Orientation Letter: Some Important Policies & Frequently Asked Questions

Online Ant 103
Cultural Anthropology

                                           

Greetings Online Students, 

An important resource about Distance Learning at PGCC is the college's Distance Learning webpage: http://www.pgcconline.com/. Please browse to it for more distance learning related information. 

Additionally, the frequently asked questions (FAQs) answered below should help you get started. Click any of the FAQs below to see its answer.

If you come up with questions I have not thought to answer, call 301 32-0548 or email habermax@pgcc.edu

Best of luck,
Andrew Habermacher, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Course Registration?
2. What if you are not registering at Prince George's Community College?
3. What books do I have to buy for this course?
4. How do you login to the Blackboard 5 Online Course Classroom?
5. What are your Blackboard login username and password?
6. How do you change your Blackboard password!
7. When can you get into the Blackboard online classroom?
8. Who teaches me to how to use the Blackboard online classroom?
9. How does Blackboard work?
10. How do you get started with this online course?
11. How will you submit written work in this online course?
12. Do you ever have to do any work on campus?
13. How do you communicate with the instructor and other class members?
14. How often do you need to check your email and login to Blackboard for this course?
15. Are discussion board assignments important? Do I really have to do them?
16. How firm are the deadlines and due dates in this course?
 
1. Course Registration? 
  • If you have not yet registered for ANT 103 Online Cultural Anthropology, please stop and do it now. You will need to do it so your name can be entered into the online course roster which gives you access to the Blackboard online class room.
  • If you have already registered for online Ant 103 through Prince George's Community College or any of the other participating colleges in M.C.C.T.. (e.g., Montgomery College, Hagerstown C.C., etc.), please login to Blackboard (the online course classroom) as indicated below.

2. What if you are not registering at Prince George's Community College?
  
If you are NOT registered for the course at P. G. C. C.  and  you ARE registering for this course through another college (Montgomery, Harford, Garrett,  Hagerstown, etc.) participating in M. C. C. T., then you must email me at habermax@pgcc.edu  with ALL the following information:

  • your full name, 
  • your birth date (Mo/day/yr), 
  • your student number or social security number, 
  • your email address, 
  • your phone numbers (home & work), 
  • your (snail) mail address. 

Once I receive this information, I can enroll you into the Blackboard online classroom and you will be able to login as indicated above.

3. What books do I have to buy for this course?

  • Find this information in the syllabus for Online ANT 103 on this website.

4. How do you login to the Blackboard 5 Online Course Classroom?

  • Go online and browse to Prince George's Community College's Blackboard site at http://pgcconline.blackboard.com 
  • Then, click on the button labeled <Login>.
  • Next, you will see a dialogue box that asks you to enter your user name and password.

5. What are your Blackboard login username and password?

6. How do you change your Blackboard password!

You should immediately change your password. To change your Blackboard password, follow these steps.

a. Login to Blackboard using your given username password. 

b. From YOUR Blackboard Welcome page (you will see WELCOME, <Your name will be shown here>! in bold letters at the top of this page), click on Personal Information in the Tools Box on the left side of the page. 

c. Click on Change Password and fill in the requested information. You can change your password to any combination of numbers and letters (lower case only).

d. Make a note of and REMEMBER your new password. 

e. Click the Submit button in the lower right corner. 

f. Very Important: You will have only one username and one password for Blackboard  regardless of how many Blackboard courses you may be taking. If your login is successful, you will see the Blackboard Welcome screen and links to your courses will be listed in the box labeled "My Courses." 

7. When can you get into the Blackboard online classroom?

a. Just prior to the class start date, registration information for all students who have registered for the course through Prince George's Community College will be uploaded into Blackboard. This upload will create a registered student's username and password AND add the student to all classes in which the student is registered at that time.

b. Subsequent uploads will occur every other day for about a week to add students who register late.

8. Who teaches me to how to use the Blackboard online classroom?

a. You are expected to teach it to yourself. You must be proactive and take the responsibility to learn it. It is not difficult.

b. You can get some very helpful pointers if you attend the scheduled orientation for online students at P. G. C. C. .  Also, the instructor will provide some pointers, especially in the beginning of the semester.

9. How does Blackboard work?

a. The Blackboard student manual is also accessible from Student Tools inside your Blackboard online course classroom.

b. After you read the manual, if you still have questions about some function in Blackboard, then contact DistanceLearn@pgcc.edu 

10. How do you get started with this online course?

a. Add your preferred email address to Blackboard:

  1. Login to Blackboard using your given username & password. 
  2. From your Blackboard Welcome page (you will see WELCOME, <your name here>! in bold letters at the top of the page), click on Personal Information in the Tools Box on the left side of the page.
  3. Click on Edit Personal Information and fill in your Personal Information. While you're there, fill in other information to help your professor and classmates know more about you. 

b. Next, go to the Blackboard  COMMUNICATION area (it is a button on the left) and send me an email. (Disregard this instruction if you have previously provided me with this info.) This email should include: 

  1. Your full name 
  2. Your mailing address 
  3. your date of birth (month and day only)
  4. your social security number
  5. Your day & evening phone numbers
  6. Your preferred email address

c. Carefully read the materials posted in the following Bb button areas: Announcements, Course Information,  Learning Units, Discussion Board, Quizzes.

d. The course assignments are organized in weekly units called Learning Units. To begin the course work, follow the instructions in the Welcome Announcement and go to Learning Units, find Learning Unit 01 and do as it instructs.

e. Purchase your textbooks at the College Bookstore or through any online bookstore.

f. Email me at habermax@pgcc.edu  or call me at 301 322-0548 with any questions or concerns. Except for weekends, I will respond to emails and phone calls within 48 hours.

11. How will you submit written work in this online course?

a. Essays and other written assignments must be submitted as MS Word (.doc) files or RichText (.rtf) files to the appropriate Learning Unit in the Assignments area found in the Bb menu area. Once your assignment's grade appears in the Bb online grade book (found in the Tools area of the menu), you can click on the grade and read any comments the professor may have made about your essay.
 
b. Essays and other written work will be graded and returned within ten (10) days of the due date for the assignment.

12. Do you ever have to do any work on campus?

a. Exams: The examinations (midsem, endsem, final pts. 1 & 2) are normally taken online in the Blackboard online "classroom". However, at the instructor's discression you may be required to come to campus and take the exam in a proctored environment.  This will normally only occur if you have difficulty taking the exam online.
 
b. Also, you may need to visit a library to complete some of your course assignments.

13. How do you communicate with the instructor and other class members?

a. Once you login to Blackboard,  go to the Communications area and you will find a list of everyone's email addresses. (This is why it is critical everyone enters and keeps their email address current.)

b. We will also be communicating using the Discussion Board (also known as fora, conferences,  threaded discussions) in Blackboard. In addition to module assignments requiring participation in graded Discussions, there is a special forum called "The Culture Cafe" where students may introduce themselves, ask questions and share information and thoughts. It is not graded and runs the entire semester.

c. Click the Communications button in the Bb course menu to find the chat room.  From time to time I will schedule and announce optional 30 minute chats. Chats are not graded and not required; they serve as online "office hours" between the instructor and the students who attend them.

14. How often do you need to check your email and login to Blackboard for this course?

a.  At least every other day (every 48 hours), you should visit the Blackboard online classroom for this course to: 

  1. read new announcements posted since your last visit, 

  2. take quizzes, 

  3. check any new entries to the course calendar, 

  4. read and post messages to the Discussion Board assignments,

  5. submit essays in the Assignments area, 

  6. check your grades in the online grade book (in the Tools area of Blackboard). 

b. Email: I will respond to email within 48 hours and I expect all students to respond to my email messages or Bb postings within 48 hours. You are expected to maintain a working email address which you enter into Bb and which you check for messages at least every other day.

15. Are discussion board assignments important? Do I really have to do them?

a. Discussion Board assignments (aka conferences) are required and graded. They are conversations about the course material you are reading.

b. Online students are required to participate in online conferences. (See the course syllabus for their exact percentage of the semester grade .)

c. Discussion Board assignments must be completed within the time period indicated in the assignment. Generally they close ten (10) days after the date they begin. (This may be shorter during summer school, however.)

16. How firm are the deadlines and due dates in this course?

a. Very firm! Once a due date for an assignment has passed, it may not be made up nor submitted late. Why? There are more assignment opportunities and points than you can actually use.

b. Since there are more essay, quiz and discussion points than you can actually use if you completed all of them, missing a quiz, discussion or essay assignment is usually not fatal to your grade - at least at first. After you miss a couple, then you are hurting your grade. (See the online syllabus for details.)

c. The only exception to the above deadlines policy is as follows:

  1. Students who have work conflicts with an assignment due date may provide the instructor that information PRIOR to the due date to be missed to request an extension. 
  2. Sickness requiring a doctor or hospital visit may be eligible for an extension.
  3. Proof of the visit must be submitted WITHIN A WEEK of the missed deadline. If such timely proofs are judged by the instructor to be acceptable reasons for having missed an assignment due date, a brief extension of the due date will be granted. 

Revised  12 August 2006