Mobile Device Distribution for more information, contact the Provost Office at    CIS in support of all the activities underway has created a new website to support those receiving iPads and Chromebooks – 

President's Video Message

CUNY has instituted a Recalibration Period for Educational Equity, beginning this Friday, March 27, through Wednesday April 1. Distance learning will resume on Thursday, April 2. This period will allow our colleges to fine-tune distance learning practices and ensure that all students have access to the equipment they need to complete their academic requirements this spring. The University’s previously scheduled Spring Recess will now run from Wednesday April 8 through Friday April 10. CUNY will grant the customary exemptions to those observing religious celebrations during the week of April 13.

The Recalibration Period will be in place throughout CUNY with some important exceptions: Programs and courses that were being taught online before the broader move to distance learning can proceed, with the authorization of campus presidents and deans. Guttman, LaGuardia and Kingsborough Community Colleges will not be impacted, nor will the School of Professional Studies, the Graduate Center, the School of Law, the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, the Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and the School of Labor and Urban Studies. These schools will observe the spring recess as scheduled.

Visit CUNY’s coronavirus page for details, and your college’s website for campus-specific information.


Blackboard Faculty and Student Quick-Start Guides

Using Blackboard and Blackboard Collaborate on Chromebooks

As you know, several Blackboard Administrators and faculty have expressed concerns that Blackboard Collaborate would not work on the Chromebooks that CUNY has attained for designated students, staff and faculty.  CUNY CIS received today official assurances from Blackboard, Inc. that Blackboard Collaborate is indeed compatible with Chromebooks.  CIS staff have also tested Collaborate on the Chromebook from both the instructor and student perspective and found that it works smoothly.  We also validated operations such as using the whiteboard, polling, uploading PowerPoint and breakout rooms.  Additionally, Blackboard Learn student and instructor Chromebook browser tests indicate overall compatibility with the exception that the pop-up blocker should be disabled. 

CIS is informing the Blackboard Administrators and the Service Desks of the compatibility and test results, as well as sharing with them instructions they developed for getting on Blackboard Collaborate from a Chromebook.  These instructions will also be posted on the Blackboard support page  and on a support site for those receiving Chromebooks and iPads

Blackboard Collaborate mobile app web conferencing allows users of Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing to connect to their sessions on the Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone devices.

Blackboard student app, can be used to access classes, and for students that prefer to use the browser, they should install Google Chrome to properly access Blackboard on the iPads (the built-in Safari browser will not work correctly with Blackboard)


After Hour Support for Faculty, Staff, and Students

Starting tonight (3/20/2020), students and faculty with a pressing Blackboard question can call Blackboard for assistance in using Blackboard when campus help desks and Blackboard administrators are unavailable. This after hours Blackboard support will be available by telephone:

  • weeknights - between 8:00pm and 8:00 the next morning
  • weekends – all day and night on Saturdays and Sunday

CUNY has contracted with Blackboard to provide this telephone support as an additional service to our students and faculty to ensure coverage when the campus help desks are closed and Blackboard administrator support to students and faculty is unavailable.  Please see After Hours Blackboard Support for information on how to access this after hours support service as well as examples of the Blackboard support provided.

Contingency plan to temporarily disable specific Blackboard Collaborate features to sustain unprecedented global adoption

We have been carefully monitoring Collaborate as more schools and organizations increase their use, and we have already taken specific measures to optimize its reliability.  In the coming weeks, we are projecting an unprecedented increase in the use of Collaborate in different regions around the world. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to maintain the highest continuity of service possible, we have made the decision to disable specific features that can impact overall system stability. These features are:

  • Timer (a countdown timer that helps with classroom time management)
  • Chat typing indicator (a visual indicator that someone is typing but have not yet completed their thought. The chat feature itself will still be available.)
  • Netstats indicator (a visual indicator of connection quality next to each user)
  • Reducing the number of video thumbnails from 4 to 2 (this is the maximum number of thumbnails visible in the grid view) 

We believe that the removal of these features will not significantly impact the overall Collaborate user experience, which will still include video, screen sharing, chat, a virtual whiteboard, and other favorite features. We believe that disabling them is in the best interest of our global client community. Consistent, reliable service is our top priority. We expect to reinstate these features once we have more information about how the system is performing and we continue to make improvements.


Training and Technology Support


All computer labs are currently closed. 

  • Visit our Virtual Computer Lab for assistance.  The “lab” will be open, Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 8:00pm to answer any of your technology training questions or to direct you to the appropriate technology department.

After Hours Support 

  • Please email the Technology Training team for assistance.  Someone will get back to you during regular business hours. Blackboard Support will be provided by Blackboard @ After Hours Blackboard Support

Contact Information: 

  • Information Technology: The Helpdesk and Training team continue to actively monitor emails and voicemails however email communications is highly recommended. For fastest response, we encourage you to email a detailed message to or Thank you for your patience.
  • Training (; 718-982-2348)
  • Faculty Center (; 718-982-3909)   
  • Modern Languages (  718-982.4155)
  • Information Technology Health Check 

Additional Resources: Distance Learning

Webex, Blackboard Collaborate, and Microsoft Teams are three ready-to-go solutions for the colleges to use for virtual classrooms and distance learning. 

Additional Resourcs: Respondus tool for exam and proctoring 

CIS: We are making progress on the Respondus tool for exam and proctoring.  Our partners in the Office of the General Counsel’s office has approved the current agreement for the trial period and that will get us moving for now.  We will need a final approved agreement to go beyond the free trial period and have already started that work.   What we are planning to implement is below and our plan and timeline is being finalized.  I will keep you posted as we finalize the details including a training approach for faculty.

  • Respondus Lockdown Browser
    – A tool that locks down student computer to prevent cheating during exams.  Integrates with Blackboard using the exam/assessment created with any tool (not necessarily Respondus  4 (see below).  Assessments are displayed full-screen and cannot be minimized
  • Respondus Monitor
    – An automated solution that uses students webcam to record and analyze student exam sessions
  • Respondus 4 - Assessment / Creation Tool (not included in the price quote)
    –This is not needed to use the other features of Respondus so our recommendation is to conduct a survey to see  if CUNY needs an enterprise license for an assessment authoring tool.  We have been told that assessments can be created with multiple tools (including MS Word) and moved into Blackboard.

We have been informed and shared with our partners in the Office of Academic Affairs that the Respondus platform does integrate with Blackboard Learn but the Lockdown Browser tool does not work on Chromebooks or android devices. The Respondus tool works fine on Apple iOS and iPads and windows based browsers. The company is working to make this compatible but there is no ETA as of now.  We are exploring ways to get around this limitation like using the Enterprise VDI environment and buying other online exam solutions.  If you have any suggestions for other solutions please share them ASAP.

Free internet service 

  • The Verizon Innovative Learning Schools Connection website has a number of resources including tips to prepare for and implement robust digital learning plans and Verizon’s partner Digital Promise has helpful COVID-19 online learning resources and FAQs.
  • Altice USA and Charter Communications both announced on March 13, 2020 that they would offer free broadband services to students taking online classes.  Both providers cover different parts of New York City.

1. Charter Communications

2. Altice USA

  • Students can call (844) 488-8395 to enroll
  •  Eligible students can call 866-200-9522 to enroll

In addition, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and Comcast have announced additional services during the coronavirus outbreak, such as the removal of data caps and waiver of late fees.  Students should check with their individual carriers for these arrangements.


  • Term-active CUNY students can now download Adobe Creative Cloud applications to their personal devices. Students can go to and use their CUNY Login username to authenticate and select which Adobe Creative Cloud applications to install.
  • Student instructions on Accessing Adobe Creative Cloud are available online and will be available from the IT Resources for Remote Work & Teaching page.
  • Adobe is making temporary at-home access to Creative Cloud available until May 31, 2020 for universities who currently have only lab access for students, at no additional cost.
  • Adobe provides a student asset migration portal that enables graduating students to transfer the assets associated with their assigned school account to a personal account.
  • Adobe will be sharing a curated set of resources soon on the Adobe Education Exchange website to help faculty with their transition to online instruction.
  • Term-active CUNY students can now download Adobe Creative Cloud applications to their personal devices. Students can go to and use their CUNY Login username to authenticate and select which Adobe Creative Cloud applications to install.

Students having problems accessing the Adobe downloads? 


Free Software:

  • Texas Instruments is offering free six-month calculator emulator software subscriptions to teachers and students for TI-84 Plus, TI-30XS, TI-34 MultiView and TI-Nspire CX calculators. Calculator guide books and tutorials are available online as well.


Student Helpful Links

CUNY Helpful Links

Health & Wellness Resources

For further questions about preventative measures, please consult online resources available from the NYC Department of Health, New York State Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. 

  • Washing your hands often! Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds, in particular after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol is recommended.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting regularly touched objects and surfaces.
  • New York State Coronavirus health hotline: 1-888-364-3065

Coronavirus College Contacts

Coronavirus Intake Form

Coronavirus Steering Committee and Task Force

Coronavirus Steering Committee Coronavirus Task Force
Hope Berte Hope Berte – Facilities
Jennifer Borrero Jennifer Borrero
Stephen Ferst Ann Booth - Counseling
William Fritz Jessica Collura - HR
Ken Iwama Linda Conte – Health Center
Patricia Kahn Terrianne Darragh – Health Center
Jane Marcus Delgado Danielle Dimitrov (in case Jennifer cannot attend)
Michael Parrish Jennifer Durando – Advising
Robert Wallace Catherine Ferrara – Diversity and Compliance
  Stephen Ferst – Center for Global Engagement
  Ken Iwama – to represent Auxiliary Services
  Linda John – OIT
  Patty Kahn
  Michael Lederhandler – Public Safety
  Terry Mares – Institutional Advancement
  Jodi Merendino – Dining
  Spozmi Nouri – Housing
  Michael Parrish
  Ralf Peetz
  Keith Pisons – Facilities
  Amy Stempler - Library