O NLINE LEARNING WITH MOODLE: O RIENTATION FOR STUDENTS W HAT IS MOODLE ROOMS/ JOULE ? Welcome to joule™ Orientation! So, what is joule anyway? Most colleges within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System have contracted with a company called Moodlerooms to provide a customized Moodle platform through which to deliver online or web-enhanced courses. Moodlerooms’ version of Moodle is named joule™ and the company has intentionally NOT capitalized the name of the product. Throughout this document, Moodle will be referred to as joule. This orientation will provide the information you need to get started in your joule course(s).
Since you will access your course through your college’s website, take moment to become familiar with it: http://www. sowela. edu . The resources you find there will help you get started, and will also be of assistance to you throughout your course(s). Look for links and information on the following: joule login link Helpdesk link Student email login link Important semester dates (academic calendar) Library resources Bookmark the links. These resources will be essential for your success as an online student. Remember: Unless your instructor specifically tells you otherwise, online courses begin on the first day of the semester.
Note: This orientation does not replace other mandatory class orientations that your instructor may use. Please check with your instructor or advisor regarding other required course orientations. O NLINE LEARNING V ERSU S FACE – TO – FACE LEARNING Online courses often take greater effort on the students’ part than face-to-face traditional classes. Instead of attending structured, regular class meetings managed by an instructor on campus, you must take responsibility for managing your own time devoted to your online course and be self-motivated enough to keep up with the assignments and activities required.
You’ll need online technology and communication skills that may not apply in a regular face-to-face class. Page | 3 A RE YOU READY FOR ON LINE LEARNING? The question is, “Are you ready to take an online class? ” Our top concern is that you successfully complete your online course. It is important to be familiar with the necessary skills and tools you need to succeed in an online course. Things you need to consider: ? Technology Requirements ? Do you have access to a a computer with a broadband (high-speed, such as cable, DSL or fiber? ) Internet connection? ? Does your computer have all the programs and software required for the ourse(s) you want to take? ? Do you have computing skills that will enable you to function efficiently in an online course (downloading and saving files, creating folders, changing settings on your computer, typing and word processing, sending email with attachments, etc. )? ? Do you have Internet skills that will enable you to navigate and access specific URLs, use online library resources, and login to secure web pages? ? Have you set up your Sowela student email account? Can you access it? Are you willing to access it several times a week and use it for ALL school-related correspondence? ?
Communication Requirements Will you be able to access and navigate your online course(s) as often as req uired (at least three times a week) in order to have timely interaction with the instructor(s) and/or other students in your course(s)? ? Are you able to communicate with others effectively using online technologies, such as email programs, chat rooms, blogs, and discussion boards? ? Can you express yourself clearly and concisely in written messages and assignments? ? Do you have good reading comprehension skills so that you can effectively read and understand directions, reading assignments, and informatio n in your textbook? Will you ask questions when you don’t understand assignments or instructions from your instructor(s) OR from this tutorial? Page | 4 ? Participation Requirements ? Will you meet the online course requirements listed in your course’s syllabus (frequent assignments, frequent communication, group assignments, and a significant amount of reading)? ? Do you understand that frequent participation will be required in each of your online courses and you will need to dedicate at least five hours per online course per week in order to be successful? Do you have access to an alternative computer that meets all requirements in case something happens to your computer, so that your participation will not be affected? ? Organizational Requirements ? Are you self-motivated with good organizational and time-management skills (not needing to be reminded of due dates, etc. )? ? Can you ignore distractions (social networking, instant messaging, TV, family, etc. ) while working on your online course work in order to complete assignments on time? If you are able to meet the requirements listed above, you can be successful in an online course. S TUDENT EMAIL
You are REQUIRED, by college policy, to use your assigned Sowela student email account for ALL school-related communication. Your student email account is tied directly to your joule account. A link to your student email account (as well as to the Sowela library) can be found in the top portion of every webpage in joule. T AKING TESTS ONLINE Testing on Moodle (joule) is a very critical issue. It is recommended that you do not attempt to take a test using a wireless connection to the Internet. If your connection is lost, you may be locked out of your test. It is up to the instructor whether or not to re-set the test.
Recommended internet browsers: Firefox 3 or later Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 or later Page | 5 T HE JOULE LEARNING M ANAGEMENT SYSTEM Most colleges within the Louisiana Community and Technical College System have contracted with Moodlerooms to provide a customized Moodle platform through which to deliver online or web-enhanced courses. Moodlerooms’ version of Moodle is named joule. Throughout this document, Moodle will be referred to as joule. Each LCTCS college has a separate course site. Your college site address is http://sowela. mrooms3. net. You may access the course site directly or by going to the school website at www. owela. edu, clicking on the Current Students tab, and choosing the joule login link on the dropdown menu. The username and password follow the SAME format as with the student email accounts. A CCESS YOUR COURSES The graphic below shows the view upon successful login to the site. There are several ways to locate your courses: 1. Click on your name up in the top right hand corner. This will bring you to your profile. Click on the course link. Page | 6 Then click on the short name link of the same course in the “breadcrumbs” trail to enter the course front page. 2. Click on “My Dashboard” at the top right of the screen.
Page | 7 Click on the name of your course(s) in the middle of the page. 3. Find the block titled: “Courses Available To You. ” Your courses may be listed separately, or you may need to click on the plus sign in front of LCTCS Online (in YOUR case, look for the word “Sowela”) to expand the list of courses. 4. From the site front page, click on the course name link. On the this page, there may be upcoming assignments listed below the course name link. This is for your convenience and does not indicate that you are in that particular course. To access the course, click the course name link. Page | 8
N AVIGATING A JOULE C OURSE When you click on the course link, no matter how you access it, you will see the course front page. [Remember: Instead of seeing the words “LCTCS” or “Louisiana Community and Technical College System” anywhere on the site, you will instead see the word “Sowela. ”] THE COURSE FRONT PAGE A course front page is divided into 2 or 3 main sections depending on site settings. The white area in the middle is for course content. Most teachers arrange their courses in either weekly or topic format. The weekly format contains dates and all content that you should cover within that week.
In a topic format, content is divided into subject matter including resources and activities for that particular topic. Page | 9 Your teacher may show only one topic at a time, all content, or make only specific topics available to you at any given time. The areas on the left and possible right are called blocks. Each course may contain different blocks, but the most common blocks include these: Calendar Upcoming Events My courses or Courses Available To you People Administration Latest news (course announcements) Your teacher or site administrator may add blocks and place them in different ocations. P a g e | 10 P EOPLE BLOCK: PARTIC IPANTS The Participants link located in the People block lists all of the students and teachers enrolled in the course. You can click a name link to access another user’s profile. To see your teacher’s profile and contact information, select Teacher from the Current role drop -down box, and then click on the appropriate link to access his/her profile. You may also filter by the first initial of the First name or Last name. Profiles show only the information the participant has added and allowed others to view.
Once you enter a participant’s profile, you can click the “Send message: button to send a message to the participant if messaging is enabled on the college site. Upon login, he/she will see a popup message from you. P a g e | 11 E DIT YOUR PROFILE You may edit your profile in Joule by clicking on your name anywhere it appears (top corner or Administration block, Profile, or the Participants link. Click on “Edit Profile” Complete the fields that you wish to include in your profile (others will see). Only the fields in red* are required. Click the SHOW Advanced button will allow you to add optional information if you desire.
It is recommended that you only provide information that your teacher requests. Photos should include a “head shot” — shoulder and head. Throughout the semester if your contact information changes, be sure to inform the proper authorities at your campus and also update your joule profile. Other Profile tabs Also within your Profile you may create a personal blog each time you access the course. P a g e | 12 A DMINISTRATION BLOCK In the Administration block you will find a few important links: Grades and Profile. Click Grades to view your activity during the semester that have been posted or graded by your teacher.
P a g e | 13 C ALENDAR AND UPCOMIN G EVENTS BLOCKS The course calendar is a very important tool. When your teacher and assigns a due date to any course activity, it is also added to the course calendar and denoted orange in the graphic below (Course). The Upcoming Events block includes a list of upcoming activities that are based on the activities that include due dates. To go to a more detailed vie or events, click on the month name. You ma y check calendars for all of the courses in which you are enrolled by selecting the course from the drop -down list above the calendar in detailed view.
To add a User event click the New Event button at the top right. (See the graphic below). P a g e | 14 Refer to the legend on both the Calendar view and detailed view for designations about each event. In the above example, the items in green denote site-wide events. Group events would be shaded yellow, course activities and events, orange, and any events that you add would be blue. This color legend only applies to this site, your college site them may be different. A DD AN EVENT To add an event, as stated above, click the New Event button.
After entering a name, description and due date, set how long the event should remain in the calendar (Duration) and whether or not it is a weekly repeating event. P a g e | 15 COURSE RESOURCES Course resources are located in the center portion of the course front page. Each resource type is denoted by its associated icon. Only a few are shown below. Another example: COURSE ACTIVITIES There are many types of activities that your teacher can include in a course. The most common are: Quizzes Forums/discussions Surveys Assignments ? ? ? ? ? Upload a file or multiple files (reports or completed lab activities) Type text in a text box
Games Chats Wikis Each activity is also associated with a particular icon. Instruction for resources and activities are not provided in this document. Please refer to documentation provided by your teacher. P a g e | 16 Two ways to access course resources and activities Although it is recommended that you follow the guidelines that your teacher provides for the course flow, in addition to the front page content links, you may also access resources and activities from the Activities block. A CTIVITIES BLOCK The content of the Activities block is dependent upon the activities in the course.
Common activities include: Forums: Lists all of the new items (if applicable) in your course; News forums, Announcements, Discussion forums Quizzes: Lists the quizzes and tests in your course. Resources: Lists of course prepared files and resources by the teacher (syllabus, checklists, lecture materials, etc. ) The Activities block provides a way to check on your progress for activities. The graphic below shows a student’s assignments as accessed through the Activities block. Any assignments that you have not submitted or that have not been graded would appear blank. P a g e | 17 D ISCUSSION FORUMS
There are two ways to post to a discussion forum in a course. The main forum may be called “News Forum” or may have been named something else like “Announcements” or a combination of both. In the main forum you will only be able to reply to posts; this is the main announcement forum for the course. The Announcements graphic below is a main course forum. In topic 1, Discussion is a forum for a particular topic or chapter. In the Activities block, Forum will list all discussion forums in the course. To access a forum, click on the appropriate link on the course front page or from the Activities block. Post a new discussion topic to a forum
You may be required to participate in a discussion forum. Enter the forum by clicking on the appropriate link and click “Add a new discussion topic”. Type an appropriate Subject and enter text into the Message textbox. P a g e | 18 In the Subscription drop-down list select whether or not you want to receive email copies of posts. You will have 30 minutes to edit the post before it is sent (if you do not select the “Mail now” selection box) on most course sites, although the post may appear immediately in the forum. To delete a post within the edit time period, enter the post and click Delete. Reply to a discussion forum topic
You may be required to respond or reply to a discussion forum posted by your teacher or another student’s post. In order to reply to a post, you must click the link of the discussion and click the reply link. Most teachers consider a good post as one that does the following: references something discussed in the main topic is worded in such a way as to invite further responses includes proper sentence structure AVOID making “me too” posts. If you agree or disagree with a post, tell the class WHY to agree or disagree. Be sure to check for the requirements of each forum before posting or replying to them. P a g e | 19