Distance Course Policies
Many learning activities will consist of reading with learners reflecting on the ideas in online discussion. Participants will be responsible for completing all reading assignments in a timely manner to facilitate group learning and discussion. Participants are expected to identify key concepts, ideas, and questions which will comprise the basis for the online discussion.

Assessment of class participation will be based on the frequency, relevance, and quality of the student's participation in online discussions. Participants are expected to log on a minimum of twice per week, with substantive contributions to the online discussion. Simply saying "right on" or "I agree" is not considered a substantive contribution to the discussion.

All assignments will be posted electronically, either as online contributions to the forum discussions, or uploaded to the course web server, using the Drop Box under Student Tools or in the Groups Work Area (if using Blackboard). Other instructions will be provided to participants using other online course management systems, such as Nicenet's Internet Classroom Assistant.

"Discussion Threads" or "Conferencing" will be set up by the instructor for each week. The instructor will log in to the forums on a regular basis. However, participants should feel free to e-mail the instructor regarding any issues that cannot be resolved online. Another discussion thread will be set up called, "Just Practicing" or "In the Hall" where students can practice using the threaded discussion conferences before they need to post an assignment, or post comments that are social in nature or are unrelated to the assignments. Treat that conference like the discussions that happen "in the hall" outside the classroom. .

Use good "netiquette" such as:

[The above "netiquette" guidelines were adapted from Arlete H. Rinaldi's article "The Net
User Guidelines and Netiquette" published by Florda Atlantic University, 1994, and quoted
in Paloff & Pratt (1999) Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace, Jossey-Bass]

How the class interaction is structured:

The purpose of the Discussion Groups or Conferences is to post assignments that ALL students can read and provide appropriate responses. These postings do not appear in your e-mail. You have to remember to log on to the server. The top line of each assignment posting should include the heading and the number of the reading assignment that you are discussing (i.e., Stage 1, Portfolio Purpose, etc.). In your responses to other students' postings, only include the specific part of the previous message that you are responding to, not the entire posting. Blackboard will copy the entire original message; just delete the portions of the original message that don't apply to your response). Will save us all time in reading the postings and the responses.

The purpose of the Listserv is to send important announcements out to ALL of the students in the class. These messages do appear in your e-mail. There is nothing to remember (just check your e-mail frequently). Please use the listserv ONLY for messages that are meant to go to the entire class.

There are tools in the Communication Center on Blackboard to send messages to individual class members. We may also set up groups within the course, and assign class members to participate together in collaborative projects. There are tools in Blackboard to facilitate this group interaction (i.e., sending e-mail messages to group member only, working on a group web page).

Weekly Learning Log Requirement

One of the things we are unable to do in online distance education is communicate face-to-face as in a classroom or in "real time" as in an audio conference; therefore, we need to use different strategies to clarify our communication and to keep track of the learning process. To supplement this web-based interaction, distance students will be required to submit a weekly Learning Log, which is a reflection on the activities required and assignments completed. Your Learning Log will describe the independent learning activities you conducted to meet the weekly objectives (this is a substitute for in-class, face-to-face interaction).

The content of the Log should be a reflection on the activities required and assignments completed during the week. Students need to describe the independent learning activities which they conducted to meet the weekly objectives. What obstacles did you overcome? What new knowledge did you gain? What ideas have been generated from the synthesis of your activities and reading? The log does not need to be extensive, approximately one double-spaced page is required. It should be submitted by the following Sunday or Monday as an e-mail message to your instructor, with "Week__ Learning Log" (insert the week number). This way, your instructor can be made aware of any problems you are having, and the progress you are making. Do not send as an attachment, but just paste your text into an e-mail message.

updated 1/12/03