Live from ITC: Day 2: Preparing Students for the Online Environment

Last session of the day… This one is from the good folks from North Central Texas College. They have an ANGEL orientation class which is required for all students in online or hybrid classes. Students must complete the orientation course prior to starting the class. Each semester, faculty are required to post an updated course info page so that prospective students know up-front exactly what they should expect. Additionally, these pages give advisors a resource as well so they may better direct students.

Maintain website at which provides information on orientations, keys to success, etc. Additionally, flyers are posted around campus informing students of online course orientations as well. SmarterMeasure is used to help students determine whether or not they’re ready for the demands of online courses. Also offer live office hours and online advising.

The problem is that faculty tended to spend the first week of class on orientation activities rather than teaching. Students taking multiple online courses had to go through multiple orientations.

ANGEL created custom environment variable which won’t allow students to access course without first completing orientation. Students must pass final exam in orientation course with 80% or better in order to gain access to their course. Orientation course is self paced and students must register for the course through college. Course appears on transcript.

Lessons in orientation course include:

Technical Information: (accepted browsers, required software and/ or plugins, etc.) and students have to complete a technology acknowledgement (and score 100 on it) in order to move into the next module.

Strategies for Success: link to SmarterMeasure assessment, information on how to succeed (log in daily, get textbooks early, etc.). Strategies component also includes acknowledgement on which student s must score 100 before they can advance.

Finding Your Way Around ANGEL: covers the basics of ANGEL components, navigation, etc. and contains several short assignments which students must complete in order to move forward. Students are also required to post to discussion forums, submit to a drop box (with and without attachments), complete quizzes, play games, and even demonstrate proficiency with the ANGEL WYSIWYG editor.

Library Resources: while the unit contains no assessments, it does contain extensive information on how to make use of the variety of resources available through the college library.

Final Exam: 40 or so questions on the exam which students must pass with a grade of 80 or better. Students are allowed to retake the test as many times as they wish, until they receive a passing grade. Nearly all students who took the final exam did indeed pass it.


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