Orienting Your Online Students

First Week Decisions

  1. Your Course Web Site

The schedule of classes directs all students to the Distance Learning Web site:

Your First Step After you register for your online course, you should visit the Distance Learning Web page at http://www.pgcconline.com for information you need to get started in your online course. From the Distance Learning home page:

Click on Online Courses.
- Click on the list of Fall 2003, Credit Courses.
- Locate your course.
- Click on the Course Title of your course to link to specific information about contacting your instructor, course requirements, textbooks, and login directions.

2. Your Welcome Letter

What it should include
When should you send it
See examples in 
- Professor Robert Wiedefeld's Online Course
- Dr. Andrew Habermacher's Web Page
3. Attend On-Campus Orientation-7 pm, August 22, 2003

The Distance Learning Staff is asking all Fall online instructors to be present on campus on Thursday, August 22, from 7 pm to 9 pm to meet with those online students who have questions, need help navigating your course, or have problems logging in. This is during the time period that students enrolled in telecourses will be on-campus for their required orientations. You may choose to have this as either a mandatory or an optional meeting for your online students

First Week Activities

Major Functions

Possible Activities

1.  Login To Blackboard

  • Refer students to PGCC Online web page for specific login instructions
  • Include information in your Welcome Letter

2.  Locate the "Announcement" area

  • In your Welcome Letter, refer students to the Announcement area in Blackboard.  Tell them they will find a "to-do" list for the first week (or some other important information that requires them to act)

3.  Read Content

  • Put something in the "Course Documents" area (or wherever your content resides) that requires the students to locate and act on information.  For example, you could post a brief article related to the course.  Ask students  read the content and post a summary to the Discussion Board or complete a survey or complete a short quiz.

4.  Locate Assignments

  • If you are going to use the Assignments section, post an "Introduction" assignment that requires students to interview each other and write a brief introduction that includes such information as:
  1. Interviewee's Name
  2. Interviewee's Current Job or Job Title
  3. Interviewee's Reason for Taking This Course
  4. Interviewee's Dream Vacation
  5. Something the class would not be likely to discover about the Interviewee during this online course
  • Students should post their introduction of their classmate to the Discussion Board labeled "Introductions."  You can assign students to their interviewees or you can let them find their own partners by sending an email to the group.

5.  Send/Receive email

  • Send a group email to classmates inviting someone in class to be partner for "Introductions" assignment
  • Send instructor a private email listing contact information (phone number, FAX number, mailing address).  Emphasize that students should NOT send this information to the entire group but should be careful to select only the instructor.

6.  Read/Post To Discussion Board

  • Create an "Introductions" Forum on the Discussion Board.  Ask students to post their introductions to this Forum.  Assign points for this first assignment.

7.  Attach File

  • Ask students to send you a copy of their "Introduction" assignment as a Word attachment to an email message.
  • If you prefer to use the Digital Drop box, direct students to the Tools Bar and the Digital Drop box.

8.  Take Quiz

  • Create an Orientation Quiz that highlights important information from your syllabus and Blackboard 5 site. 

9.  Checking Your Grades

  • After students take the Quiz, direct them to the Tools Bar so they can see how grades are posted.

10.  Others??????