Course Materials: Tips
This page provides tips for a successful distance learning experience.
This course is intended to be a practical exploration of information sources. Regardless of whether you're interested in academic, school, public, or special library work, this course is designed to be flexible enough to address the varied needs of students.
Keep in mind that this class contains students with a wide variety of educational, work, life, and technology experience. Try not to compare yourself to other students. Instead, focus on your own strengths and weaknesses. Be sure to email your instructor if you have questions or concerns about the specific projects and how they can better fit your professional needs.
Your instructor will be sending out periodic class updates to review important course information and assignments. Please read these carefully. If you have questions, please email your instructor for clarifications or questions. If you think you've missed one of these communications, check the ANNOUNCEMENTS section of Canvas.
Since this is an online course, much of the sharing and discussion will happen using the Canvas online learning environment. However since you'll be experiencing many different technologies in this course, be sure to read the activity guidelines carefully to determine where projects should be shared.
We'll be using the university's Canvas system to share assignments and ideas. Go to http://Canvas.iu.edu and enter your login and password to enter the system. Inside Canvas you'll find the following elements for our course:
1) The ANNOUNCEMENTS is the place where I'll be posting assignments, due dates, assignment ideas, and debriefing each assignment.
2) The DISCUSSIONS area is where you'll be sharing and discussing your projects.
3) The GRADES is a place where you can track your progress. I will be posting grades and comments in this area.
4) The PEOPLE shows the class list. You may wish to update your personal profile.
5) The SYLLABUS shows our course syllabus and website.
6) The ASSIGNMENT area is where you'll turn in some assignments.
7) The CHAT area can be used by anyone who would like a "real time" conversation with the instructor or a classmate.
The biggest drawback to an online class is the lack of face-to-face communication with your instructor and your peers. I'll be sending out weekly course updates that will hopefully help you feel connected to me. I'll be reading your assignments which will help me feel connected to you. We can email personally whenever you have something you'd like to share or discuss.
Personal Web Space
You will be sharing many projects during the semester. Sometimes I'll indicate where they should be stored. At other times, you'll have a choice. The course materials also provide links to free storage space for resources such as videos. Rather than relying on university space, it's a good idea to start thinking about long-term storage of assignments that you might eventually wish to place in your professional portfolio.
You may wish to share your projects and get feedback from classmates before submitting to your instructor. Classmates can help identify typos and missing elements that can impact your grade. By reading the projects of others you can often find ideas that might enhance your own project. Remember this is not a competition, all projects are graded with the same checklist.
Use the following resources to explore sources of web space.
1. Canvas. Provides space to store assignments.
One option is to simply attach the file to a message posting. This is fine, but the file wouldn't be available outside Canvas if others wish to see it. For example, you might want to share it with a prospective employer or friend. Some assignments must be available on the web.
2. IU Box. All students have access to IU Box. This is a flexible storage space similar to DropBox. This is a good place to store large files. You can set permissions to ensure others have access to your documents.
3. Personal Space. Use your own personal or work web space. Most local service providers provide space for personal pages.
4. Free Web Space (Great choice). Use free services such as Google Sites and Weebly for your own personal site. If you need additional ideas of locations for free space, contact your instructor.
This course contains a series of activities. A total of 100 points are possible.
A Course Guide will guide you through the materials. You should systematically work your way through the Course Guide.
Throughout the Course Guide, you'll be directed to read web pages and complete assignments. Your activities and projects will reflect your understanding of these readings.
Assignments and Course Projects
Assignments will focus on building specific skills essential in developing effective projects. You are required to complete and share each of these assignments.
You'll find boxes which contain the requirements for the Activities within the Guide. These activities are intended to help you analyze and apply the course content.
In many cases, you will be asked to provide a "high quality replies" to your peers.
Below you'll find examples of the kinds of "responses" that will be counted. Feel free to "get into" the discussion with as many comments to your peers as you'd like. However to receive your response point(s), be sure that your response is insightful and will help others in their learning.
- Provide technical support or suggestions. You might provide a tip or suggestion related to use of a website that might help a student expand their project or solve a technical problem.
- Act on a suggestion. For example, after reading a comment from a peer, you might decide to add an example, suggest a website address or other resource, or answer a question. Be specific.
- Provide feedback to others such as a specific comment or idea along with an example, expansion, or suggestion. In other words, "way to go Susie" is a good start, but won't get you a point. You could even start with "that's crap Susie", however the key is providing positive, constructive criticism or helpful and encouraging advice. Healthy debate is fine, but let's discourage mean-spirited comments.
- State an opinion and provide supportive evidence or arguments. This can be fun because it can really get a discussion going. For example, you might point out why you think a particular project is effective or ineffective. Be sure to be specific.
- Add an insight. If you've had an encounter with the topic being discussed, it would be valuable to hear your thoughts and "real world" experiences. This should be more than "I'll use the idea in class." How and why will you use the idea? Would the idea work in another area? How or why?
It is recommended that you write your assignment in a word processor, then paste it into an Canvas posting. Canvas has been known to crash, so it's a good idea to have a back up of your text.
Preferred Approach: Provide an quick introduction to your project, then attach a Word or PDF file to your posting. Be sure to double-check that your file attachment works.
DO NOT submit projects to the following formats because many students do not have access to this software: Publisher, Word Perfect, Works. Also, DO NOT use the Web Archive (.MHT file extension) option in Word. It does not work with all versions. If you use these packages, please export as a Word file, a web page, or as a PDF file.
In many cases, it's useful to have a "screen shot" to demonstrate how a software package is used. Here are the directions for making a graphic that can be pasted into Word or attached to an assignment.
Macintosh Screen Capture. If you have Mac OSX, it's easy to use the built-in key commands for grabbing a screen.
- Press Command (Apple)-Shift-4. The cursor turns into a cross.
- Select the area of the screen you wish to capture. The screen is captured and saved as a PDF file called Picture 1 on your hard drive.
- If you hold down the Control key in addition to the Command (Apple)-Shift-4 and select an area of the screen, the image is stored on the clipboard.
If you have Mac OSX, you can also use the Grab Utility. This allows you to capture windows that are open.
- Open Grab (located in Applications/Utility).
- Choose Capture > Timed Screen.
- When the Timed Screen Grab dialog opens, click Start Timer.
- Click the menu you want to capture and keep the mouse button pressed until the Timer Screen Grab dialog closes and the picture appears.
- Use the Grab preferences for option options such as showing the pointer.
Windows Screen Capture. The PRINT SCREEN key allows you to capture the Desktop or individual windows. You'll have to look for this key on your keyboard, it's placement varies with the type of keyboard.
To capture the entire screen:
- Press the PRINT SCREEN key. The image will be placed on the clipboard.
- Open an application such as Microsoft Word, pull down the Edit menu and choose Paste. Or, press Ctrl-V to paste.
To capture the current window on your screen:
- Press the ALT + PRINT SCREEN key. The current window will be placed on the clipboard.