Moodle Student Help and Student Support Information

Moodle User Guide

Moodle Login Help
The WCC Distance Education staff is available to assist you. Click here for WCC DE Help Desk Staff contact info

WCC Moodle Sample Course Site

Want to check Moodle out? Go to the WCC Moodle Sample Course Site at: http://moodle.waynecc.edu. Use wccguest as your Username and Password.Moodle is the program WCC uses to host online/hybrid and supplemental courses via the Internet. Below you’ll find resources for working in your Moodle classroom and a FAQ section answering the most common Moodle questions.

Remember: Firefox is the recommended browser for accessing Moodle courses. Download Firefox from: http://www.mozilla.org/en-US/ Click the large green button: FREE DOWNLOAD

Quicklinks:

Assignments
Communications
Communicating with your instructor
Assignment Completion
Reading Assignments
Discussion Forum Assignments
Starting a New Discussion
Replying to a Discussion
Writing Assignments
Course Interaction
Tracking Your Grade
Taking Online Tests Successfully
Keeping up in an Online Course
Moodle Technical Support
Withdrawing From a Course
Academic Support, Disability Services, and Library Support
Technical Skills
Preventing and Solving Technical Difficulties

Once you have logged into your Moodle classroom, there are lots of things to know about. First locate the syllabus; read it carefully and consider printing it out.

Assignments:

Note the assignments in each Module/Topic. Assignments may take the form of writing assignments, small group assignments, class discussion (in a discussion forum), and quizzes or other assignment formats. Any resources you may need should be included in the assignment information. Browse through the all assignments to get an idea of the major assignments in the course.

Communications:

  1. News Forum  keeps you up to date on communications from your instructor and the college. The News Forum section always appears in the center portion of the screen each time you enter your course. Click on this link to access the forum. The most recent news/announcement appears at the top with the date it was posted.
  2. Discussion Forums connects you to participation in asynchronous discussion forums. Be sure that you read “Discussion Forum Assignments” in the “Assignment Completion Guide” which contains a step-by-step guide to using the Discussion Board.
  3. Quickmail gives you the capability to send an email to your instructor or one of your classmates easily. However, to check emails you receive, you must use WCC Student Email

Communicating with your instructor:

Your online instructor is a busy person, but is prepared to provide the assistance you need to complete your online course. You will enjoy your course more and make fewer mistakes if you establish regular contact. Here are some hints for communicating with your instructor:

  • Check in with your instructor regularly.
    Don’t be afraid that you will bother your instructor with too much mail. Increased communication will save both you and your instructor time in the long run. Share your experience of the course–both your confusions and what you like.
  • Don’t be offended if your instructor points you to other resources.
    Your instructor receives a great amount of email. To stay sane, he or she will often refer you to other resources that should answer your question instead of rewriting an answer that appears elsewhere. This is to help you become aware of resources in your course site and to help your instructor get through long lists of mail. It’s not because he or she doesn’t like you.
  • Use email as your first mode of communication.
    This is an online class, and one of the goals is to make the course available at any time of day from a variety of places. You and your instructor will not always be (and in some cases, may never be) online at the same time. That makes email, an “asynchronous” form of communication, an ideal way to interact. Please use email as your first contact option.
  • But don’t be afraid to try other forms of contact.
    Sometimes, forms of communication other than email will be more appropriate. Sometimes nothing can replace the immediacy of phone or face-to-face contact. Other times, you’ll want to interact with both your instructor and other students via the discussion forum. You may also need to use the Chatroom in this course. Or maybe you will prefer the privacy of a letter for certain extremely sensitive topics. A variety of contact information for your instructor is available inside the “Syllabus”.
  • Check your email regularly
    Sometimes your instructor will send time sensitive material via email. If you only check your email once a week, you may not get the message until it is too late. Even if you do nothing else for your online course on a particular day, you should try to check your email once.
  • Use specific subject lines for your messages.
    Your instructor will make decisions about which email messages to read first. Use specific subject lines including your class name to help them do this sorting. If you need an immediate answer, put the word “urgent” in your email title. If you have a question, start the subject with “Question about…” Refer to specific assignments when needed.
  • Be specific in the content of your messages.
    To help your instructor respond to you, be specific about who you are and what you need. In every message, identify your full name, the course and section you are in, the assignment, reading, or unit you are working on, and the specific information you are requesting in reply. This will help your instructor answer your question quickly and completely.
  • Your instructor will usually respond within 48 hours, sometimes earlier.
    He or she needs time to process email and think about your question or research answers before writing back. If you don’t receive a response within that time frame, send your message again. Accidents can happen, and your instructor may have lost your original message or not realized that a response was requested. Again, this is not personal, but a mistake that anyone can make when he or she deals with hundreds of messages a day. Be persistent, and your question will be answered! If you must have an earlier response, put the word “urgent” in your subject line or try a phone call.
  • Learn how to communicate effectively online.
    More hints about this topic are available in the “Course Assignment Guide” in the “Syllabus” about enhancing communication and participating in discussion forums.

Assignment Completion:

You will need to complete a variety of assignments in this online course. Assignments can include reading course materials like chapters from textbook(s), participating in discussion forum activities, authoring papers/other assignments, and being an active member in peer group projects.

In the following pages, you will find a brief description of each type of assignment you may encounter in this course. In addition, you will view tips on how to complete each type of assignment successfully. If you have questions about any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact your instructor.

Reading Assignments:

Much of the course content will come from chapters in a text or other reference materials. As you progress through the course, ensure that you plan quality time to read all the materials as indicated in the module assignments. To complete the reading assignments effectively, follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure that you have quality time to read material carefully.
  • Take notes and/or highlight material in text for future review.
  • Periodically review materials to be most prepared for quizzes, exams, and other assignments.

Discussion Forum Assignments:

The discussion forum is an environment where you can participate in a “virtual discussion” with your instructor and other members of your course. The forum is one of the most dynamic, interactive features of this course. Often instructors will post questions in discussion forums for you to review and respond to. In addition, you are encouraged to read other students’ responses and engage in online dialogue with them. If you are asked to participate in a class discussion forum activity, note that the following approach will help you be most successful:

  1. Click on the “Forums” link located in the Activities block.
  2. Click on the forum in which you are going to participate.
  3. Read the first link, otherwise known as a post, which is posted by your instructor.
  4. Read any or all of the other threads in the forum.
  5. After you have read all the posts, click on the post to which you would like to respond. The post may be the instructor’s original posting to the forum, or it may be a student’s post to which you would like to respond.
  6. At the bottom of your selected post, find the “Reply” link and click.
  7. In the new window that appears, enter the subject heading and message to be posted in your thread. (Note: you may wish to create your message in a word processing program, revise and proofread it, and then copy and paste it into the discussion thread message box. You will also have a copy of your work to resubmit if you run into technical difficulties.)
  8. If you want to upload an attachment, enter the appropriate location of the file to attach, or click on “Browse” to find the location of the file you would like to attach.
  9. When ready, click “Post to forum” to post your message.
  10. Contact your instructor if you have any questions or comments about discussion forum activities.

There can be multiple forums in your online course. A few examples are listed below.

Technical Help Forum
This space is for postings requesting or supplying technical help. Your fellow students experience the course from the same perspective as you, so they can be a great source of technical advice. By using this forum, you can also find out if a technical problem is specific to you or if everyone is experiencing it. If you are experienced online, let your instructor know. They may be able to give you extra credit or a better participation grade for providing some technical support to other students.
Module- or Assignment-Specific Forums
The rest of the discussion forum modules are for communication regarding specific parts of the course content or required for particular assignments. They should be labeled clearly with either a module or assignment name. Make sure you post your responses in the right place or you may not get credit!

Starting a New Discussion
Adding a New Post in an Discussion Forum Assignment:
Once in the discussion forum you wish to participate in, click the “Add a new discussion topic” button to add a new thread. Fill in the resulting box and click the “Post to forum” button. For good results, keep the following in mind:

  • Read any prompts carefully.
  • A prompt is the assignment to which you are responding. In some cases, the prompt will be posted as the start of a thread in the discussion forum. In others, the prompt will be listed under “Assignments.” In either case, read the prompt carefully. Make sure that you understand everything that it requires before you start to respond. If you have questions, ask for a clarification from your instructor, or at least let others know what you are unsure about in your posting.
  • Post something that shows thought.
  • One of the great things about discussion forum communication is that you can think before you respond. Discussion forum prompts are almost always open-ended questions, so even if it seems that the assignment only needs a short answer, assume that you should provide some explanation or narrative about that answer. The challenge is to do this without getting too long-winded!
  • Include examples and supportive arguments, not just opinions.
  • Discussion forums are not just a place to put opinions and feelings. You should also include specific examples, statistics, quotes, and other support materials. On the other hand, you are encouraged to include your opinions too. These will make all of the details more interesting!
  • Cite your sources.
  • It’s OK if you borrow ideas from your readings or conversations, but you should attribute these ideas to their source. You can give the official citation of reading material (online or in print) or simply attribute ideas from your classmates. For instance, “In her posting, Shelly said … That made me wonder about …”

If you wait until the assignment due date, others will not have a chance to respond to what you have said. Your instructor will not have as much time to notice or think about your posting, and a lower score may result. Post your first message early in the assignment period, then return later and respond to others. You’ll get more out of the experience and get a better grade.

Replying to a Discussion:

Responding to Existing Posts:
It’s called a discussion forum because people are actually supposed to discuss things! Clever, huh? That means it will only be useful if you respond to others, not just post your own messages. You will not get the best results or grades from this kind of communication if you don’t interact with your classmates.

To respond to a message, simply enter the appropriate forum, then click on the subject of a message. Read the message, and if you want to respond, scroll to the bottom and click “Reply.” Type your message and “Post to forum.” Here are more hints:

  • Don’t agree with everything.
  • “Good idea!,” “I agree,” or “I think the same thing” are not worthwhile responses. They don’t add to the conversation. If you do agree with the poster, then try to add another example or clarify the point more. It’s OK to have a different opinion. On the other hand…
  • Don’t disagree with everything.
  • You won’t impress anyone by being critical of every posting that is made. Try to be generous in interpreting others. Ask clarifying questions if you are not sure you understand.
  • Search for balanced replies.
  • When you respond to others, try to include both positives and negatives about what they have said. Tell them what you like about their ideas or compliment their intentions. Then let them know what part of their response they should consider giving more thought or looking at again.
  • Replies should be useful.
  • A good reply will give everyone following along more to think about. If it is critical, the critique will be specific, clear, and point toward possible improvements. Often, asking more questions is the best sort of reply. A good reply will encourage the poster to respond again. Hopefully, they will look forward to more interactions with you in the future.
  • Attack arguments, but don’t attack people.
  • Don’t get personal in a discussion forum. At the worst, be generous and assume that it is the person’s idea that you don’t like, not the person. Ad hominem attacks (against the person) will lose friends and participation points for you. So will racist, sexist, ageist, and other bigoted comments. So will profanity and obscenity. Let’s stay civil!
  • If you encounter difficulties or the argument gets too hot, let your instructor know.
  • Your instructor will be checking the forum regularly, but may miss a critical posting. If someone posts something that upsets you, talk to your instructor about it. In some cases, he or she might help clear up misunderstandings, or if necessary, delete an offensive message from the discourse.

 Writing Assignments:

Essay, Reports, and Other Assignments
You may be asked to complete more complex assignments than responses to discussion forums. These assignments could include electronic worksheets, journal entries, essays, in-depth reports, etc. To be successful with these assignments, please consider the following tips:

  • Carefully review the assignment as described in your selected module of study.
  • Note that the assignment directions in your selected module of study may give you all the details you need to complete the assignment. If not, the assignment directions will point you to the appropriate place to receive more information.
  • Most complex assignments will be described completely in your selected modules of study. What may not be included in these directions, however, is information on the document format for essays or other reports or how to submit your documents. This information on how to conduct these functions is included in the next section.

How to Format a Document

  • If you are writing a document (research paper, essay), use a reliable word processing program such as Microsoft Word®. If you use a different word processing program aside from Microsoft Word®, you will need to save your work a “rich text format” (.rtf) file so your instructor will be able to open your work upon submission.
  • Plan your document to have a quality introduction, insightful body paragraphs, and an effective conclusion. Make sure that you have citation information for any materials you are using as references in your document. (Note that plagiarism can be grounds for disciplinary action. Check your college catalog for more information.)

Contact your instructor if you have any questions whatsoever on formatting a document for this course.

Tips for Success

Course Interaction

  • Students who contact the instructor by email Monday through Friday can expect a response within [48] hours; on weekends, response time may not be as prompt. Students must use WCC Mail for reliable email correspondence. Use of other email addresses can result in the delay of the email reaching the instructor because of the school’s spam blocking software.
  • Grades for assignments will be posted within [7-10] days of the assignment’s due date.
  • Expected Student Participation Level: Students participating in an online class should make a habit of signing into the course often, at least three to four times per week. If a student goes two weeks without signing into the course, this demonstrates lack of academic progression, and the student will be dropped from the class.

Tracking Your Grade

To check your grades, click “Grades” link from the Administration block. Depending on the way your instructor has configured the gradebook, you will either see your grades, item by item or by category. You will only see your own grades.

Moodle may show only the total number of points possible for each assignment and your score. The total points possible for the course may include work which you haven’t been assigned yet.

If you have any question about grades, please contact your instructor.

Taking Online Tests Successfully

Before the Test

  • Your instructor will let you know when you can access the test, although this notification may come early in the form of a schedule or suddenly through the form of an announcement. Do not enter a test site before you are ready, as many online tests are set to only allow you to access the test once for a score.
  • You must also turn off a pop-up blocker program if you are using one before taking a quiz or be sure that your pop-up blocker permits access to all the pages in the course.
  • Before you take the test, review the objectives for the module or modules that you will be tested on. Make sure that you have mastered as many of them as you can before your assessment. Read any study guides your instructor has provided, and re-read your notes and documents as necessary.
  • Contact the instructor with any questions that you may have about what will be on the test or the format of the test. In Moodle, tests can include multiple choice, true/false, matching, ordering, short answer, and essay questions.

During the Test

    • Find a time to take the test in which you will be free of interruptions. Let friends and family know you will be occupied.
    • Don’t cheat. Remember that taking shortcuts in education really deprive you of the education for which you are paying. If that isn’t enough to stop you, consider that there are many subtle ways that you might be caught. All of the honor codes of your institution apply, and that may lead to consequences like failed courses and even expulsion.
    • When you first access the test, read the directions carefully and browse through the questions before beginning and form a plan of attack. The best test takers don’t always complete questions in the sequence they are listed on the test. They complete the easy questions or the questions they are worried about forgetting the answers to first. They get hints about the answers to some questions from other questions. They save the more difficult questions for later in the test. They spend more time on questions that are worth more points. Use these strategies to your advantage.
    • Make sure that you note if the test has a time limit. The time will show on the status bar at the bottom of your window.
    • Don’t close the window of the test for any reason unless the test specifically states that it can be saved and returned to later. This option will be noted in the test description or instructions. If you have an Internet Service Provider that will break your connection if you don’t visit a new site after a certain period of time, then keep another window open and occasionally visit it and load a new page or refresh the page to keep your connection open. If something goes wrong, send email to your instructor immediately documenting the exact problem and asking them how you should proceed.
    • When you have marked all your answers, read them once more before submitting. Make sure that you haven’t accidentally changed your response to a question or made bad typographic mistakes. When you are satisfied with the result (or have done the best you can) make sure you remember to finish by clicking the “Submit” button.

After the Test

    • After you submit, you will receive a score for all the items that the software could correct, although essay questions and most short answer questions will have to be graded by your instructor. You may also receive feedback on the test. Pay attention to this feedback, and use it as a way to learn the answers to the questions you missed.
    • If you found errors in the test, send your instructor a message immediately. Let him or her know if some questions were unclear. This will allow him or her to adjust your grade if needed or fix the test for other students. He or she may even reward you for your watchfulness!
    • Note: If you experience problems while completing your online test you will need to contact your instructor. Some times due to various technical problems a test will become locked and the student is unable to complete the test. Students must contact the course instructor to resolve this issue. The Distance Education Help Desk cannot unlock a test.

Keeping Up in an Online Course

An online course requires special discipline. You can’t depend on regular visits with an instructor to motivate you to keep up. Instead, you have to create your own schedule and motivations. Here are some suggestions:

  • Don’t procrastinate: Students who fail in online courses almost always let themselves get behind. As a semester progresses, they get buried deeper and deeper. In the end, they take short cuts to finish or don’t finish at all. By keeping up from the start, you’ll find a rhythm of work and sail smoothly through!
  • Develop a regular schedule. Online learning can happen at any time and from many different places. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to take the course at any time of day. You’ll do better if you set aside a block of regular time to get work done. Guard this time against interruptions just as you would guard the time to attend a face-to-face course.
  • Print the course calendar and any other course schedules. Put the important dates in your day planner or hang them up next to the area where you typically work on the course. Print other important course references and keep those handy as well. Keep an eye on which assignments are coming up and when you’ll be moving on to the next section.
  • Start big assignments early. At the start of the course, determine which assignments are worth the most points or will take the most work. Set your own schedule for these assignments, dividing the work up into reasonable chunks. Your online instructor will probably remind you to begin working on time, but depend on yourself and the amount of time that YOU expect to take first.
  • Complete assignments before the due date. This is one of the biggest secrets to success in online courses. By planning to finish early, you prevent any disasters due to technical problems at the last minute. You will win your instructor’s favor because he or she can start correcting your work early instead of having to do it all in a day or two. As a result, you’ll get more personal feedback (and maybe a chance to fix your work if there are problems.) In the case of interactive assignments like discussion forums, you’ll get much more feedback than those who post at the last minute.
  • If you wish, ask your instructor if you can work ahead. There may be some parts of your online course that must be done at the same time as other students, but in many cases you can work ahead. This may lead you to finish early, saving some of that precious time at the end of a semester when so many large projects are due.

Moodle Technical Support

Contact Randall Shearon or Julie Marciel-Rozzi
Email wcc-de@waynecc.edu
Work Phone 919-739-7029 or 919-739-7023
Office Location Wayne Learning Center Building, Room 305

If you are experiencing technical problems contact the Distance Education Help Desk Monday through Friday by calling 919-739-7023 or 919-739-7029. If you are required to leave a message someone will contact you as soon as possible. Normally you will be directed to a live person at that time for assistance.

Students may also email the Help Desk at wcc-de@waynecc.edu.

Withdrawing from the Course:

To withdraw from a course, contact your instructor indicating which course you would like to withdraw from.

For more information regarding withdrawals please refer to the following resources:

Student Handbook
http://www.waynecc.edu/student%2Dhandbook/

Schedule of Courses
http://www.waynecc.edu/course%2Dschedules/

WCC Catalog
http://www.waynecc.edu/catalog/

Academic Support, Disability Services, and Library Support:

Wayne Community College Academic Skills Center
http://www.waynecc.edu/academic-skills-center/

919-735-5151 ext. 6746 or 6748

The Academic Skills Center is an instructional support service available to Wayne Community College students and other individuals. The Center provides a place for students to study with assistance from professional staff and peer tutors.

College Student General Support

http://www.waynecc.edu/students-start-here/

Disability Services

For more information about special needs in the classroom, go to http://www.waynecc.edu/counseling/disability-services/.

Library

Contact: Main/Information desk

Email: wcc-library@waynecc.edu

Phone: 919-739-6891

Through the WCC Single Search discovery service found on the Erwin Library’s webpage at http://www.waynecc.edu/library/, you have access to an enormous range of full-text magazine and journal articles, ebooks, and streaming videos to support the assignments in this course. You may access this resource remotely from your home or office using your Erwin Library barcode number.  As a WCC student you may apply for a library barcode online using the Library Card Application.  The library’s subject-specific online Research Guides will help you as well to learn more about using remote resources, especially the Student Guide to Using Library Resources.

<Technical Skills
If you don’t have the skills listed below, you may have difficulties with portions of your online course. Ask your instructor for sources you can use to improve your skills.

The successful online student knows how to:

  • Start, shut down, and reboot a computer appropriately.
  • Use a keyboard and mouse gracefully.
  • Use his or her Internet Service Provider or otherwise gain access to the Internet.
  • Access URLs (addresses) on the Internet.
  • Use online search tools to locate materials on the web.
  • Navigate forward and backward on web sites with links, frames, image maps, and other elements.
  • Troubleshoot a URL or link that is not working.
  • Recognize when a “plug-in” is needed to view a particular web page.
  • Print pages in the programs he or she uses, especially web browsers.
  • Send, receive, reply to, and forward email.
  • Send and receive email attachments.
  • Use a word processor.
  • Copy and paste text across documents and software applications.
  • Save a document or other file to a particular location.
  • Find a file or document previously saved.

Other skills may be needed for specific online courses or instructor practices, but mastering the skills above should be enough to provide a strong base for academic success.

<Preventing and Solving Technical Difficulties

To Prevent Problems:

  • Make sure your computer meets the minimal hardware requirements specified here.
  • Know the specifications of your computer. Try not to run programs that you know may be more than it can handle. If you have to get help, knowing what kind of computer it is will help troubleshooters find solutions.
  • Plan your academic schedule and take special care not to put assignments off until the last minute. A broken server or other technical problem is no big deal if you’ve left an extra day or two to finish the work.
  • Save your work frequently, including copies of papers, assignments, important email messages, and anything else you wouldn’t want to retype should an accident occur. Save hard copies of especially important documents as well.
  • Write down your passwords and save them somewhere private. The password that seems memorable today might not come to mind tomorrow.
  • Scout an alternate source of Internet access in advance. This might be a school, public library, or a friend’s home. There are so many sources of access that one broken computer is not a good excuse for failure to work on a course.
  • Print contact information for your instructor, your Internet Service provider, and other sources of help. Having it on your computer is no good if the computer won’t work.

Solving Technical Difficulties

Determine the scope of the problem. This takes practice, but it will do no good to complain to your instructor if the problem is with your home computer or your Internet Service Provider. Here are some ways to tell:

  • If you can’t get your computer to work at all or if your computer frequently freezes, but not at times that seem to have anything to do with each other, the problem is probably with your own hardware or Local Area Network. Whoever maintains that network or computer will have to find a solution. Your instructor or other technical contacts might be able to help.
  • If your computer works, but you can’t get online, are frequently bumped offline, or have access problems at a particular time of day, the problem is probably with your Internet Service Provider. Call the provider’s technical help resources. If they are non-responsive and your friends have better experiences, strongly consider switching providers.
  • If you can get online, can visit other Internet sites, but can’t get to the course site (or can’t get the course site to display correctly), the problem could be many things, but may be a problem with the server that the course is on. Consult the instructor or the technical support staff at the college. They can help you determine if the server is down, if it can’t be accessed from certain places, if you forgot a password, or if the problem lies elsewhere.
  • Try these steps before asking for help:
    • Save any work if applicable and possible.
    • Write down what programs were open and what you were doing when the error occurred. Write down the exact text of any error messages.
    • Reload (also called “refresh”) the web page.
    • Restart the web browser. This may require that you reconnect with your Internet Service Provider.
    • Restart (also called “reboot”) the computer.
    • Make a short list of the things you’ve tried and the specifications of your computer. Call (or email if you can) for help.
  • Write down the solutions to problems you encounter. They’ll probably come up again and you may not remember how you fixed them. Learning to troubleshoot computers is a cumulative process.
  • Inform the instructor of problems or mistakes in the course site such as broken links. He or she can’t fix the problems if no one lets him or her know the problems are there.
  • Let your instructor know if technical difficulties will prevent you from completing work. He or she might be able to help you find a place to work, solve your problem, or extend a deadline.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for technical help from a variety of sources, but be nice to the people who help. Their job is hard and you’ll need them again. Don’t blame them for the problems.
  • There is a technical help discussion forum in this course. Post your questions to it and help others when you can. Between your college’s technical services and your classmates, you probably have all the technical advice you’ll ever need.
  • There are many more technical help suggestions throughout this course site. Read the directions! It will make a difference. Print the directions that you think might be helpful if you encounter problems.
  • Finally, accept that problems are going to occur. Computers are complex and complex things break in interesting ways. If you keep a level head and learn from the experience, you’ll survive and be better prepared the next time problems occur.
<

Location

Wayne Community College
3000 Wayne Memorial Drive
Goldsboro, NC 27534
(919) 735-5151 - Admin