Spring 2021 Technology Resources

(information last updated 12/4//2020, 2:15 PM)

On this page, you will find available resources that can help you navigate teaching and learning remotely.

 

Minimum recommended technology requirements for students participating in online classes at Dickinson:

Hard Drive: 128GB hard drive (250GB or higher recommended)
RAM: 8GB or higher strongly recommended
Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i5 OR 9th or 10th generation Core i3 or equivalent processor (9th generation or 10th generation Intel Core i5 Processor or equivalent recommended)
Operating System: Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 or later required 
Communications:
Web camera, microphone, and speakers or audio headset
Smartphone/tablet capable of running iOS or Android apps
Internet Connection: Wired or Wireless internet service capable of reliable video streaming

 

CLIQ Updates - For Faculty and Advisors

  • Student Cell Phone and Student Time Zone have been added to the Class Listings and Advisor Listings.
  • Student Time Zone has been added to the Student Profile.
  • Student Cell Phone continues to be available in the Student Profile.

YouTube - Important Access Information

  • YouTube is not available in all countries. As a result, students may not be able to access videos published to YouTube. Before using YouTube content, check with your students to verify they can access YouTube.
  • Microsoft Stream, available to all Dickinson employees and students via O365, is an alternate streaming service. Microsoft Stream will auto-caption your video.

Zoom Information for Students

  • Students do NOT need a Zoom account to participate in class meetings that are held using Zoom. When your instructor schedules a class meeting in Zoom, you will receive notification through email or Moodle. If your instructor is using the Zoom Pro Moodle Plug-In, you will be able to view scheduled Zoom class meetings in your Moodle course. Your instructor will provide more details on how they intend to notify you of class meetings and office hours held through Zoom.
  • If you would like to set up a Zoom account, you may create a Zoom Basic (free) account. The Zoom Basic account will allow you to host your own Zoom meetings for up to 40 minutes per session. This is not required for class meeting participation.  A Zoom Basic account can be set up by going to Zoom.Com.
  • Your instructor will provide instructions on how to access recorded class meetings and lectures in Zoom.

Zoom Information for Faculty

  • Instructors need to request a Zoom Education account from the Help Desk if they plan to run meetings longer than 40 minutes. The Zoom Education account will also allow them to record class meetings which will then be auto-transcribed.
  • Zoom Education licenses are being reserved for instructors who are providing remote instruction for the Fall 2020 semester. Administrators and staff members who need video conferencing capabilities can use Microsoft Teams in Office 365. Teams does not restrict the length of the meeting. Administrators and staff members can participate in Zoom meetings without a Zoom account. If an administrator or staff member wants to host a Zoom meeting, they will need to create a Zoom Basic account and be subject to the 40-minute meeting limit.
  • Students do NOT need to establish a Zoom account to participate in Zoom meetings. A student can join a meeting whenever invited by an instructor. The student should follow the prompts indicated by the invitation they receive. Students will be able to participate in meetings for as long as they last. There is no time limit for meeting participants.
  • Recordings: If you have recorded a class meeting, you will receive an email from Zoom that contains a link you can use to share the video with your students. You can decide how best to share that link with your students.
  • Using Zoom in Moodle: The document, "Setting Up Zoom Meetings in Moodle", in the Ready For Fall Moodle course provides information on how to use Zoom in Moodle. In addition to Zoom resources, the Moodle Ready For Fall course provides many resources to assist you in moving to an online learning environment. We encourage you to explore these resources.
  • The same resources from the Ready For Fall Tech Toolbox section can also be found in Jadu for those without access to Moodle.

Zoom for Students in China

  • Some students can connect to Zoom via the web with a link, but some are not.  Fortunately, it seems to work consistently using the Zoom app (download here: https://zoom.us/download).  IN the app, enter the "meeting ID" to connect. You can get the ID by looking at the last nine numbers in the link.  For example, in a Zoom link like this (https://zoom.us/j/198188858), the meeting ID would be: 198-188-858.  If possible, test before any class hour.

Off-campus Software Access

 

Home Networking Guidance

For those experiencing poor connection to videoconferences or difficulty downloading course resources, please see the guidance below for options on improving the internet connection to your computer:

  1. Internet connection: Of the options available in the Carlisle area, Xfinity cable internet is the fastest.  DSL providers are slower so for fastest connections from the start, consider Xfinity if you are not already on it.  For those outside of the Carlisle area, consider a similar cable internet service provider over a telephone-based (DSL) provider for the fastest possible speeds to your home or workspace.  Minimum network bandwidth requirements for Zoom can be found here - these are helpful for gauging what service you will need from your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  2. Home/Workspace Network:
    1. Understanding the pieces (Modem and Router): the modem is the device that connects your home to the internet via cable (with cable service) or your phone line (with DSL service). The router is the device that typically provides wireless service to devices in your home and connects those devices to the modem. Cable and DSL internet providers often supply one device which is both a modem and router all-in-one.  Typically, however, these all-in-one modem/routers do not have very strong WiFi - there are a few ways to improve network speeds within your house.
    2. Understanding WiFi in your home: WiFi is just a radio signal emanating from your router to the devices in your home. Several factors decrease the range this radio signal can travel such as: the size of your home, the construction materials used in your walls/floors/ceilings, the number of devices connected to your home network (computers, phones, iPads, SmartTVs, streaming devices, smoke alarms, etc.), and your proximity to neighbors with competing WiFi radio signals.
    3. Easy Options for Videoconferences/Meetings: If your connection is acceptable for most actions, but your are experiencing poor video performance during online classes or meetings, here are a few very quick things to try before exploring more in-depth options below:
      1. Proximity (simple setup/free): If you have a large home, if you have brick walls, or live very close to many others with competing WiFi signals, moving your computer closer to the router may help.
      2. 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz WiFi Bands: Most modern home WiFi products broadcast two (or more) WiFi bands. The 2.4 GHz band provides coverage at a longer range but transmits data at slower speeds. The 5 GHz band provides less coverage but transmits data at faster speeds. The range is lower in the 5 GHz band because higher frequencies cannot penetrate solid objects, such as walls and floors.  Check to see if your WiFi router is broadcasting a 5 GHz and, if so, make sure you are close enough to your WiFi router and try connecting to your 5 GHz band for faster speeds.
      3. Disabling video: Both Zoom and Teams allow you to turn off your own video and the incoming video of other participants in the videoconference which lessens the bandwidth used for the audio or other aspects of the class.
    4. Boosting your In-Home Network Connection:
      1. Range Extenders (simple setup/inexpensive): range extenders are WiFi repeaters which boost WiFi to specific areas in your home.  They can be inexpensive and fairly easy to set up.  Netgear Range Extenders here.
      2. More Powerful Wifi Routers (intermediate setup/expense depends on model): if you are using an all-in-one modem/router (or an older stand-alone WiFi router) and WiFi is poor where your computer is located in your home, you can purchase a separate WiFi router to use instead of your all-in-one modem/router.  Using a separate WiFi router allows you to choose the strength of router you wish to use based on your needs. Netgear WiFi routers here. Typically for a home connection, the newer "WiFi 6 (802.11ax)", "802.11ad", or "802.11ac" routers are best.  THese days, WiFi routers can be setup fairly easily using a smartphone app. *note: you may wish to contact your internet provider to ask them to disable the built-in WiFi from your modem/router all-in-one to minimize confusion and interference.
      3. Mesh Networks (intermediate setup/expense depends on model): An alternative to a single WiFi router and/or range extenders is a 'mesh' network which consists of smaller interconnected WiFi routers positioned around your home. Generally more expensive than a single router, but can be expanded by adding mesh units. Netgear Mesh Routers here.  Google Nest Mesh Routers here.
      4. Wired Instead of WiFi (simple setup/inexpensive): Even with a powerful router, it may not be possible to get a good signal to your devices so you can consider a PowerLine solution.  PowerLines consist of two small units which use your home electrical wiring (through 2 different power outlets in your home) for internet connectivity.  They are fairly inexpensive, easy to set up, and do not require any WiFi to use. Netgear PowerLine units here.
    5. Cellular over WiFi: If improving WiFi is either not an option or the slowness is due to the internet connection itself, but you have a strong 5G cellular signal, it may be best to use a cellular 'hotspot' instead. Hotspots can be a separate device which connects to cellular service but then offers a WiFi connection to other nearby devices such as your computer.  Many smartphones can act as hotspots as well provided your cellular provider allows it - this is typically an added cost to your cellular bill and the amount of data transfer may be limited with overage charges for exceeding the limit. More on mobile hotspots here.

Exact product recommendations widely vary depending upon needs, specifics about the home, product availability, connectivity in the desired geographic region, and personal budget.