Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question category (TEXTBOOK) or the question itself. If you have additional questions, just ask and I will add them here.

 

TEXTBOOK

Do I really need the textbook???

CONTENT

Where is the content?

How can I find all the essay questions I have to answer for each Unit essay exam?

How can I find every possible objective question I have to answer for each Unit objective exam?

What is the best way to prepare for the exams?

What is the goal of writing in this course?

CONTENT AND QUIZZES

What are the three versions of the quizzes for?

What should happen when I take the Check Your Knowledge quiz?

How does the extra credit work with quizzes?

Why are there only 10 minutes to key your answers to a Check Your Knowledge Quizzes--and how people who don't like to read online can have another way?

Why the other versions of the quiz are only 10 minutes?

CONTENT AND VIDEOS & ASSIGNMENTS

How do I use Blackboard’s Assignment tool for ANY assignment?

How do I figure out how to do the video assignment for this course?

What’s the purpose of looking at the videos and the report I fill out?

How can I choose my videos?

Will I lose points if each of my videos does not exactly match the content covered for that Part of the Unit (like Part A, B, or C in Unit 1)?

WHY CAN’T I SEE…

Why can’t I see the Unit Exams?

Why can’t I see the Unit 1 Essay Exam? I know I did the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay)?

READING AND FACTUAL ACCURACY, RELIABLE SOURCES, AND NOT COPYING

Why this emphasis on factual accuracy?

Why this emphasis on not copying words?

Why this emphasis on using the textbook as the reliable source?

What is the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay)

How does my instructor grade my written work – my essays?

What are some tips to help me read and plan a practical essay?

How can I avoid problems with using quotation marks and “half-copy” plagiarism?

LINKS TO CONTENT

I click on a link but nothing happens?

LINKS TO VIDEOS

I click on a video but it asks for a password or nothing happens?

GRADING

Where are my grades?

What is the grade A_ec and B_ec and so on?

What are the possible extra credits for quizzes and the additional benefits beyond the extra points?

What are the possible extra credits for the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay) and additional benefits beyond the extra points?

What are the possible extra credits for the Ask and Answer Discussion topics and additional benefits beyond the extra points?

BLACKBOARD

I am a little confused on how to: submit assignments? post a discussion?

On a mail message how to I use strike through?

 

TEXTBOOK

Do I really need the textbook???

The answer to this is yes. You can buy older editions of this textbook or rent or use it at your local library, but you need the textbook. You use it as your source of facts when you write; I use it when I grade your evidence.

 

Edward Ayers, Lewis Gould, David Oshinsky, and Jean Soderlund. American Passages: A History of the United States. 4th edition. The ISBN for the current 4th edition in paperback is ISBN: 9780547166469.

 

If you need tips on buying or borrowing a cheap book, click here. You can use many of the older books as long as they have 32 chapters.

 

Caution: You cannot use the BRIEF, 4th edition which has 2 fewer chapters than the 32 chapters in the other 4th editions and all prior editions of this book.

 

CONTENT

Where is the content?

Content is in Learning Modules (on the left menu). You have:

·         Getting Started

·         Unit 1

·         Unit 2

·         Unit 3

·         Final Exam

 

Each Unit is a major time period that reveal shifts in our history. To make the work manageable, I have divided each Unit into 3 smaller time periods, or Parts. For example, Unit 1 is divided into Part A, Part B, and Part C, each with its own major theme and its own quiz.

How can I find all the essay questions I have to answer for each Unit essay exam?

There is one website or webpage for each Unit. It includes at the top all possible essay questions.

How can I find every possible objective question I have to answer for each Unit objective exam?

In the webpage for each Unit, you find printable versions of the "check your knowledge" quizzes. This provides you a fast place to record stuff--like the answers or what you missed or where you read so you got it straight.

 

The "check your knowledge" quizzes at Quizzes & Exams

·         Reveal EVERY fact you have to know for the objective exam.

·         Tell you what you don't know and do know. If you miss something, go read that content in our textbook AND no other source.

What is the best way to prepare for the exams?

For objective exams, use the Check Your Knowledge quizzes to test your current knowledge. Read what you do not know. Memorization does not work. There are also practice versions of the same quizzes if you find that helps you.

For essay exams, use the link at the top of each Unit webpage (at the top of the unit). It lists all the possible questions so you know what to read. If you can’t find information, you can email me and I will add to the list some tips that everyone can see.

For general success, use these resources:

·         In the course--the Unit webpage, including things to help you self-test in history.

·         In the discussion for the Units—ask for the help you need.

·         With your prof—if you post asking for help and no student responds in a few days, then I can offer content and make it visible to everyone.

What is the goal of writing in this course?

The purpose of writing is to help you learn the history. With something that people talk about in many ways, sometimes it helps to state what is not the goal. With writing in this course, you are not summarizing or paraphrasing the textbook. You do not, therefore, need to repeat every fact or word in the textbook. You are also not showing your personal writing style while stating your feelings or your opinions.

Instead, in this course, the goal of all writing assignments is for you to do activities that help you learn the history of our nation. One of the most powerful ways to learn something is to try to teach it. You will succeed in these assignments if you do these things:

·         If you read carefully and work to understand what happened and ask if you need help.

·         If you figure out what essential facts that you would teach your cousin.

·         If you figure how you could organize those facts as simply and as accurately as you can.

·         If you write in a common sense way as though you are teaching your cousin history that he or she needs to understand.

CONTENT AND QUIZZES

What are the three versions of the quizzes for?

There are three versions of each quiz:

1.    Check Your Knowledge quizzes – Measures your current knowledge so you know what you need to read (.01 point extra credit per question in the quiz)
Never prepare for these. You are testing your own CURRENT knowledge so you know your strengths and weaknesses.
Requires the password onetimeonly

2.    PRACTICE ONLY quizzes – Lets you practice as much as you want (no points, but unlimited retakes).

3.    The real 10-point quiz
Prepare for these by reading carefully everything you missed in the check your knowledge version. If needed, ask questions. Do NOT memorize what you do not understand.
Requires the password onetimeonly

What should happen when I take the Check Your Knowledge quiz?

When you start out, all you see is the Check Your Knowledge quiz.

1.    You click the Check Your Knowledge quiz.
Example: you take Quiz A_ec Check Your Knowledge.

2.    Blackboard automatically displays its Practice quiz and its real one
Example: you see both
- Quiz A - PRACTICE ONLY (no points, but unlimited retakes)
- Quiz A (10 points, onetime only)

How does the extra credit work with quizzes?

1. Let’s say you take Quiz A_ec – Check Your Knowledge on 7/20. Let’s pretend you got about ½ of them right.

2. You started reading everything you missed and you record those page numbers on your printable version of Quiz A that you got from the Unit 1 webpage.

3. You periodically take the PRACTICE ONLY version of Quiz A to check on how well your brain is holding this new information.

4. On 7/22 (the date in the Course Schedule) you think you are ready. You take Quiz A—the one you can only take 1 time. You make 9 (Yes!).

5. On 7/23, I go stick 2 points in the A_ec block at My Grades.

In other words, I reward you guys for doing things that help you succeed (what a sneaky teacher I am).

Why are there only 10 minutes to key your answers to a Check Your Knowledge Quizzes--and how people who don't like to read online can have another way?

 

For the check your knowledge quizzes, you WANT to do quickly without looking up anything. You want to know what your brain thinks is true before you read. If I give a longer time, students will start looking up stuff or pondering the answer to try to figure it out.

 

I have some students doing this:

 

1. There are links to all the questions in each quiz in the Unit 1 webpage at the top of the Learning Module. You can print those out if you don’t want to read online.

 

2. Take a sheet of notebook paper and write a number for each question.

 

3. Make a quick decision about what you think is the right answer and write the letter for your answer by the number.

 

4. Go type those decisions into the Check Your Knowledge Quiz.

 

5. Hit submit and see the results. Then record the answer and what you missed and then start reading what you did not know.

Why the other versions of the quiz are only 10 minutes?

As for the regular quizzes, there are only 10 questions at 1 minute a question. When I first began working here, the departmental policy was 1 minute per question. That has been more time than people needed for the objective exams from what I have seen for years.

 

CONTENT AND VIDEOS & ASSIGNMENTS

How do I use Blackboard’s Assignment tool for ANY assignment?

On the menu on the left, there is a link to On Demand Tutorials. Blackboard provides videos that show you how you must use their tool.

How do I figure out how to do the video assignment for this course?

First notice these things at top of the Videos & Assignments (on the left menu)

·         How to Do the Unit Videos –This is the same thing as the file you download from the assignment tool, complete, and then upload..
Lets you see the instructions in the file you complete for the assignment.
Shows an example of what you record for Step 2.

·         Searchable List of Dallas Telelearning Videos for US History 1302
Click on the link to decide which videos you want to use. Instructions and tips for how to find the videos you want are at the top of the webpage.

·         How to Click to See a Video
Tells you how to click on these videos so you can display them.

 

Below that you see the file you download and complete. You also see all of the videos for this time period.

What’s the purpose of looking at the videos and the report I fill out?

The purpose of this assignment is to help you see change over time period covered by the Unit. The purpose is

·         not to summarize each video

·         not to write a lot of words

 

To quote the syllabus:

You choose three videos, one from each Part of the Unit, to see how history changes on an issue that matters to you. Examples: what happened to African Americans, big business, factory workers, farmers, immigrants, ranchers, technology, women, and so on.

How can I choose my videos?

Before you write your answers, you need to choose your probable videos. You do that by thinking about what you want to see (such as what happened to workers) and then using the Searchable List.

 

The Searchable List shows you all of the videos that the Dallas Telelearning group created (and the Virtual College of Texas lets us use). It also tells you how to search and bring up a Find box if you do not already know.

Tip: depending on the browser, the Find box may be at the top, bottom, or perhaps other places.

 

Once you find a video that you want to look at, be sure to copy and paste somewhere:

·          The folder name – The bold title above a list (The videos are grouped by folders with those names.)

·         The video name – The name in the left column of the list

 

You must choose:

·         1 video from about the 1st of the time period

·         1 video from about in the middle

·         1 video from the end of the time period

Go look at the 3 videos. You may find one of them is not what you need; then choose another.

Will I lose points if each of my videos does not exactly match the content covered for that Part of the Unit (like Part A, B, or C in Unit 1)?

I'm not going to zap people for matching the chapter numbers for each Part--because the parts frequently cover more than one chapter. I just want you to SEE real people at about the beginning, middle, and end of the time period covered by the Unit. I let you chose the issue.

Why would I do this? Students frequently think that their own lives reveal the past.

WHY CAN’T I SEE

Why can’t I see the Unit Exams?

This Blackboard does not display anything unless students can take it right now. The Unit 1 exam (both essays and objective) are sitting there, but you can't see them until the hour you can take them.

 

To help you know what exams will be at Quizzes & Exams, you can see a block of information right above each Unit (and other things). The block of information tells all possible quizzes and when the exam becomes available.

 

Why can’t I see the Unit 1 Essay Exam? I know I did the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay)?

The course includes a Practice Essay so that students find out the typical requirements for a factual essay without getting their grade average (or their futures) messed up:

1.    You prepare and do the Practice Essay.

2.    Your instructor gives you feedback on that essay and tells you the essay grade for the Practice Essay AND for any future essays if you do the work in same way.

3.    You follow the instructions in that feedback--an

4.    What happens next depends on what you did:

·         If you found the problems the instructor pointed out, she replies back saying she will enter the points for the essay itself AND the extra credit.
The points for the extra credit cause Blackboard to display the Unit 1 essays to you.

·         If you did not, she may do several possible things such as:
- Read her response and then reply back
- Have a phone or face-to-face meeting

 

READING AND FACTUAL ACCURACY, RELIABLE SOURCES, AND NOT COPYING

Why this emphasis on factual accuracy?

If history is not factually accurate, it is useless—and dangerous.

Being factually accurate is a good life skill (not just for history). In real life, no one will pay you for copying words passively. No boss will reward you for being wrong about how something works.

Why this emphasis on not copying words?

Two reasons:

1.    When a student plagiarizes, he or she has handed the professor the evidence to use in any way the professor wants. If you do not use the required quotation marks (“”) around an author’s words, you are saying you wrote those words.
I want for you to know what you are doing—not to hurt you but to keep you from being hurt.
FYI: If you want to quote a lot, I am OK with that. If you use the “” accurately and if the quotations you chose reveal that you understand well, I am fine.

2.    Students who plagiarize never understand the history. They are only faking out themselves.

Writing simply in your own words is a good life skill (not just for history). In real life, no one will pay you for copying words passively.

Why this emphasis on using the textbook as the reliable source?

Reliable sources matter for good thinking, and this history textbook is honorable and reliable.

I started using the textbook for grading because I do not want to grade on politics. Your politics are your business.

I kept grading using the textbook because I discovered that I can tell what you do not understandings—and misunderstandings--about how history works and about credit courses work with one tiny assignment—the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay). I had a chance to help students with one tiny assignment.

What is the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay)

Here’s the Section from the Syllabus

Practice Essay (History Changes Essay)

The Practice Essay introduces you to essential content for your understanding of United States History. With this essay, I provide a table to help you see how events changed and I list the specific pages for you to read for each possible question. I provide an overview and you are encouraged to ask questions about the content in class. I provide a link in the top section of the Unit 1 webpage that lists all possible questions and how to find what to read for each one. The version of the test you receive determines which question you must answer.

Here’s the Information Right above the Practice Essay at Quizzes & Exams

The practice essay opens July 16 at 12:00 am and closes July 20 at 11:59 pm. You have 25 minutes to answer the question displayed by Blackboard. This is a practice essay that is required to see any of the Unit essays, but it also lets you earn full points as extra credit. Maximum word length is 175 words. It’s practice—and it cannot hurt your grade.

For more about the extra credit, see your syllabus. For the possible essay questions that Blackboard may display and for the required readings for each of those questions, see the 1st link in the Unit 1 learning module. You also can ask questions about this work in the Unit 1 Ask and Answer discussion topic.

Requires a password because you can take it ONLY one time. The password is: onetimeonly

How does my instructor grade my written work – my essays?

Because the goal of writing is to help you learn our nation’s history and the priority is for you to be accurate, I grade your writing by comparing what you wrote side by side with the facts in the textbook. With essays submitted, I use a method that lets me quickly identify all of the submissions where the students wrote on the same question.

 

1.    I download those submissions, print them, and place them side by side:

·         On the left, the textbook opened to the probable section or sections students should have used.

·         On the right, the submissions of students’ papers on that question.

2.    I use the Evidence Checklist and its 2-letter abbreviations for feedback (shown below) and grade each student’s submissions one by one.

3.    If there are multiple possible questions, I then repeat the steps above with the next question.

 

 

With the two essays for the Unit exams, I grade one of the questions using the method above. Unless I find problems such as factual errors in that essay, I grade the other one without the textbook side by side with your paper—a quicker method.

What are some tips to help me read and plan a practical essay?

You can see an example and PowerPoint movie of practical tips on how to read. It also offers a PowerPoint movie on why taking notes does NOT work for learning stuff quickly and well.

The link is http://www.cjbibus.com/1301_1302_Method_to_Read_Understand_Write_Fast.htm

How can I avoid problems with using quotation marks and “half-copy” plagiarism?

You can see tips on that and all of the other problems identified by the Evidence Checklist by clicking on this link: http://www.cjbibus.com/1301_1302_Preventions_WhatToDo.htm

LINKS TO CONTENT

I click on a link but nothing happens?

Some links open a webpage in a new window, so first be sure that all of your pop up blockers are off. Sometimes one may be working in the background, so you may want to try holding down the ctrl key when clicking on the lesson link.

Sometimes there is a lag time between clicking on the link and the page loading (depending on your connection speed).

 

LINKS TO VIDEOS

I click on a video but it asks for a password or nothing happens?

In spring this year, the management group for the videos (Dallas TeleLearning) sent out an email saying they had changed the interface. When I tried it this morning, I initially had a prompt that required a password--which I cannot give you. I began trying other browsers and, in general, this method has worked:

1. Place your cursor over the video link

2. Click the right mouse button

3. On the menu displayed, click Open in New Window so the video is in a separate window.

4. Follow the prompts from there. (Example: click the > arrow to start it.)

This tip may not work on an older machine or Internet browser. (If you have problems, then please tell me so I can try to research an answer.)

 

GRADING

Where are my grades?

You can access your grades by clicking on the "My Grades" link on the left hand menu.

What is the grade A_ec and B_ec and so on?

A_ec is the place I stick the 2 points extra credit if you make 9 or 10 on Quiz A (the regular one for 10 points) on the date in the Course Schedule.
Last term this was more quessable because students could see right next to each other like this:

Quiz A
A_ec

FYI: I may add the grade "name" to that grades chart at the end of the syllabus.

What are the possible extra credits for quizzes and the additional benefits beyond the extra points?

Here is what the syllabus says about extra points for quizzes.

By taking the Check Your Knowledge quiz in Blackboard, you earn a few points. (At .01 per question and with a maximum of 40 questions that is less than .4 for each quiz.)

 

The additional benefits from how you are working are that you also see:

  • What you missed and your answer so you know what you must read
  • All of the possible facts in the quiz questions covered in that Part of the Unit and the correct answers for those quiz questions

 

By taking the Check Your Knowledge quiz by the date in the Course Schedule and by making 9 points or higher on the quiz, you earn 2 extra credit points.

 

The additional benefits are that you also:

  • Are staying current with your work and are more likely to pass
  • Will understand the facts and be better prepared for the essays—if you read what you did not know (not just memorize without trying to understand)

 

What are the possible extra credits for the Practice Essay (History Changes Essay) and additional benefits beyond the extra points?

By completing the instructions for the 10-point Practice Essay, you can earn 10 points extra credit. 

The additional benefits are that:

  • If you did well, you have extra points.
  • If you did not do well, the extra credit protects your grade and you know what you need to change about how you prepare for the Unit essays.

 

 

What are the possible extra credits for the Ask and Answer Discussion topics and additional benefits beyond the extra points?

By participating in the Ask and Answer topics in the Discussion Board, for each Unit, you earn up to 6 points for each Unit.

 

The additional benefits are that you also:

  • Are staying current with your work and are more likely to pass
  • Can give and get help (The Course Orientation explains how this works.)

 

BLACKBOARD

I am a little confused on how to: submit assignments? post a discussion?

On the menu on the left, there is a link to On Demand Tutorials. This link provides help on most of the common issues for students.

On a mail message how to I use strike through?

1. Click reply on the message (and do plan what you want to do before you do that).

2. Look at the edit box--on the left it shows 3 small buttons T T T  (for bold, italic, and underline).

3. Look at the edit box on the same line but far right. You see a small button showing 2 downward pointing Vs or arrows or whatever you want to call them.  It is a very common symbol for MORE stuff available by clicking here

4.  Click on that the small button for MORE.

5. Notice on the left it NOW shows 4 small buttons T T T  T (for bold, italic, underline, and strike through). It also shows a LOT of other types of buttons.

 

 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.

 

Copyright C. J. Bibus, Ed.D. 2003-2013

 

WCJC Department:

History – Dr. Bibus

Contact Information:

281.239.1577 or bibusc@wcjc.edu

Last Updated:

2013

WCJC Home:

http://www.wcjc.edu/