Spring 2012

IMPORTANT DETAILS for HE 2 Online Participants (version T.M)

Weeks beginning on Tuesday through Monday

If this is your FIRST online course, please take the online course readiness and orientation.  The short lessons are broken down into (1) learning to use the Moodle Course Management Software and (2) learning how to get help with the online environment, such as how to borrow a computer in an emergency.  There are also several in-person orientations available the first two weeks of the semester from the Gavilan College Library.


There are a few things to be aware of when taking this online course.

Be sure to ALLOW POP-UPs from this site.  You can press the CTRL key at the same time as you click any link (blue underlined words) and that should allow the pop-up for that time.  You can also instruct your pop-up blocker to ALWAYS allow pop-ups from this site.

All the content that is covered in a traditional on-site course will  be covered in this course.

You DO NOT have to be at your own computer to participate in class or the forums.  Any internet accessed computer will do. It does take self-dicipline to avoid falling behind.

Throughout all of the materials I have provided for you at the class site, you will note that there are capitalized terms such as ASSIGNMENTS, FORUMS, QUIZZES, MIDTERM, FINAL, and INTERVIEW PROJECT. When you see these terms capitalized, please note that I am referring to the six weighted grading segments. The points you gather throughout this semester will fall into one of these segments. Because of the weighing or assignment of different values for each segment, you can better understand which carries greater or lesser value. For example, ASSIGNMENTS carry more weight or value than the MIDTERM or FINAL. This is quite different than you have likely encountered in most of your academic carrier.


Essential to your success is keeping up with the weekly reading and assignments including contributing to each of the nearly weekly FORUMS.

Even though the class meets entirely online, there will be weekly due dates for completed assignments, contributions to forums, web activities, and quizzes.  This means that all students need to be working on the same material each week throughout the semester. For most of the topics you will have only one week to complete the readings, assignments and forums. 

Students have said of online courses that they take more time or are more work than their face-to-face cousins.  This may be true.  You have traded the convenience of the on line environment for the ease of classroom participation. 


Participation   Since this is not a f2f (face to face) class where I can evaluate your interest in the course by your attendance, I have only the student activity logs to determine your investment in this class.  If there is no required class activity or message or email from you for 7 days, I have to assume that you are no longer interested in this course and you will be dropped.


Power Point Presentations (PPTs), Forums, Assignments, and Quiz links will become active at 12:05 AM Tuesdays and close at 11:55 PM on the designated Mondays according to the class schedule. Our week begins on Tuesdays and ends on Mondays.


FORUMS (20% of grade) provide the participatory element and contributing in writing always takes more time than oral discourse.  Forums are a required element. (You are given the grace of 1 missed forum for the semester, however.)  Be sure to make your initial posting to the forum by each Friday at 11:55 PM to allow others to respond during Friday- Monday by 11:55 PM.

FORUMS consist of an initial post where you are asked to answer a few questions and a response post that you reply to another student's comments and are graded in the following manner:

Initial Posting = up to 5 points.The initial posting (due by Friday @11:55 PM) consists of a paragraph or two about the item up for debate.  You are to critically analyze the argument, research the topic, then respond as instructed in the forum instructions. Avoid vague or fuzzy terms.  Maximum points (5) are given for cited works, These are the easy points to get each week. (1 point is deducted for not posting by Saturday night at the latest)


Response = up to 5 points. These points are harder to get.  These are due by Tuesday by 11:55 PM.  Maximum points (5) per reply are achieved by asking excellent questions that prompt a student to clarify or explain a point or explore the topic further.

Follow-up posting = up to 5 points/response post.  You will gain more points by "follow up" posting. In other words, the more times you post a reply to a student's initial post, the more points you will receive provided what you write is of substance. Students will be awarded the extra credit gained by posting more replies than required each week as long as the posts contain excellent questions and commentary.


Here is the grading rubric: 

     0    Points if you reply something of the "I agree" or "You are right", sort.

     1-3 Points if you only write some affirmative or negative comment about the general content of the initial posting.  (Example:  "I really liked what you said about....",--OR "I disagree with your comment about..."---then, fail to explain your rationale). 

     4-5 Points if you write an affirming or negative argument that also includes ***thoughtful questions*** about a point made in the initial or subsequent posting. "What do you think?" does not fall into the thoughtful question category.  Try to draw out your classmates, make suggestions, ask them to clarify vague terms or statements.  Ask for examples to help them clarify their ideas.  Always be polite and respectful.  Please read the guidelines for asking excellent questions and rules for netiquette below.           

***Asking Excellent Thought Provoking Questions***

A good way to help your class mates think about a subject is to ask them a question about it. Being asked a good question can really help us put information together, evaluate our existing ideas and create new ideas.

Asking questions that are specifically intended to help others learn is known as Socratic questioning, named after Socrates in Ancient Greece.

Socratic questions require you to listen (read, in this case) very carefully to the other person to help you judge and phrase your question in a helpful, constructive, and hopefully non-confrontational way.

Here are some examples of such questions:

Questions of clarification


  • What do you mean when you say ______?
  • What is your main point?
  • How does _____ relate to _____?
  • Could you put that another way?
  • Let me see if I understand you; do you mean _____ or _____?
  • How does this relate to our problem/discussion/issue?
  • Jane, can you summarize in your own words what Richard said? ... Richard, is this what you meant?
  • Could you give me an example?
  • Would _____ be a good example of that?

Questions that probe assumptions


  • What are you assuming here?
  • What is Jenny assuming?
  • What could we assume instead?
  • You seem to be assuming _____. Do I understand you correctly?
  • All of your reasoning depends on the idea that _____. Why have you based your reasoning on _____ instead of _____?
  • You seem to be assuming _____. How do you justify taking that for granted?
  • Is that always the case? Why do you think the assumption holds here?
  • Why would someone make that assumption?

Questions that probe reasons and evidence


  • Could you explain your reasons to us?
  • How does that apply to this case?
  • Is there a reason to doubt that evidence?
  • Who is in a position to know that is true?
  • What would you say to someone who said that ____?
  • Can someone else give evidence to support that view?
  • By what reasoning did you come to that conclusion?
  • How could we find out if that is true?

Questions about viewpoints or perspectives


  • What are you implying by that?
  • When you say _____, are you implying _____?
  • But, if that happened, what else would happen as a result? Why?
  • What effect would that have?
  • Would that necessarily happen or only possibly/probably happen?
  • What is an alternative?
  • If _____ and _____ are the case, then what might also be true?
  • If we say that ____ is ethical, how about _____?

Questions that probe implications and consequences


  • How can we find out?
  • What does this question assume?
  • Would _____ ask this question differently?
  • How could someone settle this question?
  • Can we break this question down at all?
  • Is this question clear? Do we understand it?
  • Is this question easy or hard to answer? Why?
  • Do we all agree that this is the question?
  • To answer this question, what other questions must we answer first?
  • How would _____ state the issue?
  • Why is this issue important?
  • Is this the most important question, or is there an underlying question?
  • Can you see how this might relate to ________?
Questions adapted from Paul, R. (1993). Critical Thinking: How To Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World: Foundation for Critical Thinking, Santa Rosa, CA.


GRADEBOOK AND FORUMS: The FORUM grade shown in the gradebook is not the grade you actually earned. There is a peculiarity in the GRADEBOOK that causes a problem in viewing your ACTUAL total grade.  Because I allow multiple responses as a means to get extra credit, I have to set the point base for each forum at a ridiculous 100 points.  Some students have posted so many times to a FORUM to accumulate 80 points extra credit.  What this does is make the percent grade for FORUMS to be off considerably thus skewing your total class grade.  I correct for this at the end of the semester of course but, it does make it difficult to know what your grade is in the mean time.  I send you a very detailed midterm grade report to allow you to know how you are doing at that point.

I total all the points you get for the FORUMS throughout the semester.  For instance, if there are 6 FORUMS, the maximum number of possible FORUM points is 60 points because each total FORUM is worth 10 points.  Five for the initial posting and 5 points for the follow up posting for each FORUM.  However, you can get more points by responding more than once in reply.  This is to encourage you to debate the issues and/or reply to a question posted specifically to a particular point you had made in an initial posing.  This yields very worthwhile extra credit points for you.  Remember:  FORUM points are worth two times the value of a QUIZ  point. 

So, by all means, IGNORE the GRADEBOOK total of your points.  It will freak you out as you approach the end of the semester and see you have only  5-10/100 points in your FORUM score for each entry. The percent is severely skewed because of these grading peculiarities.                          

You will be required to search for quality academic information on the internet. I STRONGLY encourage you to read the material at this link EVALUATING INTERNET SOURCES before you begin this course.  You will be asked frequently to evaluate the information on the Web.


Problem Reporting

    Dog urinating on laptop

Always expect the unexpected with your computer. Stuff happens.  Have a back-up buddy, internet cafe, public library available in case of personal computer disaster.  Computer issues (other than Moodle) are not an excuse for late assignments, failing to take tests, or participating in forums.  There are times when the Moodle server crashes or is offline and you will be denied access.  Here is the procedure to follow should you encounter this:

Please print this and keep it with your computer. You MUST report problems and error messages immediately to me by email or by MESSAGE located on the column to the right at the class site. You MUST also report ANY problem with MOODLE. Immediately Contact disted@gavilan.edu with the information requested below.  If you do not make the proper problem report you will not be given additional time to complete an ASSIGNMENT OR QUIZ/EXAM etc.


1. Your login ID

2. Is your computer a PC or Mac?

3. What operating system and version are you using, i.e. OS X 10.4.9, Windows XP SP 2, Windows Vista Home Basic, etc.

4. What browser were you using? The version? i.e. Firefox 2.0, Internet Explorer 7.0, Safari 2.0, etc.

5. What is your connection? Campus LAN, Campus Wireless LAN, DSL at home, modem at home, etc.

6. What SPECIFIC course were you trying to access?

7. The URL of the page you were trying to access, or its description (Copy-and-Paste it from the Address bar if at all possible)

8. What SPECIFIC error message did you receive? (Copy-and-Paste it if at all possible)

9. The date and time the error occurred.

Trouble-shooting is hard, verging on impossible, if people just say, "Something bad happened." With specific details, we can try to figure out exactly what, and fix it.

Error messages and problems with Moodle must be reported to all three places and verified to be eligible for increased time for assignments or test do overs.

A word from the "not-so-wise", be sure to always scroll to the bottom of each page that you view in this course or you may miss an important web link or instruction.  I often fail to do this myself .


Your Professor

Now a word about me and my role in this course.  First, I am a teacher, an imparter of facts, concepts, ideas and unraveler of difficult details: sort of the "sage on a stage".  However, my most important role is that of a facilitator of your learning: the "guide by your side." I am here to smooth the bumps in the road rather than place barriers to your educational process.  While it would be really cool to be available to you 24/7--not going to happen. I will be lurking online for a few hours most weekdays.  I will try my best to get an answer to your questions within 48 hours.  Most times it will be faster.  I can make no guarantee about weekend lurking.  The Moodle site will let you know if I am lurking and working.  

There will be a forum available for asking procedural questions about the course.  If you do have a technical question about the web site or online environment, please contact disted in the distance education office as they are our site administrators



Netiquette is important when communicating online.  Researchers have shown that most of communication is non-verbal. Gestures and facial expressions are not visible in this environment. This makes misunderstandings inevitable.  Expect to be misunderstood and try your best to be clear and concise in your discussions.  Especially be cautious when responding to someone with whom you disagree.  Be respectful.  Avoid using CAPS as that is a form of online shouting and is generally considered rude.  Fortunately "smiley-faces" are available to help you indicate your meaning.  Please check out the netiquette site listed below.

Master the Basics of Netiquette