UMass Boston

Remote FAQ

Below is a list of frequently asked questions with respect to remote learning. For further questions please email

Getting Started

I am new to Blackboard. How do I get started?

Use the Blackboard QuickStart Guide for help with basic functions. Contact to meet with an Learning Designer to get help with your course design.

I have an old computer. How do I get a newer one?

Reach out to your Chair/Dean and they can work with IT to review options

The Internet access I have at home is not adequate. What are my options?

Make sure your computer is close to your Wifi router. Turn off any other applications that may be sharing the Wifi. Close unnecessary browser windows and tabs.

Is teaching 'remotely' the same as teaching 'online'?

In many ways it is. You can use Synchronous and Asynchronous tools to teach your course.

Must I use Blackboard?

It is highly recommended that faculty use Blackboard. This ensures that students have ALL their content in one place.

Do I need to add information about my class in WISER?

Update Class Notes in WISER - your students will use this to learn more about the modality and technology used in the course Teaching Method - Synch or Async or a combination of both. include information on the way you will communicate with your students.

Is there a 'checklist' that i can use on Getting Your Course Ready for the New Semester

Yes, there is. < ahref="">You will find Course Readiness Resources on the Learning Design website

How do I host open Office Hours?

Click on the attached PDF for more information.

Teaching / Pedagogy

How can I change my in-class activities to online activities?

There are a number of ways to structure your learning activities for the remote environment through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. Schedule a consult with a Learning Designer to get help with planning your course.

How can Blackboard help me with teaching remotely?

Blackboard is the most secure and robust Learning Management System available. It allows you to easily connect with your students as well as structure interactive activities for them to participate in.

How do I redesign assessments that students can complete online?

Written assessments can be accepted through the Assignments tool in Blackboard, whereas timed tests can be delivered through the Tests tool.


All lecture recordings must be captioned. How do I go about doing this?

Use VoiceThread or Echo 360 U-Cap to record mini-lectures and benefit from the auto captioning systems available.

What steps can I complete to ensure that the documents I share are accessible?

Refer to our Accessibility Resources to make sure the content you create and share is accessible.

What is the best way to share digital resources with students?

Use the library's UMBrella tool to search for and link to library resources in your Blackboard course.

Is there a tool I can use to check that the documents and other material on Blackboard are accessible?

Yes, Ally in Blackboard provides you with an accessibility check and guidance on how to resolve issues.


What is the difference between Open-Book exams and Take-Home exams as it pertains to remote learning?

The main difference is in the time that is allowed: Open-Book exams are done within a brief period of time in one sitting using the Tests tool and timed using the built-in timer. Take-Home exams allow the student a longer time period for submitting the exam and can be administered using the Tests tool or the Assignments tool in Blackboard.

Can I require students to take assessments and final exams outside of the normal class hours or finals schedule for my course?

No, you cannot.

Can I offer flexibility that allows students the option to take assessments and final exams outside of the normal class hours or finals schedule for m

Yes, flexibility is encouraged.

Can I conduct polling remotely and integrate polling scores with my Blackboard grade center?

Yes, view the Using iClicker for Remote Instruction how to video. Learn more about iClicker Cloud by visiting our Getting Started with iClicker Cloud page.

Is there an easy way to create a low stakes quiz to increase engagement in my remote class?

Yes, you can use the iClicker Assignments feature which allows you to create a low stakes quiz from a PowerPoint presentation. View the Creating Assignments in iClicker Cloud how to video. Learn more about iClicker Cloud on our Getting Started with iClicker Cloud page.

Academic Integrity

How can I randomize questions in my quizzes/exams?

How can I minimize cheating on exams and encourage students to respect academic integrity?

Visit the Assessment and Academic Integrity page to learn more about best practices for setting up tests and minimizing opportunities for cheating.

What systems / tools are available to help with proctoring exams?

We are currently offering Respondus LockDown Browser and Respondus Monitor for added security when offering online exams. Learn more about requirements for use and getting started with these tools by visiting the Respondus Browser and Monitor page.

Web Conferencing

What options are available for meeting live with students?

Faculty have access to Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom for live meetings.

Where can I get a Zoom Pro license?

Please send an email to

Is Zoom safe to use?

Yes. Over the last two months, Zoom has updated its security features.  For more information please visit the Zoom page.

How do I add captions to my recorded Zoom lectures?

Zoom recordings can be uploaded to an ECHO360 ALP room to benefit from the automated captioning service. Contact for more info.

Do students need to purchase a Zoom license to attend a Zoom session?

No. They only need a license to host their own meetings.

Can I launch Zoom from within Blackboard?

Yes. In fact this is the recommended method, as it ensures that only students in your class can access you Zoom session. This video shows how to use Zoom in Blackboard.

Can I mandate students turn on their Webcam?

During regular remote instruction, faculty cannot require students to turn on their webcam, and should adopt a camera-optional practice for teaching through Zoom. A camera-optional approach respects student issues such as equity (e.g., some students may not have cameras on their devices), safety and security (e.g., some students may be deployed on active military service, or in need of safety or privacy), and religious beliefs.

Can I have a guest speaker in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra?

Yes you can allow guest access. Click here to learn how.

Can students meet in breakout groups during a class on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra and Zoom?

Yes, students can be divided into breakout groups within a class. Learn how to set up breakout groups in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. If you prefer using Zoom,  here is how to create breakout rooms within a meeting.

Can I add/change my profile picture on Collaborate Ultra?

Yes you have the option to add or change the current photo attached to your profile. This document shows how to make those changes in Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. If you experience any problems trying to make these changes, read more here.

Can I set up polling in a recurring Zoom meeting?

Yes polling questions can be added to the meetings and can be edited (i.e. changed, added, removed) for each recurring meeting by the host. Learn how to set this up through the web.

Is Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra better for remote teaching?

If you are unsure of which platform to use for remote teaching during the upcoming semester, compare  Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra here.

How do I conduct a Poll using Zoom?

Learn how to conduct a poll in Zoom by clicking here.

How do I create and manage Breakout rooms in Zoom?

Learn how to create and manage Breakout rooms in Zoom by clicking here.

How do I check Attendance using Zoom?

Learn how to check attendance using Zoom by clicking here.

Mobile Access

What content can students view using the Blackboard Student App?

The Blackboard Student App allows the following:

  • View Announcements
  • Respond to discussions
  • View and submit assignments
  • Take assessments which are designed for mobile and which don’t use proctoring (see below)
  • Check grades
  • Attend a Collaborate session
  • Link to a Zoom session (clicking link opens Zoom App and session)
  • View and comment on a VoiceThread (clicking link opens VT app)
  • Create a VT Project
  • View Echo 360 (however, viewing is condensed)

What content can instructors work with using the Blackboard Instructor App?

Instructors can do the following using the Blackboard Instructor App:

  • Create Announcements
  • Respond to discussions
  • View content and assignments to ensure mobile accessibility
  • Take assessments which are designed for mobile and which don’t use proctoring (see below)
  • Check grades and very limited grading
  • Attend a Collaborate session
  • Copy a Zoom session link and paste in a compatible browser
  • View and comment on a VoiceThread
  • Create a VT Project
  • View Echo 360 (however, viewing is condensed)