Technology Needs and Tips
What you’ll need for online classes
There are a few basic items you will need in order to access your online classes: internet and some sort of device to access online meetings, resources and materials. Following is a list of suggestions:
- A computer (laptop or desktop) – Any computer, Mac or Windows-based PC, should work, but broadly speaking computers that are less than four (4) years old or less are preferable. Other platforms like Linux may work, but we encourage you to test these out in consultation with your professor(s).)
- A smartphone (or any phone)
- A tablet – Apple and Android tablets are both fine
- consider adding an external keyboard if this will be your primary computer
- be sure to try them and out in consultation with your professors. It’s possible that in some cases they may not have the functionality needed for your class.
- A webcam (built-in or separate from your computer/tablet/smartphone)
- A microphone (built-in or separate from your computer/tablet/smartphone)
- Chrome and/or Firefox web browsers – Safari and other browsers on desktops/laptops/smartphones not recommended
- Printer access
It's okay if you have all, some, or none of these. We will work with you to help solve for any internet and technology needs that you may have.
There will be some often-used technologies common to classes as well as programming offices, campus resource offices, clubs and organizations. These include:
- Canvas Getting Started for Students
- Google Google Meet for online classes
- Google Docs Google Docs Introduction
- Zoom Whitman’s Knowledge Base Zoom Overview
There may be other specialized programs for particular class needs, which your professor will share with you.
Online presentations: how do I prepare?
Your professor will give you the assignment parameters, and will either tell you specifically how to do this online or will leave it open-ended. If the latter is the case, here are some ideas for how to get started.
Screen sharing functions in Zoom and Google Meet allow you to share your screen and presentation in real time just as a professor would. In addition, Google Slides, PowerPoint and Adobe Spark will allow you to collaborate on presentations with your fellow students as well as insert audio and video. BE AWARE that audio and video elements may not play smoothly or even at all depending on the internet connections you, your classmates, or your professor have.
Do not hesitate to ask your professor for clarification on the assignment. If your presentation is a group presentation, arrange virtual meetings using FaceTime, Google Meet, or similar platform, and be sure to give yourself as much lead time as you possibly can to prepare and practice (practice, practice, practice). When your presentation is prepared, if your professor hasn’t already asked, ask if you can share the presentation materials (links, files, etc) with the whole class BEFORE the class happens. Doing this helps ensure that everyone can see the presentation materials, even if their internet connection is bad.
Where do I get technology help?
Whitman College Technology Services is here to help!