The Class Help Desk is located on Blackboard Plaza. The purpose of the Class Help Desk is to help students help themselves to succeed in the class. In the Class Help Desk other students or the instructor will answer questions of interest to the whole class. Understand that if you have questions about the course, other students will also have questions. When you ask questions please specify what you need help with in the message subject.
When you ask questions please specify what you need help with in the message subject. Messages just saying, "help" or some other non-specific subject are not very helpful. While other students might answer such a message when they see it, the instructor will answer such a message LAST...
This is probably self-explanatory, but I will mention it anyway: If you discuss tests (quizzes, drills, etc.) you can give hints, page numbers and similar, but NOT the answers!
Another thing that probably is also self-explanatory: Before you ask for help you must read the instructions posted online on the Class Hub Page, with button links looking something like below (the links below are non-functional, since each class has it's own hub page).
Some of you might say that you don't need any help. That is fine, it is not mandatory to post in the Class Help Desk. However, if you use the help desk, you are also expected to assist in helping other students -- if you have some helpful hints or advice. If a student just participate in the help desk with his or her own question -- and never offer to help other students -- the instructor may at some point stop helping that students. The Class Help Desk is supposed to be COLLABORATIVE efforts, not just making sure that one students gets all the attention...
Understand that the instructor will not answer class questions sent via e-mail. All class related messages -- messages with "class questions" of interest to all students -- must be sent to the Class Help Desk, if you wish to receive an answer. Only use e-mail if you have something to say that is private and you don't wish other students to see... Blackboard has been set to automatically return SOME messages with a "class question" (some may or may not be identified and will remain unanswered) -- with the following message:
Thank you for sending e-mail. This is an automated reply and reminder that a "CLASS QUESTION" you might have, with a content that could be of interest to all students in the class, should be posted in the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board (link located on Blackboard Plaza). The instructor will not address CLASS QUESTIONS sent via e-mail...
If you wish to learn more, read the message continuing below...
To assist students with CLASS QUESTIONS the instructor has set up a Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board. If you are lost, or something went wrong -- those things are CLASS QUESTIONS, and chances are that other students also are lost, and can also be helped by your question. Questions with a topic that can be considered of interest to all students in the class should be posted in the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board.
Messages with private content you don't want to share with the other students can be addressed to the Blackboard e-mailbox (MESSAGES). If you wish to discuss personal grades, family problems, and similar concerns, you should do this via Blackboard e-mail, not in the help desk.
In the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board other students or the instructor will answer questions of interest to the whole class. Understand that if you have questions about the course, other students will also have questions. Furthermore, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires college classes to be set up to allow for certain amount of cooperation and group work. In part this is the purpose of the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board.
When you submit a question, TO GET A QUICKER ANSWER, select a SUBJECT that informs what you need help with -- so it will be easier for other students (or the instructor) to figure out what you are asking about. Do not use as "subjects" not very helpful things like "Help", "your name", "Dr. Nilsson", "??"...
However, it is also important to understand that many questions are answered in online instruction pages, such as the Start Here page, in the Syllabus documents called the Grading Criteria, Grade Recorder, and Semester Calendar -- things like grading points, due dates, prerequisites, passwords, and other useful course information. It is the student's responsibility to navigate and read class pages. For this reason, if it is possible to obtain class information by reading these documents, you might only get a "hint" or a "leading question" from the instructor in the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board.
Note that you are not allowed to give away ANSWERS or PASSWORDS to assessments (tests, exams, quizzes, drills, etc.) in the help desk. Encouragements, hints, tips, and/or where to search for the correct answer or password IS ALLOWED.
If you still have unresolved CLASS QUESTIONS when you receive this reply to your e-mail, please resubmit your message as a bulletin board posting in the Class Help Desk / Student Collaboration bulletin board.
Your Instructor Dr. Nilsson
The Blackboard e-mail box can only be used for private messages. Address all concerns you feel is PRIVATE to the Blackboard e-mail box, such as emergencies, grades, and other private matters. (Do NOT use the STC e-mail -- it is full of spam, so it might take a long time before I discover your message...)
Again, all class questions must be posted in the Class Help Desk -- WITH AN APPROPRIATE SUBJECT LINE. At the end of the semester there may be a lot of messages in the Class Help Desk. For this reason, all messages without a subject or messages just stating "help" -- which is a useless subject -- will be removed by the instructor in order to reduce crowding.
Let's help each other -- after properly reading online instructions, while at the same time we learn to know each other, by discussion problems and other class matter in the Class Help Desk. But, again, before you ask for help you must read the instructions posted online on the class hub page.
Because of the pressure from the state of Texas to perform well on the TAKS test or STAAR test, instead of making classes challenging for students, in high school teachers often lead students through the course helping and answering questions the students should have answered themselves.
Other than the help already available for students to help themselves, in the Class Help Desk and by reading instructions on the web pages in front of you on the computer screen, in this class students will not be guided step by step on how to do things or where to find things. At least not by the instructor...
It is part of the class work -- YOUR JOB -- to figure out how to use the web pages for the class so that you can find and do all the assignments and EARN a good grade for the class. That is why you have NO ASSIGNMENT DEADLINES during the first part of the semester. The best way to do that is to SPEND TIME familiarizing yourself with the CyberClassroom -- by NAVIGATING the class pages and READING class information available (several times until you understand it).
Most students usually access this class via the Blackboard Designated HomePage. That is a good starting point, and there is information to read already on that page.
Another good way to lessen the class burden is to form online STUDY GROUPS. Some classes have made discussion strings in the Class Help Desk into Study Group discussion tools.
Except for a few reading assignment quizzes, this instructor will not enforce required readings. So, if you think you can pass this class without reading anything, then don't read anything. But remember this: YOU -- no one else -- EARN the grade in this class. If you get an A you EARNED it, if you get and F you EARNED it.
The Class Help Desk is there for you to use, but it is not to be used as a method to reduce class challenges or to "teach the test". There is no TAKS/STAAR test to be taken in this class...
Let's have an interesting semester!
The course content may vary to meet the needs of a particular class, and the information may be changed due to unforeseen circumstances. The instructor therefore reserves the right to alter (add, delete, or revise) any items of the course, syllabus and course calendar, online or via verbal instructions in class. The student is responsible for taking note of any such changes and acting accordingly.
Page Design Copyright © 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 Jan A. Nilsson. Page created 24.I.2009, last updated 18.VIII.2013, most likely during the wee hours of the morning on an iMac -- for the record -- owned by Jan A. Nilsson. Web page layout and design © and intellectual property Jan A. Nilsson. Content on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice may not be used for commercial purposes. All rights reserved. Except for educational purposes and 'fair use' (see below), reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited. If used for educational purposes and 'fair use', including photographs, source must be given. (Some clip art, texts and backgrounds used on Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice downloaded for educational purposes and/or 'fair use' from Internet free domain has no source.)
-- Disclaimer: "Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice", at the time of writing located as a file under the South Texas Community College's (STCC) web server with the general URL http://stcc.cc.tx.us/, is the intellectual property of Dr. Jan A. Nilsson, member of STCC biology faculty. The content of Dr. Nilsson's CyberOffice does not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of the STCC faculty, staff, administration, and Board of Trustees.
Background photo from the State of Durango, Mexico. Forest close-up along the road between Durango and Mazatlan. Photo taken between El Salto and Concordia. Copyright © Jan A. Nilsson, 1990.
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