We have developed some useful guidance when accessing webinars, tutorials and meetings online.
Internet Connection / WiFi
Ensure you have a steady connection – preferably a strong WiFi signal or better still a computer that is plugged directly into your router or modem.
There may be occasions when bandwidth is restricted (the amount of data that can be sent and received at any one time). If you are experiencing lag, jumping, drop-out or other issues, try switching off your video and encourage others to do the same especially if in a large group. If a person isn’t speaking, ask them to turn off their microphone too (this will also help with background noise)
If you are in a hospital, or similar setting, there may be firewalls that will block your access or restrict your connection in some way (especially if trying to use video). You may need to connect via your data connection on your phone or use a different computer. Try to take the time to test your setup first before your session, especially if using equipment for the first time.
Complete loss of internet
Check with your broadband provider to find out if the problem is temporary. If you are due to submit a piece of assessed work online, get in touch with your tutor as soon as you can to explain the situation.
Recommended Web Browsers
There is a choice of web browsers available, and most devices will come with one installed, but we would recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or the last version of Microsoft Edge for the best experience (as opposed to Safari or Microsoft Edge/Internet Explorer).
If you are having any trouble accessing a link or joining a session a good tip would be to check if any functions are being blocked by your browser, specifically in Google Chrome. If you are joining a Blackboard Collaborate session ensure you allow third-party plugins, if prompted, for Collaborate to work in your web browser.
If you are joining a webinar, online tutorial or online meeting it is important to check your computer is picking up the correct equipment so you are able to take part in the conversation.
This could be a built-in microphone, external microphone (plugged into the microphone socket of your computer or laptop), a headset (aux/mini jack into your computer or USB) or even a Bluetooth headset or hands-free set. With so many options your device may pick up multiple input options so is important to choose the right one.
Make sure that the correct output is also set. You may be using wireless or Bluetooth headphones, wired headphones (jack or USB), built-in or external speakers. Ensure that the sound is set to come out of the one you are expecting. For the best experience, we recommend headphones. By using headphones you can avoid any audio leak, or feedback, via the microphone which can make it difficult to hear.
If you need to install any hardware, such as an external microphone, it is important to check you have permissions to install them on your device. This is also important to check if you need to add any additional software, such as web browsers or Panopto (if recording). Make sure you have admin rights and that your operating system (OS) allows you to make any necessary changes.
If you are using Windows in S-Mode this will mean upgrading to Windows Home or Professional edition – there is no cost to this although it cannot be reversed.
If you are accessing Blackboard Collaborate you may want to access the guidance on the Online Learning Platforms section of these pages.