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Family development online courses

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Help...I’m Having Problems with this Online Course

We know it can be frustrating when you are taking an online course and something is confusing or not working the way it should.

If your problem is more content-related vs. technology-related, direct your issue to the course instructors as listed in the online course.

If you are taking an online course and are requesting specific ADA-related accommodations, direct your request to Heather Lee (; 612-626-6602).

If your issue is related to your username and/or password, see Help...I’m Having Problems with My Username or Password.

Many of the most common experienced problems will be fixed by these easy-to-follow steps.

Step 1: Make Sure You’re Using the Right Web Browser

Moodle courses work best with the Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome web browsers. While you can view the course in other web browsers, it increases your chances of experiencing technological problems (not being able to play a video, a video or file not appearing to be available, not being able to access your certificate, etc.). If you are using a different browser than Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, try switching to one of these. It may solve the problem.

Download a free copy of either software by visiting their websites and following the instructions for installing the browser on your computer.

Step 2: Try a Different Browser

Even if you are using Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome web browsers, you still might experience a technological problem at some point due to a slow network, etc. (These are often the problems that we cannot replicate later, as they are user computer specific, time specific, etc.) In this case, try using the other browser for the moment. It might solve the problem.

Step 3: Ensure You Can View Pop-ups

Many of the online course require you to access information that appears as a “pop-up.” You may have your computer set-up so that you cannot readily see pop-ups. You have a couple of different options for viewing pop-ups. Click on the link below to learn how to disable pop-ups in the browser you are using.

Step 4: Make Sure You Complete All Required Content

Many of the online courses have particular components that need to be completed BEFORE other components can be accessed, or they are not available until after a certain date. Here are some examples.

When you take an online course, it is important to read instructions and note which things are required and which ones are not. Unless the course specifically tells you to “jump around” the course as your interests lie, or to complete what you want (e.g., you don’t need to complete everything), you should assume that all course components are required for completion.

If there is a part of the course that isn’t available to you until a particular date, just wait until that date has passed and try accessing the information at that time.

Step 5: Try Clearing Your Cookies

Many websites saved "cookies" within your browser to track your interaction with their site. Sometimes the cookies prevent you from refreshing your window or advancing within a course. To alleviate this problem, try clearing the Moodle cookie (anything ending in ""). Once you have cleared that cookie, you will need to log back into Moodle. Find out more on How do I clear my web browsers cache cookies, and history? Note: It is recommended that you remove individual cookies vs. deleting all of your cookies. There may be some saved information like a user name on a purchasing site or blog that you may miss.

Step 6: Try Clearing Your Cache

Your computer automatically records interactions of all files you’ve downloaded, software that has been downloaded to allow you to open other files (“installers”), etc. This is called “cache.” Since online courses often involve you opening multiple documents and file types, your browser window may not refresh properly. This may lead to you not being able to open a file when you click on it, pausing in the middle of a video that you are playing, etc. To alleviate this problem, try clearing your cache. Find out more on How do I clear my web browsers cache cookies, and history?

Step 7: Try Connecting via a Different internet Network

Online courses often involve large files. If you are viewing the online course through a slow internet connection (e.g., dial up), or an unreliable internet connection (e.g., one that becomes slow at certain periods of the day, when it is cloudy, etc.), you may experience difficulty accessing and/or completing those online course components that have the largest files (e.g., viewing videos, downloading large documents, etc.). To alleviate this problem, try connecting to a different internet network for that particular online course component if you are able. For example, try completing that part of the course at break over work, at the library, at a friend’s house, etc.

Step 8: Try Connecting via a Different Device

When all else fails, it may be worth trying to access the particular online course component you are having difficulties with on a different device. Historically, people had difficulties with accessing online courses via iPads and some brands of phones. That being said, many of those issues have been resolved. Given that your access of the online course is device specific — effected by which internet browser are using any limits you have set on your device, the memory and speed of your device, your internet connectivity, etc. — sometimes trying a different device is the only step that works.

Step 9: Contact the Instructor

If you’ve tried all the above steps and you are still experiencing problems with an online course, contact the instructor that is listed in the online course. He or she may be able to give guidance in case the issue has been dealt with before. If not, he or she will direct you to someone in the Family Development Educational Resource Development office or someone at the University of Minnesota Information Technology office.

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