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Course Opening

Module 0: Orientation and Training Module-Initial Engagement-Welcome-Icebreaker Activities

Basic Idea: A time for online orientation and training for students taking an online class
In the first days of the semester, and better yet a week before the semester begins, it is a best practice to have students taking an online class have access to the course site so that they might enter and familiarize themselves with the site. The time for this Module 0 would be from one week before the first official day of class until a day or two into the semester to give the “late comers” a chance to get into the class site and catch up to the others.

It is important that come the first day of instruction students should have a fairly good understanding of the basic elements of the course, including:
• The course site: access and elements
• Navigation through the course site
• Basic course requirements-syllabus
• Calendar-Course Schedule- due dates
• Basic Learning activities-readings, discussions, group work, exams, assignments etc…
• Practice with all the basic tasks and operations
 Email
§ copy and paste
§ taking quiz
§ submitting assignments
§ participating in the discussions
§ low stakes writing or postings

Elements of Module 0
1. Welcome Message
2. Icebreaker Activities
3. Introductions
4. Notes on Netiquette-class comportment

Sample of a MODULE 0 Course Orientation and Training – by Dr. Philip A. Pecorino, QCC, CUNY


Well, congratulations on entering the class site and getting this far. Now we get into it. If you got this far you can make it through the rest of this. I look forward to working with all of you and hope that we will produce successful outcomes for each one of you taking this course.
<<<<< Check out what all the buttons on the left Navigation Bar or Column have in them. Explore the site.


OK, let’s get started by having you explore the course site and learn about the requirements and what we will be doing here. For this first module or learning unit you are expected to do the following TEN things! Yes TEN (10): For these first few days you are expected to do the following TEN things! Yes TEN (10). I repeated that. Why? It is very important. Why? Well, by the time you are finished you should know all that you need to know about this class and what is required to do well in it.
1. Read all the documents that are part of COURSE OUTLINE using the link COURSE OUTLINE Be sure to read How you will be evaluated! It is the course SYLLABUS. There are a lot of items in the COURSE OUTLINE be sure to read ALL OF THEM.

2. <<<< Check out what all the buttons on the left Navigation Bar or Column have in them.
Check and Print out the CALENDAR – under COURSE OUTLINE or CALENDAR or SCHEDULE ! It is important for you to know and observe the DUE DATES for all required activities.

3. In the Blackboard (BB) class site, read (or open and just quickly note) what is in the BB Student Manual- HOW? Go to the button marked TOOLS and then click on MANUAL.

4. INTRODUCE YOURSELF –enter the Blackboard (BB) class site and Introduce yourself and your WEBSITE and/or ePortfolio to your classmates under the DISCUSSION BOARD (DB) – INTRODUCTIONS HOW? Go to the button marked DISCUSSION BOARD or marked COMMUNICATION and then click on DISCUSSION BOARD. Click on it and enter the DB. Click on INTRODUCTIONS. This is an area for you to introduce yourself to the class and where you can go to meet the others that are in this course. Post an item to start a discussion, or read other students’ responses if there are any, and make a response.
You will find my profile by clicking the Staff Information button in the Opening of the Course. Check this area to meet the others in this course. Since profiles will be posted as people join the course for the first time, you may have to return to this area several times to see the latest entries.

With online courses that use various class sites and programs such as BlackBoard it is a good thing for students to have a Personal site and ePortfolio rather than a course specific site or HOMEPAGE. So, there are now provisions for personal e-portfolio sites. These are your personal pages or wiki or blog for others to see- you determine who sees what via the Share options. You can grant access directly to your site to anyone and everyone in the world. You will have your own internet site.
******Let your classmates know the address of your personal ePortfolio/webpage/website****** Post it with your INTRODUCTION in the BB site under INTRODUCTIONS
My EPSILEN site is
5. Create your ePortfolio / Personal Page use EPSILEN ( at QCC)
Students please set up your eportfolio, if you do not already have one, and into which you will place some materials from this course including:
• Your reflections on your learning in each module
• Your best examples of your written work using the dialectical method of inquiry.
.At QCC l use the EPSILEN ePortfolio site (free).
EASIEST go to and click Epsilen Login in the upper right-hand corner. And, once you have created your own account, then you can just bookmark that URL which will look like:
In your EPSILEN site what you do is create a FOLDER using the title of the course(e.g., PHI 101 or PHI 301) and then inside the folder place the files made available to others that will be labeled
HELP DESK for EPSILEN sites to check the Open ePortfolio Lab Schedule. 14 open – walk-in – no appointment necessary – hours staffed by Student ePortfolio Mentors. Call 718 631 6624 718 631 6624 Mon -Fri 9 to 5.

In your ePortfolio site what you do is create a FOLDER using the title of the course(e.g., PHI 101 or PHI 301) and then inside the folder place the files made available to others that will be labeled
6. COPY and PASTE PRACTICE. Create a question or answer in a word processor and copy and paste it into the DISCUSSION BOARD under QUESTIONS and SUGGESTIONS FOR THE PROFESSOR HOW? Go to the button marked DISCUSSION BOARD or marked COMMUNICATION and then click on DISCUSSION BOARD. Select an item under QUESTIONS and SUGGESTIONS FOR THE PROFESSOR to which you wish to reply. Then minimize the internet browser (IE) and open the word processor WORD or some other that you use. Keyboard your response or question for the discussion. Copy and paste all the material there into the space for discussion concerning the first discussion item that you selected and then submit it.


Prepare a word processed document with the answers to the three (3) questions below and then send it to the Professor through Email You must use the CUNY email address supplied by this college!!!!!!

1. What is Written Assignment Number Five(5) for Module Five? Copy and paste it into the document.

2. When is written assignment Seven(7) due?

3. What must you do to get the maximum number of points for the discussions in each of the modules?

HOW? After answering all three, save your file (document) as a WORD or a DOC or TXT file. Then send the EMAIL to my QCC email address Do not send attachments!!! Copy and paste your text from the word processor directly into the message window of the email.
As a CUNY student You must use the CUNY email address supplied by this college!!!!!! Each and every registered student has an email account.
If you do not have an address acceptable to this instructor you will have 10 days to get and use the college supplied email address and notify the instructor from the new address.
When sending email ALWAYS In the subject line put: first name, last name, class number, section, ASSIGNMENT# or QUESTION or HELP
After an assignment has been received, it will be graded and the feedback shared with you either by E-mail or by the use of an on-line grade book WebPages found by clicking on GRADES..

8. READ the Student Reviews and Comments about this class.

9. ENTER the Blackboard (BB) class site and go to the STUDENT CAFÉ in the DISCUSSION BOARD area of the BB Course Site.

This is a discussion area for our class outside the context of a particular course module. Just as you have the opportunity to talk or chat with each other or with the instructor when taking a conventional classroom course, you should also have the opportunity to do the same in a web course. The STUDENT CAFÉ is available only to students enrolled in this class to post and/or read messages and respond. These can include questions or comments to other students about course material, assignments, readings, etc. It is also a place where you can go to socialize and have open discussion on subjects of your interests.
You will find the STUDENT CAFE in the DISCUSSION BOARD section of the Course.`

10. RELAX It looks like it is a lot but it is no more than any other class only just made more accessible and convenient and more is explained in text at the start.
Oh and what it comes down to is this: The following learning activities apply to each module:
1. Read the assigned textbook material.
2. Participate in the Discussions- post a minimum of 3 different days each week (Summer session 2days of every 3)
3. Respond to discussion questions submitted by the instructor.
4. Create and submit a discussion Student Led Discussion question about the material. At least one in each module.
5. Respond publicly to some or all of the questions submitted by other students and any responses from the instructor.
6. Reply to students who respond to your question and responses.
7. Participate in the Group Activity each module.
8. Submit the written assignment each module.
Have a great semester and your efforts will be rewarded with a well earned good grade

If for some reason you cannot get access to the Blackboard Program PLEASE understand that all materials for this course except for the DISCUSSION BOARD are located in two sites outside of BlackBoard and you can access them directly at any time. That means that the online textbook is available at the two sites as well. There is no reason why you cannot proceed with all work with this course should one course site not be available. There will be a second discussion board site as well should the first program not be accessible for any significant length of time. Remember DO NOT PANIC !!! You will not be penalized for the failures of the university’s system.

I insert an opening video to explain the Module 0 Introduction to Philosophy Intro Mod 0
Introduction to Philosophy Intro Mod 0 VIDEO>>>


Here’s the place where we can start to get to know each other. The best place to start would be with some basic information about yourself and your academic interests, hobbies, reasons for taking this course etc… [Click Add New Thread to post your own introduction. You can also click Reply under a classmate’s to reply.]
Don’t forget to create your Eportfolio and give us your url

Why are you taking this course in the Online Mode?

How many points is participation in these discussions worth? Why do you think the course has this feature?

What is due on 10-10-10 ?


How do you think the online course will be different from the ordinary classroom?

In this class the instructor will attempt to form the class into a Learning Community. What do you think that means? What advantage is that to you? What will you need to do to participate in a Learning Community?

What do you think will be the hardest part of this course to learn about ?


Class Behavior Whether in a face to face traditional classroom or in a virtual online classroom we need to establish and maintain an environment that is conducive to teaching and learning. Please assist me in doing this. We cannot tolerate any behavior that is disruptive in any manner nor undermining the instructional program.
Unacceptable behavior including but not limited to behavior that is distracting, disruptive, undermining or insulting or demeaning will not be ignored and will be reported if not halted immediately upon request from the instructor. In the online virtual classroom repeated offenses will result in being barred from participation in the class.
Postings to Discussion Board
Please follow these Terms of Service or Conditions for Use: INSERT ANY NETIQUETTE STATEMENT HERE, e.g.,
• No sloppy postings, please use a spell check and then copy and paste into the discussion box
No inflammatory messages, count to 10 before posting, No (masked) vulgarity,
No trolling
No spamming,
No mentioning of pink elephants, etc
YES, be polite
Yes, be helpful
Yes, copy and paste materials into your posts to support your positions
Yes, ask questions of your classmates
Yes, point out inconsistencies, contradictions and vagueness
Yes, respond to those you respond to you in acceptable posting language.
Do NOT use all CAPITAL letters. It is considered rude to do so.
No spelling short cuts or emoticons,
No lower case “i” in referring to one’s self.
No sentence fragments and sentences that begin without an upper-case letter.
Is there any question or issue you need to bring up at this time?

Well if you are here into this DB and reading this lead off item you have come quite far already into this class. You have probably learned a good deal about the class site and the class requirements already. So RELAX a bit now. Read the message posted by the instructor inside this forum and reply to it.

Here is the message that might be posted inside of this forum to lead off.

“OK now what does all of this amount to, anyway? This is an online class and each week you need to do a few things. You will read and think and discuss and think and do a bit of writing. When you think about it most of your grade is earned by making an effort to involve your self with this class. There are a lot of activities for which you will earn “points” and there are no RIGHT or WRONG answers involved at all. More than half of your final grade is the result of effort alone. You do need to work each week. There will be a one week break in the MIDDLE of the semester. A bit of a breather there and at the end a week to evaluate all that has gone on in the class.

NOW what I would like each of you to do is two things:
1) summarize what you think is needed to do well in this class (activities, resources, time) and estimate you chances to get that done.
2) read what each of your classmates post and make comments on their postings if you think that they are over or under estimating what is needed.”

Engaging Students

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