There are a variety of ways an online course can be designed and facilitated. You may be asked to work at your own pace or at paces set by your professor. You may be required to work individually or in a group. You may write papers or take exams. You may complete work online, or offline with reports submitted online. The following are some generic activities you will need to know:
Read the Syllabus
The syllabus is the contract between the Professor and yourself in your online learning experience. It is often located in the “course information” area. The syllabus sets your expectations, defines scopes of learning, describes course activities and tells you how you will be assessed. You might want to print a copy of the syllabus, and mark the important dates in your calendar. If you have any questions about the syllabus, ask your professor early on. Typically, your professor would include his or her contact information in the syllabus,or elsewhere in your Blackboard course.
Complete Course Activities
The majority of course documents and activities are located under “course documents”. Course activities may include a variety of formats, you may be asked to view a PowerPoint presentation, read documents, complete learning exercises or games and whatever other activities your professor deem appropriate for the course. Some professors may choose to provide a link here to some other activities, such as assignments, assessments, and discussions. Your syllabus should be the best guide on where to find these activities or documents.
Participate in Discussions
Professors of many courses use of Blackboard’s discussion board feature. Most courses also make discussion a part of your final grade. Sometimes your professor may use blogs, journals or wikis for you to interact with each other and with him/her. An online learning experience will not be complete unless you participate in such interaction. You will also be able to get to know your classmates while you participate in such discussions, learn their perspectives on issues of the same interest, and therefore develop some your own critical thinking skills.
Correspond with Professor
You can communicate thoughts, issues and concerns with your professor in a number of ways. Sending an email to him or her is often the easiest way. Your email sent from here will go to the Professor’s email box associated with the course. If the professor sends you an email, you will also get it from your student email at OC. If you are not a fulltime OC student and does not have a student email, you might want to contact your professor and let him know which email you’ll prefer to use.
Complete Your Assignments
Your professor may use “assignment” or “turnitin assignment” for you to submit your assignment. Assignments you submitted will go into the Grade Center where your professor will grade them. If “turnitin assignment” is used, your writing will also be assessed for originality check.
Participate in Virtual Office Hour
Some professor may utilize virtual office hours or virtual classrooms by using the chat or virtual classroom tool. The virtual classroom also has a whiteboard for drawing, an area to ask private questions to the instructor, and the ability to browse to web pages.
Complete Online Tests
Most online tests will be located in the course content area under a folder or in a module. Your professor will tell you where they are. If they cannot be found, check with your professor. Your syllabus should include the time when specific exams/quizzes are available. Please also note that most such exams/quizzes have a predetermined duration, such as one hour. Please pay attention to such duration. If your professor chooses to do so, he or she may use “Lockdown Browser” during the specified test time. Lockdown Browser will minimize distractions from other applications while you are taking the test. Your professor may also require a proctor for your tests. All such terms for assessments should be available in your syllabus. If anything is not clear, please contact your professor immediately.
Additional Activities and Tools
The course also includes many other useful tools such as “my grades”, “calendar”, and “external links”. Please make sure you explore this at the beginning of the course to make sure you are comfortable with the platform. The user manuals under “tools” provide further information about the course management platform.