WebCT is the structure that CSU uses to provide online education. All of the courses in the MSHS degree program use WebCT, though supplementary materials (e.g., CDs, videocassettes or audio-cassettes) may be used in some courses. Thus it is important for you to become familiar with WebCT as quickly as possible; you may want to evaluate WebCT as you try to decide whether or not to apply to the MSHS degree program.
An instructor has considerable flexibility to individualize the format of a WebCT course, however, the basic functions will be the same for every course you take in the MSHS curriculum. This uniformity means you won't have to learn different systems for different courses.
When you log-in to a course, you will see a menu of options, such as: Course Content, Bulletin Board, Private Mail, Calendar of Course Events, Online Quizzes and Surveys, Course Tools and General Tools. The purpose of each of these is described briefly below.
When you open this function, you will see the course outline of topics. Usually these are organized chronologically for the course. Click on a lesson and you will see the materials prepared by the instructor on that topic. These may include lecture notes or an essay, assignments, audio or video clips, links to other Web sites, or other matter that the instructor want you to consider.
For some courses, the materials in this section may be book-length. In other courses, where the instructor has assigned textbooks for the course, these materials may be much shorter.
Bulletin boards are an important function for an online course. The instructor can create any number of fora (or forums) on different topics. You can read messages left by others, and post your comments or ask questions. It is a good way to communicate with others who may have knowledge or experience to share.
There is an email system internal to WebCT so that you may communicate with your instructor and other students in the course. You also may design a simple homepage to introduce yourself to other students in the course.
An instructor may choose to use the calendar to advise students of deadlines and due dates for assignments.
Instructors can give quizzes and exams online, as well as survey all the students in a course. WebCT provides for essay questions, multiple choice, true-false, or fill-in-the-blank questions. At the discretion of the instructor, tests may be limited to a pre-determined time; once you begin you have only so much time to complete the exercise. And, once you take a test, you cannot re-take it.
Most of these functions are self-evident. As a student it is convenient to be able to mark your place so the next time you log-on you can resume where you left off with the click of an icon or two. Similarly, it is useful to be able to search the index, look up a term in the glossary, or selectively organize notes for studying later.
The chatroom function allows students to communicate with one another, or with the instructor, synchronously, i.e., in real time. If you would like to try this out, log-on about 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. This is a good time to catch a faculty member or a fellow student. You also can leave messages on the bulletin board to arrange to meet others at a designated time and chat about taking online courses. You can meet in the general chatroom and then break off into one of the other rooms if you wish.
As an enrolled student you can review your grades and course record. You also can view your progress in various course activities, since WebCT tracks your online participation.
There is a list of all the students in the course, and each student has a homepage which allows you to get to get to know your classmates. Feel free to create a homepage for yourself.
The Student Presentation function is for completing group projects assigned by the instructor.
You also may change your password anytime you wish.