Faculty Development Center a division of Information Technologies

FDC: How to use FirstClass

What is FirstClass?

The University's Communication System is typically accessed by 3rd party program known as FirstClass. This software is usually run as a desktop client, you can get it by following the link below. However, it can be accessed in alternate forms.

How do I get FirstClass?

Go to the FirstClass page in the software section of the IT Website.

How do I use Firstclass?

Some common tutorials can be found here: FirstClass tutorials

More information specifically geared to instructors can be found below.

Using course conferences in FirstClass

Use a piece of scrap paper to sketch out the conferences you intend to create for your course. Keep the number of conferences as small as possible, and the structure as simple as possible, at least in the beginning. It is much easier to add conferences later, when the need arises, than to remove or simplify a confusing conference structure after students have begun using it.
You may wish to create conferences for Course Info, Discussion or a Homework Drop Box. Or, perhaps your course depends upon group collaboration projects, and it might help students to have a conference for each group. Other courses might be composed of two or three major topics of discussion and exploration, so conferences for each of these is logical.
Decide on conference names (be as specific as possible) and the icons you might like to use for each conference. When naming conferences, you are limited to 23-character names. Also, you must use a name that is unique, system-wide. For example, names such as, “Announcements” and “Help Desk” are already used elsewhere in the FirstClass system. If possible, precede names of your conferences with the course designator. This ensures a unique name and helps conference users correctly address their messages.

Creating Conferences

Once your initial conference has been created, you have permission to create new conferences within it. Follow these steps:
  1. Open your initial course conference.
  2. From the FILE menu, select New → New conference.
  3. Click on the new conference’s icon once to select it, then from the File menu, select Get Info (for Mac users), Properties (for PC users).
  4. Type a name for the conference. THE NAME YOU USE MUST BE UNIQUE; you will be notified if the name is already in use. Names must be limited to 23 characters.
  5. Choose an icon for your conference. Click on the icon that is currently selected to display the choices available. Scroll through the options, and click on the icon you want.
  6. Close the Get Info/Properties window, click to SAVE the changes.

Setting Permissions

For more on permissions, go to our FirstClass permissions page.

Deleting Conferences

Follow these steps before deleting any conferences of which you are a controller:

  1. Open the conference to look for any sub-conferences within it. Continue opening conferences to find the “inner-most” sub-conferences.
  2. Check to be sure that you intend to delete all messages and folders within the conference.
  3. Open the Permissions for the conference under the Conferencing menu.
  4. Check that there are no subscribers to the conference. If there are names listed in the “List of Subscribers,” delete each name by pressing Enter or Return after each one. If you do not delete each name from the Subscribers list, the user will have a conference on her/his Desktop that cannot be opened or deleted!
  5. Close the Permissions form.
  6. Open the Get Info/Properties for the conference under the File menu (you must click once on the conference icon before opening the window).
  7. Unprotect the conference by clicking on the checkbox next to the word “Protected.”
  8. Close the Get Info/Protected window and save the changes.
  9. Now, with the conference selected, press the DELETE key, the first warning appears, select delete.

The second warning indicates that you are deleting an original copy of a conference or folder, and that all folders and messages within will also be deleted. If you are not sure, cancel!

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