E-learning Technology Problems

E-learning Technology Problems: How to Help Your Students Fix Them

E-learning technology causes headaches for many online students.

The technology issues create problems right across different student demographics.
It doesn’t matter whether the students are digital natives, or not.

Of course, you’ll need to refer most students with e-learning technology issues to the experts on the IT Helpdesk. They are, after all, trained and qualified to resolve issues with your LMS.

But depending on IT staffing levels, workload and student numbers, there may be delays in students getting their issues resolved.

And some online learning technology questions can be answered quickly by us – the online educators who work with the LMS every day, and who know our students and what they need to access.

So if your students run into the following kinds of issues, you just might be able to offer a solution yourself. And when you can, you remove another obstacle in your students’ journey towards completing your online course.

10 E-learning Technology Issues You Can Likely Solve for Your Students

1.  When a computer can no longer be used

If a student’s computer is stolen, broken or can’t be used at all, there’s not much the Helpdesk can do.
But you can step in and make some practical suggestions.

Such as:

  • Does your organisation offer short-term laptop loans?
    If so, send the student the link to the relevant office so they set up getting a temporary replacement.
  • Can the student use the on-campus computer lab in the meantime?
  • Will an extension on an upcoming assignment help while they access an alternative computer to work on?


e-learning technology broken computer


2.  A student is having problems accessing the internet

If the student lives in a remote area or is travelling, they might not have reliable access to the internet.
Try suggesting:

  • They download relevant course information and assignment instructions before they leave or when they do have access.
  • Is there a computer lab or public cafe they can access?

3.  When a student can’t upload an assignment to the LMS

If the problem with uploading is happening is at the student’s end, that’s an IT Helpdesk issue.
But before you refer them to the Helpdesk, check these factors:

  • Have they exceeded the number of uploads allowable for the assignment in the LMS?
    If so, can you open up another attempt?
  • Did they remember to click the submit button?
  • Does the file exceed the allowable size?
    If this is the problem, can they remove some large images/graphics or split the document into two and upload them separately?


e-learning technology assignment won't upload


4.  A student can’t find course materials or reading on the LMS

Often a student will send you a frustrated email when they can’t locate a relevant section of the LMS.

Help them find the area they need by taking these actions:

  • Make section labels intuitive and self-explanatory.
  • Advise them to spend 10 minutes clicking through the different sections and becoming familiar with what’s available under the labels.
  • Point them to an orientation video for the LMS if your organisation offers one.

5.  Microphones or webcams don’t work in Zoom or other video lessons

E-learning technology issues during live video lessons can be really disruptive.
Spending time during the session trying to resolve these issues can mean you don’t cover all the content you were hoping to get through.

Try this:

  • Sometimes the issue is as simple as the microphone or camera not being switched on. Pointing this out can be an instant fix.
  • It can be helpful to give students instructions for preparing for a video lesson, including making sure their version of the software is up to date, and testing their microphone and camera before the session begins.
  • Can you record the session so that those who can’t participate can at least access the content after the session?


e-learning technology Zoom won't work


6.  A student can’t post to discussion boards

Discussion boards can be a surprisingly stressful part of an online course.
Students can be worried about making the ‘wrong’ kind of answer and risking public embarrassment.
But if the problem is technical rather than confidence-related:

  • Check if they clicked the submit button. Or did they accidentally Save as a Draft?
  • Point out it can be helpful to save their work to a Word file first so they don’t have to re-create their answer from scratch in future if this happens again.

7.  A student’s assignment file has not been submitted

Sometimes if students are stressed about completing and submitting assignments on time, they rush the final stage of the uploading process and don’t fully read the instructions.

If the student claims they have submitted the work, but you can’t see the file:

  • Check if they have an automatically generated submission receipt issued by the LMS.
  • If not, they haven’t completed the process and need to do it again.
  • And if they HAVE gone through the correct process in full but there’s no sign of the file, this is an IT Helpdesk issue.


e-learning technology assignment not submitted


8.  A student can’t find due dates for assignments

This is a problem with navigating the e-learning technology.
It happens when the student is not familiar with the LMS and is not sure where to find what they need.

Here’s how to help:

  • Publish assignment due dates in three key areas: the calendar section of the LMS, list them in your welcome email to students, and post them as an Announcement.
  • Use the e-learning technology to add a further failsafe, by scheduling reminders in the LMS which go out to students a week before assignments are due.

9.  A student needs after-hours technical support

Often, the IT Helpdesk staff are not available outside of office hours or on the weekend – which is when many online students are accessing the LMS.
Ironically, this is when they are most likely to have issues they can’t resolve on their own.

When this happens:

  • Let students know that they should still email the Helpdesk with their problem, so that it is added to the work queue, and can be addressed during work hours.
  • In the meantime, it’s helpful if they email you and let you know that they’re having technical issues.
    Then, when you access your own email during work hours, you can discuss the possibility of an extension if appropriate – and also reassure them that you’ve noted their problems and they won’t be penalised for a technical issue outside of their control.
    This alone is a massive stress reducer.


e-learning technology after hours support


10.  A student is unaware they have access to plagiarism detection software

Often students who submit assignments which include plagiarised content don’t know that the LMS has plagiarism software THEY can use (just like we can).

So make sure they know how to access it:

  • Let students know they have access to this software – include the information in an Announcement, with instructions on how to use it.
  • Encourage students to go through the Draft submission process (including the plagiarism software) before uploading their Final file for grading.

E-learning technology issues are frustratingly common.

They happen regularly – and often at the most high pressure times of a semester.
Many technical issues are certainly best addressed by the professionals on the IT Helpdesk.

But there are some e-learning technology problems that online teachers can fix.
With these simple, practical approaches to resolving the issues, you can make sure that technology issues don’t become significant obstacles to student achievement.

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