By Nathan Schiller, Director of Academic Support
As MCNY begins its two-week test period for moving all courses online in light of the COVID-19 situation, the LEC would like to offer some practical advice for ensuring a smooth transition.
Getting comfortable with Moodle:
If you’ve already taken an online class at MCNY, you know that everything happens in Moodle. Moodle is where you access your course content (readings, videos, etc.), submit your assignments, and interact with your professor and classmates.
All professors use Moodle differently, so you’ll want to be familiar with the website in general. Log in with your MCNY Account and click on your classes. Courses are organized by weeks, so scroll down to the current week and see what content the professor has already uploaded. Click around and see Moodle’s other features. Don’t worry—you can’t break anything.
And if you don’t see anything for this week, reach out to your professor, or email the Office of E-Learning at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need extra support, get in touch with us in the LEC at LEC@mcny.edu.
Figuring out your assignments:
In an on-site class, professors can hand out assignment sheets and talk to you about them. In an online class, they create assignments in each week.
Sometimes the assignment instructions and all the associated readings are visible as you scroll through the week. Other times that information doesn’t show up until you click on the assignment.
Regardless, once you’ve clicked on the assignment, you will see a place to submit your work. This often involves uploading a file (like Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) to Moodle. Make sure to follow all instructions.
Also, online learning in Moodle often involves the use of discussion forums. These are like in-person discussions, except everyone contributes by writing. Professors ask questions or give prompts, and you post your own thoughts or reply to others. Your professor should tell you the requirements for earning full credit in the discussion.
And, if you’re not sure if your document uploaded, or if you’re just uncertain about any of this, try asking someone, like a friend or family member. You could also schedule a Zoom meeting with an LEC specialist (check out the LEC Moodle Shell for current hours). Zoom allows you to share screens, which means that your specialist can see exactly what you’re seeing and provide guidance.
Reaching out to your professor:
Without in-class sessions, how do you communicate with your professor? Well, every professor does it differently. Some will hold Zoom meetings. Others prefer phone check-ins. Many prefer email.
Whatever the case, it’s important to reach out when you don’t understand something. Online classes work best when communication is clear and frequent. This usually happens in writing, so an online class is actually a really good way to build both your computer and writing skills.