In light of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency, and per the Chancellor’s directive, our entire campus is currently prioritizing support for our students, faculty and staff as the transition to Distance Education is underway.

In order to assist you with the transition, the Information Technology and Educational Technology Departments have been coordinating a comprehensive information, resource and training effort. The goal is to ensure that all of our constituents have access to the necessary technology and support that may be needed.

A single resource website has been set up as the Go-To for all of your transition readiness needs. This website will be updated frequently and we recommend you to bookmark it for easy access.

Go to information on:

Live Online Teaching Through Blackboard
Roadmap to Teaching Innovation
Blackboard Support
Video Tutorials
Tips of the Week
Other online resources, rich media, hardware and software


Blackboard, CUNY and Hostos’s Learning Management System, allows you to have an online site containing your course content, activities and assessments so that your class can carry on whether it’s in-class, hybrid, fully online, or off-campus because of snow day, make-up for missed class, flu season,  or the coronavirus.

If you’ve never used Blackboard before please review the Hostos Blackboard Support tutorials below, including “How to Get to Blackboard.”  Once in Blackboard you will see links to your courses on the left side in the My Courses module.  You should also see the link to the Roadmap to Teaching Innovation Blackboard training course (description and links below) which contains all the information you need to get your courses up and running in Blackboard.  It will be lower down in the My Courses module under Courses in which I’m enrolled: Student.

For more tutorials, visit Blackboard’s YouTube Channel: Blackboard YouTube Channel

The first step is to ensure that your Blackboard course is available to students in order to establish a viable line of communication.  With the Edit mode set to On you should:

    • Use the Announcement tool to post announcements to students and check the Email Announcement box so that the announcement is sent to students’ emails.
    • Upload your syllabus.
    • Post your Contact information.
How to Archive a Course

Archive Course creates a permanent record of a course including all the content and user interactions available at the time the Archive is created.

To Archive a Course

      1. In the Control Panel, under Packages and Utilities, click on Export/Archive Course.
      2. Archiving a course is similar to Export (see above: How to Export a Course), except that all content is part of the package, as well as records of activity.  If desired, choose the option to Include Grade Center History (increases file size and processing time).
      3. File Attachment: It is best to choose the option Copy links and include copies of the files in the course default directory.
      4. Click the Calculate Size button to find out the size of the course. The Manage Package Contents allows you to delete content to make the package size smaller. Note: the current limit on Course Size is 1.5 GB.  Often courses created before the current limit was implemented are larger.  It is important that the course you are exporting is smaller than 1.5 GB or else it will be impossible to later import it into a course shell.  If it is larger, please take steps to reduce the size before exporting by deleting large course files.  Contact EdTech if you need further assistance with this.
      5. Click Submit.  You should see a success notification similar to Export Course.  As with Export Course, click the Refresh button, right-click on the .zip file link, and download the Archive .zip file package onto your hard drive or backup external drive.

  • Upload files (slides, Word documents, PDF,that are part of your course content.
  • Create items and folders to add additional content.
  • Post Assignments, Discussion Forums and threads, blogs, journals and wikis to increase student particiption and engagement.

Blackboard Mobile Apps

Blackboard offers two mobile applications and which application one uses depends on whether you are accessing a course as a student or as an instructor. If you are both a student and a faculty member, you will need both apps to fully interact with all of your courses.  The apps are free for you to use and are available in the Apple and Android app stores.

Blackboard app – this is the app for students.  Watch the video introduction here: Blackboard App
Blackboard Instructor –
this is the app for instructors. Watch the video introduction here: Blackboard Instructor App

The CUNY Blackboard support website has a site that provides support for the Mobile apps, including how to set-up your courses to be mobile-friendly: CUNY Blackboard Mobile App site

Live Online Teaching  – Collaborate Ultra, Zoom and Panopto

As Hostos instructors, you have two tools available to you that allow you to conduct real-time streaming lessons online through Blackboard – Collaborate Ultra and Panopto. 

With Collaborate Ultra you can conduct live streaming videoconferencing lesson with your class, and includes breakout rooms, application and document sharing and live chat.  This tool allows you to conduct a lesson live.

Watch a video overview on how to use Collaborate Ultra: Collaborate Ultra video

The CUNY Blackboard site has a links to Collaborate tutorials for both faculty and students: CUNY’s Blackboard Collaborate for Students and Faculty

Panopto allows you to record a lecture-capture lesson and also upload videos.  To learn more about Panopto, as well as the Panopto Initiative, click on the following link:
Panopto at Hostos

All Blackboard courses have these tools available to them.  You can access them through the Collaboration Link in the course Navigation  Menu:

Collaboration link

This section has access to both Collaborate Ultra and Panopto as well as instructions on how to get started.  Roadmap to Teaching Innovation covers both Collaborate Ultra and Panopto in detail.

Zoom You also have the option of using Zoom cloud-based videoconferencing with your class.  Zoom has many of the same features as Collaborate Ultra, including breakout rooms, whiteboard, screen and application sharing and live chat.  Although it is not integrated into Blackboard the same way Collaborate Ultra is, recurring sessions corresponding to class meeting times can be easily scheduled in Zoom and the link to it posted in Blackboard.
These are the features which are currently included in our subscription:

  1. Unlimited meeting duration
  2. Up to 300 participants per meeting>
  3. Free VOIP and International Toll Number
  4. Polling
  5. Screen Sharing
  6. 24/7 Technical Support
How do I login to start using Zoom as a Host?

To start a meeting as a host (e.g. if you are Faculty member launching  class session, or a staff member hosting a meeting), follow the instructions below:

  1. Open a web browser (Microsoft Edge, Chrome and Firefox work best) and navigate to
  2. Click on “Sign In” towards the top right of the window
  3. When presented with this screen, select “Sign in with SSO”
  4. You will then be presented with this screen in which you would type “hostos-cuny-edu” as a prefix to “”; alternatively you could click on the “I don’t know my company domain” and it will present you with a screen to enter your HOSTOS E-MAIL ADDRESS. Click “Continue”
  5. You will then be presented with the Hostos login webpage where you will again enter your Hostos e-mail address, and in the password field, enter the password for your Hostos e-mail system, and click “Sign In”
  6. You’re done! Now you should see your Zoom account profile and you can begin to host meetings using the menu on the left or the top right of the page:

How do I join a Zoom meeting?
Joining a Zoom meeting is easy from any device. Just click on the link you received in the meeting invitation or on the course page and it will connect you to the meeting. You can sign in with your Hostos e-mail, or just connect as a guest. It is important to note that , ALL ZOOM MEETINGS WILL HAVE THE WAITING LOBBY FEATURE ENABLED BY DEFAULT. This is a company/platform setting and not determined by Hostos.
What if I already have a Zoom account which I created using my Hostos e-mail address? What if I want to use Zoom to teach classes?
Please contact the IT Service Desk (718 518-6646) immediately so that theycan coordinate with Zoom to try and move your settings, recordings, etc. over to your Single Sign On Hostos account and also to enable Zoom in Blackboard for you.
Where can I go to find some quick start tutorials or to sign up for live training?
Here are some web pages from Zoom that have great tutorials. You can also sign up for one of the live webinars, including one focused on Zoom for Education.
Who do I contact if I need help with Zoom?
Your first point of contact will still be the Hostos IT Service desk, especially if it relates to logging on or getting started. However, CUNY has assurances from Zoom that our Students, Faculty and Staff can also reach out to Zoom support using their online trouble ticket system directly.

Roadmap to Teaching Innovation

Roadmap to Teaching Innovation is a self-paced online course in Blackboard that covers the important basic and advanced features of Blackboard.  Current full-time and adjunct faculty are enrolled in the course and are free to navigate throughout the course and look up specific Blackboard topics.

To go directly to the Roadmap course, click on the following link: Roadmap to Teaching Innovation.

If you are a current faculty member and cannot access the course or do not see it in your My Courses module, click on the following link to enroll: Roadmap to Teaching Innovation Self-Enrollment.

To learn more about Roadmap to Teaching Innovation, click on the following link:  Roadmap to Teaching Innovation page.

Hostos is a national leader in introducing and facilitating innovative ways of using recording/video streaming applications and smart mobile devices in teaching and learning. Please talk to us about how we can help you in your plans to go online both for your classroom and distance.

Roadmap to Teaching Innovation Contact:

If you have any questions about the Roadmap course please contact:


Hostos Blackboard Support

One-on-one support
The members of the EdTech Office Staff in Room C-559 provide help with Blackboard on a walk-in basis.  Please check the hours and contact information of EdTech staff posted on this website.  For support while off campus, please contact EdTech at





CUNY’s Blackboard Support Site
The site:

which is also a tab on your Blackboard home page, has information on CUNY’s Blackboard, updates, user guides and links and contact information about Blackboard support on all CUNY campuses.

Throughout the semester workshops are offered on Blackboard and its various tools and features and how they can be used in your instruction, whether you teach online or classroom only. To see the schedule for upcoming workshops, click on the following link:

Faculty Workshops: Online Registration

or the link in the menu on the right.


Go to User Guides in CUNY’s Blackboard site:

CUNY Blackboard User Guides

Most of the information on the print tutorials, and more, can also be found on the Roadmap to Teaching Innovation course (see above).


  1. To get to Blackboard you must have your CUNYfirst ID and password. From the Hostos Community College home page, click on ‘Login To’ > ‘Blackboard’.
  2. The CUNYfirst login will appear:CUNY Login
  3. CUNY Login ID:This password expires every three months. Besides CUNYfirst, The CUNY Login ID and password is also used to access Blackboard. When you click on any link to Blackboard, it will take you to the Blackboard login page. Type in your CUNYfirst username followed by, then your CUNYfirst password in the password field. For example, if CUNYfirst username is john.smith22, the username you enter to login to Blackboard must be The username field is already populated with the part, as shown below.


Have basic computer-use skills, and a familiarity with accessing the internet, browsers, pop-ups, plugins, productivity software such as Microsoft Office, and media players such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, VLC.

You should have access to high-speed internet service, such as DSL or FIOS. If you lack that at home you can use the computers in the computer labs, library or open spaces. Also, places like Starbucks and even McDonalds offer WIFI service.

Online courses will be using Blackboard 9.1…

…and to successfully complete online courses you will need access to a well-working computer and a fast internet connection. If you don’t own such a setup then you will need to consider an alternative plan, such as using the computers in the computer labs. Make sure you have administrative rights to your computer so that you can install software like browser updates and plugins.


The computers in your campus computer lab are all equipped with the necessary browsers and plugins needed to participate in an online course.


Internet Connection

  • High speed* network service such as Cable or DSL
    Note: using dial-up is possible but you may experience performance issues with certain Blackboard features
  • Device connected to network through cable (ethernet) or strong, stable wifi
  • Especially for online exams it is recommended that the network connection be ethernet rather than wifi


  • 2 GB of RAM (2 GB or higher optimal)
  • 1 GB of free disk space
  • Sound card and speakers

Supported Browsers & Operating Systems

Click on the following link for Blackboard’s report on the operating systems currently supporting Blackboard 9.1:
Blackboard 9.1 Browser and Operating System Support

Smart Phones and other mobile devices:  Blackboard uses responsive design, which mean that the layout of the Blackboard page changes to accomodate the smaller dimensions of the mobile device screen if the course, allowing instructors and students to access and view the course using the device’s browser.   Although the course is highly viewable in Responsive design view and some tools function normally, the assessment tools, like Tests, Assignments, SafeAssignments and Turnitin assignments should be administered and taken on a desktop and laptop computer only!  

  • Web Browser
    For the latest information on browsers supported by Blackboard go to Link: Browser Support

Important Notes on Browsers

  • Unsupported
  • Safari
    Note: Safari for Windows is an exception. Apple’s continued support for this browser is unclear, and Blackboard does not test it.
  • AOL browser is not supported by Blackboard. However, an AOL connection can be used with one of the supported browsers to access Blackboard.
  • To check if your current browser is ready for Blackboard 9.1, including plug-ins and settings, click on the following link: Browser Compatibility Check
  • Browser Plugins and Players
    A browser plugin is an add-in software component that that adds a specific feature to it. Many of these are “players”, plugins that give the user the ability to use various audio and video filetypes. Your professors may post files that require users to have various players and plugins installed on their computers. The following are the most commonly recommended ones in courses using various media:
  • Java Plug-in
  • Apple Quick Time
  • Apple iTunes
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader
  • Windows Media Player
  • VLC Media Player
  • Microsoft Silverlight

Video Tutorials

Getting Oriented with Blackboard Learn

How To Design Your Course Entry Point

Getting Started With Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

How to Add a Tool Link to Your Course

How To Make Your Course Available to Students

How to Create Announcements in Your Course

How to Send Email in Blackboard Learn

Blackboard Inline Grading for Assignments with Annotate

Using the Content Editor

How to Create Discussion Board Forums

How to Create a Blog

How to Create a Journal

How To Create and Manage Wikis

How to Create a Mashup

How to Create a Rubric for Grading Student Work

How to Grade Using a Rubric

How To Create a Test in Blackboard Learn

How to Build a Pool of Test Questions

How to Upload Test Questions from Microsoft Excel

How to Export and Import a Test or Survey

How to Set Test Options

Color Code the Grade Center

How to Create a Smart View of Grade Center Data

How to Download and Upload Grades from the Grade Center

Using Item Analysis in Blackboard Learn

The Retention Center in Blackboard

Other online resources, rich media, hardware and software

The EdTech Media Center offers powerful software and hardware technology to capture and record lessons, classroom activities and  quickly and easily be make them available as streaming media and podcasts.



ePortfolios are a way for students to curate and showcase their best work. Create your own ePortfolio by visiting and using your Hostos credentials (email username and password) to log in.

ePortfolio Contacts

For questions concerning ePortfolios and how you can start an ePortfolio program for your classes:

Iber Poma
Room C-559


Panopto – The Panopto Building Block allows us to add powerful media tools to Blackboard, combing the best features of video sharing, webcam recording, screen recording, and more all within the Blackboard Learn environment. Creating and sharing multimedia learning content is easier than ever using this intuitive tool.  To learn more about Panopto, as well as the Panopto Initiative, click on the following link:
Panopto at Hostos


VideoScribe – is a powerful application that allows users with little or no design and drawing skills to create professional quality whiteboard animation and presentation videos.   Images, text, music and voiceover can be added to to the creations.  EdTech has licenses for VideoScribe and its staff can assist you in creating your presentations.  Please contact EdTech to learn more.


Adobe Creative Suite – Hostos Community College owns a site license that permits the applications of the Adobe Creative Suite – including Photoshop, Illustrator,  InDesign, Premiere, AfterEffects, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, Flash and others.  To have them installed on your Hostos-issued computer (not your personal computer!) you need to place a job request to the Hostos IT office. To do that go to this link:
Submit an IT Job Request


Faculty may borrow laptop computers, webcams and iPads from EdTech.  In addition, faculty are free to use the computers in Rooms C-556 and C-559.

Equipment Loan Contact:

Iber Poma

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