Faculty Guide to onCourse
What is Wheaton OnCourse?
Wheaton OnCourse is based on Moodle, a Learning management system (similar to Blackboard) developed by educators with a "learning-centric" perspective. It allows faculty to easily set up interactive online spaces for their courses without having to know how to create web pages. You will be able to upload syllabi, host discussions, accept assignments electronically, send email to your class, give quizzes, and much more.
Why might I use Wheaton OnCourse ?
Consider using Wheaton OnCourse to:
- Organize and deliver digital content to students in your course (e.g., web links, resources, syllabi, readings, simulations).
- Capitalize on learning opportunities outside of class time. For example:
- Student review of class materials/content covered in class (e.g., PowerPoint presentations, lecture notes, short quizzes)
- Student preparation for the next class session
- Encourage peer interaction and discussion
- Threaded discussion using Forums
- Group collaboration using Wiki assignments
- Peer-review of written assignments
- Development of a class glossary
- Manage class logistics
- Use the general news forum to make important class announcements.
- Use the calendar to note events, due dates, etc.
- Use Quickmail to email individuals or the entire class.
- Use the grading features to accept assignments and/or to post grades privately.
- Use the Choice activity to allow students to pick research topics.
- Use the Scheduler activity to schedule advising appointments or office hours.
- Use the Attendance activity to take attendance.
- To access Wheaton OnCourse:
- find a link in Quicklinks off the Wheaton homepage or through inside Wheaton
- open a browser window and go to: http://oncourse.wheatoncollege.edu
We recommend using the Mozilla Firefox browser (rather than Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari) when working with Wheaton OnCourse. If you don't have Firefox, download it from the Mozilla web site
- To log in to Wheaton OnCourse : click the (Login) link at the top right of the window, next to the message "You are not logged in." Use your Network ID and password (W-id and email password) to log in
- To Edit your course look for these icons:
If you do not see these icons, turn editing on by selecting that option from the Administration block or in the black navigation bar below the course name.
- Update: click the pen on paper to edit the adjacent file, resource or activity
- Delete: click the X to delete a file, resource or activity
- Help: click the ? to view a popup help window
- Open eye: click the eye to hide something from students
- Closed eye: click the closed eye to make a hidden item visible to students
- Drag & Drop: when you hover over the cross bars a hand will appear. Hold your mouse down and move the file or entire topic area to a new location
To adjust your course settings, find the Administration block on your course homepage and click settings.
Note: Most of the options in the Administration block, are only available to you, the teacher (and the onCourse site administrator); students see an Administration block with options to change their profile and access their grades if you make that option available.
On the Settings page, you can change a number of options about your course, from it's format - weekly or topic, to whether students can view their grades and whether the course is available for students to access (by default courses are not available to students). For details about a setting, click the Help icon (the ? mark in the oval) next to it. Any changes you make on this page must be saved by scrolling to the bottom of the page and clicking the Save changes button!
Format is a very important setting, since it determines the basic layout of your course.
- WEEKLY format: organizes the content blocks in seven day increments from the start date to the finish date of the course. Activities and Resources can be arranged according to the week.
- TOPICS format: is not automatically labeled, and is not restricted to any time limit. Topics can be used to organize material more thematically and are numbered.
- SOCIAL format: oriented around a single forum, this format displays discussion topics as the central content of the course.
Note that the Weekly and Topics formats are very similar in structure. The main difference is that each box in the Weekly format covers one week, whereas each box in the Topic format can cover whatever you like. The Social format doesn't focus on content but is based on using forums as the course construct.
Number of weeks/topics
This setting is used by the Weekly and Topics course formats, and determines the number of "boxes" down the middle of the course page.
In the Topics format it specifies the number of topics in the course. In the Weekly format it specifies the number of weeks that the course will run, starting from the course starting date and displaying one block for every seven days.
Note: Be sure to start you week on a Sunday or Monday if you want it to display as a normal week, not on the first day of classes, which is often a Wednesday.
All courses are created with Availability set to "This course is not available to students" by default. The course will not appear to your students until you are ready to make it available. The name of the course is grayed out when it is unavailable to students but you as the teacher always have access to the course.
To make your course available, go to the Administration block and choose "settings". Scroll down the page until you see the section Availability.
In the drop down menu choose "This course is available to students." Finally scroll to the bottom of the page and save changes.
Here's a narrated video on how to upload a file media:UploadFileOnCourse.swf
- First turn editing on
- Next locate the week or topic where you'd like the document to reside
- From the add a resource drop down menu, select link to a file or website
- In the Add a resource page, enter a name for the document, browse your computer for the file (choose or upload a file), then scroll to the bottom and save.
Content can be added to your course by this method. Any files that you add to your course reside in the "File" folder in you Administration block. Audio or video files, PDFs, Word , PPT or Excel documents are examples of files that can be uploaded into your course and stored on the server. While your files are on the server, you can move, rename, replace, or delete them. You can also link to them from the front page by adding a resource and choosing link to a file.
An example of a Files section is below:
Note: This interface is only available to instructors. Students cannot access this folder. The files that you upload are made available to students later on as "Resources." See the Adding Resources section below for more information.
As shown in the screen shot, folders are listed along with individual files. You can create any number of folders to organize your files, and move your files among them.
The file space is divided into four functional areas:
- List of files and folders. Click a filename or folder to open the file or folder.
- Checkboxes, to the left of the filenames. Click a checkbox (or boxes) then choose an action from the With chosen files drop down menu.
- Action options, to the right of the filenames. You can rename, unzip, or choose a file to link to a resource by clicking the appropriate action next to a filename.
- Drop down menu and buttons along the bottom of the list:
- With chosen files: after selecting files (marking the checkboxes) you can move them into a folder, delete them, or zip them into a single file for easier download or transfer.
- Make a folder: creates a new folder at your current level in your file space. You can nest folders as many levels deep as you like.
- Select all / Deselect all: checks or unchecks all of the checkboxes in the current folder. Note that the top level is simply the parent folder to any folders within it. As you open folders, you can move back up a level by clicking Parent folder.
- Upload a file: opens the standard file dialog box and allows you to search for the file you want to upload to your course.
Uploading files is currently restricted to one file at a time with a maximum file size of 100MB. If you want to upload multiple files at once (for example, multiple readings), it is often easier to put them all in a folder and use a zip program to compress the folder into a single file. Then upload the zip file, and unzip them on the server (you will see an "unzip" link next to zip files).
To preview any file you have uploaded, just click its name. Your web browser will take care of either displaying it or downloading it to your computer.
To change the contents of a file, edit it on your local computer then upload it again.
Important: if you upload a file that has the same name as a file that already exists on your site, your new file will not be displayed automatically. You must refresh your browser to see the new version. If the file displays in a frame, you may have to refresh that frame specifically.
Note: if your content resides on the Web, you don't need to upload files at all - you can link directly to your pages from inside the course. See the Adding Activities and Adding Resources sections below for more information.
Resources are labels, folders (directory), web pages and links to websites or documents that appear on the front page of your course. You can create simple text-based resources by typing directly into a form. A resource can also be any file you have uploaded, or any file you can point to using a URL.
To create a link to a file on your front page:
From the drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
- In the next window give your file a name. This is what will appear on the front page of your course as the link to your document.
- Next click the Choose or upload a file button.
- In the Files window, select a document from your existing list by clicking Choose under Actionon the right, or add a new file, as follows:
- Click the Browse button and navigate to the file on your computer. Select it, then click the Open button.
- When the correct filename is displayed in the window, click the Upload this file button.
- Back in the Files window, select the newly-added file from your files list by selecting Choose from the Action options on the right.
'To link to online articles:'
Full-text articles in library subscription databases can be linked to from your Wheaton OnCourse course site.
Some of the library's full-text subscription databases allow you to create links to an article simply by using the URL you get when you retrieve the article. In other resources, including Academic OneFile, JSTOR, and FirstSearch, the databases provide methods for generating stable URLs (a.k.a. persistent URLs) that can then be used for creating article-level links. The library provides detailed information on Creating stable links to full-text articles.
Once you have the stable URL, follow the instructions below for creating links to web sites.
To link to a web site:
- On the drop-down menu, choose Link to a file or web site.
- In the next window, if you know the URL of the web page, enter it in the Location field.
- If you don't know the URL, click the Search for web page button to open a browser window.
- When you locate the page, copy its URL, close the browser window, and paste the URL into the Location field.
Building a course involves adding course activities to the main page in a logical order. You can change the order any time you like.
To turn editing on: click the Turn on editing link under Administration, or the button at the top right of the page. This toggle-switch shows or hides the icons that allow you to manipulate your main course page.
To add a new activity: go to the topic section or week where you want to add the activity and select the type of activity from the drop down menu.
After adding your activities, you can move them up and down in your course layout by clicking the little arrow icons next to each one.
You can delete an activity using the X icon, edit it using the edit icon or hide it using the eye icon.
Summary of standard Wheaton OnCourse activities:
An assignment is where you set a task with a due date and a maximum grade. Depending on the type of assignment, students will be able to upload one file to satisfy the requirements. The date a student uploads a file is recorded. Afterwards, you will have a single page on which you can view each file (when it was submitted), and then record a grade and a comment. Half an hour after you grade a student's assignment, Wheaton OnCourse will automatically email that student a notification.
There are four assignment types in Wheaton OnCourse :
- Advanced uploading of files: if you would like be able to comment on a student's file and upload the version of the file with your comments, choose Advanced uploading of files under Assignment type. This will still allow the student to upload a file, which you can then open and grade, but from the grade screen you will be able to upload the commented version. Students will see both their original and your commented version of their file.
- Online text: this assignment type asks users to enter text using the normal Wheaton OnCourse editing tools. These assignments are graded online with the ability to add inline comments or changes.
- Upload a single file: similar to the advanced uploading of files, this assignment type is more limited, allowing for students to upload one file. This assignment type also lacks the ability to upload files back to the student.
- Offline activity: assignments don't necessarily have to consist of file uploads. You can create offline assignments to remind students of real-world assignments they need to complete. Currently, these "offline" assignments are used to record grades for activities that don't have an online component.
A Choice activity is very simple - you ask a question and specify a choice of responses. Students can make their choice, and you have a report screen where you can see the results. It is ideal for quick polls and class votes.
This is the module where discussion takes place. When you add a new forum, you must choose one of four different types:
- a simple single-topic discussion
- a standard forum for general use
- a each person posts on discussion forum or
- a Q & A forum.
Under "Force everyone to be subscribed", you can make the forum act like a list server, in that posting a message to the forum automatically sends an email to everyone who is subscribed. It is suggested that you not use this feature but allow users to subscribe themselves should they wish to receive email versions of the forum posts.
Forums may also be used as graded assignments.
For additional information, see Adding and Using Forums in Wheaton OnCourse.
This module allows you to design and present quizzes consisting of multiple choice, true-false, essay, matching, numerical, embedded (cloze), and short answer questions. Your questions are kept in a categorized database, and can be re-used within courses and between courses. Quizzes can allow multiple attempts. Each attempt is automatically marked, and the teacher can choose whether to give feedback or to show correct answers. This module includes grading facilities.
The survey module provides a number of predefined survey instruments that can be useful for evaluating and understanding your class. Currently they include the COLLES and the ATTLS instruments. They can be given to students early in the course as a diagnostic tool and at the end of the course as an evaluation tool. This does NOT allow you to create your own anonymous surveys; to construct custom surveys, use the Questionnaire activity.
Questionnaire is a survey that allows you to create your own questions. It can be anonymous or not and the settings allow you show results to students or not.
This is a not a true activity - it is a "dummy" activity that allows you to insert text and graphics among the other activities on the course page.
Using Quickmail to email Students
- From the front page of onCourse, click on the Compose link in the Quickmail block. This block is typically found in the upper left of the screen but can be put in other locations as well.
- Use the check boxes to select recipients or click on the "Select all" link to send an email message to the entire class.
- Compose your message and click the "Send Email" button.
Quickmail keeps a history of messages you have sent. You can access past messages by clicking on the "History" link in the Quickmail block.
Here's a narrated video on how to add an attachment via Quickmail and to view Quickmail history media:Quickmail_attach_history.swf
Adding/Removing Users on Your onCourse Site
Here's a narrated video on how to add a person to your course media:add_person.swf
- In the Administration block, click Assign Roles.
- Select the role you wish to assign (non-Editing Teacher, Student, Guest, etc).
- On the Assign Role page, enter all or part of the name of the person you wish to add in the search box (located at the bottom of the right pane).
- When the search is complete, select the correct name from the box on the right of the page by clicking once on the name to highlight it. Then click the add button to add that name to the list on the left.
Note: to remove someone from your site, select their name on the left and click the remove arrow.
Teachers cannot add others as teachers. Please contact onCourse support staff to add a teacher to your course.
Your profile is your identity on onCourse. Your first and last name and picture (if you add one) will identify you throughout onCourse. Other users in your courses can view your profile.
To change or add information about yourself, such as your interests, click your name on the top right of the page next to the Logout link.
Your profile will open, showing the information others can see about you. Click the Edit profile tab to upload an image, or add/change other pieces of information.
You cannot change your email address. This is to ensure all users are using a valid email address that is consistent.