Week 16 catchup: Our Online Students

Thoughts on the Articles

I enjoyed the links to the articles which were provided.  The Jakob Nielson article was interesting.  I have come across his website usability articles in the past.  It was interesting to see how he exposed myths about how young people use websites and I intend on using this as part of my system development course when we look at website usability. I have noticed how students use websites and their reliance on Google searches to find what they want but that they aren’t necessarily very good at using their results to find the answer they want.  I must admit that I’m not very good at doing Google searches myself but I can follow a links and keywords from one site to another (and I often start with Wikipedia for my searches) and I tend to persevere until I find what I want.  Which brings me on to the second article of Growing up Digital, Wired for Distraction.  The BIT course I teach on issues laptops to students to use for their studies.  This means that every class sees students with their laptops open and when I walk around the room I find students in and out of various social media sites and often they have multiple sites open at the same time; usually they are quick enough to switch to what they are supposed to be doing when I approach but I know they aren’t totally focussed on what they are supposed to be doing.  It is interesting to see how the various age groupings of students use their laptops.  Generally (and this is a massive generalisation) the older the student, the more focussed they are on what they are supposed to be doing, while the younger ones are more likely to be multi tabbing through social media sites.  Another thing I have noticed with the students and their laptops is that if they have other assignments to hand in they will work on them in my class and then switch to what we are doing!!!

FAQs

My INF550 Business Computing course uses Moodle as a central place to find information about the course.  I have started putting together a list of resources to help the students complete various tasks which could be turned into FAQs as follows:

  • What textbooks do I need?
    • Grauer, Poatsy, Mulbery, Hulett, Krebs, Mast. Exploring Microsoft Office 2010 series Volume 1. Pearson ISBN: 9780136122326. It must be the Office 2010 text.
    • O’Leary, T.J. & O’Leary, L.I., (2012). Computing Essentials 2012 Complete Edition: McGraw-Hill ISBN: 9780073516806.
  • Where can I get the textbooks from?
    • Both textbooks can be purchases through the Nelson branch of Whitcoulls.
    • You might like to investigate online sources such as Mightyape and Fishpond
    • There are also textbook rental sites like Book Renter
  • What computer skills do I need before I start the course?
    • There are no pre-requisites for this course. However, it is assumed that the learner has had experience using a computer and can already perform the following tasks:
    • Manage file storage, files and folders and use Help features to resolve problems
    • create, save and open files, format, copy and move text
    • use proofing tools eg. spell check, thesaurus
    • print a document insert, resize and adjust graphics within a document
    • copy and paste data between applications
    • send emails, send and save attachments
    • Use the internet to read, print, save and download from websites
  • How is this course assessed?
    • There are 2 assignments and 1 exam (3 hours)
    • The exam is split between theory (1 hour) and practical (2 hours)
    • The practical exam is open book
  • What additional resources are available?
    • The theory textbook has a companion website which contains quizzes on the textbook content
    • The practical textbook contains files required to complete the activities
    • NMIT Online provides access to additional resources including extra theory quizzes and suggested solutions to practical exercises
  • How can I contact the tutor?
    • Emailing is probably the best option
    • For Nelson students email sandra.dyke@nmit.ac.nz or check my office in K221 (but remember that I am part-time)
    • For Blenheim students email [not provided here for privacy issues]
  • How do I access the zipped files provided?
    • click on the link provided
    • if a security box appears, confirm that you want to download the file
    • save the file – use the save as option so you can choose where it is saved to
    • once the file is downloaded, open the folder where it was saved to
    • right-click on the file name and choose extract all from the options
    • check where the file will be saved to (usually defaults to where the zipped file was saved)
    • click ok
  • How do I upload files to the Dropbox?
    • click on the Dropbox link
    • choose the browse option to search for the file on your computer
    • select the file
    • choose upload
    • if the assignment doesn’t require a Turnitin report, click the send file option
  • How do I zip a folder?
    • create a folder to place all the documents to be zipped together in
    • right-click the folder to be zipped and select the send to and compressed (zipped) file option
    • a new folder will be created which has a zip on it
    • NB there are other options available for  zipping folders but use the above method if sending the files to an NMIT tutor or else they may not be able to unzip them
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7 Responses

  1. Sandra,
    I love your FAQ! I can see how this would not only be an excellent resource for the students, but also a HUGE timesaver for you. I can see email replies literally saying, “Please check the FAQ” 🙂 Oh my. I must develop one. I started one earlier in this second half of the course, but I haven’t gotten back to it. You’ve inspired me to.
    Excellent project.
    Erica

    • Thanks for the comments. It didn’t actually take too long to do as all of the information was already available on the Course Moodle page or in the course outline. The bigget issue was getting my WordPress entry consistent after I did the pasting as I had to go into the HTML version to see what formatting had been done! Reminds me of one of the earlier discussions about the importance of knowing some HTML when doing online stuff. I keep seeing that it is more important to know all of the time and I am glad I have learnt it in the pass.

      Good luck with your FAQs.

      Sandra

  2. Good FAQ. I’m working on a non-ed one for my community blogs and hope the examples help. One problem: when FAQ’s (like syllabi) are comprehensive enough, then they are also longer than most students (or blog readers) will read.

    I’ve noticed the same computer use patterns and wonder how they correlate to earlier ways students did not pay attention in class – and outcomes.

    • I agree, I think if they are too long, stuff does get lost. I like the way websites open up the answers to a question when they are clicked. The instructions on how to use zipped files is actually included in a pdf I have uploaded to the course site. The advantage of the pdf is that it includes screenshots which I perfer for a set of instructions as students seem to feel more confident when they see the screenshots are the same as they are looking at. It also allows for the visual and kinesetic learners to cope as well. Most of the pdf files I upload to my course site, I also add to my tutorial and course website and I also provide a link to that website on my course page as well.

  3. […] problem solve, to search out their answers, to think about what they are doing.  See me post  in week 16 where I discuss more on this […]

  4. […] article was fascinating.  My immediate reaction was my posts for weeks 16 and 20 and how this complimented them.  In one of the IT courses I completed we discussed the […]

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