Poking Around... Exploring a Course Webpage

What is "Course Information?"

  • The Course Information section contains exactly that—course information. For the example (a Biochemistry course) there is information on where exams will be held, who is in what group, and information about course evaluations, in addition to other things. Since the individual instructor chooses what to post under each heading, course evaluation information may be under Course Information for this Biochemistry course but under Assignments in the Anatomy course. So, to generalize the contents of Course Information, it has to do with housekeeping information involving the who, what, when, and where of the course.
What is "Staff Information?"

  • By clicking on the Staff Information (or sometimes just called Faculty) button. You can learn about the instructors that will be teaching the course and often how to contact them. Sometimes the instructors will post their picture (so you can print it out to throw darts at it).

A Tip:

A neat feature is the little directory map at the top of the page. It tells you what page you are on and where you’ve been. In this example we are currently on the Staff Information Page and got to that through the Biochemistry page and got to the Biochemistry page through the Courses page as indicated in the directory map. While you can’t click on Staff Information because we are already on the Staff Information page, you can click on the other two, which will bring you to those respective pages. Of course you can also return to the Courses Page by clicking on the Courses tab at the top of the page and go to the previous page by clicking the back arrow in your Web Browser.

What are "Course Documents?"

  • The Course Documents button will take you to the course documents page, which will often contain downloadable files (meaning when you click on them, they get copied to the computer you are working on). Often these files are copies of handouts for class, syllabus materials, notes, articles etc.

What are "Assignments?"

  • The Assignments page contains information pertaining to assignments, projects and other things with a due date. As mentioned above, the course evaluations may be posted in this section.

What features are under "Communications?"

When you click on Communications you will be brought to a page that looks like the one on at right.

  • Clicking Announcements is going to bring you to the announcements page for this particular course, which works the same way as the Announcements Page described earlier in this tutorial.
  • Clicking Send E-mail will bring you to a screen where you can send a mass email to the members of the course, etc. It is the same as the Send E-mail link found in the “Tools” box on welcome page and its use is reviewed in the “A Word about Email” portion of this tutorial.
  • Clicking Collaboration will bring you to a screen that lists “Collaboration Sessions,” which, are essentially chat rooms for discussion of the topic the room it is titled. Note that not all courses will have a Collaboration option, they may have Discussion Boards instead.

Above the active sessions, you will find a “Filter” box that, as a default, displays Show All. By clicking on the up/down arrow to the right of the box you will get a drop-down menu that will allow you to choose which type of discussion sessions that are displayed.

Open Rooms will show you the rooms currently open that you can enter. Rooms With Archives are rooms with saved past information from past communications between people in that chat room. You can search through past sessions by Session Name, Start Date, End Date (MM-DD) by clicking on the button to the left of the desired search criterion and entering in what you are searching for in the box and clicking Search.

To enter a particular session, just click on the Join button to the far right of the session name. The two sessions listed above are basically the default and, like any feature on a course webpage, may not be activated by the instructor and so may not work. Talk to your instructor about the status of the “Collaboration Sessions.”

The Bare Bones

--Course Information typically has the who, what, where of the course.

--Staff Information has information about the faculty teaching the course.

--Course Documents can contain downloadable handouts, syllabus materials, notes etc.

--Assignments would have information on projects, and anything with a due date.

--Communications brings you to a list of features that will allow you to participate in disscussion groups sometimes called "collaboration sessions."

--There is more on the Communications features on the next page.