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LITS Student Guide: 2020-2021

Preparing for the First Day of Class

Technology plays an essential role in your live class experience! LITS encourages all students to take the following steps before your first class meeting, the better to to set yourself up for success. Many common issues can be avoided or mitigated with the following steps.

Communicating with Peers and Professors

  1. Check to see if your professor has asked you to post an introductory video or text post to Moodle!
  2. Your faculty member may not have yet made your course visible. Don’t worry! As long as you are enrolled in that course in my.mtholyoke, you’ll have access to that course in Moodle beginning the morning of the first day of classes.
  3. Once your courses have been made visible to you, look at the “Course Announcements” forum in each of your courses, and make sure you know where in each course your faculty have posted links to Zoom sessions.
  4. Test your Zoom settings and access by first logging into Zoom with your Mount Holyoke credentials, then testing your microphone and speaker in Zoom within Settings.

On the First Day of Class

  1. Restart your computer that day, before your class start time.
  2. Close any applications that are open on your computer which you don’t need during class.
  3. If you see a “low bandwidth” message while in a live session, turn off your video and use only audio and close any applications that are open.

Zoom Tips

Zoom is Mount Holyoke’s primary videoconferencing tool. You’ll use Zoom to participate in live class sessions and other activities!

Moodle Tips

Moodle is Mount Holyoke’s learning management system.

Kaltura Tips

Kaltura is Mount Holyoke's new platform for video management.

  • Kaltura is accessible from the “My Media” tab in Moodle, as well as at
  • Your professors may ask you to use Kaltura to either create or upload video content as part of an assignment.
  • Kaltura automatically captions all submissions.
  • If you record a Zoom meeting to the Zoom Cloud, a copy of that meeting recording will be automatically added to your Kaltura account.
  • Kaltura also offers a mobile app, Kaltura Mediaspace GO (KMS GO), which is available on the App Store and in Google Play. You can upload media from your mobile device with this application. When setting it up the first time, please enter the domain name "" and then log in as you would for email or Moodle. 


Accessories to Consider for Online Learning

Given that all MHC students will be joining some portion of their classes online in the Flexible Immersive Teaching (FIT) model, you may want to consider additional accessories to support your work.

If you need help thinking through the options that are best for you and your learning environment, contact

Accessories to consider:

  • Webcam: Your laptop or monitor may already have a webcam. Look for 1080P resolution if possible.

  • Ethernet cable: This will be necessary if you need to wire into your modem or router. Look for a 10-25 foot cable, depending on the distance you need to cover.

  • USB to gigabit ethernet adapter (or USB-C for new Mac laptops): This will be necessary if you have a laptop that doesn't have an ethernet jack for a hard-wired internet connection. You may want to consider a version with multiple ports in the event you require other connections (e.g., for a monitor, flash drive, headset, etc.)

  • USB headphone/microphone headset

  • USB condenser microphone: This will improve audio on your desktop or laptop, and may be especially helpful if you are participating in a class in which you would prefer not to use a headset (e.g., dance, art, etc.)

Brands we can recommend:

Supply chain demands may make some of these brands hard to find. If you need to purchase from another vendor, LITS strongly encourages using product reviews and your best judgment before purchasing.



Amazon Basics








Audio Technica










Cable Matters




Recommendations for Successful Online Learning

Understand practices and expectations for online learning

In many ways, successfully learning online is no different than learning in person: you still need to dedicate a significant amount of your time, consistently attend your classes, concentrate while studying, and fully commit to your learning process. 

When you take an online course, you are also expected to do the following:

  • Fully participate in the virtual classroom and activities.
  • Be, or be willing to become, tech-savvy.
  • Work with others effectively. 
  • Complete your learning tasks and assignments on time.
  • Be self-disciplined.

Make sure that you have reliable internet access

Technology glitches happen all the time. To avoid mishaps, ensure that you save your work repeatedly, and backup regularly using Google Drive or another cloud storage service. Ensure you can access your work from your smartphone or tablet, if needed. Make a backup of your online course material and assignments in case you lose connectivity.

Designate a dedicated study space

Wherever you decide to study, ensure that this place is quiet, organized, distraction-free, and available for use at any time. Your study environment should be one of your main concerns when you are an online learner; make sure that it enables you to maintain a good study routine. Ask your friends, relatives, and colleagues to respect your “work mode,” and consider turning off your phone and logging off of all social networks when studying; you will want to be neither interrupted nor distracted.

Stay on schedule

Procrastination can be a particular challenge for online learners. Make sure that you stay organized, and you are not falling behind in your online class. If you are having difficulties submitting your assignments on time, contact your instructor and let them know, so that they can help you create a consistent study routine.

Ask for help when you need it

While it may be constructive to look for answers to your online course-related questions independently, hesitating to contact your instructor when you are stuck may be problematic. If you don’t ask for help when necessary, you may end up falling behind, which may lower your self-esteem, as you may not be able to keep up with the course. 

By asking your instructors to clarify problems, you will also help them not only to evaluate learners' level of understanding of the online material, but also to get an idea of the overall effectiveness of the online course. Keep in mind that if you don’t ask for help when you need it, your online instructor may never know that something is wrong.

Consider asking for help in the course forums or in another way that is open to the whole class. Your classmates may have similar questions or difficulties; asking your question aloud can help everyone.

Take study breaks

Your performance will decrease if you are feeling tired or frustrated while studying. Integrate some personal time into your study routine, and you will be able to work more effectively on your online course goals. When taking a break, make sure that you get away from your study space; you need to have a change of scenery. A mild physical activity, such as a walk around the block, will help you maintain balance, renew energy, and go back to studying with a clear mind.

Participate in online discussions and activities

Online learning doesn’t mean learning in isolation. Connecting with your classmates on social media or your online course’s forum will significantly enhance your experience. (This can be particularly true for introverts, or others who find self-expression challenging in face-to-face learning.)

Participate actively in online discussions and group activities, suggest study tricks, offer your input on the course, and engage in new ideas. Just ensure that you are mindful of your tone; be respectful when you disagree with other members of your online group, and always write in complete and clear sentences to avoid misunderstandings.

In addition to using social media and course forums to stay connected, keep in mind that Mount Holyoke has expanded the messaging features available in Moodle, and that the Moodle mobile app is available to you as well. It’s one more way to reach out to your instructors and your classmates!

Stay motivated

Finally, don’t underestimate the effort needed to fully commit to your online course. To make sure that you stay motivated and engaged in your online learning experience, consider following these tips:

  • Create a study routine that is unique to you, and study at your own comfortable pace.
  • Decorate your study space with inspirational quotes and pictures.
  • Accept that you will have productive and less productive days.
  • Have healthy snacks nearby to boost your energy.
  • Reward yourself every time you complete a challenging task.
  • Make sure that you take some time for yourself from time to time.
  • Stay positive, and keep your chin up.
MHC Accessibility Barriers Form