Academic Technology

Leadership & Staff

Chris Roth

Christopher Roth
Associate Director of Academic Technology

Chris Roth Bio

Kristina Baines

Kristina Baines
Associate Professor of Anthropology,
Academic Technology Area Coordinator

Kristina Baines Bio & Directory Info

Samuel Finesurrey
Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Academic Technology Area Coordinator

Samuel Finesurrey Bio

Carolyn Stallard

Carolyn Stallard
Instructional Designer

Carolyn Stallard Bio

To prepare for remote course delivery during the Fall I 2020 semester in the wider context of the COVID-19 pandemic, 100% of Guttman full-time faculty, nearly all part-time faculty, and a number of staff have completed the four-week Online Course Development Program on best practices in online instruction. This training expands on the Online Teaching Essentials Foundational Workshop offered by the CUNY School of Professional Studies by incorporating discussion, assignments, and resources on trauma; Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP); Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and neurodiversity; as well as embedding open educational resources (OER) and information literacy within courses. The Online Course Development Program ensures that all faculty and interested staff are prepared to offer asynchronous, online courses on Blackboard that are in line with Guttman’s Instructional Principles and our commitment to teaching excellence.

For more information, see the Center for Practice, Technology, and Innovation and the Online Course Development Program news release.

Resources for Teaching Remotely

Starting a Blackboard Collaborate Session


When opening your course you will find the Blackboard Collaborate feature under your course tools.

Blackboard Collaborate option under Course Tools in Course Management menu

1) On your course tools menu, select Blackboard Collaborate. Your Course Room will be available to join whenever you enter and begin instruction.

Join Room screen

You can edit the room settings and change roles/access and room attributes by selecting “Edit Room”

Edit Room screen

Edit Room options screen

2) You can add the link to the course to be shown in your content/information area for students to enter the live broadcasting.

Add Link to Course screen

Add Link to Course details screen

3) The room link will appear in the students Content Session

Content button under Course menu

Content details

4) You will be prompted to enable Microphone and Webcam when entering the room/session.

Enable microphone and webcam screen

5) When you enter your room, at the bottom you will see options to enable your audio and video for your class.

Mic and webcam options screen

6) On the left hand side you will see a menu icon with options to start a recording that will save in your blackboard collaborate section under recordings.

menu button Collaborate menuRecording options menu

7) On the lower right of the screen you will see an icon that will open up the Collaborate Chat for students and moderators.

Share Content optionsPurple menu buttonChat menu screen

8) You can share content with students during your session by selecting the third icon. You can also share your screen to present a PowerPoint presentation or video.

Speaker and Group Mode during Session

At the top right corner you will see an icon to change the displayed screen to Group mode or speaker mode which will put a preference on what screen is shown.

Arrow pointing to top left of the screen

9) To end your class and leave the session, go to the upper left hand side menu icon and at the bottom you will see Leave Session.

Starting a Blackboard Collaborate Ultra Session

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows for guest access to your session.  If you would like to invite guest speakers or guests from outside Guttman, you will need to create a new session using Blackboard Ultra.  Please see below for instructions on how to create this Blackboard Ultra Session:

1) To create a session select “Create Session”

Collaborate Ultra Create Sessionscreen

2) A window will open to input your session details. Set a start and end date/time for your session. You can also set an early entry for students to enter your class and wait for broadcasting to begin.

Sessions details screen

3) Set session settings for your session. Keep in mind that Participants can be your students/guests so you may need to remove access to share audio, video, or drawing on whiteboard/files. You can change these settings during broadcasting by going to your session chat settings.

Sessions settings screen

4) After setting the details and settings, you will be provided with an anonymous dial in for outside guests if needed. If you have an outside guest, you can set a role for participant, presenter, or moderator.

Guest role screenJoin session screen

5) Provide the guest link to your students or any other guests that you would like to attend the broadcast.

To be prepared in case of a temporary disruption, take the following actions now:

Make sure that you can log into all the Guttman Systems that you might need from your home computer and other devices. Make sure that you know the password for each of these systems and that all your operating systems are up-to-date and compatible with any software you might use. Contact the Guttman service desk for assistance if you encounter any problems.

Save any course teaching materials from your office computer to a place that you can access outside the office. Options include your CUNY Dropbox, ePortfolio, Microsoft Office 365, or a portable drive.

Make sure your students know the best way to reach you. In the event of a temporary disruption of campus operations, you may opt to communicate with students via email, voice mail, personal phone, or other tools.

Make sure you can change your voicemail message and access your office voicemail from home. Practice changing your office voicemail message. If you do not currently receive your voicemail message via email, contact the Guttman service desk to set this up.

Make sure you and your students can access library materials from home. Practice logging in to the Guttman Information Commons from home and remind students how to access materials.

Collect students’ preferred email addresses or phone numbers. This will give you an alternative way to contact students if you are unable to reach them in other ways.

Make basic information about your class available on Blackboard or ePortfolio. At a minimum, post your syllabus, and create an announcement with information about how students can contact you. If you plan to use another tool for course activities, link to it from Blackboard or ePortfolio. If you plan to use Blackboard, be sure to make your course available.

Make a plan for continuing to teach your course. In the event of a temporary disruption of campus operations, you will need a plan for accomplishing normal course activities, such as sharing course materials, communicating with students, collecting assignments, and giving exams.


General Considerations for Assignment Re-Design

In making any significant adjustment during times of disruption, it is also helpful to consider four overarching questions:


  • Key Objectives: What are my most important course objectives, or the knowledge, skills, and capacities a student in my class should achieve?
  • Accessibility: How can learning materials provided to students be accessible?
  • Transparency: How can I support students in understanding new assignments or expectations? The Transparency in Learning and Teaching (TILT) framework offers three core areas that instructors should intentionally communicate to students in any assignment (Winkelmes et al., 2016):
    • Purpose, or goals of the assignment
    • Task, or what you expect students to do and how they should complete the task
    • Criteria, or models of how students can be successful at the assignment, such as a rubric or examples of past student work (which students have given you permission to share)
  1. Student autonomy: In rethinking key assessments that align with those objectives, what are ways to give students a sense of control to mitigate anxiety about unforeseen disruptive events? Ideas for heightening students’ sense of flexibility and choice include allowing students to choose formats (e.g., a cell phone-recorded video or a written script of a presentation) or grading proportions (e.g., drop your lowest grade).


Making a Plan

Start by reviewing your course activities and selecting the comparable online equivalent to your teaching activity (discussion posts instead of in-class discussion, recorded lectures, online quizzes, etc.)

Once selected, review the further details on how to implement your specific course using Tools for Promoting Classroom Interaction, Assignments, Tests, and Quizzes, record your lectures and host virtual classrooms

Communicate the plan with you classes and spend some in-person time going over the plan, the platforms they will need to access, and their limitations in terms of access to technology in their homes. Accommodations may need to be made on a case by case basis.

Instructions for specific tools and strategies, see the Remote Teaching Resources on the Guttman working remotely website:

If your course is not active, it can’t be accessed by students. You can control when your course is private, or unavailable, to your students. You can quickly change the availability of your course in the top management area, by selecting the Make Available icon.

"Make Available" button screenshot

Course availability can also be set in the Control Panel:

  1. Under the Control Panel, click Customization.
  2. Click Properties.
  3. Under Set Availability, select Yes to make the course
  4. Click Submit.

Course availability selection screen

Video: How to Make a Course Available to Students

For Faculty:

Faculty utilizing Zoom, Blackboard Collaborate and other digital technology to deliver course curriculum/material must be sensitive to issues of privacy. Faculty offering classes through web conferencing digital technology like Zoom:

  • Must not record a student in a class session without the student’s consent.* To obtain consent, faculty who wish to record their class sessions must provide the following announcement, in emails, and/or class syllabus, to enrolled students and verbally at the opening of the first class session:Students who participate in this class with their camera on or use a profile image are agreeing to have their video or image recorded solely for the purpose of creating a record for students enrolled in the class to refer to, including those enrolled students who are unable to attend live. If you are unwilling to consent to have your profile or video image recorded, be sure to keep your camera off and do not use a profile image. Students who un-mute during class and participate orally are agreeing to have their voices recorded. If you are not willing to consent to have your voice recorded during class, you will need to keep your mute button activated and communicate exclusively using the “chat” feature, which allows students to type questions and comments live.
  • Must not use class recordings as a means of determining class attendance and are reminded that CUNY is classified by the U.S. Department of Education as a non-attendance taking institution. Doubts faculty may have regarding the identity of participants should be alleviated if faculty offer their classes through applications and resources that have been licensed by CUNY Central or their college and require a CUNY/College ID for login, thereby giving reasonable assurance that participants are CUNY students.

*For the avoidance of doubt, the prohibition on recording without consent does not apply to audio or video lectures of the faculty member only and that do not include a student participation component.

For Students:

CUNY discourages students from recording the sessions unless such recording is part of a reasonable accommodation under the law or is not prohibited by campus policy.

Communicate with Students

The most important thing you should do is communicate with your students early and often to give them information about changes to your course.

  • Let students know how often they can expect to hear from you (e.g., daily, weekly, etc.) and through what channels: (e.g., e-mail, Blackboard or ePortfolio, text messages, or a free messaging app like Remind).
  • Explain to students how they can communicate with you (e.g., e-mail, Blackboard inbox, phone, etc.).
  • Inform students of the expectations for attendance and participation under your modified teaching plan.
  • Tell students how the class will operate during the period of instructional modification.
  • Direct students to campus resources for addressing non-instructional needs (e.g., health and wellness, other campus websites).
  • Tell students to monitor official campus communication for updates from Guttman College:
  • Encourage students to practice daily preventative care: Wash hands frequently with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Stay home if you are sick. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, and school.


Asynchronous activities:

Discussion boards

These are great ways to get students to discuss a topic in writing.  They work best for open-ended discussions rather than for content delivery. They can be set up to limit access to other students’ replies until after they have posted their own responses. Professors can encourage discourse by having students post a response to a prompt, and then requiring them to respond to their classmates’ posts with meaningful responses. Such responses should go beyond mere statements that agree with the comment they are replying to and encourage further discussion.

  • ePortfolio discussion boards: You can access discussion boards in ePortfolio through the course shell.
  • Blackboard: The Blackboard discussion board is a versatile tool, and a great choice if you already use Blackboard since you can integrate a rubric and link directly to your course’s grade book.
    • Instructor guides for creating and managing discussion boards in Blackboard: Discussions


Record Lectures and Virtual Classrooms

Record your presentations/lectures: (Asynchronous)

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a video conferencing tool that you can also use to record lectures. See below for its use as a virtual classroom.

Create a Virtual Classroom: (Synchronous)

You can create a virtual classroom for your students to join synchronously. This is useful if your class uses a lot of real-time discussions, sharing of multimedia resources that will be discussed, and synchronous discussion or group work.

Click here for Virtual Classroom Best Practices

Note: Synchronous virtual classrooms require high-speed connections from all participants. If you worry about that being an issue, consider an asynchronous option.


Blackboard Collaborate Ultra

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra is a video conferencing and virtual classroom tool that exists within your Blackboard Course. It allows you to share PowerPoint and resources with your students, host small group discussions, and conduct polls. For best results and access to all features- you must use the Google Chrome web browser

Getting Started: Finding your way around, setting up audio and video

Schedule Collaborate Ultra Sessions: Set up new sessions, Edit availability

Share Content: Share Powerpoint slides, the Virtual Whiteboard, your screen

Manage Attendees: Understanding the different roles, handling “Hand raising”, and allowing a student to speak.

Breakout groups: Set up the groups, using the timer to remind them of the time remaining.

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra allows students to automatically be assigned to “break-out groups” within the same Collaborate Session. Essentially, the students attending the collaborative session are split into groups of a specific size  (as determined by the professor) within the Collaborate session. This gives each group more able to discuss topics at hand to a greater degree than they could in the larger online environment.  After a set amount of time determined by the instructor, students are returned to the main room. This can be done in conjunction with a Google Slides presentation where each student group works on a slide in a collaboratively shared document.


Assignments, Tests, and Quizzes


Assignments tend to be documents, presentations, or reports that a student would normally physically hand in. If that’s not possible, you can collect assignments using various methods including the campus-supported Learning Management Systems- Blackboard and ePortfolio.


  • Create assignments in your Blackboard course and grade them online. Be sure to use the Assessments interface when you set up the assignments. It creates a virtual dropbox for students to submit their files. Blackboard will automatically attach their names to the files, so it’s easy for you to keep track of them.


  • You can post an assignment in one or more classes in the course shell. You can create a rubric or provide feedback on assignments here.

Online tests or quizzes

Blackboard Quizzes and Tests

You can use tests and surveys to measure student knowledge, gauge progress, and gather information from students.

Verification of student identity is the confirmation of two conditions: 1) that the correct student has access to the course for which they are registered; and 2) that this individual is indeed performing the work for the duration of the entire course. Fully online courses at Guttman Community College are set up and conducted to meet both conditions in ways that meet or exceed established practice in classroom-based courses.

CUNY offers a unified CUNY Login service that provides a set of account credentials (username and password) for many University-wide applications, including Blackboard, which is CUNY’s current learning management system (LMS). Underpinning the credentials for these applications is an EMPLID, a unique identification number assigned to every CUNY student, faculty, and staff member in CUNYfirst, the University’s Enterprise Resource Planning system.

All students participating in fully online instruction offered at Guttman must log in to their Blackboard course sites using their CUNY login credentials. To ensure compliance with FERPA privacy rules and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) cybersecurity recommendations, strict access controls that include full encryption are in place for all Blackboard access.

This secure login is a student’s only means of access to the LMS. Students are registered for their online courses through CUNYfirst, which imports registration information directly into the LMS without any action on the part of students, faculty, or staff beyond the regular registration process. Only duly registered students and the instructor of record appear on the roster of any online course. Furthermore, every action within a course site registers on the extensive tracking features of Blackboard, which records the time and duration of every user action by a user and the part of the site involved, even if a student does not post.

Supplementing these technical means of verifying student identity and activity is the extent of student and faculty interaction that characterizes online instruction at Guttman. Students introduce themselves, often through sharing prior knowledge and current interest in a course’s subject, and may write multiple posts weekly, including responses to classmates as well to the instructor’s prompts and discussion questions. Students may also maintain individual or group journals, blogs, and/or wikis, or post videos for assignments and discussion. Such intentional interaction creates a high degree of familiarity and even intimacy within each course. Both student orientation and faculty development stress the importance of “social presence” through self-presentation and interaction, including but not limited to:

  • use of student photos and videos, especially in self-introductions
  • participation in learning communities
  • work in groups and teams
  • plagiarism checkers (to ensure work that the work submitted by the student is the student’s own)
  • synchronous (“real-time”) conferencing (by both voice and video)
  • asynchronous conferencing (by both voice and video)

Though not all of the above tools and practices are implemented in every online course, instructors select and apply those best suited to creating and fostering interpersonal connections in their specific courses (e.g., work in teams and group projects as well as supervision of such work). As a result, the means of verifying student identity in online instruction rival or surpass those used in in-person instruction.

Blackboard logoBlackboard is an online course management system that enables instructors to provide students with course documents, online assignments and assessments, individual grades and other learning materials and tools. These online materials and activities can complement face-to-face teaching and can be used to develop hybrid or online courses.

CUNY automatically generates a Blackboard course for every class taught at Guttman. Instructors and students can access Blackboard through the MyGuttman portal or directly through CUNYfirst.

If instructors choose to use Blackboard in their courses, they have to make the course available to students at the beginning of the semester. Below are links to resources to help you get started with Blackboard.

Blackboard Basics: Faculty Introduction

Blackboard Basics: Making Your Course Available 

Blackboard Basics: Collaborate Ultra for Faculty 

Blackboard Basics: Invite Attendees to Your Collaborate Ultra Sessions 

CUNY Blackboard Faculty User Guides

Blackboard Videos for Instructors

Blackboard Supported Browsers

Blackboard App: There are separate app versions for students and instructors. When logging into the app for the first time, enter the school name CUNY – Guttman Community College. To see if your content will display in the app, refer to the support guide.

The CUNY “Blackboard Basics” training course is available to you. This self-paced course is a guide for utilizing the various features and tools of the Blackboard platform for your teaching. If you do not see the training listed under My Courses, please contact

Blackboard Basics: Videos for Guttman Students

Blackboard Basics: Student Information Guide

Blackboard Basics: Update Your Email in Blackboard 

Blackboard Basics: Collaborate Ultra for Students

Blackboard Basics: Accessing Collaborate Ultra Recordings

CUNY Blackboard Student User Guides

Blackboard Help Videos for Students

Blackboard Supported Browsers

Blackboard App: When logging into the app for the first time, enter the school name “CUNY – Guttman Community College.”

All students have access to the “Are You Ready? Online Student Readiness Course” on Blackboard. The course contains a self-assessment tool for online learning and consists of five sections including brief videos summarizing the material, quizzes, a practice assignment, a discussion forum, and support resources. The course takes approximately forty-five minutes to complete. Join the Are You Ready? Online Student Readiness Course and enter the access code learning to enroll and begin the course.

For Blackboard support, students should contact the Helpdesk:

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 am–8 pm
Phone: 646-313-8008

Starfish logoStarfish is a student retention and success system that Guttman began using during the 2015-2016 academic year. Guttman uses Starfish to promote engagement among students, advisors, faculty, and staff in order to create a more equitable college. We recognize that success is a moving target and that students need different kinds of encouragement at different times. The challenge is knowing which students are facing which obstacles or having which successes – and then getting that information into the hands of the people who can help.

Guttman believes that students can succeed when they are engaged with an informed, connected campus community. Within any institution, there are a myriad of support services designed to help students overcome challenges and attain their goals. Starfish helps to achieve these goals with early alerts/warnings, online appointment scheduling, and case management. The platform encourages students to engage more deeply in their academic lives by connecting them to the people and resources best equipped to help them succeed.

All full- and part-time faculty are expected to use Starfish regularly to award kudos, raise flags, and make referrals for students to various support services at the College. Please see the Faculty/Staff Starfish Handbook for more information about the ways you can help students “Connect to Success” with Starfish. Professional development is available online or in person. For more information or questions, please email