Interacting in Your Course
In all VirtualSC PD courses, your participation is of the utmost importance. On this page, you will be provided with textual directions and videos for participating in some of the most basic course modules, including:
- Forums and Advanced Forums: Forums and Advanced Forums give you a chance to interact with other course members within a discussion board formatted module. Advanced Forums are virtually the same as Forums, but with advanced capabilities and display option.
- Assignments: Assignments give you the opportunity to show your facilitator what you’ve learned, and how you’ve synthesized that new learning. Assignments can have multiple formats and requirements.
- Blackboard Collaborate Sessions: Blackboard Collaborate Sessions provide course participants with real-time interaction through screen-sharing, audio, and webcam options. Your course may or may not include this type of resource.
You will also be presented with materials on how to check your progress in a course, and check your grades.
Completing and Submitting Assignments
Over the duration of your VirtualSC PD course, you will most likely be asked to create an assignment outside of Moodle, and upload it within your course. Documents may need to be submitted in multiple formats, including images, i.e. .png, .jpg, .gif, Word or open Office documents, i.e. .doc, .docx, or in PDF format, i.e. .pdf.
Remember that you should back up, or save, your work in multiple locations, and on more than one type of media. It is recommended that you save your work to your computer hard drive/desktop (in a folder named specifically for your VirtualSC PD course), and on a flash (thumb) drive.
When you name your file, make sure that you adhere to the naming convention set forth in the assignment. Your facilitator may have given you a specific naming convention for all files to be submitted with, or may have a different convention for each assignment. Make sure to pay close attention to this in your VirtualSC PD course. If your facilitator has not defined a naming convention for files, the following convention is always a safe bet: FirstNameLastName_AssignmentName_Date.
With this convention, you may have a file name like: “JohnSmith_SelfReflection_12012013″.
This format gives the facilitator not only your name, but also the assignment you are working on, and the final date on which you saved your work. While this may not seem important, or relevant, to you as a course participant, it will greatly aide your facilitator should he/she decide to grade offline after downloading multiple documents from many students.
Watch the video below to learn how to submit an assignment in Moodle:
Participating in Discussion Forums
Participation in discussion forums is a mandatory component in all VirtualSC PD renewal and graduate courses. Communicating and learning together allows you to share your questions, ideas, and possible frustrations with other students. It also allows you to receive help from your peers should you need it. You will be asked to synthesize the reading and resources you’ve been assigned in each week of your course within the discussion forum. The only exception to this would be if you are taking a self-paced, non-facilitated renewal course from VirtualSC PD. Make sure that you refer to the Forum Guidelines and Discussion Forum Rubric found in this course when posting to forums, and replying to others. Watch the video below to see how to create an initial forum post: (Click here to view How to Use Discussion Forums video)
Using Blackboard Collaborate
Blackboard Collaborate is a world-class, real-time training, demonstration and collaboration environment that is powerful, flexible, and easy to use. Some of VirtualSC PD’s courses require attendance via Blackboard Collaborate. Please read the information on this page, and watch the videos on the two following pages, to ensure that you are ready to join your facilitator when they have a meeting online. Below, you will find some tips for participating in a Blackboard Collaborate session:
- Find a comfortable place with no distractions.
- Watch the Blackboard Collaborate Online Orientation.
- Go to the Configuration Room to test your equipment to be sure access and settings are optimal for participation.
- Open and review the Participant Quick Guide.
- Be sure to join any the session you’re attending 5-10 minutes prior to the start. If you use a computer that is in a location that is protected by a firewall, you may need to talk with your technology specialist to gain access ahead of the meeting date/time.
- Each computer that you use will need to be set up so that you will be able to access the meeting. Be sure to complete the Audio Set Up Wizard at beginning of each session to be sure you have full use of your microphone and speakers.
Joining a Blackboard Collaborate Session
Watch the video below to learn how to join a Blackboard Collaborate session:
Viewing a Blackboard Collaborate Session Recording
Watch the video below to learn how to view a recording of a Blackboard Collaborate session: (Click here to view how to watch a Blackboard Collaborate Recording)
Checking Your Progress
As a participant in an VirtualSC PD graduate or renewal course, it is your responsibility, and your responsibility entirely, to keep up with your progress and grades. Checking your grades is as easy as logging in to your course, and looking in the Administration block. See the image below (the red box and red arrow) for the Grades link. In this area, you will find your overall grade, cumulative totals, and overall feedback. For assignments and forums that use Marking Guides and Rubrics, you will view that feedback from within the Joule Grader. There is a video below the image you see here showing you how to accomplish this.
Additionally, please note that many of our courses have been set up with “activity completion” check boxes. These are just a visual aid for you to see how you’re progressing through the content of the course. See the image below (the yellow box and yellow arrow) for an example of Activity Completion. Always defer to the actual grades area to see if assignments have been graded.
Viewing Feedback on Assignments with Marking Guides or Rubrics
As mentioned above, many of the assignments you will complete, and forums you will participate in, are set up to use Marking Guides or Rubrics to provide you with succinct feedback on how you performed. Watch the video below to learn how to access the Joule Grader for this feedback: