Read Me First

Introduction

Please review the syllabus and weekly instruction pages before beginning the course. They have been designed to answer as many questions as possible clarifying the many details of the course.

Responsibilities

As a distance learner, you are, in some ways, more independent than your classroom counterparts. You are not bound by time and space for most activities. With this freedom, also comes responsibilities, especially regarding time management. This is not a totally "at your own pace" course because there are specific deadlines given for activities.

It is tempting to procrastinate in completing the readings and assignments, but avoid that pitfall. You will be busy – possibly stretched – in keeping up with the pace, and the situation will compound rapidly if you don't manage your time well.  If you do manage your time well, you will find yourself easily keeping up and enjoying the insights and knowledge you will gain.

Standards

All Concordia University students are expected to meet a minimum computing standard as outlined at: http://kb.cu-portland.edu/Computing+Standards

It should be noted that Blackboard will work on a Macintosh with OSX, but Help Desk support is only provided for the PC platform.

Please view the Blackboard FAQ for any tech issues before contacting support: http://kb.concordiaonline.org/Blackboard+FAQS

An overview of Blackboard tools and resources can be found at:
http://kb.concordiaonline.org/Blackboard+Training+for+Students

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Expectations

Concordia University encourages frank and insightful dialogue in all of its online courses. Diversity has many manifestations including diversity of thought, opinion, and values. We encourage all learners to be respectful of that diversity and to refrain from inappropriate commentary. Comments posted should be guided by common sense and basic etiquette. You are expected to follow these guidelines:

  • Never post, transmit, promote, or distribute content that is known to be illegal.
  • Avoid overtly harassing or embarrassing fellow learners. If you disagree with someone, respond to the subject, not the person.
  • Refrain from transmitting or distributing content that is harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, vulgar, or otherwise.
  • Remember that there are no anonymous postings.
  • Leave critical comments on writing mechanics to the instructor.  Focus your comments on content.

There are several levels of formality in online communication. 

Email is normally in the mid-range of formality. Complete sentences, correct spelling, punctuation and refraining from ALL CAPS (considered shouting) are important. The goal is to communicate clearly and effectively.

Please see the assignment submission page linked from the weekly instruction page for more details.

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Contact Information

Instructor - To contact your instructor use the Email the Instructor tool in your Course Menu.

Student Services - Use the Request Support tool. Select Student Services from the Service Request Options. Fill out the form and select 'Submit'.

Technical Support - Use the Request Support tool. Select Technical Support from the Service Request Options. You will be forwarded to the Technical Support site.

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File names & Naming conventions

You will be required to turn in assignments electronically. You MUST follow proper naming conventions naming your files when you save them before uploading. The standard naming convention for files that are turned in electronically is: (Your_Full_Name_Assignment_name_week#) For example:

John_Smith_Teaching_Styles_Week2.doc

Assignments that are not named appropriately may not be graded and may be considered late.

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Discussion Board

In online courses at Concordia University, the Discussion Board functions as the main dialogue center for the course.  The majority of your course work will be posting to the Discussion Board.  For all intents and purposes this is your "classroom". You cannot be successful in this course without devoting a considerable amount of your time to Discussion Board participation.   We recommend checking the Discussion Board at least every day for new posts so that you may respond and interact in a timely manner.

You may edit your posts after they are submitted. Your submitted date is recorded as your most recent edit. This means if you change your post after the due date your instructor could deduct points for your post being late. Please communicate with your instructor if you edit your post after the due date, or simply reply to your own post with edits so your original posting date is retained.

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Discussion Board Posting Instructions

Please review the course syllabus for detailed instructor expectations.

Many weekly assignments require you to post responses to the discussion board and to your classmates' posts. High-quality, thoughtful, appropriate responses to the discussion prompts are expected. For there to be a lively class discussion, you will need to respond to others' posts in the discussion board forum(s) as well.

Follow these instructions when posting and replying:

  • FIRST, you should always write your response in Microsoft Word or another word processing program. Check for spelling, grammar, and flow. Save the file to your computer.
  • Find the Discussion Board link in your Course Menu. Look for the appropriate topic under the Forum column. This will typically be the name of the discussion board assignment you are working on (i.e., Week 1 - Take a Stand). Click on the link.
  • Click the link titled "Click here to post your reply." This is called the "starter post."
  • Click Reply.
  • Enter your full name as a subject in the "Subject" line above the message box.
  • Make sure the Visual Editor is turned on (see the purple arrow in the image below). If it's set to "off," simply click on it to turn it back on.
  • Copy the text from your saved MS Word document and paste it into the message box.
  • If you need to attach a file such as an image or a PDF, click on the Browse my Computer button in the Attachments section below the message box.
  • If you need to attach more than one file, use the Attach File icon in the Visual Editor bar above the message window. It is in the third row of icons and looks like a piece of paper with a paper clip in the corner (if you can't find it, see the red arrow in the image below).
  • If you would like the image to be included in your message rather than attached to it, use the Attach Image icon next to Attach File. It looks like an old-fashioned photograph (see the green arrow in the image below).
  • If you would like to preview how your message will appear before it is posted, the Preview button is in the second row of icons in the Visual Editor bar. It looks like two windows stacked on top of one another (see the blue arrow in the image below).

post how to

Please Note:

Responding to a classmate’s Discussion Board post
  • Write your response in Microsoft Word or another word processing program. Check for spelling, grammar, and flow. Save the file to your computer.
  • Find the post you want to reply to. The subject line will be the name of the classmate you are responding to.
  • Click on the blue Reply button on the lower portion of the page (next to the Quote button).
  • Your classmate’s name should still be the subject of the post - don't change it to your name!
  • Copy the text from your Word document and paste it into the Reply to Post message box.
  • Click Preview using the appropriate button in the Visual Editor bar and when satisfied, click Post.
  • Attachments work the same way as they do with a "regular" discussion board post. See the instructions above if you need help.

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Assignment Dropbox instructions

Please review the course syllabus for detailed instructor expectations.

Assignments should be completed as Word or PowerPoint documents (or other formats when necessary) and submitted via the links on the Assignments page, which you can access via the Course Menu. See below for further instructions.

To upload your assignments, please follow the directions below:

  • Complete your work in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. Proofread your work for spelling, grammar, flow, and style. Save the file to your computer. Follow proper naming conventions when saving your file. For information on naming conventions, review the Read Me First page available to you on the Course Content homepage.
  • Open your Blackboard course if you haven't already and click on the Assignments link in the Course Menu. All of the assignments for the course are listed on this page. To submit a file, find the name of the assignment you need to submit and click on the link.
  • You will be brought to a page with the assignment's name, directions, and due date. There is a message box on the page, but unless you are instructed to do so, DO NOT copy and paste your assignment as you did with the discussion board posts. Attach your appropriately-named assignment file instead (see below).
  • Find the Attach File beneath the message box. Click on Browse My Computer and select the appropriate file from your computer. Click Open.
  • If you want to include a note for your instructor, use the Comments box below the Attach File section.
  • When satisfied, click Submit.

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Style Guides

APA style is required for all assignments for the M.Ed and Ed.D programs. For more information about APA style, a guide is provided here.

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Grade Center

You can see your grades and determine your percentage in this course at all times. To calculate your actual percent, simply divide your current total score out of the points possible to date.

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Rubrics

A rubric is a tool used to clearly communicate assignment expectations. Students are provided with grading criteria that will be used by instructors to provide feedback and assess the completed assignment. This tool ensures grading consistency regardless of the instructor and student and allows students to know exactly how to earn all the points required for the assignment. By reviewing this information before you start your assignment you will begin work with the same expectations that your instructor has when he or she grades your work.

Below are instructions for reviewing rubrics for assignments and discussion boards.

how to rubric

Step One: Click on 'My Grades'

Step Two: Find the assignment you are about to complete and click on the button labeled 'View Rubric'.

Example Rubric

The rubric tool in Blackboard provides a simple table display of assignment grading criteria.

Below is an example of what a rubric looks like. Grading criteria is listed in the first column and the number of points that can be earned for each criterion is listed in the subsequent columns.

Rubric example

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Due dates

Assignments are due by 11:59 PM Pacific Time on the day of the week listed.

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MS Office software

Some assignments will require you to turn in PowerPoint and Excel files. These must be made using the Microsoft Office Suite of programs. As a CU student, the Office Suite is available to you at no cost. Please see this link for the FAQ about how to obtain a free copy of the MS Office Suite: http://kb.cu-portland.edu/Office+365

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Next step

You will be working in weekly units. Each one can be found under the Weekly Instruction link from the Blackboard Course Content home page. Click into Week 1 and read the material carefully. Your reading and essay upload assignments are all described with timelines and specific requirements.

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