Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Backup your course at the end of the semester

Whew!  The semester is over, you have posted student grades to web services and now you are ready for a little break... NOT YET!  First, just so you have it in case you might need it, you will want to Backup your course from the semester with all student work and submissions, discussions and mail packaged all together in one place.

It's easy and here's how:

First click the Manage tab and find the option on the right side for Backup/Restore

If the course has been backed up before, it will be listed in this window.  It is still necessary to backup the information at the end of the semester.  Choose the Backup Now button to start the actual process.  

This window will give you a visual indication that the process is working.  
  • Wheels in progress look like small blue clocks; 
  • as it completes a function, the wheel turns green; 
  • functions not yet started are gray
Just be patient as this will take some time to backup your course and student work for the entire semester.  

When all the wheels are green, click the OK button.

Now the backed up course is listed on the page and you will need to download the backup to your hard drive or somewhere you have access and could use to restore if it became necessary (like on a CD).

When you click the Download Backup button, it will pop open a new window and ask you where to save the file (or it might just save to your desktop).  

Once it is saved, then you have completed the backup!  YAY!

NOTE:  This file is in an ANGEL backup format and you will not be able to just "see" the files from the course. If it becomes necessary to use the backup to access grades and student work, the file will be restored to the ANGEL server and THEN you will be able to see the information.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How to Submit Grades through Web Services (Not Really a Wingtip)

This is not really a Wingtip since it is not about ANGEL, but it is necessary for you to post your grades at the end of a semester on Web Services.  How do you do that?

1.  Start at the HCC website, www.hutchcc.edu   and select HCC Web Services (Faculty and Staff)

2.  Then Login to HCCWeb Services page 

3.  Once you are logged in, the HCCWeb Services page will pop up.  Hover over the Faculty heading and then select Grade Entry.

4.  When the next screen appears, choose your semester and hit Go or key in your exact course ID and  hit Go.

5.  The next screen will show all of the possible classes for which you need to enter grades.  Choose the course and click Go again.

And choose the Final Grades for each student

That's all there is to it!  Remember to submit your grades to Web Services on or before the due date for the grades, please!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Add images to your ANGEL pages!

All of the content for your course is ready but it feels like it is missing something... PICTURES!!!  How do you add pictures to content in ANGEL?  Before beginning this process, you will need to have some pictures or other graphics saved on  your computer or flash drive to insert in your pages.

First, click Settings to get to the edit-able screen.  Where do you want the picture inserted?  Place your cursor where you want the picture to go then find the little yellow box on the formatting toolbar.

When you click the little yellow button, a new window will pop up

Since there is no image yet, click the Browse button to find an image - this will pop up another window.

Browse to find the picture or graphic and then click the Open button.  This action takes you back to the previous window.  After the file is located, it still needs to be (1) uploaded and then (2) selected for use.  

Make sure after uploading to actually click the title of the image.  This action will close this window and take you back to the first popup window.  Notice the numbers on the image - below is an explanation of each.
  1. Width and Height is very important because if they are too large, the image will take a long time to load and take up too much space on the screen.  It is best if the width and height are100-300.
  2. HSpace adds a little white space around the picture so the text characters are not mashed up against the picture.
  3. Align allows for word wrapping around the image or placing the image at the top or the bottom, etc.  Experiment with the alignment to find the one you like best.
After making all those choices, now the finished product looks like this:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pending Items: The Assignment Purgatory of ANGEL

What on earth is a Pending Item?

Sometimes, have students said they have submitted an assignment created using the Assessment tool but when you go to check it out, it's not there?  Do you know about the Pending area in ANGEL?  Pending is the Purgatory of ANGEL where the assignment is not submitted, but not available to students either.  This is when you will have to access the Pending items and make a few decisions.

First, go to the item and choose Utilities

The Utilities menu will open up a window like this:

Choose the last item on the list:  Pending Items. If there is no student work in the Pending area, you do not have to do anything more.   However, if there is student work in the Pending area, it will show up in a list.  

If you would like to see what students have done so far, you can choose the View button.
If you want to delete the student submission so the student can try again, choose the Delete button.
If you want to just submit what the student has done so you can grade what is there, choose the Submit button.

That's all there is to it, but it is an important area for you to check regularly.  Remember:  PENDING!

Give us a call in ITDE if you have any questions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Using the HCC Common Learning Object Repository (LOR)

Have you wondered if there is an easy place to find some common items for your online or web-supported classroom - things such as Frequently Asked Questions about ANGEL, who to contact when you have problems, instructor sheets, and how to drop an online class?  The answer is YES!  In ITDE, we have created a Learning Object Repository (LOR) with all kinds of documents you might want in your Start Here folder.  The question is:  How do you access those items?  Here's how!

Once you create your Start Here folder, at the top of the screen click the Add Content link.  Look about halfway down the list to find "Import from Learning Object Repository" and choose that option.

This pops open a new window where you can select the LOR you desire to access.

Choose the dropdown next to Section and choose the Repository: HCC Common.  Then click the Browse button.

Now, you will see a list of folders in the HCC Common Repository.  You may feel free to link to or copy any of the items in this list.  But first, you will want to open the folder to see what is in the folder.  

Click on the TITLE of the folder to open it.

When you click on the Start Here title, this is the list that shows.  If you click on the icon in front of the title, it pops open a preview window so you can see what the item looks like.  When you find an item you would like to include in your Start Here folder, it is time to make a decision:  Link or  Copy?

When to use Link:  
In general, choose Link when you do not need to change the information to personalize it for you or your class.  Some items you might choose to link would include Netiquette Guidelines, Technical or Instructional, Important Phone Numbers and How to drop an online course.

When to use Copy:
Choose copy when you need to make changes to the information so it makes sense for your class.  You can modify any of the documents by choosing copy, such as Books.  If you copy the Books page, it is set up for you to simply paste a picture of your book, the title and other pertinent information to replace the information listed. 

Gradebook (Part I) - Initial decisions for your gradebook and setting Preferences

If this is your first time to use ANGEL for your web-supported course, there are a couple of things you need to do to set the gradebook up to work properly for you and your students.

There are actually four decisions you need to make and then things will run smoothly:
1.  Set Preferences
2.  Choose your categories
3.  Set the grading scale
4.  Choose the items you want to grade and record

NOTE:  The first time you go to the gradebook, you will likely see a Gradebook Wizard.  We highly recommend you choose "Skip Wizard" and do our four easy steps instead.

In order to access the Gradebook, choose the Manage tab and then select Gradebook

This pops open either the Gradebook Wizard (which we recommend skipping) or the choices on the Gradebook page.  This page is where you will access the links to help you make your four decisions.

Decision #1 - How do you plan to figure grades?  Do you plan to use percentage or points and what is the difference?

For your first decision, click the Preferences link and it will pop open a window where you will make a number of choices for your convenience about how your gradebook will figure grades.

On this page, first choose whether you want to have a Points or Percentage gradebook (see explanations on the graphic above).  

After you choose whether to use a Points or Percentage gradebook, then make choices about the Default Display Format and the Overall Display Format.  The General area is how students see individual assignment scores and the Average area is how students see their overall grade for the course.  Do you want it show their score or a percent or a letter grade or a combination?  

Finally, we suggest you choose to Exclude Instructors from Averages so you don't skew your class results in case you take your own test or grade something for yourself as a practice.

Make sure to click the Save button or you will get to make all these decisions again!

NOTE ABOUT "TREAT UNGRADED ITEMS AS ZERO" - If you choose this option, your students will have an "F" until the end of class.  This puts zeros in for all assignments that do not have grades in them, even if they are not due yet.  So, be careful about choosing this option.

Gradebook (Part II) - Set Grading Categories

Decision #2 – How about categories?  Will you use categories for your assignments? 

Back at the Manage -> Gradebook page, now choose Categories (on the right side). 

Now you are ready to add your categories so click the Add New button.  A window will pop open where you then add the title of the category and other information such as whether to use all assignments or to drop the lowest, etc.

NOTE:  In general, categories behave similarly whether you select the percentage or the points grade book.

If you choose percentage, it is an option to set the categories as a percent of the total grade.

If you choose points, the categories will figure (but not affect) what percentage of grades each category represents.

Gradebook (Part III) - Set your Grading Scale

What is your grading scale?

Do you want to set the Minimum for an A is 90 or do you want to be more specific and set the minimum for an A+ is 98, A is 93, A- is 90?  Time for another decision!

NOTE:  If you normally round an 89.5 up to an “A”, you need to put 89.5 as the minimum percent.  ANGEL does not round automatically.
NOTE:  For “F” we suggest the minimum percent as a “1” and then add one more Label – “No grade” and the minimum percent as “0”.  This keeps students from having an “F” as they begin the semester.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Gradebook (Part IV) Creating gradeable items for the gradebook

Decision #4 – How are you going to evaluate students?

Whatever you intend for them to turn in to you for grading needs to be attached to or created in the gradebook.

There are two scenarios for attaching items to the gradebook.

Scenario 1: students submit assignments electronically such as via a dropbox or an online quiz or assessment. 

NOTE: If you are receiving electronic submissions from students as they use the drop box, assessment tool, discussion forum or other ANGEL generated learning activity, this is the way to connect the activity to the gradebook.
  • Go to the Assignment
  • Select Settings
  • Select the Assignment tab
  • Under the Gradebook Settings dropdown, select "New Assignment" EVERY time you add a new assignment to the gradebook
These steps will automatically add a column in the gradebook with the name of the Assignment.
But, what about getting the grade into the gradebook? Look at the next diagram...

Now, when you grade submissions at the lesson level, the grade will automatically populate into the gradebook.


Scenario 2:  ANGEL is used as web-support for a face-to-face class and all assignments are handed physically in for the instructor to grade manually.

In this case, you will NOT connect items to the gradebook in the manner above but will manually add them to the gradebook from the Manage tab.

Click the Manage tab
Choose "2. Assignments" from the right side of the screen
This pops open a new window with a list of current assignments.

When you want to add a new assignment, click the Add New button and the Assignment Editor will appear at the bottom of the screen.

Look at the diagram for an explanation of the choices to create a new assignment.

When you are ready to enter grades, go back to the Manage tab and choose By Assignment from the left side.

Now choose the assignment for which you want to enter grades.

Finally, enter the grades by using either the Percentage box or the Points box.  You may also add any comments you want for the individual student to see.

Once you have entered the grades, make sure to click the SAVE button!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Adding Announcements

Now that your course is just starting, would you like to know how to post an announcement so your students know what to do in the online or web-supported classroom?  Here's how!

From your course home page, find the Announcements nugget and select the Edit button from the right end of the nugget
The next page that pops up is the list of announcements for your course and where you may choose to Add Announcement
In the Announcement Editor, key your content in the Announcement box and then set the Start and End dates.  It is highly recommended you use only dark fonts and not select bright or light ones as they are very difficult to view.

If you want to send a message to a specific student or group of students, you can change the User section to any one or more individuals.

Remember, the Announcements nugget shows up on the ANGEL home page and will help draw attention so students are on top of course requirements (or should be).

That's all there is to creating an announcement.  In many cases, you will want to use the Announcements option rather than individual emails.  Just remember if you want some contact back from the student, you probably want to send ANGEL course mail but if you mainly want to remind or announce changes, using the announcements feature is your best bet.

Call Jeff or Angela in ITDE if you have any questions and we will be happy to help!