General, Logging on to Blackboard, Getting Started in Blackboard.
Most of the material in this sub-module will become obvious to you as you work your way through the first lessons, but it may help you to have seen them first. Three documents you have already seen are: Syllabus, which contain administrative information about the course; Outline, which has broad-brush descriptions of the modules, schedule and reading assignments; and Overview, which has some information for students about taking this course on-line.
Blackboard vs. Class Website.
UAF's electronic course management tool is called "Blackboard." It has many handy features, but we only use a few of them: the announcements, on-line quizzes, the gradebook, and the discussion boards. There are two kinds of discussion board, an individual board, that anyone in the class can post to, and a group board that only your group can post to.
Blackboard does not handle websites well. Therefore, much of the course material is on my faculty web server. (http://www.raperkins.net/) Using the two is quite intuitive, but it may help you to realize that they are two different entities. Blackboard requires a password; the website does not.
See Getting Started in Blackboard.
Learning Modules vs. Textbook
Most of the instruction take place in the learning modules. The weekly module is the administrative unit for the course. Some modules have several learning sub-modules, others only one.
You go, initially, from my website homepage to the course website homepage, index649.html. Then to that week's module. You will probably want to bookmark the course website homepage.
The modules generally have the same format: A brief introduction about the module, a recitation of the data from the Outline, a table that is the index to the submodules, and the homework assignment for that module.
Textbook. You should read the text, the chapters are indicated in the course outline. You can read it before or after the learning module. Occasionally I make reference to things from the text book that are especially important, that I don't want to retype, or things that are especially unimportant. Your text has many lists and recitations of regulations. In general it is safe to "skim" these, that is, you should know what the list is all about, but don't try to memorize the list or even read all of it. If any of it is important, I will tell you.
Quizzes, Assignments, Discussion Groups
While most of the instruction takes place in the learning modules and the textbook, most of the learning takes place on your side of the monitor. Most of it in the assignments, quizzes and discussion groups. The assignments ask you to manipulate knowledge and acquire more, making heavy use of web-available resources. Next see Submitting Assignments. All the quizzes are "open book" so you can and should look up answers. (More on that below.) Most of the quizzes are quite simple, if you have read the text and worked through the learning module. The discussion groups pose a topic and you are asked to contribute to the discussion. Your contribution might be technical, perhaps some fact to look up and report, or you might be asked for your point of view or ideas on something. The outline of the discussion is given in the homework assignments and/or pre-loaded on the discussion board..
Most modules will have an electronic quiz. Most of these are multiple choice or true-false. When you take these you are given your score when you finish. One problem is that sometime a student will be cutoff while they are taking the quiz. That scores you as an incomplete attempt and gives you a low score. Here is more on taking Blackboard electronic quizzes. The point is that we will put a text copy of the quiz somewhere in the module for you to work on before you actually log onto the quiz in Blackboard.