- Am I ready to take an online course?
- What is “Online Learning”?
- How is a online class different from a regular class?
- What equipment do I need for a online class?
- What are the advantages of Online Learning?
- What are the challenges of Online Learning?
- What should I know how to do before taking on online class?
- How do I view the class notes?
- Can I view the Online Learning videos using dialup service?
- When I subscribe to the course podcast, does it send new lectures every week or can I download all of the lectures ahead of time?
- How do I fix problems with viewing or downloading podcast files?
- How do I fix problems with viewing streaming video files?
- How do I fix the error “Navigation to the Webpage was Cancelled”?
- Are online courses accessible to students with disabilities?
Am I ready to take an online course?
Success with USF St. Petersburg's online courses requires a different set of skills than those used in a face-to-face teaching. You must be self-paced, self-controlled and diligent about your coursework. You also must have access to a computer that is robust enough to be able to access the course materials, and you must have Internet access.
If you are ready for online learning, you’ll:
- have a computer that meets technical requirements and a reliable Internet connection.
- be comfortable with the basic computer skills (word processing, Internet search, attachment, sending/receiving e-mail, file management, upload and download).
- know how to interact with fellow students to complete group projects.
- know how to meet assignment deadlines.
- be able to express your ideas and questions in writing.
- know how to find and use online help.
- spend approximately 10 or 15 hours of study time per week.
If you meet all the above statements, you are likely to do just fine. Online learning is not more difficult, or less effective, it's simply different. Once you get used to 'attending class' from your home, the computer lab or library, you may find the overall experience to be even more rewarding than face-to-face classes.
What is "Online Learning"?
Online Learning is a type of class where there is a separation of either space or time between you and the instructor and/or the rest of your class. Online Learning offered at USF St. Petersburg is Web-Based.
How is a online class different from a regular class?
You will primarily interact with your instructor and classmates online. Web-Based Classes may have an on-campus face to face orientation but then have the rest of class activities occur online.
What equipment do I need for a online class?
All online courses use the Blackboard course management system. You will need regular access to a reliable computer with Internet access.
- Microsoft® Windows® 2000 or higher / Mac OS 10.4 “Tiger” or higher
- Pentium II-class processor, 450 megahertz (MHz), or faster
- Minimum of 512 MB RAM
- 10 or more GB capacity, with 30% or more free space
- CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher-resolution monitor with 256 colors or higher
- Broadband internet connection
- Current web browser:
- Common Plug-ins:
USF St. Petersburg Open Computer Labs are also available for use during posted hours. Individual classes or instructors may have activities that may require specialized equipment but they will let you know this on the syllabus or at the orientation or first class.
- Scheduling Flexibility and convenience: Most forms of online learning do not require you to physically be in a physical classroom at a certain time each week.
- Universal access: Most forms of online learning allow you access to course materials at your convenience.
- Self-paced learning: With respect to the syllabus, work can be completed according to your schedule.
- Travel savings: With the rising cost of gasoline, you can save money and not have to drive to campus one or more times a week.
- Keeping up with coursework without regular face to face contact with instructor.
- Interacting with an instructor over the phone, or e-mail to get your questions answered.
- Receiving primary course "lecture" content through electronic means
- How to create and save files on your computer.
- How to send and receive email attachments.
- How to copy and paste text from one program to another.
- How to download and install software or add-in programs.
- How to use virus detection software.
Can I view the online learning videos using dialup service?
Using a dialup Internet connection will not work. Even if you have Netzero accelerated service. Netzero is designed for standard web browsing but not streaming video. You should have a broadband connection. For information on discounts for broadband connections visit Campus Computing’s promotions page
You can always use any open use student computers located at any USF campus to view your course. The USF St. Petersburg library has open use computers located on the first floor, or you can visit USF St. Petersburg's online learning lab located on the second floor of the library (room 238).
When I subscribe to the course podcast, does it send new lectures every week or can I download all of the lectures ahead of time?
Every video is available now for download for podcasting. Once you are subscribed, you will see all the videos. You will need to click the "get" button to download each video.
- Download iTunes from Apple
- Open iTunes
- Select Menu > Advanced > Subscribe to Podcast
- Enter the address of the podcast. Example: http://www.dl.usf.edu/podcast/clp4443.xml
- Click "OK"
You are now subscribed to the podcast.
How do I fix problems with viewing or downloading podcast files?
The image below was taken right after subscribing to the podcast. Note that all the lectures are listed (1-26). You might need to move the columns over to see the complete title name (blue arrow).
Lecture one was automatically downloaded when I subscribed and is listed in bold text. The lectures that I have not downloaded are grayed out. Now if I want to see lecture two, I will need to click the "GET" button (red arrow) next to the lecture two's name. This needs to be done each time you want to get a video of a new lecture. Note that the blue dot to the left of the name indicates that the lecture has not been viewed.
To view the lecture, using your computer, just double click the video and iTunes will start to play the video in the lower left corner. To enlarge or move the video, just double click the video screen and it will open in a second window. If you are using an ipod to view your lecture, follow Apple's directions to copy the podcast files to your ipod.
How do I fix problems with viewing streaming video files?
Most of the time simply clearing your internet temporary files, also known as internet cache, will clear up non-playing videos and constant buffering problems.
Internet Explorer 7:
- Open Internet Explorer
- At the top of the screen, select Tools menu > Internet Options
- In the Internet Options window, find the Temporary Internet Files section, click Delete
- In Delete Browsing History window, click Delete Files
- A verification screen will then come up, click Yes to delete the files
- When this is finished, you can click Close and then OK on the Internet Options window
How do I fix the error “Navigation to the Webpage was Cancelled”?
Blackboard uses a secure browser. You may be asked if you want to view the secure items on the page. You must answer the question "Yes" or "No" depending on the browser and version you are using.
If you are using Internet Explorer 7.0, click "Yes" when asked if you want to view secure items. If you do not click Yes, then the file or video will not display. If you mistakenly click "No", then you must go out of the course and come back in and click "Yes" when asked.
If you are using Internet Explorer 8 or 9 the answer is "No" when asked. If you do not click "No, then the file or video will not display. If you mistakenly clicked "Yes, then you must go out of the course and come back in and click "No".
To keep the box from displaying every time you go into the course, you can change your settings to the following:
1. Select Tools then choose Internet Options.
2. Select the Security tab.
3. Click Internet Zone then choose Custom Level.
4. Select Display Mixed Content (about half way down).
Are online courses accessible to students with disabilities?
Distance Learning and Instructional Media Services strives to ensure that both our website and the courses created with support from our office are accessible to all, including individuals with disabilities. To report an inaccessible feature, please contact Karla Kmetz at 727-873-4474.For assistance with specific accommodations; please visit the Office of Student Disability Services website.