Ideas and Questions from our email string 03.13.20 – 03.16.20

On 3/16/2020 6:57 PM, Sanjive Vaidya wrote:

Thank you all for input on this subject. I lost confidence in Bboard Ultra today, after several failed connections attempts by students and staff,  and resorted to advisement with Zoom!

I will send  the announcement for a Zoom faculty meeting tomorrow.

yours in “Physical Isolation and Social Solidarity,



On 3/16/2020 6:47 PM, Kenneth Conzelmann wrote:
Alexander and I did a BB ULTRA for our BT2 class today – not too bad except for cutting in and out.
Students asked if the digital workshops can be offered online especially for their autocad



On 3/16/2020 3:06 PM, Esteban J. Beita Solano wrote:

Zoom just removed the 40 minute limit and made all calls unlimited.  Meeting my class right now.




On 3/16/2020 1:05 PM, Anne Leonhardt wrote:

Thank you Alexander and Paul,

These both sound like good ideas. Alexander, would you share your survey?



On 3/16/2020 12:14 PM, Alexander Aptekar wrote:

Good idea Paul.

I have given my students a blackboard survey about their computer access, network conductivity, comfort with publishing contact information with the class. It also has an area for their thoughts and challenges.  Maybe we can do something like this for the entire Departments Student body?



On 3/16/2020 12:04 PM, Paul King wrote:

I have reached out to Rita Uddin regrading use of the VDI to provide software access for students.  I have two students in my Btech who cannot run Revit at home and therefore cannot do work for my course.  Rita will be contacting me to discuss this further РI will keep everyone posted on any progress.

I would suggest that we put together a list of students who have similar issues.  We likely have duplicates Рmeaning the same student may have the same problem in two or more classes.



On 3/16/2020 11:30 AM, Illya Azaroff wrote:

All, just a thought as it is also near mid term grading period.

I will be sending my students detailed grades this week to reflect progress before the transition to digital learning environments. As course coordinator of 3551 I will be asking my adjuncts to do the same.

I think its important for students to understand where they are at as we transition and that under performing students do not see this as a moment that alleviates responsibility for course work.



On 3/16/2020 10:37 AM, Jill Bouratoglou wrote:

Also Webex is now attached to all your classes in Blackboard – last in the tools.

Cuny has a license and it seem to be just like Zoom. I have my class using Zoom and we are meeting for the second time – trying out desk crits tomorrow.

Maybe I will quickly transfer to Webex as they have a lot of items all figured out for us – classes, meeting, office hours…and support.

It looks like they can help with attendance too.

Just wanted everyone to see that it is set up in Blackboard.



On 3/16/2020 8:41 AM, Alexander Aptekar wrote:

I agree that it would be easier for our students to have a software focus for the departments distant learning environment and online teaching. Thursday, I ran two optional sessions for my Building Technology classes. For one section we utilized zoom for the 2nd we utilized Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. The students seem to have a much easier time utilizing the blackboard interface because of their familiarity with it. Additionally, zooms advertising and time limits became an obstacle in the first section.  considering it is probable that outside the Department students will likely be utilizing blackboard it may make sense to go this route.



On 3/15/2020 9:42 PM, Shelley Smith wrote:

Two good articles on working remotely and staying connected:–here-are-their-top-14-hacks/#5d9e39e760f3

Excellent article with down-to-earth advice on the teaching situation, highly recommended reality-check:



On 3/15/2020 11:43 PM, Shelley Smith wrote:

Yes, the official limit is 40 minutes. They have been extending it with a message when reaching the limit. You could set up a second meeting ahead of time and inform students to switch over if terminated. A few minute break is not a bad idea. Definitely record so those who cannot attend/connect can watch later. Think of how disrupted our students lives are – school age children and parents also working at home or out of work. We cannot assume they can meet classes synchronously.



On Mar 15, 2020, at 9:52 PM, Anne Leonhardt <> wrote:

At one of the trainings for Blackboard Collaborate, we were told to phone in to have better sound than with¬†the Collaborate audio. I’ll be testing it tomorrow morning with one of my classes. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I have a question about Zoom – how can we get around the 40 minute limit (if they don’t extend the limit) for 2 hour classes?

Someone¬†I spoke to ¬†today¬†suggested they typically do extend- I’m just not wanting to count on it and then not have it work.

I also found out that the subscription is $14.95 / month for Zoom.



On 3/15/2020 11:54 PM, Anne Leonhardt wrote:

Spectrum and Comcast are offering free Broadband/Wifi service for student for the next two month due to the Coronavirus. Spectrum said they would install modems for free as well.  See the article from Consumer Reports on this and some options that might help our students. Other cellphone services like T-Mobile are raising data limits for tethering to 20GB.

ISPs Raise Speeds, Suspend Data Caps | Coronavirus – Consumer Reports

In response to the coronavirus, ISPs raise speeds and make other consumer-friendly policy changes. Consumer Reports explains how the Keep America Connected Pledge will benefit consumers.



On Mar 15, 2020, at 9:52 PM, Kevin Hom <> wrote:

I suggest for continuity that we all use the same app

zoom or WebEX

It also simplify the learning curve for students…imagine if student has different classes with different apps .

The free zoom plan limits meetings to 45 minutes, the plan for 24 hr or unlimited

Length is 14.95 month

I studying apps have use Use Zoom and WebEx in the past. I agree with Shelley’s assessment blackboard collaborative is a distant third.

Please advise on the departments decision.

The department should check in with the Provost to see if in fact the school is sponsoring WebEx.

I am waiting to issue instructions to the three classes I’m teaching.






On Mar 15, 2020, at 9:31 PM, Shelley Smith <> wrote:

I just had a very clunky Blackboard Collaborate meeting with the ad hoc committee … poor audio and poor video. You might want to test out tomorrow and reconsider using ZOOM. I’ve had a half-dozen ZOOM meetings the past few days, including with ASCA, and they were all very smooth.

I that the university is going to WebEX, with accounts for all faculty, students, and staff



On 3/15/2020 3:16 PM, Shelley Smith wrote:

You can use your phone for ZOOM and thus have the ability to speak with the full class or, perhaps better, 2 to 4 students at once. Download the ZOOM Cloud Meetings app to your phone. Alternatively you can call in to a ZOOM meeting by phone, while having the video meeting up on your computer screen.

I agree with take-home exams, open book, open internet. Best are to require short answers and insist on answers in the students’ own words. I am always surprised at what a challenge even these types of exams are for most students.

It would be a good time to order new computers and do our part to keep the economy moving!

Field trips and speaker might still happen remotely via ZOOM, or whatever your contact people are using. The students (other than a handful of freshmen) are very facile and will jump on whatever is offered … though many also have internet issues so best to do live AND record. Soon we may be hearing of internet service offered free to K12 and higher ed students in the city.

Project presentations can be done with ZOOM. Students can screen share etc. Ditto maybe work in groups of 4-6 for presentations since likely not all students can maintain the class hours with reliable service or home settings. They can be recorded. Students can be assigned to watch at their convenience and to comment for credit.

Blackboard Collaborate is very similar and worth a try:

Finally, a highly recommended article:





On 3/13/2020 3:14 PM, Shelley Smith wrote:

My strategy was to put PP’s, assignments and other shared materials into a Google folder shared with all students (with “view only” rights). Then I created a Dropbox folder for each student, shared only with me and giving the student edit rights so they can submit assignments there.

Other resources and information:
in particular, good information and instructions for online tools:
resources & ideas for online teaching from Purdue:

good tips and ideas for getting online quickly and effectively: ‚ÄúTeaching Effectively during times of disruption‚ÄĚ

crowdsourced live spreadsheet of resources: