Live and interactive online classes

Participate in a web-conference class at Harvard from anywhere in the world. At a scheduled time each week, you connect to a virtual room and interact with faculty and fellow students via web-conferencing software.

Learn about the experience of web-conference courses from faculty in this video.

Find a course

You can find web-conference courses using the course search.

System requirements and access

The web-conference classes employ third-party software, either Adobe Connect or Blackboard Collaborate. The software is listed in the course description.

Before you enroll, review these requirements to ensure you have what you need to take the course. Once enrolled, a few days before the semester begins, you can log into online services to find the link to your virtual classroom.

Audio

You must have a combination headphone/microphone compatible with your system. You will need the type of headset used for VoiP (Voice over Internet Protocol, e.g. Skype). Participating without using correct equipment can create a recurring echo in the audio, which is distracting for all those present in the course.

Your instructor may initially limit your use of audio until the students are better acquainted with the software. You will always be able to communicate with the instructor and other students using the chat window provided.

Blackboard Collaborate v12.5

Visit the first time users page on the Blackboard Collaborate website and complete the four steps that are described on that page.

The tools on this page will:

  • Check to see that your operating system and version of Java meet the minimum requirements for v12.5
  • Help you get the correct version of Java if you do not have it
  • Allow you to test your audio setup
  • Give you a brief orientation to the software

You should go to the configuration room to set up and test your audio, and view the online orientation in step 3 for first time users. The Participant Quick Reference Guide will give you a screen shot and information about the various tools available in the interface.

Adobe Connect

Visit the Connection Test page on the Adobe website.

The tools on this page will:

  • Check to see that your operating system and version of Java meet the minimum requirements
  • Help you get the correct version of Flash if you do not have it
  • Give you a brief orientation to the software

You should then view the Online Participant Orientation for first-time users. The Quick Start for Participants will give you information about the various tools available in the interface.

Getting help

After completing the steps above, if you still have problems either in configuring your computer or when you try to attend class call:

  • (617) 495-4024 Mondays through Fridays from 9 am to 5 pm eastern time
  • (617) 998-8571 Mondays through Fridays, 5 pm to midnight; Saturdays, 9 am to 10 pm; and Sundays, noon to 10 pm eastern time. 
  • Or e-mail dce-distance-ed@harvard.edu.