Managing the Syllabus in eCollege

There are times when I just want to call the syllabus a beast!  Would you agree?  There is a lot of information to get out to students with constant changes.  It’s a breeze to upload to eCollege in Word format, but then it doesn’t always display right and it’s not easily printed by students.  This is why we want the syllabus template used for online courses so a link to a printable version can be provided.  Anyone who has developed their online syllabus knows how cumbersome it can be. Enough of this!!

What I’m proposing is doing away with the syllabus template and uploading the syllabus as a PDF to a Web Content Upload content item.  In delivering the syllabus in this manner, it will display nicely online, and students are able to either save it to their computer or print the document.  But the best part is the ease in delivering it this way.  This is what you do:

  1. Set the stage by disabling the syllabus.  Click on Course Admin and then on Enable/Disable Tools.  Disable the syllabus and save changes.
  2. Create a new content item for the syllabus.  In Author-mode, click Course Items and then Add Items.  For those who have not added content items, continue with the following steps:
    • Key the name “Syllabus”
    • Select Web Content Upload from the Item Type dropdown menu
    • Add to: Course Home
    • Click Add Items

At this point, you may wish to reorder the syllabus so it displays at the top.  Click on the Syllabus in Author-mode, click on Toolbox and Move Syllabus.  Then reorder the sequence of the content items. Save changes.

The stage is set!  The following is what you do to maintain and upload the syllabus.

  • Maintain changes to your syllabus in Microsoft Word and save it.
  • Then save it as a PDF.  Click File, Save As and choose PDF from the Save As Type dropdown menu.
  • In your course, click the Syllabus content item in Author-mode and click Browse to locate the PDF document.  Click Upload.

As needed, make any necessary changes to the Syllabus Word document (Save), save as a PDF and upload the PDF to the Syllabus content item.  Now how easy is that?!

Improve Feedback with Audio and Video

I read an interesting article today from Faculty Focus (March 23, 2011).  The article is called, “Improve Feedback with Audio and Video Commentary.”  I hope you check it out!  The writer was highlighting the findings of Phil Ice’s research comparing audio to text feedback in online discussions.  With just a few quick steps to create audio feedback, students were motivated to participate in discussions, better retain feedback and the related course content, and perceive the instructor’s care for the students and their work.  A presenter at a recent conference lauded the outcomes as well.   Once her students figured out how she was doing the audio, they began posting their audio responses without her prompting! That personal touch goes along way! Read the rest of this entry »

Labeling the Navigational Panel

Those of you who developed your course for online will remember the challenge of creating an Introduction unit only to get the sequencing of the unit and page numbers off.  Unit 2 would display on the page title:  Unit 2: Unit 1, or something odd like that.  Then there were situations where some want the unit number to display on the unit navigational tab and the page title would read:  Unit 1: Unit 1 Introduction.  Look familiar?  There is a quick and easy remedy to this dilemma now.

If you would like to turn off the auto-sequencing of the unit homepage numbering, you can:

  • Click on the Course Admin tab
  • Click on the General Information & Settings link
  • Deselect the check box for “Display unit heading and unit number in the page title for Units and Content Items.”

Removing this check will give you full control in labeling your units and navigational panel.  When you name your units,

  • Click on the unit homepage in Author-mode
  • Click Toolbox
  • Click Edit Unit Title and key what you would like to display.  For example:  Unit 1: Introduction.
  • Select the checkbox to “Use title in navigation menu.”

I hope you find this helpful.  If you need any assistance, please give me a call at 3-2238.

Microsoft Office 2010 Protected View Feature

Did you upgrade to Office 2010?  Since that upgrade, have you found that when you download documents from eCollege, or open attachments from your email there is an orange banner across the top indicating the document is opened in Protected View?  This can get old in a hurry!

Office 2010 has a new security feature that allow users to open “potentially dangerous” documents in a Protected View.   It’s nice that Microsoft is looking out for us, but it can get annoying having to click the Edit Enabling button for each attachment opened.

There is a way to turn off the Protected View settings.  In Microsoft Word: Read the rest of this entry »

Embed a website in your online course

In your face-to-face classes, you may take your students to a website and discuss the information found there; or maybe you would like to show them how to access needed information for an assigned project. This works well when you are present and guide the students. In an online class, we key the instructions and create a link to the web address, which then opens a new window to display the website. This works fine, but students have to manage multiple windows and information. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the website embedded in a content item along with the instructions? It can be done! Let me show you how! Read the rest of this entry »

ND Statewide Wimba Conference

Last month I attended the ND Statewide Wimba Conference, and learned some interesting uses for Wimba Classroom, Wimba Voice Board and Pronto.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Wimba. 1 Comment »

CiTE Conference 2010

A couple of weeks ago, Margaret, Cindy and I attended the Pearson eCollege CiTE conference out in Denver.  Margaret received an award for NDSCS in recognition of 10 years of partnership in eLearning with Pearson eCollege…10 years!

For myself, the highlight was attending sessions presented by Jeff Borden, Senior Director of Teaching & Learning for Pearson eCollege.  There are two sessions I would like to share with you.

The first is The Dirty Dozen: 12 Ways To Tell A Story Using Web 2.0.  Dr. Gail Krovitz and Jeff Borden shared tools and examples of digital storytelling.  These can be viewed in his Course Resource shell called Creative Uses and Examples under Week 14.  Go to: and use the  login and password: cite2010.  The examples for the storytelling unit focus on the Titanic.  Here are a few examples: Read the rest of this entry »


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