Faculty Guide to Getting Started on the Web

Why put class materials online?

Our students are online!

  • 91.6 percent of U.S. households with computers have Internet access.1
  • On average, the Seminole State website receives more than 18,000 visitors per day.
  • Orlando is eighth (tie) in the nation in broadband usage at 55 percent.2
  • Seminole State's Web traffic is comprised of 85 percent high-speed Internet users.
  • 51 percent of Americans have accessed the Internet wirelessly using laptops and mobile devices.3

What are the benefits?

Information access and availability

  • The Web provides one central repository for class materials, announcements, supplemental reading, etc.
  • It also makes information more accessible to learners, giving them 24/7 access to the course from anywhere in the world. Students who have to miss class can still keep up with assignments and materials.
  • The Web makes it easy to maintain, modify and reuse course content.
  • Putting course materials online helps reduce the time you spend giving out redundant materials or answering questions that could be documented electronically.

New capabilities

With the Web, you can:

  • Link to work and other resources at Seminole State and elsewhere.
  • Enhance class communications.
  • Incorporate multimedia-rich documents that engage students.
  • Provide interactive learning units.

How do I put materials on the Web?

Seminole State provides two avenues for placing content on the Web:

  • Sakai: Sakai is a Web-based software application that offers a suite of tools for administering a course, delivering instruction and facilitating student interaction online. Sakai is an easy alternative to creating a website from scratch. The variety of tools offered allows faculty members to create an online learning environment based on their individual goals and objectives for their course.

    Sakai offers the following benefits:

    • Communication tools such as discussions, chat, IM, virtual office hours and internal e-mail, which can improve interaction and the delivery of important course information.
    • Content tools that assist in the delivery of course materials, including the ability to set release dates on content.
    • Evaluation tools like quizzes, surveys, assignments and games that can help improve the student's learning experience.
    • The easy-to-use Sakai Gradebook, which helps manage and calculate grades.
    • Password protection, which makes Sakai pages a secure place to turn in work and post grades.
    • The Sakai Attendance Manager, which can help you track attendance at online or on-campus meetings.
    • Tracking tools that let you monitor student activity within the course.
    • Drag-and-drop file management, which allows you to move multiple files to or from your course at once.
    • A built-in WYSIWYG HTML editor for easy editing of online content.
    • Tool wizards and design help to help you set up your Sakai course(s).
  • Instructor SubWebs: SubWebs are Seminole State's method for administering instructional website space. They are perfect for instructors who do not want to run their course online, but would like to use the Web to post supplemental materials. SubWebs are administered via Microsoft FrontPage (available from the Seminole State Help Desk) and use a "Word-like" interface to create Web pages. No knowledge of HTML or website design is needed.

Seminole State is also in the process of developing an instructor content management system (CMS) that will allow instructors to create basic content in a template-based format to facilitate an easier transition of material to the Web.

How do I get an Sakai site?

To set up an Sakai class, contact the Distance Learning Office. For more information, visit the Distance Learning Faculty Resources Web page.

How do I get an instructor SubWeb?

Fill out a CTS User Access Request in the TIM System to have a Web space set up for you. Your request must be approved by your program manager. Once the SubWeb has been created, you will receive an e-mail in your Seminole State inbox with the website address and your username and password.

How do I develop online course content?

  • Determine your objectives and develop a game plan. Why are you putting the course material online? What do you want the students to gain from it?
  • Review your class materials and decide which ones should be put on the Web. Examples include:
    • Course syllabus
    • Handouts, reading lists, course calendars and lecture notes (in HTML or PDF format)
    • PowerPoint presentations
    • Course-related links
    • Practice exams
    • Your biography (Try to let students know more about you and why they should value your instruction.)
  • Imagine what you would add to your course if you had no class-time constraints and could access large quantities of information through the Web.
  • Select an organizational structure (by lecture, by week, by topic, by chapter, etc.).
  • Look at what others — at Seminole State or in your field — have done. Do a Google search for class sites in your discipline.
  • Start small and keep it simple at first. Your syllabus is a good start; don't feel like you have to build a massive site right away!
  • Add content as the semester progresses.
  • Follow good Web design practices.
    • Write concise and meaningful content.
    • Offer a clean and intuitive design.
    • Provide a consistent user interface.
    • Use effective navigational tools.
    • Map out site organization.
    • Write short, easy-to-scan textual documents.
  • Test it.
    • Use different browsers to access your site.
    • Pretend that you are the target audience. Evaluate your site's content and user-friendliness from that perspective.
  • Seek comments and feedback from students and faculty.
  • Refine your site as needed and keep it up-to-date.

What else should I know?

Here are a few things to keep in mind about an instructor website:

  • Visitors: While Sakai sites are restricted to Seminole State students and course participants, the Web is accessible to people from all over the globe. Keep in mind that non-students may stumble across your site from time to time (and may even ask questions!).
  • Access speed: Although Seminole State provides high-speed Internet access on campus, there are still students who access your materials through a slow dial-up connection at home. Do not create materials that are impossible for them to use. Watch out for large file sizes when using images, sound files and PowerPoint presentations.
  • Copyright: Always be informed and mindful of copyright issues related to your own work and the work of others.
  • Overdoing it: You may start having so much fun building your site that you make too much content available. Don't overwhelm your users. Keep in mind that less is often better.
  • E-mail: With 24/7 access to materials online, your users may have more questions or comments. Respond to e-mails promptly by making it part of your office hours.

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the content contained on this site. However, we encourage you to contact the College, specific department or instructor to verify that the information is current.

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