Open Class Tutorials

Pre-Class Prep

Make sure you’re ready to go when class starts! Walk through the steps you need to take before class in order to prepare for the virtual environment.

Let’s go over the steps you need to take before class in order to Prepare for your OpenClass experience!

Firstly, make sure to accept the virtual class invitation so that the class dates and times appear on your calendar.

Next, check that you have all of the equipment you need, including an individual computer connection (sorry, no sharing!), a computer headset/headphones, a computer microphone, and a fast internet connection.

Once you have all the hardware you need, use Google Chrome and the credentials from your calendar invitation to check out the Netmind Learning Management System, otherwise known as the LMS. 

Once you log in, find your class by clicking on the “My Courses” button in the top left of your screen. This is where you’ll access the classroom, course materials, job aids, and more.

Make sure that you have the Student Manual downloaded or printed before class (note that you must view the End-User License Agreement prior to accessing your materials).

If you can’t print the course materials, we recommend having them available on a secondary monitor, if possible, so you can view them and the classroom simultaneously. 

And that’s it, you’re ready to go! If you want extra resources, feel free to check out our other OpenClass videos, including Logging In, Troubleshooting Tips, and OpenClass Tools: A How-To Guide.

We look forward to having you in class!

Logging In

Take a look at these step-by-step directions to help you log in to the virtual classroom.

Let’s take a look at how to log into your OpenClass session!

Before getting started, make sure that you’ve reviewed the Pre-Class Prep video and secured all of the equipment you need.

The most important thing about getting connected to our OpenClass virtual environment is to make sure you log in at least 30 minutes prior to the start of the session – this way, if you have any technical issues, our support team will have time to help you solve them before class so you don’t miss out on the fun we have planned.

Another important note: make sure you are not logged into a remote desktop or a remote server, such as Citrix.

In order to enter the virtual classroom, first log into the LMS via Google Chrome, using your credentials from the calendar invitation. 

Go to My Courses, then find your class. In the first section of the class page, select the Login to Virtual Class Session button. If your class is only one day, select the link for today’s date, then click “Join session”. If your class is multiple days long, click the red calendar folder to expand, then select the link for today’s date and click “Join session”. 

Please note that the classroom will be open from one hour prior to class until one hour after class ends.

Once you’ve successfully entered the classroom, connect your audio and video by following the prompts on screen. 

After completing the setup prompts, you may still have to enable your microphone by clicking the symbol at the bottom of your screen. Once you see that the microphone symbol is green, you should be able to start speaking. Go ahead and say hello to your instructor or host to make sure that you can hear and be heard. 

Then, check to be sure your audio is going through your computer headset – this will prevent the dreaded echo effect. In order to change your audio output, simply switch your default playback device in your system settings.

If you’re having any issues logging in, check out our Troubleshooting Tips video, or reach out to the tech support contact in the virtual invitation.

We hope you have a great class!

Troubleshooting Tips

Here’s a quick checklist to help counteract some common virtual technology issues.

Here are some tips to help you out if you’re having technical issues with the OpenClass environment. 

Before troubleshooting, please take a moment to go back and review the steps from our Pre-Class Prep and Logging In videos. If you’re still having trouble, hopefully these tips can help!

  1. Firstly, test your internet connection to make sure it’s strong – if possible, a hardwired connection is recommended over WiFi.
  2. Make sure you’re not logged in to a remote server or a remote desktop, such as Citrix, because they don’t integrate with the virtual platform. Log out of your remote server, and then enter the classroom again through the LMS.
  3. If you’re having trouble accessing the course materials, make sure you’ve first opened and viewed the End User License Agreement. Then, refresh your browser. The End User License Agreement should now have a check mark next to it – which means you’re able to access the course materials.

The following tips are to help with audio issues:

  1. Be sure that your preferred headset and microphone are plugged in securely. 
  2. After completing the setup prompts that pop up when you enter the classroom, your microphone still needs to be enabled. Click it once to make sure it’s green (and do a sound check with your instructor or host). Then, you can click it again to mute yourself until you’re ready to speak.
  3. You can change which microphone you’re using at any time. To do this, expand the Collaboration Panel by clicking the purple arrow in the bottom right corner of your screen, select the settings tab, and click the “Set up your camera and microphone” button.
  4. If you’ve followed the previous suggestions, along with following the audio setup prompts, and you’re still unable to connect your audio – go to your local system audio settings and check for two things: firstly, make sure that the correct headset is selected as the default playback device. Secondly, test your headset and your microphone to ensure that they are both recognized by your computer.
  5. Lastly, no matter what kind of issue you’re experiencing, it might help to completely exit out of your browser using task manager, then enter the classroom again.
  6. And of course, if all else fails, restart your computer entirely. After all, this wouldn’t be a good “IT tech support” video if we didn’t ask – have you tried turning it off and back on again?

These have been just a few tips to help with any technical issues you may encounter. If you’re still having problems, please reach out to the tech support contact from the virtual invitation.

We hope you have a great class!

OpenClass Tools: A How-To Guide

Check out this brief overview of the tools we have available in our OpenClass environment and how to use them.

There are a number of super cool tools that we use in our OpenClasses, including Blackboard Collaborate, Miro, Mentimeter, and OneDrive. In this video, we’ll take a look at these tools and how to use them.

Firstly, we’ll cover Blackboard Collaborate, our preferred virtual platform.

  • Inside the virtual classroom, there are some simple tools for you. At the bottom of the screen are your buttons to mute and unmute your microphone, turn your camera on and off, and raise your hand. You can also change your status by clicking on the profile button.
  • You can expand the Collaboration Panel by clicking the purple arrow in the bottom right of your screen. Here, you will see four tabs: Chat, Attendees, Sharing, and Settings.
  • The first tab is your chat window, which is pretty self-explanatory. To change who you’re chatting with, hit the “Previous Panel” button at the top, and choose between Everyone, Moderators, your Breakout (if breakouts are currently in session), or type the name of another attendee to start a private chat.
  • Please note that the chat will not persist throughout the session. If there is any important information from the chat that you need, make sure to save it before you exit.
  • During the virtual class, you’ll be split up into smaller teams in what we call “Breakout Sessions”. When you’re in a Breakout Session, you will only be able to hear those in your group, and no one else will be able to hear you. 
  • At some point, your instructor might ask you to switch between breakout rooms. In order to do this, click on the “Attendees” tab. Then, click this symbol next to the breakout you want to enter, and you will automatically be directed there. 
  • If you need to contact the instructor while in breakouts, you can send a message via the Everyone Chat, you can send a chat directly to the Moderators, or you can use the “Raise Hand” or status buttons. Your instructor can then pop into your breakout room to help you out with whatever you need. 
  • Another neat capability is screen-sharing. Simply click the “Share Content” tab, “Share Application/Screen”, select which monitor you want to show, then click “share”. If you’re sharing a video, make sure to check the “Share Audio” box so that everyone can hear. Once you’re finished, click the “Stop Sharing” button at the bottom of your screen.

Let’s take a look at Miro, our preferred Whiteboard tool.

  • You shouldn’t have to sign up or create an account in order to use the Miro board (unless you want to!) You can simply click the link provided by your instructor, and use this tool as a guest to have full functionality. 
  • Navigating a Miro board is fairly straightforward. First, it can be helpful to zoom far out in order to get your bearings. You can zoom out by using the scroll wheel on your mouse or pinching your track pad. You can also use the “Plus” and “Minus” buttons on the board map in the bottom right.
  • From there, you can move around the board by clicking and dragging. It can be easy to accidentally grab one of the board elements and move it instead of moving you, so make sure that you click and drag in the blank space between elements so nothing gets displaced. 
  • If you do accidentally move something, or if you want to undo anything you’ve done, use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Z, or click the “Undo” button at the top of the screen.
  • To manipulate the elements on the Miro board, make sure your “Select” tool is enabled on the left toolbar . Then you can click or double-click on items in the board to move them, resize them, add text, and more.
  • For example, it’s easy to add Sticky Notes to the board by clicking this symbol  on the left toolbar, choosing a color, and then clicking where you want the sticky note to appear on the board. You can add text by double-clicking inside the sticky note, and you can also use the object control panel to change other aspects as well, such as font, text orientation, object color, and more.
  • Once an object is selected, you can easily draw connectors by clicking on one of the four blue circles on each side and dragging out. 
  • As I mentioned before, Miro also responds to simple keyboard shortcuts, such as Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V for copying and pasting and Ctrl+Z for undo. 

Mentimeter is a very simple and visually dynamic polling tool. 

  • If your instructor has a question or poll that they want everyone’s input on, they will send you a link or a QR code to a Mentimeter questionnaire. Using your phone or your computer, you can open the link and answer the question. If there are multiple questions, you can move to the next one after answering. Then, all of the collected answers will be displayed on the instructor’s screen so they can be easily seen, understood, and discussed. 

Finally, a little about OneDrive, another great collaboration tool.

  • At some point during class, your instructor might provide a link to a OneDrive document or spreadsheet. These operate like slightly simplified versions of Microsoft Word and Excel, except that they are web-based so that multiple people can make changes simultaneously.
  • If many people are working on the same document, we recommend assigning a scribe so that you don’t write on top of one another. 

This is just a brief overview of the tools we have available in our OpenClass environment. If you have any questions about these tools and their capabilities, please feel free to reach out to your tech support contact from the virtual invitation. 

We look forward to having you in class!