MiraCosta College has a site license for both Camtasia Studio and Snagit. The software is available at no cost to faculty for both PC and
Troubleshooting computer problems is part of modern life when you teach online. Before you make that support call, try your hand at fixing some of the most common problems yourself.
- Check your Course Management System (CMS) Status
Is it a maintenance time? Or is your CMS currently experiencing an outage?
- Clear Browser Cache (history, cookies, etc.)
Clearing your browser cache often will resolve the problem by allowing your computer to download the latest version of the webpage and/or software.
- Try a Different Browser
If you have cleared your browser cache and things are still not working as you expect try a different browser. Example: if you are using Chrome, try Firefox and visa versa. Ensure that your browsers are up to date. You can always download the latest version free online.
- Restart your Computer
Many faculty and staff solve their problems with this simple step. Always a good option to try.
- Check your Internet Connection Speed
A slow connection could be why your CMS system is running slow. Share your result with your internet service provider as necessary to resolve.
- Enable Browser Cookies
Cookies are small files which are stored on a user’s computer. They are designed to hold a modest amount of data specific to a particular client and website, and can be accessed either by the web server or the client computer. This allows the online server to deliver a page tailored to a particular user, or the page itself can contain some script which is aware of the data in the cookie and so is able to carry information from one visit to the website (or related site) to the next.
- Enable Java
It strongly recommended to have the latest version to ensure proper functionality of our online systems.
- Manage Pop-Up Blockers
Pop-up windows, or pop-ups, are windows that appear automatically without your permission. They vary in size but usually don’t cover the whole screen. They are often required for certain online website applications to work properly.
- Make sure that your Operating System is fully updated.
Neglecting updates could deprive you of important bug and performance fixes.
- Check your Device Settings
This is a great tool to identify what is on your computer, browser version, plugins, etc. This tool can help you update your computer yourself, and/or can be provided to tech support to assist you further with troubleshooting.
As an instructor you can add a TA or other MiraCosta College Employee to your Blackboard course.
DO NOT add students that will be enrolled in your course on SURF. Students are automatically enrolled within your Blackboard course several times a day.
Add a TA or other MCC Employee to Blackboard
- Enter your Blackboard course
- Under Control Panel select Course Tools
- Select Manage Users
- Select Add Users by Role
- In the Username box enter the SURF ID of the user.
- For Course Role select the appropriate Course Role for the User.
- Click the Submit button.
Course Roles Explained
The teaching assistant (or TA) role is that of a co-teacher. Teaching assistants are able to administer all areas of a course. Teaching assistants have access to most all tools and features in the Control Panel. Even if the course is unavailable to students, teaching assistants still have access to the course.
Student is the default course role. Students have no access to the Control Panel. If the course is set to unavailable, they will not be able to see the course. This role is appropriate for tutors that you add to your course that will be assisting students or course evaluators that you would not like to have access to the Control Panel.
The course builder role has access to most areas of the Control Panel to build course content. This role is appropriate for a user to manage the course without having access to student grades. A course builder can still access the course if the course is unavailable to students.
A grader assists the instructor in the creation, management, delivery, and grading of items, such as tests and discussion board posts. A grader also assists the instructor with managing the Grade Center. A grader cannot access a course if it is unavailable to students. Graders can also not make changes to course content.
Canvas Learning Opportunities
As you’re hopefully aware, MiraCosta is transitioning to the Canvas course management system. Keep an eye on the TIC Canvas page for great resources from our faculty Transition Team, including workshops, screencasts, and open Canvas classes for you to explore. For those of you at San Elijo, Sean Davis is holding open “Canvas Office Hours” on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 1:20-2:20 pm in SEC 513.
Online Teaching Conference – want to go?
Every June, the California Community Colleges holds the Online Teaching Conference featuring dozens of faculty-led presentations. MiraCosta typically sends 15-20 faculty to this excellent event, which this year is in Anaheim from June 19-21. The Online Education department has funding to cover conference registration fees for about that many faculty, including pre-conference workshops if desired. Early bird registration deadline is April 15, and it’s important not to wait – last year several MiraCosta faculty couldn’t attend because registration was completely filled well in advance. Please reply to me (Jim Julius) if you are interested in attending.
Open Educational Resources Updates
Did you know MiraCosta has received about $150,000 in grant funding over the last year to help faculty develop more classes that use Open Educational Resources (OER)? Did you know that SB 1359 requires all CSUs and CCCs to denote zero-textbook-cost classes in the online class schedule by 2018? If you’d like to learn more about OER, there are many online events this week, which is designated as Open Education Week. Here’s a list of select community college-focused online events this week – you can receive Flex credit for attending these types of webinars.
Student Orientation to Online Learning – final two this week
I am running two final Student Orientation to Online Learning sessions this week – today (Tuesday 3/28) from 12-1 pm and tomorrow (Weds. 3/29) from 5-6 pm. Both are online and both are Blackboard-oriented. These are especially aimed at students in online late start classes but are open to anyone. Feel free to refer your students to the TASC workshops page for the workshop sign-ups and access information.
Please look for this morning’s email from Robert Erichsen, MiraCosta Access Specialist, on captioning videos you provide in your online class materials. This is important for compliance with federal and state regulations, as well as simply to ensure that all students are able to fully access the information you are providing.
Online Tutoring – outage
Hopefully you know that MiraCosta provides free online tutoring for all students (see http://miracosta.edu/etutoring for subjects and schedule). The eTutoring site will be updated on Wednesday, 3/29, meaning that online tutoring will be unavailable that day – if you encourage your students to use eTutoring, please let them know about this.
Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Vice President, Academic Senate
Canvas Transition and Upcoming Online Mini-Course
As you likely know, MiraCosta has begun its transition to Canvas, which will be complete in summer 2018 when Canvas will be our only course management system. Over 20% of all spring classes are in Canvas now, and over 43% of all MiraCosta students are currently taking one of those classes. The TIC page on Canvas includes many excellent resources for learning Canvas, including a number of videos of Flex Week workshops conducted by the MiraCosta faculty Transition Team.
Members of the Transition Team will be facilitating a 4-week “Introduction to Teaching with Canvas” course for MiraCosta faculty starting March 6. See the TIC Canvas site for more information and please contact me if you are interested. Look for more details coming next week.
Open Educational Resources (OER) Update
MiraCosta College has obtained about $150,000 in grant funds in the last year to expand adoption of free and open course materials. Support for OER is an item in the Online Education Plan, but OER, while often digital, can also be in print and can be used in any class. SB 1359, passed in the fall, will require that our class schedule contain a special notation of all zero-textbook-cost classes starting in spring 2018. Look for an effort soon to inventory our classes to learn which already are using low- and no-cost materials. If you’d like to learn more about any of this, please contact me, and/or check out some activities and resources shared by Palomar College.
Student Orientation to Online Learning Attendance
Nearly 1700 students have attended a Student Orientation to Online Learning in the last three years. Any instructor can use SURF to find out which of their students have attended. When you scroll to the bottom of the Class Roster page, and click the “Student Orientation to Online Learning Roster” link (see image below), a PDF should open in a new browser tab or window with a roster showing which students attended an orientation, and on what date. If the roster doesn’t open, please ensure that it wasn’t blocked by a popup blocker. Two final SOOL sessions will be offered on 3/28 and 3/29.
Online Education Initiative (OEI) Update
The OEI is an effort to improve student access and success by making it easier for students enrolled at a CCC to take high-quality online classes offered by other CCCs when they can’t take a local version of the course. MiraCosta College is one of 24 OEI pilot colleges and a number of our faculty have been actively teaching OEI pilot classes. Several pilot colleges have recently implemented the OEI Course Exchange and MiraCosta will be working towards having this in place by fall. See the latest update from OEI’s director or an outsider’s summary of OEI’s “intended consequences” to learn more. And if you teach an online C-ID approved course, look for an invitation to get more involved with the OEI soon.
Faculty Support Request Form on TIC Site
If you haven’t explored the http://tic.miracosta.edu site lately, please check out all the great resources it offers to faculty on the various online educational technologies that MiraCosta supports. Also, please note now that on the left hand edge of any page on that site, you’ll find an orange bar that takes you to a form where you can request all kinds of support from Online Education and the TIC, from equipment checkout, to scheduling a consultation, to common requests related to course management systems.
Professional Learning Opportunities (got Flex?)
- The Online Teaching Conference is moving to Anaheim this June. If you have submitted a presentation, or if you would like to attend, please let me know! I can provide registration fee support. Full-time faculty who need support for lodging, please consider accessing the additional professional development funds recently announced by PDP. (Because of the timing of the conference after spring semester, those funds unfortunately wouldn’t work for part-time faculty.)
- March 27-31 is Open Education Week with all kinds of free online presentations and learning opportunities.
- Check out recorded archives of past Online Education workshops .
- Sign up for an upcoming online 1-hour webinar (free) or full course (may be a fee) on online teaching from @One.
- The deadline for submitting presentations for this summer’s Canvas conference in Colorado (“InstructureCon”) is March 1.
Jim Julius, Ed.D.
Faculty Director, Online Education
Vice President, Academic Senate
The Canvas Calendar allows students to schedule appointments within defined time periods. Scenarios can range from individual students choosing a time to meet in your office, all the way to sign-up sheets for who wants to attend a field trip event.
The Scheduler is a tool within the Calendar which allows the instructor to set up days and times when students can make reservations. For the official description check out “What is the Scheduler?” The Scheduler is an optional tool that we do have available here at MiraCosta College.
You may be wondering “How do I create an appointment group in the Scheduler?” That documentation covers several different use scenarios, so I’d like to suggest two specifics:
- Set up office hour time windows, and allow students to reserve one or more half-hour appointment times.
- Set up a scheduled event, and allow up to twenty students to reserve seats at that event.
For the first scenario, you’d want to set up your appointment group with wide time periods, such as from 10 am until 4 pm on Friday. Then you’d want to tell the appointment group to apply to any number of your courses, so that all your students will be able to reserve into the same appointment group. (This will ensure no dual bookings!) Finally you would tell the appointment group to divide into equal slots of 30 minutes. You’d probably want to limit students to attend a single session, else you could end up with a student reserving multiple time slots in a row.
For the second scenario, you’d set up your appointment group for the times of the event, such as from noon to 2 pm on Saturday. If this event is at an odd location be sure to specify that in the Location field. If this event can only support twenty students, set the Limit each time slot to 20 users.
In each of these scenarios, once you have the appointment group set up, students would follow the same procedure to reserve time. They can go into the Calendar in Canvas, and click the Scheduler button, then click on the appointment group, and finally click on the time slot they want to attend. This process is also detailed in “How do I sign up for an appointment using the Scheduler?”
And if you want to message students about signing up using the scheduler, you can go into your appointment group, copy the address from the address bar of your browser, and send that link to your students. If they click the link, they’ll be prompted to log in to Canvas, and then should be taken directly to the appointment group. But of course they can always navigate to the Calendar and click the Scheduler button too.