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Getting the most out of Moodle and Collaborate

Your experience using Moodle and Collaborate can vary depending on the device you are using, how you are connecting to the internet and the type of content you are accessing.  Students and faculty are encouraged to review the important technical and system requirements available on this website.  See below for helpful information on the optimum technical and system requirements for taking an online course.

Students and faculty must have access to a broadband Internet connection and a computer with the hardware specifications below.  It is strongly recommended that students taking online courses use a headset because the built-in microphone and speakers of a computer are not sufficient.

Hardware Requirements

Processor

  • PC - Pentium IV 3.0 Ghz/equivalent or better processor (dual core processor recommended)
  • Mac - PowerPC G4 or Intel

Operating System

  • PC - Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista Service Pack 2, Windows 7 and Windows 8, with all current updates installed (updates available at http://update.microsoft.com/)
  • Mac - OS X 10.4 or higher

Internet Connection

  • PC and Mac - Access to high-speed network connection (cable, dsl, etc)

Memory

  • PC and Mac - 2+Gigabytes RAM Memory

Hard Drive

  • PC and Mac - 120 Gigabyte

Audio

  • PC and Mac - Sound card and speaker headset with microphone

Blackboard Collaborate

Your experience using Moodle and Collaborate can vary depending on the device you are using, how you are connecting and the type of content you are accessing.

To experience the full functionality of both Moodle and Collaborate, use a reasonable internet connection and a MAC or a PC computer with the minimum specifications.

Moodle and Collaborate can be accessed from smartphones and tablets, but full functionality may not be available on all device types.  Please note that accessing Moodle or Collaborate during your commute (e.g. on a bus or in a car) may reduce connection speed.

The Collaborate app is available for free from the Google Play Store and iTunes, and will be required for many mobile devices. It is not recommended to rely solely on tablets or smartphones for access to Moodle and Collaborate.

Connectivity and connection speed


Internet connection speed can affect user experience with Moodle and Collaborate. The Mount cannot control connectivity outside of the campus network.

Using Mount classroom computers or plugging into a wired network connection on campus typically provides sufficient internet access speeds.

Using free WIFI in public areas, dial up, or your smartphone (2G/3G/LTE) connection may provide less than optimal connection speeds, resulting in laggy Moodle webpages and choppy Collaborate sessions.

Moving in a car/bus and using your smartphone for internet access typically reduces connection speed versus being stationary. Faculty should advise students to use the best available internet access for optimal experiences.

Set your Collaborate connection speed

Collaborate requires you to explicitly set the connectivity type you are using. If you do not do this, Collaborate will assume you are on the highest internet connection speed and may deliver more content than your connection can handle.

Here's how:
PC:        Edit -> Preferences -> Session -> Connection
MAC:     Blackboard Collaborate -> Preferences -> Session -> Connection

Configure your audio in Collaborate
From the Tools menu, click Audio -> Audio Setup Wizard
 

Browsers

Browser choice is personal and most will have a preferred browser. Not all software behaves the same across the different browsers or even within different versions of a browser.

Mozilla Firefox is recommended for Moodle and Collaborate and is available for download online.

File Size


For students, the recommended maximum file upload size is 5MB per upload.

For faculty, the recommended maximum file upload size is 20MB per upload, and this will optimize the student experience when accessing files.  As well, it is recommended to link audio and video files in Moodle rather than uploading them.  To optimize PowerPoint files, save them in PDF format using the minimum size optimization option. 

In Collaborate, when uploading a presentation to the whiteboard area, the recommended maximum file size of a PowerPoint is 20MB.

To reduce the file size of a PowerPoint, you can:
Divide the PowerPoint file into two or more files.  During the Collaborate session, when you are finished with presenting the first group of slides, it is recommended that this first set of slides are deleted before uploading the second set of slides.
  • From the whiteboard navigation bar, click on Open Navigation option menu located at the far right of the bar -> Show page explorer -> Select All Slides from the main room area -> right mouse click and click on Selected Pages -> Delete -> Yes
Reduce image size and save it in GIF or JPEG format
The Collaborate whiteboard feature allows faculty to upload and share PowerPoint and image files, but it is not optimized for other file types:
  • Use the “Application Sharing" feature to share Word, Excel, PDF, Minitab and Webpages
  • Use the “Web Tour” feature to share video and audio files. Please note that the Web Tour feature may not be available on mobile devices
To determine the size of your file:

  • PC, right click on a file name –› Properties –› look for "size" label
  • MAC, click on the "List View" button at the top of the opened window –› look for the "size” column

File Types


Although most types of files can be uploaded and accessed in Moodle it is important to recognize that many mobile devices do not have the proper viewing software to open the files. To provide students with the best user experience, faculty can:

  •     Reduce file sizes (read the “files size” section for more details)
  •     Convert Word, Excel and PowerPoint files to PDFs using the minimum size optimization option
  •     Avoid uploading video and audio files into Moodle, and link to them instead.
  •     Contact msvu.ca if you need audio or video uploaded to your course.
The Collaborate whiteboard feature allows faculty to upload and share PowerPoint and image files, but it is not optimized for other file types.
  • Use the “Application Sharing" feature to share Word, Excel, PDF, Minitab and Webpages
  • Use the “Web Tour” feature to share video and audio files. Please note that the Web Tour feature may not be available on mobile devices