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Kristin Hargrove
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Online Course Info

Hi and welcome!
Thank you for considering taking an online class with me.

Before you enroll, please review some of the ground rules that will help us all get on the same page (or web page if you will) with our online together. Please refer to this information throughout the term = this is the HIST 108/109 online course instruction manual that supplements our class Syllabus.
It’s a lot of information to digest, but it will help make your online semester much more fluid.

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Taking an Online Course

Online learning is a great way to spice up the usual school routine, plus it offers some cool options for students. Not to mention it looks like it’s the wave of the future. But there are some Pros and Cons to the experience, which turns out isn’t necessarily for everybody. How do you know if online learning is right for you?

Here are some things students like about online learning:

  • Being able to work from home – from bed if you like!
  • Not having to come to class/campus = no parking hassles and you save on gas.
  • Taking classes that your school doesn’t offer at other schools, minus the commute.
  • Not being held down to a specific class time. Students work when it’s convenient for them
  • Interacting with other classmates in an online environment. It’s all about the virtual world.
  • Not having to worry about what you wear, how you look, speaking in front of others, having others react to
    your comments in front of a group, other students making distractions, etc.
  • You can really focus on the information, taking as much time as you need or want to navigate through lectures, post to discussion boards, make comments, etc.
  • You can take an online class and do other things in life (work, raise a family, travel, etc.)

BUT… keep in mind there are some drawbacks to taking an online class. Many students are initially eager to take their first online class but then either end up dropping or failing because there really IS a learning curve to learning how to learn online (did that make sense?).

Here are some things students dislike about online learning:

  • There are a lot of distractions at home: TV, the fridge, your phone, the computer, DVD’s, music, family, roommates, neighbors, cars going by, etc.
  • The school computer lab is nice, but there are just as many distractions as home.
  • The public library has a time limit on how long you can use a computer.
  • It’s hard to stay motivated and disciplined to put the time in to check Bb, read, watch videos, etc. on a consistent basis. 16 weeks is a long time.
  • It takes longer for the teacher to get to know you/for you to get to know others.
  • I’m new to the area and want to meet people. It’s not happening for me in an online class.
  • I’m lost and overwhelmed. There’s too much information out there for students to navigate through on their own.
  • Getting help is a hassle. Some things are hard to explain by e-mail so there’s too much back-and-forth between teachers and students and classmates. I don’t want to keep bothering the everyone – I feel like a pest!
  • There’s sometimes a delay in communication. Waiting for an answer is frustrating.
  • My computer keeps crashing/freezing, my internet is not working, the network is down, and/or my log-in isn’t working. How am I supposed to get any work done?!!!
  • An emergency came up and there’s no way I can complete the coursework this week. How can I hope to stay on track with things?
  • It’s all just a hassle. It seems like it is just easier to show up in class, sit down in a chair, and let the instructor lead me through the class than deal with all this stuff!

Common Misconceptions about Online Learning

True or False? First-time online students sometimes approach an online course thinking it will be easier or take less time than an onsite course. TRUE

True or False? Online courses are easier or take less time than an onsite course. VERY FALSE

Content-wise, online courses should challenge students to the same degree that onsite courses do. But the main difference here is how the information is presented. Taking a timed exam at a desk with a Scantron and #2 pencil might be no sweat for many students, but present the same True/False or Multiple Choice question in a timed online setting and it’s a different story. Also, participation counts for a lot more in the online realm, so this sometimes frustrates students who prefer just to take a test or write a paper to show they know they material, vs. having to repeatedly make online postings to demonstrate their understanding.

Saving time is the main reason many students decide to take an online class. Maybe it’s difficult to get to campus because someone needs to watch the kids, or you’re just too busy with work/life to stop by school to take onsite classes. Although these situations shouldn’t prevent anyone from taking online classes (aren’t these people ideal online candidates, really?), they might also be warning flags that indicate problems to come. Who’s to say you’ll actually be able to set aside time when you’re home with the family to actually get your coursework done? Or if work/life is so hectic, how can you be sure it won’t interrupt your progress in the course?

Students also sometimes think the convenience online learning affords means ease: ease of the class, ease of the workload, ease of time requirements. Please keep in mind that this is not the case, especially with short-term online classes that take only 8- or 4-weeks. To this effect, online classes aren't always the best option during times of major life changes, such as pregnancy, weddings, periods of a dependent's military deployment, planned operations, a separation or divorce, a major move, job change, etc.

On a side note: If you can anticipate an event that will considerably disrupt your online course participation during the semester (pregnancy due date, major operation planned, etc.), let the instructor know at the beginning of the term. Most instructors will be happy to accommodate your needs, appreciate your professionalism, and admire that you are concerned in advance about your performance in the course. Also, if life drastically changes during the semester (major illness, accident, death in the family), let the instructor know immediately. These situations all warrant special consideration, but you need to let me know about these things as they happen, vs. after the fact. Again, instructors are human (even online ones) and understanding, so they will most likely grant you an extension without penalty provided you contact them as soon as possible.

In closing, think hard about what your learning preferences are, especially if you are a first-time online learner. Click on this Rio Hondo College link to see... the school offers a nice little quiz you can take to see if you think you you’re ready for an online course (keep clicking "Cancel" if a password box pops up).

If you’re still excited to try an online course, then keep reading. Online learning can be a very rewarding educational experience, but it might take a little extra time to get up to speed and feel comfortable distance education.

Online Course Basics - FAQs

Here are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about starting an online class. 

Q: I’ve never taken an online class before. Where do I start?
Q: How do I crash an online course?
Q: Are there any prerequisites for an online course?
Q: What kind of equipment do I need for an online course?
Q: OK, I’m enrolled in the course. Now what do I do?
Q: What is Canvas?
Q: It’s the first day/week of class. What do I do? How do I get started in the course?
Q: I’m having trouble logging in. What’s going on?
Q: The course is missing from the Canvas homepage.
Q: When I try to log-on to Canvas, I get an error: “There was a problem with this login request. Contact the system administrator.”
Q: I have never used Canvas before. I’m kinda nervous/totally lost.

Q: I’ve never taken an online class before. Where do I start?

Students typically enroll in an online course the same way they do for onsite courses = via WebAdvisor at Grossmont.

Have you registered for this course yet? If so, good! If not, then please do so. If the course is presently full, you will have to try to crash the course.

Q: How do I crash an online course?

  1. Attempt to enroll in the class as normal.

  2. Select to be placed on the class wait list.

    1. The class wait list closes a few days before the start of the term. If you are trying to crash and the wait list is closed, just go ahead and continue with step 3.
  3. Email me to let me know you are attempting to crash the course: kristin.hargrove@gcccd.edu.
    1. KEY! Please include your full name, Grossmont student ID#, and contact info (phone/email).
  4. Instructors will receive a list of add codes from the Admissions & Records office during the first week of classes, just as they would for an onsite class. Instructors generally assess actual enrollment the first week of class and then distribute add codes accordingly to Waitlisted students, per their status on the course wait list (it is required by law to issue add codes in the Waitlist order). Online instructors will then email add codes out to crashers (provided there are openings = no guarantees), so again, please be sure you have emailed the instructor so s/he has your email address.

    • Please note: add codes expire. If you successfully crash the course, please enroll AND pay for the class immediately.
    • A request: If you are already enrolled in the course but decide to drop, please do so ASAP so I can add crashers. Remember to formally drop the class through WebAdvisor and I would appreciate an email from you telling me, too. Thanks.  :)

Q: Are there any prerequisites for an online course?

No, no special prerequisites are necessary in order to take an online course, though you should make sure you have met the standard prerequisites for the course in general. Check with the Grossmont Catalog and/or your counselor for these.

Q: What kind of equipment do I need for an online course?

At the most basic level, regular access to a computer with internet access.  However, students planning on successfully completing an online course should typically make sure they have the following in addition to the standard course text:

  • Computer
    • both Mac and PC work, however if you have a Mac, be sure your computer has the appropriate software and you are aware of possible software issues (see below).
    • adjustable sound (or headphones that can plug in).
    • printing capabilities
    • adequate memory to be able to freely open/save documents and run programs
  • Internet
    • High-speed cable internet access is pretty much essential in order to download video clips.
  • Software/Programs:
    • Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, etc.
      • Tip!: it's a good idea to install several internet browsers on your computer when taking an online class, since there is not one web browser that consistently works across the board for online courses. You might have to switch from one server to another while accessing course work.
    • Adobe Reader (.PDF files)
    • PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer
    • Microsoft Word or WordPerfect word processing programs
    • Quicktime, Windows Media, Flash and/or other multi-media readers
    • Anti-Virus software - don't infect others!

One last thing – please be sure to disable your Pop-Up Blocker for the course web site.

Tip! Want a quick, 1-stop diagnostic of your computer?

Check out this Bb browser/software plug-in check web site from the University of Central Missouri: http://courses.ucmo.edu/check/  Make sure to click on the "Check Browser Plug-ins" on the lower right corner as well.

Your readout will forecast potential Bb viewing and interaction problems on your computer of choice (you don't have the necessary plug-ins installed, or the ones that are installed are out of date, etc.). 

* Cuyamaca College has a handy one-stop web site to access needed plug-ins: http://www.cuyamaca.edu/faculty-staff/teaching-online/browsersaddins.aspx

Q: OK, I’m enrolled in the course. Now what do I do?

Each school does things a little differently, so it is a good idea to get familiar with Grossmont’s online learning systems. This is a must read for students who have never taken an online course before.

  1. Go to the Grossmont College home page.

  2. Go to the “Student Services” tab. It’s the 2nd tab listed at the top of the screen. Hover your mouse above the tab to see the various options

  3. Select the "Online Learning” column.

  4. Take some time to explore the third option down, “Online Learning,” which will take you to yet another web page, "Online Success."

  5. In the future, you can reach Grossmont’s “Online Success” page directly at http://www.gcccd.edu/online/student/default.html (probably a good idea to bookmark this page if you are just getting started in the online environment).
    The link is also posted at the bottom of the Bb log-in page.

Q: What is Canvas? 

Canvas is a rapidly growing cloud-based learning management system. Think of it as a kind of a Facebook = it enables teachers all over the world to conduct online courses by giving them a template they can plug into. Unlike Facebook, Canvas has to be leased (paid for) by each school.

All California community colleges are in the process of switching to Canvas. GCCCD will use Canvas as its online learning platform for all classes starting in 2018.

How Canvas works:

  • Instructors use Canvas’ templates to create their online course “shell” or “container” from which their run their class.
  • The school uploads students who are enrolled in the online course into their respective Canvas shell(s), usually a day or two prior to the start of the semester. Students who enroll in online classes are automatically assigned their own username and password, much like any other password-protected web site. Your Canvas username and password are different from your email username and password.
  • The instructor makes the course “available” to students on the first day of classes (think of it as the teacher opening the door to let the students in to the classroom during that first class).
  • Using their Canvas username and password, students log-in to Canvas on the first day of classes, click on the class they are in, and away they go!
  • PLEASE NOTE: If you register for the class less than one week prior to class starting, you must contact me to be entered into the Canvas system. If you want to add the class after the start date, you need to contact me for an add code.

Q: It’s the first day/week of class. What do I do? How do I get started in the course?


The first day of class is Monday, August 21. Please attempt to log-in to Canvas as soon as you can so you can get started on the course and/or we can figure out any log-in problems.

How to log-in to Canvas:

  • Go to Grossmont’s Canvas log-in page.
  • Click the “Login” button
    • For Username: enter your name as firstname.lastname (all lower case)
    • For Password: enter your birthday (mmddyy) with no slashes, dashes, or punctuation - just numbers. This is the default password and should be changed ASAP after you log-in.
  • If you cannot login successfully the first time, try it again. Sometimes Your login information is the same as when you login to any computer on campus. Also, for some reason, Canvas will not allow you to log-in the first time, but if you log-in in again, it lets you in (it's a weird glitch... it's happened for years).
  • Now that you have logged in, look for our class (HIST 108), click the link to enter, and welcome to the course!

Q: I’m having trouble logging in. What’s going on?

If you are unable to log-in, it maybe for one of the following reasons:

  1. You are using the wrong username and password. IMPORTANT: remember both your username and password are case sensitive. Also, your Canvas log-in info is different from your email log-in info.
  2. You may not officially be enrolled in the course, especially if you are trying to crash. Double-check to make sure the course is listed on your official class schedule.
  3. You added the course within the last week or are trying to crash. The school uploads the class roster only once, so chances are you were not on the roster when the upload was made. Please email me directly: kristin.hargrove@gcccd.edu.

Q: The course is missing from the Canvas homepage.

Again, chances are you either enrolled late or did not successfully register for the course.

If you have just added a course, please so the following:

  1. Email me kristin.hargrove@gcccd.edu with your full name, student ID, and contact info (phone/email).

  2. I will enroll you manually and send you an email confirmation.

  3. It can take 1-2 business days for your class to appear (longer at the start of the term rush/over weekends), so please be patient.

Enrolled, it's the first day of class, and you still don't see the course on Bb? The course needs to be made available to students by the instructor. Each instructor has their own "release" schedule. Ours will be on M 8/21. 

Q: When I try to log-on to Canvas, I get an error: “There was a problem with this login request. Contact the system administrator.”

Be sure that you are entering your User ID and password correctly. Both are case sensitive, which means that you need to pay attention to capitalization.

If you are logging in from off-campus, for whatever reason, you usually need to log on twice (as I mentioned above). It’s normal to have to type in your Canvas username and password, submit, receive an error message, log-in your username and password again, hit submit, and log-in successfully. I’m not sure why, but this is what happens most of the time.

Q: I have never used Canvas before. I’m kinda nervous/totally lost.

Don’t worry! Canvas is very intuitive, even moreso than Blackboard was. If you feel good about being able to surf the net and looking around web sites, you should be able to learn Canvas in no time. First-time online learners say within 2-4 weeks they feel confident, so just jump in and go with the flow for the first week or so.

You'll find a customized online tour of Canvas in our course once you log in, so it will show you were everything is.

EQ + Netiquette and College

Online learning isn't for every student

This is not something any of us like to hear, but learn why.

First off, online learning is a different way of learning than the type of experiences we've had in onsite classrooms. This can take some change and adjustment, and not all people like change and adjustment.

Second, online learners have to feel comfortable working on their own, being motivated to stay on top of deadlines, and working to the pace of the course. You won't always get the same kind of instant feedback and communication with others that you get in an onsite classroom. You might run into tech issues with your computer. You may not be able to find a rhythm to help you tackle assignments and activities that need to be done each module or work week.

This is where EQ comes in

EQ is emotional intelligence. Like the term "IQ", it's a person's "emotional quotient" and means how you rate as far as your capacity to understand your emotions within yourself and with regard to others.

In the workplace and at school, EQ is important in how we interact with others and learn to distinguish what is appropriate behavior in light of the kinds of experiences we have in these settings, which are different than when we are at home or hanging out with friends. The EQ that worked in our previous school experiences, say, our high schools, or if we attended schools in another country with a different set of cultural values, might need to be upgraded for the college experience or slightly adjusted to the culture of the United States.

Multiple studies show that it's EQ - as well as maybe even more than IQ - that plays a key role in doing well in the workplace and at college, especially for beginning college students. How? EQ relates to qualities and behaviors in ourselves like:

  • optimism
  • self-regard
  • independence
  • impulse control
  • problem solving

(Kanoy 2010)

These kinds of characteristics might translate into:

  • confidence in your abilities as a student
  • goal-setting and achievement
  • how you handle new information, settings, people, etc.
  • your time-management skills
  • how you handle stress
  • reacting to both good and bad news and/or grades
  • communicating with others when you need assistance or clarification

(adapted from Sannes & Seabourg 2015)


Learn more about EQ


Netiquette

Netiquette is "internet" + "etiquette", or the protocol we use when interacting with others via the web.

Similarly to how we all learn manners and how to act with others at the playground as little kids, when we start attending school with a teacher and classmates, and begin to socialize with peers in either a friend and/or date capacity, there are certain polite ways to interact when using the web.

___________________________________________________________________

THE netiquette rule: If you wouldn't do or say something in real life, don't do it online either

(Touro College, Online Education Department)

___________________________________________________________________

This means when you're online, please think about how you interact and respond to people. Would you say what you want to say online to someone if you were in person, face-to-face, in public, on a college campus? Would you act the equivalent way in tone and in manner if you were in person, face-to-face, in public, on a college campus? 

If not, then it's probably best to take a different approach with your online communication.
 

General Guidelines

  • Treat everyone with respect, even in email or in any other online communication
  • Avoid using the caps lock feature AS IT CAN BE INTERPRETED AS YELLING
  • Use standard fonts such as Arial and use a size 10 or 12 pt. font and standard colors
  • All college level communication should have correct spelling and grammar
  • Avoid slang terms as "wassup?" and texting abbreviations such as "u" instead of "you"
  • Be cautious when using humor or sarcasm as tone is sometimes lost in an email or discussion post and your message might be taken seriously or offensive
  • Do not post personal information such as points/grade in the course, per student privacy law


Email

  • Please treat each email as an in-person office visit
  • Use a descriptive subject line: include the course and section # (teachers often teach more than one section of the same course)
  • Always use your professors' proper title: Dr. or Prof., or if you are in doubt, use Mr. or Ms. Unless specifically invited, don't refer to them by first name
  • Be brief
  • Sign your message with your full name, especially if your e-mail address does not include your name in it
  • Think before you send the e-mail


Discussion Boards

  • Be open-minded
  • Follow posting directions
  • Make posts that are on topic and within the scope of the course material
  • Take your posts seriously and review and edit your posts before sending
  • Always give proper credit when referencing or quoting another source
  • Read all messages in a thread before replying
  • Avoid short, generic replies such as, "I agree." You should include why you agree, disagree, and/or add new information to the previous point
  • Always be respectful of others' opinions even when they differ from your own
  • When you disagree with someone, you should express your differing opinion in a respectful, non-critical way. Do not make personal or insulting remarks

(adapted from University of Florida, Assistance for Teaching)


EQ + Netiquette

In online classes, there are several things that have to be done a certain way. For example, the type of file you save your work in or how you name that file might prevent an instructor from accessing it, so he or she can't read it to give you a grade. Other times, you might feel frustrated because your technology isn't working and you don't know how to fix the problem. Or, maybe you're not sure why you aren't earning full points for your work, but you can't just ask the teacher after class like in an onsite course on campus.

This is where taking the time to understand how our confusion and frustration with online learning affects us, because it might impact how we do our work (or if we do it at all), and how we try to get help with our problems.

In our class together, please:

  • Call me Professor Hargrove or Ms. Hargrove
  • Post all general course questions in 1 place = on Q&A on Bb (or whichever Bb forum is indicated for that assignment)
    • If you have a specific question about your grade and/or need to notify me of a personal matter that will affect your participation in our class, kindly email me directly
  • Remember that emails are like making an office visit, so please approach emails the way you would if you were coming to see me in person.
  • Compose emails with a specific Subject line that briefly states the nature of the email, along with your course and section #, begin with a greeting ("Hi Instructor Hargrove" is fine), and sign your full name at the end
    • If you have a tech issue or a problem submitting a document, please attach screenshots documentation of the error messages you are seeing, etc., and/or the document you are referring to
    • Please... don't put "HELP!!!!!" or "Important!!!!" or "Please Read" or "Quick Question" in the Subject line = all students' queries are important, will be read, and replied to as indicated in the "Communication" area of the Syllabus of that particular class
  • Try not to go viral, meaning avoid posting several rapid-fire posts on Bb or emailing several rapid-fire emails, and avoid typing every thought you are having about the topic of your post or email.
    • If asking for clarification, simply ask for additional information like you would if you were calling to ask about your cell phone bill and wait to hear the response: "Hi, can you please assist me with ______?" and then provide me with any basic information or details that will help me assist you, such as the course source, area(s) on Bb, and/or assignment you are referring to.
    • Often times you'll find the info you need on Bb or in class emails, so please give these another read first before making your post or emailing.
      • other students may have asked the same question on Bb, so please scan through the Q&A forum first to see if your question has already been answered. Read first, then make your Q&A post.

  • Allow for turnaround or a referral.
    • Sometimes I might not be familiar with the information you're requesting and need to check with the college or district. Other times, I'll need a little time to check my records, review work, or take a look at Bb. Sometimes, I might refer you to someone who can better assist you. Rest assured that we'll work towards a solution as best we can, within an appropriate timeframe. 

The college experience is meant to help cultivate lifelong skills, and EQ + Netiquette both play an important part in today's web-enhanced environment.

Your role

Attendance

It is expected that students will log-in to the class every week and responding to all discussion board prompts. Unlike onsite classes, there are no absences for this class. For example, with onsite classes, students are allowed 3 absences per class before they’re dropped from the class, per the Grossmont Catalog.

Things are a little different with an online class, since we are working in a different format. Again, it is expected that you will be logging in every week and responding to all Discussion Board (Db for short) prompts. If a week goes by without you responding to any discussion board postings, I will send an email checking in with you. If you write me back to tell me you are still with the course, that’s fine but you will not receive credit for the missed week. If you miss two consecutive course weeks and I do not receive a response, you will automatically be dropped from the course. The main thing to remember is you have paid tuition, enrolled in the class, bought the book, and are earning college credit by doing college-level work. So please perform at a college-level and be "in” class every week.

If you decide to drop HIST 108/HIST 109, it would be appreciated if you emailed me to let me know. In any case, please be sure to formally drop the class through WebAdvisor.

On a side note: If you have a pre-planned event that will considerably disrupt your participation during the semester (pregnancy due date, major operation planned, etc.), please let me know immediately so we can work out accommodation. I am more than happy to give students leeway in these matters, but I won’t know about these things unless you tell me. Also, if a similar long-term emergency-type-situation arises during the semester (car accident causes you to be incapacitated, death in the family calls you out of town for an extended period of time, etc.), please take a moment to email me or call the school to leave a message for me. These situations all warrant special consideration, but you need to let me know about these things as they happen, vs. after the fact.

Participation

Participation plays a major part in how students are graded in an online class, especially since everyone is removed from the onsite classroom environment. Accordingly, online learning necessitates and displays a different style of interaction. It is not enough just to do the readings, view the lectures, watch educational films and video clips, and do course work such as discussion, exams, the paper, and the presentation.

Db expectations

  • Students will need to make postings, responding to the weekly Db prompt by the end of the course week (Tuesday), to earn participation points. Postings made after the end of the course week on Tuesday will not be accepted for credit.
  • Postings on the Db should be strictly about the material at hand during the week we are in. If you want to talk about Facebook-type stuff or what happened on TV last night or course-related content from weeks before, please take that discussion to “The Lounge” in the case of pop culture 411 and “Q & A” in the case of course content-related questions.
  • Please be respectful of others = it is okay to question or disagree with others, but please do so in a way that shows you are furnishing the correct answer to misinformation or seeking to clarify and understand a person’s point of view, not attack them.
    • Students might want to become familiar with Netiquette Do’s & Don’ts, or the system of courtesy used on the internet. The "The Core Rules of Netiquette" is a great place to start. For example, writing in all caps should be avoided in an online class because it often is construed as being yelling at in the etiquette of the computer world. Also, do not say anything online that you would not say in-person to someone.
  • Please keep the content of your postings clean = no profanity or derogatory remarks or aggressive tone (avoid all caps, all bold, underlining, etc., especially when disagreeing with a fellow classmate has said in his/her post). Students who make such remarks will have their posting removed by me, receive an email warning about improper conduct, have their participation grade lowered, and be reported to the Office of Student Affairs. If the problem continues, you may be suspended from the class for a week, given an F, dropped from the class altogether, and/or called into to the Office of Student Affairs for a meeting.

Db participation

Level of engagement: The Db requires that students post their own comments, read other students’ posts, and respond to postings multiple times a week so we can generate quality scholastic dialogue.  Think PRR: after you log-on the discussion board, you should Post your response to the Db prompt, then Read what your classmates have to sat, and lastly, Respond to at least two other postings. PRR is a good rule of thumb to use on how to make Db posts. It is not enough to simply make 1 post at the beginning of the week and feel you are done participating.

More about PRR…

1. POST: Post to the Db prompt first thing. Meaning there might be 46 students who have already posted ahead of you. Don’t read their postings, just make your own so we can hear what you have to say. After reading 46 postings, you’ll have some many ideas swimming around that it might be difficult to focus your thoughts. And I'm not looking to see that everyone is in agreement = I'm looking to see a variety of interpretations about our course material.

2. READ: Now go back and read the other postings. This way, you have already posted your original analysis and where you stand on the question. You took care of you. You might go back and read that 20 other students have written the same thing as you, but what counts is that you made your own, original response and this is what instructors are looking for. Sometimes, students read other postings first, then go to post but they feel they have nothing new to say so they get frustrated and make a sub-standard post. Other times, a student might have wanted to say one thing, goes and reads other posts that all say something else, so then they start second-guessing themselves and change their answer. Remember that I am looking for your thoughts.

3. RESPOND: Lastly, respond to at least two other postings – but more if you feel like it! Again, PRR is a good order to work in because you have already posted where you stand on the question. As you read other postings, you might find a response that makes you re-evaluate your original posting. So someone in the class has helped you learn by helping you see the material in a new way. Now you can add a new response, saying you would like to update your point of view. Or you might want to counter someone else’s opinion, so make a new post about it.

Quality of postings:

I will ask open-ended questions about the lesson materials from the week at hand. In turn, this is where you show me that you read the book, viewed the lecture, and watched the video. Your postings should closely analyze the course material vs. just be generalized answers.

For example, I might post a prompt like “What were some of the benefits of Columbus' sailings to the New World? What were some of the problems his interaction in North America created? Think both short and long term.”

Here are a variety of answers, some to emulate and some to avoid:

  • NOT-SO-GOOD: “Dude, you said some crazy stuff!” or “I agree with so-and-so.”
  • OK: “Learning more about Columbus was interesting. First of all, I never knew ____, like it said in the book (MLA cite). Second of all, I didn’t know ____ that it showed in the movie (MLA cite). So overall, it was interesting."
  • GREAT: “The controversy over Columbus' Atlantic crossings were interesting for a variety of reasons. First of all, I never knew ______________, like the Zinn book talked about in Chapter 1 when he discusses ______: ________ "(MLA cite)". Second of all, the A Biography of America documentary showed me that _______ , and I think that is relevant because ____________ (MLA cite). The film clip 1492 also demonstrated this same moment in time, when _______, which again is relevant because Columbus mentioned this in this week's Lit Reading when he said ________ (MLA cite) (MLA cite). Lastly, the info from Lecture 1 - ___________ - is important to take into account because it 100% disagrees with what was shown in the film (MLA cite). It's important to remember that ___________________. Overall, learning more about the impact of Columbus was was crazy stuff! I never knew this, and I’ve learned about Columbus several times in school! I even asked my parents about this and they didn’t know this either!”

Avoid merely copy+pasting cited info in. Instead, provide an equal balance of course information from each source type and your own informed critical analysis, or how the info makes sense to you in response to the prompt being asked.

Again, it might seem redundant to make postings, especially since you might feel like you’re going to say the same thing as a lot of other people in the course. But don’t worry about that. You are here to show me what you know. And you’ll probably be surprised at how people can have many different interpretations about the same topic. In the end, you’re the only person who earns the points for your grade – nobody else can do that for you or have an impact on your performance.

This is learning at it’s best = being exposed to a variety of ideas and perspectives helps you better understand the material so you can create a more sophisticated and informed personal historical thesis, per our Grossmont history department goals.
 

Frequency of postings:

Some instructors require students to log-in every single day. Others ask for a certain number of posts a week. There is no set number of log-in days/postings you need to make for HIST 109. If you are PRRing on a weekly basis, you should have no problem with your participation grade. If you can sustain your Db participation, making quality responses to all Db prompts throughout the entire term by the end of the course week, you should be in good shape for your final participation grade.


Length of postings:

Some instructors require that postings meet a specific word count or are x-number of lines long. There is no set length for postings in HIST 109; you just need to discuss ALL sources of course info each week to earn full points. This includes:

  • the Zinn text
  • Lit Readings
  • lecture
  • A Biography of America (HIST 109: and/or The Century)
  • film clips

Work to provide a nice flow through your interpretation of the weekly material. Again, avoid merely copy+pasting info from the sources into your post. Instead, use course material to accent or accessorize your understanding of the material in your own words.

Db grading

Your participation grade is directly related to your Db performance = 40 of your 100 total course points! So remember to log-in and post to all Db prompts by the end of course week in order to earn full points.

Each Db posting is worth 4 points:

  • 3 of those points are allotted your Db response. A “not-so-good” response generally earns 1 point, an “okay” response generally earns 2 points, and a “great” response generally earns the full 3 points.
  • The other 1 point (.5 x 2) is obtained from your responses to the 2 other Db postings, based on the caliber of each of your responses.

What does "great", "okay", and "not-so-good" mean point-wise?

4 points>

  • smoothly integrates all weekly course sources (required = lecture, all readings, video/films)
  • effectively answers all prompt components through a well-thought out discourse
  • properly cites all materials as indicated; free of punctuation, grammatical, and spelling errors
  • offers quality responses to two classmates, clearly demonstrating thorough critical analysis of their posts
  • overall, this polished, intellectual post contributes to, expands, and enhances our ongoing course dialogue

3.5 - 1.75 points

  • basic assimilation of most weekly course sources (missing lecture, some reading(s), or video/film(s))
  • no direct answer to the prompt, only addresses part of the prompt, is too vague, and/or inaccurate info
  • does not properly/consistently cite all material and/or has punctuation, grammatical or spelling errors
  • offers decent start with responses to a classmate's post, but needs to be more thorough, consistent between responses, and/or be made to two students (not just one)
  • overall, the post sort-of expands the discussion, but lacks polish and depth in original analysis of material

1.5 points &  below

  • minimal/no mastery of weekly course sources (little or no mention of lecture, reading(s), and/or video/film(s))
  • does not answer the prompt; discussion only partially addresses question(s), is very general or too brief, and/or could possibly be recycled by merely reading other people’s work with much inaccurate info
  • does not bring in or properly cite any/all course materials and/or many grammatical errors exist
  • response(s) to classmate posts are too short, too general, or no responses were made at all
  • overall, student has not really taken the time to critically think about weekly material and/or address the question(s) being asked in a manner consistent with course expectations

0 points

  • This post is plagiarized, was posted late, and/or was never made.


Again, if you log-in, make quality postings to all postings by the week’s end, and PRR, you should do fine.

One final note: I cannot stress enough how crucial the Db is to your course performance. It sounds like a lot to remember and you might feel overwhelmed, but you’ll be fine once we get into a rhythm after the first few weeks of class. Then it will be like second nature. We’ll take the first week or so to work the kinks out = you can get used to logging in and posting, I’ll make recommendations and let you know if you are on track or off course, and we’ll go from there.

Most students who do not do well in online courses and/or have disappointing grades end up that way because they never get engaged with the Db. It might feel like a ball and chain to some of you = you might realize you despise online learning because of the Db. But remember, it is only one course. So either stick with it and chalk up the online class as a learning experience or make sure you drop the class by the appropriate drop date to avoid receiving an F for the course on your college transcript.

Weekly Schedule
Per the Syllabus, our course operates on a Wednesday through Tuesday time frame, meaning the start of each HIST 108/HIST 109 scholastic week is Wednesday. This might sound a little strange or different than other courses you may have taken, but this schedule seems to work out well in light of 3-day holiday weekends, server and Bb shut-downs at Grossmont, and student schedules. The Wednesday-Tuesday option still offers students the chance to get work done at various times of the calendar week, both before and after the weekend.

New weekly lessons will be released on Wednesdays by 12pm, unless there is some major fiasco, at which point I will post about the delay on Bb. I will always make an announcement on Bb, letting everyone know the new weekly lesson has been posted.

Some instructors allow students to work ahead, meaning the entire course is posted on the first day of the semester and students can work ahead, technically starting and finishing the course within a few weeks if they really want to do so. We will not being doing this. You will need to be committed to the course for all 16 weeks of the semester, checking in and participating on a weekly basis.

All work is due by Tuesday nights at 11:59pm, with the exception of our Paper and Presentation, as stated on the syllabus. Your work and postings are all time-stamped so I can see exactly when they were sent/made. Please turn your work in on time. I do not accept late work.
 

How to Turn Things in For Grading
Db postings and your final "virtual presentation" are all submitted/made directly online through Bb.

Exams and your Paper will be submitted through SafeAssign on Bb (an anti-plagiarism tool).

  • File format: I will accept documents formatted using Microsoft Word, or the .doc/.docx extension. Anyone without Word can type in their own software, but please save the file in Rich Text Format, or the .rtf extension, and I should be able to send them no problem.
  • Naming your file: Please name the files you submit as indicated under the Weekly Lesson. Generally, you will save files as "last name - file name". So for example if I am submitting my final paper, I would format the document I send in as an attachment as "hargrove-paper". 

I will not be able to grade work unless it is properly formatted.

Questions about the Class
Have a general question about HIST 108/HIST 109? Making a post? Don't understand the lecture? etc? Not sure when something is due? Confused about where to find something on Bb? The video link isn't working?

ALL general course questions need to be posted on the Q&A forum on Bb. This way, all students are privy to the same info.

  • Check your resources: Double-check Announcements and emails. Look through the Q&A first to see if your question has already been asked before you post so we avoid cluttering the Q&A by asking the same question over and over (and over).
  • Subject line: Remember to update the Subject line by typing your new question in (vs. just leaving the Subject as "re:" or too general like "Exam" or "class on Monday") so students can quickly/easily scan all the Q & As to find what they are looking for. Be as specific as possible!
    • GOOD: "When is our weekly work due?" or "How many sources do we discuss each post?" or "Where do I find the Extra Credit  Film Review Option?"
    • NOT SO GOOD: "Quick question" or "I am wondering..." or "HELP!" or too general a term like "discussion" or "exam" or "grades".
  • Help others: If you see a question here and you know the answer, feel free to help your classmates out by responding to it.
  • Email only!: Please email me privately regarding personal matters or specific grading questions, as student privacy laws dictate.

Students who email with general course questions will get the following auto-response:
Remember to please post general course questions/comments in Q&A so all HIST 108/HIST 109 students can benefit from this information (anonymously, if you wish). I will be happy to help you there.
* You might want to read eC Announcements and/or email to see if this info has been discussed, and/or check the Q&A forum to see if your question has been asked by a fellow student.

Please be timely if you have a question about grading, meaning if you have a question about your Week 2 discussion grade, you should ask as soon as you receive your score and not wait until the end of the semester.

Getting Help
Some students jump into and online class and things work fine for them = few technical problems, they understand what’s expected of them in the course, they know how to navigate around Bb, readings make perfect sense to them, etc. But this is very rare; it's normal to have Bb and IT spring up during the term.

Most students at one time or another will run into some sort of problem, whether it is technical, with the way the course operates, or with the content they are learning. If you are a first time student, things might seem particularly daunting: not only are you having to learn the course content, you are also “learning how to learn” again = getting familiar with Bb, trying to understand computer technology, and understanding the rhythm of an online course. The “fear factor” might be particularly high and you might feel lost, frustrated, and overloaded, but rest assured this is all normal and things usually settle down after the first few weeks.

If there are ever any problems, please make sure to address them right away. Waiting only makes things worse! One of the downsides of online learning is that no one will know what you might be experiencing unless you make sure to speak up about it, so please be sure to speak up!

If you have a technical problem with Bb:

  1. Please try to do some preliminary troubleshooting, as listed below under Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

    1. Sometimes the Grossmont server will be down. I will let you know if I hear anything about this ASAP so you can plan accordingly. Conversely, please email me to let me know the server has been down for an extended period of time. In any case, this is something that is out of our hands so please be patient – I’m in the same boat as you are.

    2. On that note, it is not a good idea to wait until Tuesday to get started with coursework in the event there is a Bb or server problem.

  2. The Grossmont Student Help Desk link can offer some troubleshooting tips.

  3. If all else fails, email me and we’ll go from there.

This is particularly important in the first few weeks of class. Other students might be waitlisted, waiting for add codes, plus you do not want to fall behind, especially if you are new to online learning.


If you have HIST 108/HIST 109 course problem:

  1. If you are not exactly sure what is being asked of you or you are not sure how to do something, double-check the course policy as stated on the course Syllabus or our Orientation folder, check Announcements and emails, re-read the book, watch the video again, re-view the lecture. Many times this will help!

  2. Head to the Db and see if you can figure things out after reading Db-related postings.

  3. If you still do not understand the material you are reading or the video etc. or need clarification, then please post to “Q &A” on the Db.

    1. Often times, multiple students email with the same question. By posting on the “Q & A”, everyone can get the info. What’s great here is that students often take the initiative to help other students, so many times you’ll get the answer you need a lot quicker than waiting for me to email you back. Again, everyone can help each other out. Stating your question in the "Subject Line" helps everyone easily read your question and quickly scan through the list to see if their question has already been asked by someone else.

  4. If you are still not sure things, then go ahead and email me.

  5. Please remember that privately emailing an instructor in an online class setting is similar to physically stopping by an instructor’s office in an onsite setting. Online students sometimes don’t think twice about casually and/or repeatedly emailing their instructor, but how many times as a student have you actually stopped by your instructor’s office? Once, maybe twice during a semester, if that? So please use private email sparingly.

  6. For long term or more in-depth help, keep in mind that Grossmont has a Learning Center that offers all sorts of tutoring help. Check the syllabus for more info. Also, it might be a good idea to partner up with a “study buddy”, or someone in the class who you check in with every so often if you have questions etc. Kind of like your class mentor.
     

If you have questions about your transcript, adding/dropping courses, if the course transfers to another school, etc.:
Please be sure to contact the appropriate Grossmont support personnel:

Admissions & Records

(619) 644-7186

Cashier’s Office

(619) 644-7974

Counseling

(619) 644-7208

Disabled Student Programs and Services Office

(619) 644-7112

Financial Aid

(619) 644-7129

Transfer Center

(619) 644-7215

Veteran Services

(619) 644-7165 / 7166

If there’s anything else that needs to be addressed, please let me know. Thanks!

Instructor Hargrove's role

Attendance

Grossmont periodically sends instructors “Clean-Up Rosters” every couple weeks during the semester so instructors can formally update class rosters and the college can maintain up-to-date student enrollment records. WebAdvisor also allows instructors access to enroll/drop students directly. Students who fail to respond to “last call” emails from me and/or skip two consecutive weeks of class will most likely be dropped. Please note: Students wishing to drop HIST 108/HIST 109 must do so by the date indicated on the Syllabus to receive a 'W' on their transcript. Students who are enrolled in the course but have stopped participating on the Db after the date indicated will receive an F for the course.

However, remember that if you stop “attending” class without formally dropping, you might end up with an F for your final grade on your college. Please take the appropriate steps and formally withdraw from the course through Admissions & Records if you decide not to continue as a precaution.
 

Weekly schedule

Per the syllabus, our course operates on a Wednesday through Tuesday time frame, meaning the start of each week is Wednesday. 

New weekly lessons will be released on Wednesdays by 10am, unless there is some major fiasco, at which point I will post about the delay on Bb. I will always make an announcement on Bb, letting everyone know the new weekly lesson is good to go.
 

Grading
I will grade all course content from the previous course week (Db postings, quizzes, assignments , etc.) starting on Fridays. I will do “passbacks”, posting input and grades (where applicable) starting on Fridays as well.

The exception to Friday grading and passback will be when I grade your Paper and Presentation, in which case, grading will take longer. If a personal emergency arises, I’ll be sure to keep you updated via an announcement on Bb.

Bb's online grading function called “Grade Center” allows students to see their specific Db grades and quiz and exam scores as we move through the course. I will also comprehensively record student progress offline. Updated weekly participation scores and customized grading feedback will be posted on Bb both in the Grades Center and in the Grades folder each week.

I recommend that students keep track of their course points using the grade grid document posted on Bb under the "Grades" folder.

Here is how/where you will receive your grades for various course components:

Discussion
Per the Db grading rubric above, weekly discussion posts will receive between 0 - 4 points. I will provide customized grading feedback next to your score in Bb's Grade Center before the start of next week's class, offering constructive feedback. It is suggested that students work to incorporate grading comments into their future posts, thus improving to earn max points as the term goes on.

Exams
Check Bb’s Grade Center to view these scores/customized feedback after the Announcement has been made on Bb that scores are ready for viewing.

Paper/Presentation
Your customized paper and presentation scorecards will be posted online, in random order by the last 4-digits of your Grossmont ID#, for students to view at the end of the semester. These grades will also be posted in the Grade Center.

Communication
Remember, communication is key in the online class, especially since our interaction is a little more disjointed than an onsite class.

As the course facilitator, I will:

  • Update the class about breaking course news on Bb via an announcement. I will be sure to let the class know if I am out of town and/or away from the computer via Bb announcement.
  • Check the “Q & A” section of Bb twice each weekday between the hours of 8am-6pm (more during the first week of class, exam due dates, and finals weeks) for general course questions/help. I will check "Q & A" less on the weekends and over school breaks.
  • Check my email two times each weekday between the hours of 9am-8pm (more during the first week of class and around exams and finals week) for specific grading questions or personal matters. I will check email less on the weekends.

Some things to remember:

  • Please keep in mind that it might take up to 24 hours for me to respond to you during the week, and up to 48 hours during the weekend.
  • Use private email sparingly for personal matters and specific grading queries only.
    • If a private email asks info that is readily available, I will reply with "Please double-check the course syllabus/document or our online 'Q&A' discussion board for this information".


A Note about “24/7” Online Communication…
There is a difference in the way course facilitators and students view the “24/7 accessibility” aspect of online learning, so I just want to take a second to talk about this.

Although online students can access their course, email, and post 24/7, this does not mean that the instructor is online or accessible 24/7. Sometimes students get upset when instructors do not immediately respond to a posting made at 3AM, or a question posted a few minutes after the instructor, who actually just signed off to head to class, had made a posting. Sometimes students forget the person leading the course is also human and has a life outside the classroom (I think we’ve all been surprised when we actually see a teacher outside of the classroom, like at the mall, at work, a Padre game, or out to eat).

So although online learning offers tremendous flexibility for students, please remember that online instructors need to create accessibility boundaries so they aren’t expected to be up at 3am in their pajamas in front of the computer.

Troubleshooting/Getting Help

If a problem arises , take a second or two to reevaluate. If the problem persists and you can't figure it out from the info here or on the Grossmont site, email me. 

Here are some common answers to some common problems students face with online learning.

Q: What is my Grossmont e-mail address?  
Q: What is my Bb log-in?
Q: Why can't I login?
Q: I forgot my Bb password. What should I do?
Q: My Class is missing from the Grossmont Bb homepage.
Q: When I try to log-on to Bb, I get an error: “There was a problem with this login request. Contact the system administrator.”
Q: When I click on a link to some course materials or try and start a quiz nothing happens or my browser crashes.

Q: What is my Grossmont e-mail address?

Type your first name and last name all lower case no spaces in the Log On box.  You will then be prompted for your user name and password and you will type in:

  • username = firstnamelastname
  • password = your college pin        

Your e-mail address looks like this: firstname.lastname@students.gcccd.net

If you have trouble accessing your email account, follow these instructions:

  • Go to WebAdvisor
  • Select Log in
  • Enter the Sign on information and select Continue.
  • Select Update Personal Profile.
  • Look at the Network Log On Account field. This is your User Name. Remember it.
  • Select Sign off and close the browser window.
Q: What is my Bb log-in?
  • username = firstname.lastname (all lowercase)
  • password = the default password is your birthday (mmddyy) with no slashes, dashes, or punctuation - just numbers. Please change this ASAP after you have logged-in for the course.
Q: Why can't I login?

If you are unable to log-in, it maybe for one of the following reasons:  

1. You are using the wrong username and password. (IMPORTANT: remember both your username and password are case sensitive)  
2. You may not be enrolled in the course. This usually happens is you registered the week before class started or crashed the course.

Here are easy to follow, step-by-step instructions on how to log-in to Bb that might help. 

Q: I forgot my Bb password. What should I do?

Email me. kristin.hargrove@gcccd.edu. I will reset it and email you back with a temporary password you will need to reset.

Q: My Class is missing from the Grossmont Bb homepage.  

Again, chances are you either enrolled late or did not successfully register for the course.

If you have just added a course, please so the following:

  1. Email me kristin.hargrove@gcccd.edu with your full name, student ID, and contact info (phone/email).

  2. I will enroll you manually and send you an email confirmation.

  3. It can take 1-2 business days for your class to appear, so please be patient!   

Q: When I try to log-on to Bb, I get an error: “There was a problem with this login request. Contact the system administrator.”

For whatever reason, you usually need to log on twice if using a computer off-campus. It’s normal to have to type in your username and password, submit, receive an error message, log-in your username and password again, hit submit, and log-in successfully.  

Be sure that you are entering your User ID and password correctly. Both are case sensitive, which means that you need to pay attention to capitalization.

Q: When I click on a link to some course materials or try and start a quiz nothing happens or my browser crashes.   

If you find that your computer is not displaying new information or links then your computer may be keeping a "cached" copy of the page in its memory in an attempt to decrease download time. It is important, with the constant changes being made to Bb pages, that your browser always display the most recent version of the page.

To change the setting in Internet Explorer do the following:

  1. Open Explorer

  2. Click on "Tools" in the menu at the top of the window

  3. Select "Internet options..." from the pull-down menu

  4. Select the "General" tab

  5. Click the "Settings" button   

  6. Change the settings to "Automatically"

  7. Click the "OK" button

  8. Click the "OK" button again

  9. Restart your computer

A few last things to remember about getting help:  
  • Check your resources first
    • Syllabus, Announcements on Bb, Orientation folder, and the Db “Q & A”
  • Tell me so I know
    • I won’t know unless you tell me. so please post your query on the "Q & A".
  • Speak up early
    • waiting makes things worse…
  • Have Patience
    • It might take some time for me to get back to you and/or resolve the issue at hand
  • Continue Asking Until you Understand
    • I am here to help and am happy to do it! So please do not feel shy about asking until you are 100%.
Tips for Success!

Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate through the class:

  • Plan to check Bb at a minimum of twice a week. Remember to post and respond to online discussions.
  • Schedule enough time (from 5-10 hours per week) to focus on the class. Some students may need more or less time, so you can make adjustments based on your skill level.
  • Check your e-mail regularly.
  • Let me know if your e-mail address changes during the class. Be sure to update your email address in Bb as well.
  • Keep up! The biggest problem online students have is gradually falling behind. You may be dropped from the class if you get behind. Hit your deadlines.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to start an assignment. If you run into a problem, it may take time to get help.
  • The little points add up. Remember… losing/gaining a point here or there could mean the difference between letter grades at the end of the term.
  • Contact me as soon as you begin to have problems or if you decide to drop. Also, contact me ASAP if you have an emergency so we can work out an extension.
  • Have a back-up plan in case your computer crashes. You can always use the computers in Grossmont's Tech Mall during open hours or check with your local public library.
  • Stay positive! Especially if this is your first online course. Remember - you’re not only learning info, but you’re also learning a new way to learn. So have some patience with yourself, the computer, the class.
  • In the worst case scenario, remember it’s only 1 course. You should be able to figure out if online learning is right for your pretty much off the bat.
  • If you only feel slightly off-center, I encourage you to stick with the course! Things will become more intuitive as we go along, so go for it!!!
  • If you continue to feel totally overwhelmed, it might be best to drop the course at the beginning of the term so you don’t end up with a low grade and so you can also find other courses to take.
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