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This section provides very important information regarding how this course will function and what will be expected of you. So, please take the time to read all of the material provided.
After you have read the material in this section you will be required complete several introductory tasks. If you have additional questions after completing this section, please post them to the 'Course Questions' discussion topic on the discussion board. Don't be shy about asking your question(s). Remember, if something is not clear to you...it is probably not clear to others as well! Also, if someone posts a question for which you have an answer, feel free to help them out!
With thanks to WCJC’s Director of Distance Education, Professor Michele Betancourt, for her permission to use her Getting Started documents (including her exact words) in the Getting Started sections of our WCJC courses.
Welcome to this online section of United States History II. My name is C.J. Bibus, and I will be your instructor this semester. I have been teaching online history since 2003 and both on-campus and online history for WCJC since 2004. My experience is that history is interesting and useful for survival. History is about how thing work.
I am a native Texan who attended a community college. I moved to Virginia for Master’s degree in history and then later returned to Texas to earn by doctorate. My doctorate emphasized teaching in the community college and the history of the early junior college just after 1900. I also worked in industry before returning to teaching in the community college in 2003. Much of my emphasis on evidence and factual accuracy comes because I found that getting or keeping a job that paid well required those skills. I love history because it is beautiful, but my life in industry taught me that it was useful for learning how to think about real things—from biology to business.
I have a perfect daughter—all parents should feel that way about their children. The family joke is that she “brought me up as best she could.”
I am always trying to improve the course each semester. At the end of each semester, I take a survey to see what would help students. I also wanted to take advantage of the efforts of WCJC’s Director of Distance Education, Professor Michele Betancourt. I have copied her work in hopes of helping each of you. If any one has suggestions to improve this course, feel free to let me know, I value and appreciate the input.
As this is an online course, our primary means of communication will be through email and discussion board areas.
Each semester I will post my virtual office hours. These will be posted as an announcement during the first week of the semester. During my virtual office hours I will be available to respond to student questions. Additionally I try to login each day when you are taking Unit Exams.
The Discussion Section of the course is used for a variety of purposes. With this course, you can use the Discussion Board to get help or give it. You also can communicate with other members of the class—and not just in the graded area). Hopefully this section will help to create a sense of community.
Everyone is encouraged to answer questions if they know the answer. One thing I learned in academics—but more in business—is to always double-check anything you are about to say is true. It is a good habit that takes a few seconds but always pays off. I regularly read through the questions and answers. If there is any particular area of confusion or "bad" answers I will send out the correct information as a general email.
There are several types of discussions/bulletin boards in this area:
Unit Topics: These are the graded discussions for the course. They let you ask or answer questions about the current content and about current assignments. They are for extra credit, but you can earn those points in several ways.
Course Questions: You should post general questions that you have related to course in this area. This is generally the fastest way to receive a response. I will review and respond frequently. Students are welcome to post responses to questions if they so choose. Your participation in this discussion topic is optional.
Technical Questions: You can post questions related to computer related problems here. I used to know a great deal about WebCT and the Blackboard version we used here at WCJC before May 2012. I am a novice at this Blackboard because I have only used it since May. I know that if you have a problem I do want about it. I may know a solution. If I don’t, I will tell you that. Also, many students have taken several online course and have experienced similar technical issues. Remember you can always click on the help button at the top of the course page.
Student Lounge: A place to discuss issues not related to the course. Your participation in the Student Lounge is optional. I rarely go into this area. If you have a question for your instructor, post in Course Questions or email me.
Student Introduction: A place to post a little bit about yourself so that other students and the instructor can know a little bit about you.
Email / Telephone
Reaching me through my Blackboard email (Messages on the left menu) is the BEST way to reach me. I can rarely check my WCJC email except at the beginning of the day. If you mail me within Blackboard email, I will generally respond within 24 hours (holidays and weekends being exceptions). At a minimum, I check the course messages at least after my last class on campus..
I am glad to help students online, with a phone call, or on campus. Rather than covering all the details that might be possible for a phone call or a face-to-face meeting, these ways have worked best with students in the past:
· If you want to talk by phone during my online office hours, then use Blackboard email to tell me your phone number and ask me to call you
· If you want to meet me on campus during my office hours, then use Blackboard email to tell me that I will respond back with my location at that time so we can meet.
· If the above ways do not work, email me some possible times for you for a phone call or a face-to-face meeting and I will try to figure out some time that will work for both of us. I will then email you back with a proposed time.
Although your work in the Unit topics (the Ask and Answer topics) is extra credit, they are graded. These are general guidelines that will be applied when grading your class discussions. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.
Whether you are asking a question or answering another student’s question, you want to be useful and brief and use verifiable and usable evidence. Those words verifiable and usable are from the back cover of one of my favorite books In Defense of History by Richard J. Evans. Those words in the context of history are talking about later if you are intereerifiable evidence sounds . The initial post should be at least 1 page in length (250 words), and respond to the topic starter. Be sure to read/watch the background material on the issue. The goal of the discussions is to have an informed debate on current controversies in American society.
After you formulate and post your initial post, you should then respond to at least two posts of your classmates IN THE SAME TOPIC. The response posts should be about 1/2 - 3/4 of a page in length (125 - 175 words).
Please do not post your responses as a file attachment. If you would like to save a copy of the post, type your response in your word processor and save it there. You can then cut and paste your response into the discussion post.
The topics are drawn from a variety of sources. I try to select topics that the class will find interesting and relate to politics. Each Unit's topics will only be open until the closing date for the unit (refer to the course schedule for a listing of all relevant due dates and the closing dates of each unit).
Late Discussion posts will not be accepted. Once the topic is locked, responses will no longer be accepted.
Points to Remember
Read discussion topics and responses on Blackboard often. Reflect on these comments and contribute your own perspectives. Online discussions are learning opportunities that are equivalent to class discussions with instructors and other participants. By reflecting on and responding to questions and comments, you will develop your ability to articulate your concerns, opinions, viewpoints and professional judgment.
I know everyone is always anxious to receive feedback on your completed work, so I will make every effort to give you prompt feedback. I generally grade twice a week for each class. This means that you will usually not have to wait more than a week before your grades are posted. For instance if I grade Friday morning, everything that was submitted between the previous Friday and the Friday of the grading will be posted. The exception to this is the discussion posts which are only graded at the close of the unit. Also, be aware that if everyone waits till the closing date, closing hour of a unit to submit assignments, discussions and exams there might be a slight delay...I do grade, however, in the order that the assignments are received.
Success in the Online Environment
Although this is a distance learning course, it is NOT a correspondence course; nor is it an independent study course. Specific deadlines are provided and must be met. Class participation, in the form of discussions, is required and will be factored into your final grade. While I try to build in a great deal of flexibility for you to work ahead in each unit, you cannot complete the course in a single weekend, but are expected to be part of the course for the whole semester.
This online version of Government is designed to require roughly the same amount of time a student would spend in a 3 credit hour, face-to-face (f2f) class. You will be expected to complete all of the learning activities and maintain an active presence in the class discussion forums. Time commitment consists of two parts: interaction with other students (class participation) and interaction with content (course material).
General points to remember:
Great! You are almost finished. Before you get started with the content for this course, I would like you to take care of some "housekeeping" items.
Remember these tasks are agraddedcomponent of the course. Please complete as soon after logging in as possible so that I know a little about each of you enrolled in the course. (If you are enrolled in both of my online sections at the same time you may use the same info for both courses - BUT it MUST be posted in both areas to recieve credit)
I am looking forward to a great semester. If you have any general questions, please go to the discussion board and post it under general course questions section. If the question is of a more personal nature, feel free to email me.