Angel Orientation
West Georgia Technical College

Is Online Learning Right for You?

Are you ready for online learning? Is it right for you?

INSTRUCTIONS

Read about challenges to online learning; computer skills and technical support resources; and ANGEL, West Georgia Technical College's learning management system. Click on the activities and practice quizzes to test your knowledge.

 


Challenge 1

Online learning requires learners to work independently. This is an important aspect of online learning. Are you able to work independently?

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Challenge 2

Online learning requires learners to have good computer skills. You will need to be able to navigate the Internet using both Internet Explorer and Firefox, use word processing programs such as Microsoft Word (used at West Georgia Technical College) including saving your file as a Microsoft Word document, use email including attaching documents and use WGTC's learning management system called ANGEL. Do you have good computer skills?

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Challenge 3

Online learning requires the learner to ask for help when needed. An instructor will not necessarily know if you do not understand an assignment or course material. They do not see you face-to-face in a classroom. You will need to ask questions in a timely manner. Are you willing to ask for help?

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Challenge 4

Online learning requires ten to fifteen hours per week per online course for learners to be successful. Will you commit to spending ten to fifteen hours per week per online course?

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Challenge 5

Online learning requires a learner to be good at organizing and managing their time. It has been shown that learners who are well-organized, self-motivated, and able to manage their time effectively, are better able to succeed in online courses.

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Challenge 6

Online learning at WGTC requires meeting course deadlines. This means that you should not wait until the day an assignment is due to begin working on it as technical problems can and do occur that create obstacles to submitting your work at the last minute. If you begin early and run into technical problems then you will have time to make arrangements to correct the problem or work around the issue that you have encountered. Completing projects in a timely manner is important in the online environment.

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Challenge 7

Online learning requires a lot of reading and writing. The online learner will be spending a lot of time reading, reflecting on, and analyzing course material. In addition, online learners will do a lot of writing including completing assignments for instructors and responding to threaded discussions with instructors and classmates. As you are taking college classes you need to be a good written communicator. This means being able to write complete sentences, have verb-noun agreement, and use proper punctuation.

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Challenge 8

Online learning requires active participation. Many instructors expect contributions to discussions from every student participating in the course. In many cases there will be one or two discussions each week of the course. There are often times learning activities like crossword puzzles that require you to have read the textbook prior to your answering the clues.

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Challenge 9

Online learning is not easier than face-to-face learning. Online learners need to be ready to take an active role in their learning to ensure a successful learning experience.

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Computer Software/Hardware Checklist

Students who take online courses need reasonable computer competence and Internet skills to be successful. Students should have daily access to a computer (preferably at home). Online courses also require a minimum time commitment of 10-15 hours each week of the quarter. Skills specific to individual courses may also be required; for example, proficiency with a word processing package may be needed for an online English course.

INSTRUCTIONS: There are specific computer software, Internet browser and hardware requirements associated with School of Distance Education at West Georgia Technical College. Read about the requirements and click on the Self Check below to practice what you just learned.

Software Requirements

NOTICE: Some online/hybrid courses use books that require an "access key." Access keys may be purchased with new textbooks or directly from the publisher. It is your responsibility to check with the instructor of your online course to determine if an access key is required. Please do this before you purchase your books for your online/hybrid classes.

 

Hardware Requirements

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Online Technical Support Resources

West GeorgiaTechnical College is prepared to help you successfully complete your online course!

INSTRUCTIONS: Please read and follow the three steps listed below if you need technical support with your ANGEL course. Click on the Self Check to practice what you just learned.

Three Steps to Success!

Step 1
Make sure you are aware of the software/hardware requirements. If you are not sure what they are then you should review the information on the previous page.

Step 2
If your computer meets all requirements, has pop-ups enabled, and has all media downloads; but you are still having trouble accessing areas of your ANGEL course, contact your instructor to see if you need an "access key."

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Step 3
If your computer meets all requirements and your instructor has not been able to solve your technical support issues, contact ANGEL student technical support at

onlinesupport@westgatech.edu

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Many technical problems have to do with the student's particular Internet Service Provider (ISP) or with his/her own hardware or software. In some cases, students will have to contact their ISP for technical support. West Georgia Technical College cannot resolve problems with your own hardware, software, or Internet service.

If you experience major technical difficulties with your computer, you may come to campus and use a computer lab or the library at the campus near you to complete your coursework.

 

 ANGEL Basic Navigation

 

ANGEL is WGTC's learning management system. Learn about how to view course content and communicate with your instructor and classmates plus lots more by reading the inforomation on the following pages. There are different activities on each page for you to do to practice what you just learned. Now, let's get started!

Course Navigation

The ANGEL Home page (ANGEL Home) functions primarily as the log-in screen and starting point for each ANGEL session.

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The left edge of the ANGEL Home page is called the Power Strip; this area contains basic system navigation tools. Other sections of the screen enable you to log into ANGEL and access various resources.

Navigation Tools

There are three system navigation tools at the top of the Power Strip. These icons are always available on the ANGEL Home page and when you are working in a course or a group.

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The following table explains these navigation tools.

Icon

Name - Description

Home – Returns you to your home page

Help – Displays ANGEL online help, guides, and resources

Log Off – Logs you out of the ANGEL environment

Personal Home Page

When you log into ANGEL, your personal home page (Home) appears. Home enables you to access all the courses and groups in which you are enrolled. The page also provides a variety of tools to assist you with your coursework.

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Personal Navigation Tools

Your personal home page features a set of navigation tools, located in the Power Strip along the left edge of the screen. These icons are always available on your personal home page and whenever you are working in a course or group.

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The following table describes these navigation tools.

Icon

Name - Description

Home – Returns you to your home page

Help – Displays ANGEL online help, guides, and resources

Log Off – Logs you out of the ANGEL environment

 

Personal Preferences – Provides access to your user settings, such as your personal information, password, theme selector, system settings,
and PDA agent.

There are two additional accessibility-related icons at the bottom of the page that function as illustrated and described below.

Icon

Name - Description

508 – Allows you to create a profile that describes your particular needs for accessing course material. If necessary, you can access an ACCLIP for use with ANGEL.

The acronym ACCLIP stands for "Accessibility for Learner Information Profile." ANGEL's Accessibility menu allows you to create, save, or import ACCLIP profiles.

PDA – Allows you to activate ANGEL in PDA mode. Page layout and navigation are customized to suit your selection.

Personal Preferences

Clicking the Personal Preferences icon (  ) opens the Preferences window. From this window, you can customize the information about your profile and courses, change your password (if applicable), adjust system settings, and further configure ANGEL to suit your needs.

The Preferences window contains the following links:

 

Your Courses

The Courses section of your personal home page gives you access to all the courses for which you are enrolled, either as a student or instructor. To access a course, simply click its name; information about the selected course appears on a new page. Please remember that you will not see your courses listed until the first day of classes.

Screen shot of Courses Module

Navigation Tabs/Bread Crumbs

When you access a course, a set of navigation tabs appears across the top of the ANGEL window. Click a tab to view a page containing one or more specific types of information about the course. Your instructor will explain how they use ANGEL and which features they expect you to use in their course. The Student Quickstart Guide is a helpuful tool to review before classes begin. As you navigate through the tabs, the Bread Crumb frame updates to show your current location within the course-related information.

The following tabs are available for each course:

Hyperlink to Labeling Activity  

 

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Course Mail

In most cases your instructor will use the Course Mail feature in Angel. Here, you can send and receive mail messages from your instructor or other class members. To access Course Mail, click the Communicate tab.

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View Inbox

Clicking the Communicate tab takes you to the Communicate screen. You may click View Inbox to view all incoming messages, and to compose messages. If you would like to simply send a message without viewing your inbox, you may click Quick Message. Unread Messages displays a count of unread messages in your inbox.

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Compose

To compose a new message, simply click the Compose button.

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Retrieve Addresses

After clicking the Compose button, you will notice that your e-mail box looks very much like a word processor or standard e-mail program. To retrieve your instructor or class member e-mail addresses, simply click the To button.

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Drop Box

Uploading electronic files to a drop box is a convenient way to submit assignments to your instructor. The Drop Box accepts virtually any type of electronic file, including word processing documents, images, Web pages, and others.

When uploading electronic files from a Macintosh computer, it is important to add the proper file extension to the file name (e.g. .doc, .jpg, .htm, etc.) before uploading the file.

To submit an assignment to a drop box:

1.    Log into your ANGEL course and click the Lessons tab.

2.    Navigate to your dropbox (this is different for every instructor) and click its title or icon. The drop box link will have the icon you see in the below example.

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Dropbox Icon

After clicking the link, the dropbox page appears.

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After clicking submit, your work is sent to your instructor for grading.

Hyperlink to Labeling Activity  

Viewing Your Grades in Angel

There are two possible ways to view your grades. A Grades module may appear on your course homepage if your instructor has enabled that feature of ANGEL. You can click the Report tab or the grading block after you log in, both will take you to the Reports page. Change your report settings as instructed below to view your grades.

 

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Report Settings

Under Category choose Grades

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Under Report choose Student Grades

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Click Run

Scroll down.  You will see all your grades. 

SPECIAL NOTE: If you view your grades on your course homepage, remember to click on the refresh icon to update grade postings. It is the small circular arrow in the upper right corner of the Grades module.

 

Hyperlink to Ordering Activity  

Discussion Forums

Threaded discussion forums allow you to post, reply to, and search messages from the instructor and other students.

To post a message to a discussion forum:

1.    Log into your ANGEL course and click the Lessons (or Communicate) tab. It can be different depending on the instructor.

2.    Navigate to the discussion forum you want to post to and click its icon or title.

The discussion forum appears on the screen.

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3.   Click the New Topic button.

The Post a New Message window appears.

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4.   Click in the Subject field and enter a topic for your message.

5.   Click in the Message field and type your message.

To attach a file to your post, click the add a file link, which appears under the Message field.

6.    When your message is finished, click the Save button.

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