Step 2: Required Technology
In today's digital age, having a solid foundation in technology is more important than ever before. As an online student, technology is not only a tool for communication and collaboration, but it is also an essential component of your learning experience. Whether it's accessing course materials, participating in online discussions, or submitting assignments, technology is at the forefront of this online program. Therefore, it is crucial that you have the necessary technology skills and equipment to succeed in your online courses. This step will explore the required technology for online students and the importance of developing good technology skills to help you achieve your academic goals.
Minimum Technology Proficiencies
You should be proficient in the following:
basic computer skills - turning on and off, navigation, keeping the computer updated
sending/receiving email including sending and receiving attachments via email
using a web browser and knowing the difference between tabs, windows, address bars and URL's.
finding web resources through search engines
downloading and installing software and/or viewing electronic files
familiarity with using browser plug-ins (e.g. PDF reader, video, audio)
using word processing, presentation software, or other productivity applications
experience/familiarity with a variety of file formats such as: .rtf "Rich Text Format", .doc or .docx "Microsoft Word Document", and .txt "Text document"
the ability to be self-directed in learning new technology skills (eg. following a handout, a step-by-step tutorial, online video help, or access to support to learn necessary skills)
Computer Hardware & Software Guidelines
In addition to having a computer, a large number of classes will require student participation in live virtual class activities using technologies such as Zoom, or Engageli.
The following recommendations will help you have a successful meeting:
quiet space with no external distractions
adequate lighting for video conferencing
a webcam (either external or built into the computer)
an audio input device such as a built-in microphone, headset, or earbuds
You will need stable access to high-speed Internet for your courses. Cable broadband in your own home is strongly recommended. Your Internet connection is critical in viewing the content on Blackboard and participating in live virtual sessions.
Here are some places, in case your home network is interrupted, where you may find internet connectivity:
Wi-Fi parking lots at area libraries:
Pratt Library - Baltimore City:
PC or Mac with a Modern Fast Processor - 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster.
RAM: Computer memory is directly affected by how many programs are running at any given time. Based on the fact you will be using word processing, and accessing the Internet at least 4 GB of RAM should be installed but 8 GB is preferred.
Sound: Sound and speakers are required. Some programs also require a headset and microphone.
Network: Wireless Ready or Ethernet
Monitor Screen: The screen needs to be a minimal 800 by 600 but for the best viewing experience 1024 x 768 or more. Many new monitors include built-in webcam and speakers.
Disk Space: 256 GB of disk space is required for software installation. Certain software components are required for full functionality of hybrid/online courses. To run an automatic system check, visit the Blackboard browser compatibility page.
Google Chrome is recommended for viewing all hybrid/online courses in Blackboard. However, the three major browsers (Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer/Edge if PC or Safari if Mac) should be installed as a backup for non Blackboard related content.
A Windows operating system is recommended, and our learning system works best with Windows 10. Desktop versions Windows 8.1 are also supported
Most programs will work on Macintosh OS X platforms. For students using a Macintosh computer, the following specifications should be met:
Mac OS X 11.1 (Big Sur)
Mac OS X 10.15 (Catalina)
Mac OS X 10.14 (Mojave)
Mac OS X 10.13 (High Sierra)
The following plug-ins are required for use with our online programs:
Accessibility and Screen Readers
This is for information purposes, for any students who might desire to use a screen reader. Note that screen reader capability is now built into both Mac (Voiceover) and Windows (Narrator) systems. Informational links are below:
VoiceOver (latest version for Safari on Macintosh)
Narrator (Windows built in)
Chrome browser plugins: Screen Reader
NVDA (Free, Open Source, latest version for Firefox on Windows)
JAWS (latest version for Firefox on Windows)
Per the campus IT anti-virus policy, we recommend installing the following software on Windows/Intel laptops:
Symantec Endpoint Protection antivirus (available at a discounted price from the UMB campus software office)
Not all functions work on all devices. We strongly advise against trying to complete the OMSW program on a mobile phone or tablet computer since there are functions in Blackboard that ONLY work properly on a laptop or desktop computer. If you try working on a mobile phone or tablet computer and something doesn't work, we suggest trying Chrome, Safari and the Blackboard app - and it if still doesn't work, your only option is to use a laptop or desktop computer.
All students will need to use Duo multi-factor authentication to enter Blackboard.
Please see this Introduction video from CITS about getting this set up and entering Blackboard:
DETERMINE IF YOUR COMPUTER OR MOBILE DEVICE IS BLACKBOARD COMPATIBLE
How Do I Access My Blackboard
NOTE: logins to Blackboard are managed by the UMB Directory (directory.umaryland.edu). There, you can establish, change or update your password. Any time you need to address your Blackboard login or issues related to it, you should start with the directory, and if you have issues, contact CITS Helpdesk: 410-706-HELP.
It is also most useful if your campus email address is set up before you log into Blackboard the first time.
Can I Access Blackboard on a Mobile Device
PLEASE NOTE: not all functions work on all devices. We strongly advise against trying to complete the MSW program on a mobile phone, since there are functions in Blackboard that ONLY work properly on a laptop or desktop computer. If you try working on a mobile phone and something doesn't work, we suggest trying Chrome, Safari, and the Blackboard app - and it if still doesn't work, your only option is to use a laptop or desktop computer.
What is the Link
General Technology FAQ's
What USERID and Password do I Use
I Cannot Remember My USERID and Password
If you do not know your UMID, please go here.
I Lost My Phone and Cannot Access DUO
You can generate a bypass code to log into Blackboard from anywhere with an internet connection at https://directory.umaryland.edu
After logging in, select Multi Factor Authentication (Duo) on the left, and the select the yellow "Generate Bypass Code" button.
You will be given an alphanumeric code.
When you are faced with DUO, you will then click to submit the bypass code you generated, so you do not need your cell phone.
Please note that your instructors make the course available to you in Blackboard. Until they do, you will not see your course listed in Blackboard.
Some instructors open courses early and some do not. If you do not see your course listed and are eager to, please email your instructor. Neither the IDEA Team nor any other staff entity will make your course available before the semester begins. Only your instructor will do so.
Here is a UMB Directory where you can locate folks by last name: https://cf.umaryland.edu/directory/ Another tip, is that in Outlook, typically, when composing a message, if you start typing a last name, it will pull up suggested people from the directory, as well as typically offer up a directory where you can search for folks.
Watch the Navigation Video below to learn how to complete the next portion of your orientation.
Please log in to https://blackboard.umaryland.edu which is the OMSW SOWK 690 Incoming Student Prerequisites course and click Module 1: Blackboard Orientation
NOTE: All incoming OMSW students are automatically enrolled in the OMSW SOWK 690 Incoming Student Prerequisites course. This course comprises of three modules. Please complete the Modules in order. You can return to this Prerequisite course at any time to refamiliarize yourself with Blackboard components.
If you log into Blackboard and search but cannot find or do not see SOWK 690 listed among your courses, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you see an Error message, you are probably not logged in. Log in first!