When you begin a degree or certificate program or register for individual classes, you will get an account for MyNewSchool, the university's Web portal for students, faculty, and staff. MyNewSchool gives you access to your New School email account, campus announcements, library resources, and MyCourses, where your online classes "meet."
Like any class, the professor presents material and then leads a discussion. Instead of speaking, however, students post comments using the MyCourses feature of MyNewSchool. Your responses, when joined with those of your fellow students and the instructor, form the discussion. If you've ever participated on a Web board or left a comment on a blog, you probably already have a pretty good idea of how BlackBoard works. If not, The New School offers online tutorials to help you learn the program quickly and easily. The experience is pretty similar to a traditional class—in fact, the conversation is sometimes more in depth because the posting mechanism makes it easier for all students to participate.
There is one major difference, though. Online classes meet asynchronously—which means you can read materials, join discussions, and post responses anytime of the day or night. You don't have to be online at the same time as your classmates, but because you can read all the responses every time you are "in class," it feels as if everyone is interacting.
Although every class is different, students are strongly advised to log in to the class a minimum of three times a week. And because the class is conducted on the Internet, you also have the opportunity to use media, create links, and do research online. Students studying for credit must complete papers, tests, and projects, just as they would in the traditional classroom. To get a better feel for the process, check out the screenshots below.
Your online class can include the following sections (click on the screenshot to view a larger image in a new window):
An announcement page where class information can be posted by the professor
A syllabus section, for information about course content, the course outline, and required reading
Lecture notes for each week of the class, written and posted by your professor
An assignment section where the professor can post the requirements and dates for class projects and assignments
A discussion board for focused group discussion on the course topics
A resource page for Web assets such as webcasts, podcasts, and links to supplemental course materials