plan to use my own computer. What hardware and software do I need?
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For the best online experience, a broadband connection to the Internet is recommended. Many Internet Service Providers (ISP) throughout the state offer connections through Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL) and over cable modem systems.
If you do not have broadband service now, the Maine Office of the Public Advocate maintains a rate and coverage guide with comparisons of local services at
http://www.maine.gov/meopa/ratewatcher/index.htm#internet

Your computer hardware should meet these minimum recommendations:

Microsoft: Windows XP SP2, Vista, 7
Mac: Mac OS 10.4.8+ (Intel-based) (PPC-based NOT supported)
Processor: 1.8 GHz or higher
Memory: 512MB or higher

Supported Browsers
Internet Explorer® 8, Firefox 3.6, Safari 4.0

Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome 9 are not supported at this time.

Software requirements for online courses will vary according to the subject of study. However, a word processing program can be considered essential. Specific course requirements will be part of the syllabus.

I don’t own a computer. Where can I get access to one?
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Computer labs are available at University campuses and University College Centers. In addition, ITV receive sites throughout the state have a limited number of computers for use by students. If you are considering use at a site, check with the site coordinator to find out the availability of computers in your area.

University College and receive site locations.

Some courses use software applications that are not available at sites but are available at University College Centers. Be sure to check the Course Information for courses that interest you.

Where can I get technical support?
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Call the numbers below for help with the following:

  • how to use one of the software applications listed above
  • technical problems with site and University College Center computers
  • the login process (login names, passwords, login problems, etc.)

You are responsible for setting up your home computer.
For help with:

BlackBoard, site and Center computers:

UNET Technical Support Center.
Hours: 7am to 7:30pm Monday – Friday
1-800-696-4357 (HELP) (toll-free)

WebCT and First Class:
1-877-947-HELP (toll-free)
Hours: 8am to 5pm Monday – Friday

How can I learn the computer programs I need for my course?
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Use our online Computer QuickGuides. If you plan to do your work at sites and University College Centers, step-by-step instructions are available and staff are glad to assist you.

If you’re not yet an experienced computer user, we suggest you take an adult education course at your local high school or a workshop at a University College Center near you.

Depending on which course you take, the computer applications you will need to learn may include the following :

  • Web browser (Firefox 3 or above or Internet Explorer 6 or above)
  • Blackboard (a Web-based program for delivering content and for on-line communication)
  • WebCT (a Web-based program for delivering course content and for on-line communication, used mostly by University of Maine faculty)
  • E-mail program
  • First Class (a computer conferencing and e-mail program at the University of Maine)
  • listserv (an electronic “mailing list”)Listed below are practice activities to get you started learning some of these tools.
  • BlackBoard Course Info practice course (login to Blackboard and choose the Courses tab at the top of the page, click the Blackboard Practice Site in the Course Catalog column)
  • FirstClass (login as ‘fcdemo’, password ‘fcdemo’)
How will the course be taught? How will I communicate with my instructor and classmates?
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Online courses incorporate a combination of teaching methods and instructional technologies which may vary from course to course: DVD lectures, discussion using a computer conference or a telephone conference, private communication using e-mail, research using the library and the World Wide Web, learning activities on the Web, and printed course manuals. You’ll communicate using e-mail, online discussion boards, and, in some courses, virtual chat.