History 101 On-line Course
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
ALL Students considering this
course should read the FAQ carefully before registering!
Please review ALL the following topics BEFORE signing up for
this class! If you have already signed up, please review these topics
immediately to make sure you are prepared for this class!
Q: How will you contact
students for this course?
A: That may seem obvious! Like most online courses here at CCBC, we
will use WebCT 6. But before the start of the semester, and as a
backup in case WebCT has crashed, I will also contact you via your CCBC
Student "Squirrel" Mail. This is how you will get your
electronic welcome letter from me, and all the starting information for the
class. Student Mail can be accessed from the MyCCBC page on our college
website -- look for the Squirrel icon. The address will be the same as
your WebCT user ID followed by @student.ccbcmd.edu. So if your
WebCT user name is jdoe1, then your squirrel mail will be
email@example.com. You need to make sure that you have activated and are checking
this mail a minimum of 2 weeks before the semester starts! Please do this AS SOON AS
you register for the upcoming semester! Make sure this address is
selected as "preferred" in your CCBC records (and that you don't have
any old, unused emails listed with the Registrar!). This step is
crucial to your success! If you don't activate and read your squirrel
mail, you'll miss important information from me and from your other
professors. You can set Squirrel Mail to forward to another email
address if you don't want to have to check this address separately -- the
Squirrel Mail page will tell you more about this.
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Q: What are the technical and
computer skills requirements for this course?
WebCt has CHANGED! This is critically important!
We now use WebCT 6 (also called Blackboard CE), which is very different than
WebCt 4. It has very different technical requirements,
requires a faster connection, and has a steeper learning curve
than WebCt 4. This means you will need to spend time BEFORE the start
of the semester learning about WebCT 6 in order to be successful. Even
if you have already had a course or two in WebCT 6, you may well find that
this course uses more of the program's features and requires you to learn
some new skills. This class uses just about ALL of the WebCT 6 features.
- Please read the ENTIRE CCBC
Technical Requirements Page very carefully!
- You will need a current browser with
- You will need a current version of Sun
systems Java, which you can download from the WebCT Browser Check
- While it is possible to use WebCT 6 with a
dial-up connection, you will find it frustratingly slow. If you do
not have a broadband connection at home, you should expect to have
to use the CCBC computers at times (or those at your local library or
- You will need Windows 2000 or XP.
There are some issues with WebCT 6 and Microsoft Vista.
- Vista is not
approved for use with WebCT 6. While
they have worked out many of the issues, you could have page errors and
difficulty posting if you use Vista.
This may cause you to lose points and will definitely be
frustrating. If you use Vista on
one or more machines, make sure you have a secondary computer that you
can use for the class. All Campus computers will provide you with
XP of course.
- There is a LOT
of content for this course, and you absolutely WON'T have time to learn how to do
on-line learning AND learn all the history material required by the CCBC
Common Course Outline!
BEFORE the course starts, you need to familiarize yourself with the
following so that you are completely comfortable with these skills.
- The first class Learning Module will be a set
of skills exercises and will culminate in skills pre-test that assesses
the skills below. It will be available a week or two before the
semester starts. No course materials will be visible to you until
this module and the skills test are completed with a grade of "A."
The test can be taken multiple times. The usual reason for having to
re-take the test is misreading of the questions.
- I never have other assignments due in the
first day or two to accommodate those who register just as the term
starts, but if you wait until the term starts to begin the skills,
you'll have to finish it quickly. The test will cover:
to the web and
surfing the web, viewing multi-media and java applets on the web.
- Solving any technical problems with your ISP,
browser or computer, including how to log into WebCT, firewall issues,
opening PDF files within a browser.
- Using WebCT 6, specifically:
Working with various document formats (such as
RTFs, PDFs, and web applications such as SWoRD) and being able to save
files in different formats and with different names. This is
especially important if you use Word 2007, as the .docx format doesn't
work well with WebCT's FTP program and won't be readable to many of your
classmates. All Word 2007 documents MUST be saved as
Word 97 or RTF files.
Downloading and saving PDF files,
web pages, and freeware (such as Quicktime, Acrobat Reader, or ZoneAlarm)
to your computer. PDFs will be particularly important in this class, as they
can be read on Mac, WIndows, or Linux operating systems, and print
pretty well too. You must be able to open and read them in
your web browser or Acrobat Reader!
Using search engines like Google to find
information on line, and assessing whether the site and the information
Protecting your computer (and thus
the computers of your classmates) from ADware, worms and viruses.
WebCT is a pretty secure program, but there are still a few ways you could
still send someone a virus. Be aware that you can even get a worm or virus by just
surfing the web. You can no longer stay safe by just
not opening e-mail attachments (though it helps)!!!!! Viruses are written for MACs too –
just not as many.
- using assignment drop
- working with learning
- posting and sending emails
and discussion posts
- compiling content pages
- taking online quizzes and
- using the calendar
- viewing grades and
tracking your progress
- attaching files to emails or
To help you learn how to use WebCT 6, CCBC has put together many Tutorials and
FAQ answers on their web site. See these links: Tutorials and HelpDesk
In the past, CCBC has also had a live tutorial broadcast on CCBC TV and
available on DVD as well as on-campus introductions to the software (NOT the
same as our class orientation). Contact
the Online Learning Staff via our website to learn more about these.
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Q: Is there required software
and hardware for the class?
- You need a reliable computer and Internet
connection, something you can check and use EVERY DAY. It should
run Windows 2000 or XP (see the CCBC Technical Requirements Page for Vista issues)
or Mac OS X.
- The computer at a friend's house or at work that
you can use once or twice a week won't do except as an emergency backup.
- A Broadband connection (Cable Modem, DSL,
satellite internet, laptop with wireless that you can use at a coffee shop
or CCBC etc.) is STRONGLY recommended. The minimum really is a 56K modem and that WILL NOT allow
you to access everything in this course (without going crazy).
- You need Netscape 7.2 (or better) or Mozilla
Firefox 1.0x (or better) Internet Explorer 6 (with service
pack) or 7, or AOL 9.
- IE is the least secure and most challenging
of these browsers. I recommend using one of the free
alternatives, but if you are familiar with the ins and outs of IE, I
won't require you to use one of the others!
- You will also need Microsoft Word 97/98
through 2007 or an equivalent for your take-home tests.
- I will only be able to open documents made
with Word2007 at work and some of your classmates can't open them at
all. ALL DOCX files must be saved as .RTF or .DOC in the class!
- Alternatives include: Word Perfect 10
or later that can read and save .doc files as well as save files as
.RTFs, Open Office (www.openoffice.org)
, which is Word compatible and FREE, or equivalent Mac/UNIX programs.
- Note: Microsoft
Works is not acceptable!!! It doesn't have the features
we need! If you only have Works, you may wish to investigate Open
Office (www.openoffice.org) rather than
- You will need the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
- To view some animation's and listen to music
in WebCt and on various web sites, you may need Flash, Quicktime, Media
Player or similar programs. See the Technical requirements page
for links to these programs.
- If you don't have Microsoft Office or Open
Office, you may need Microsoft's Power Point Viewer (at microsoft.com).
- Since you will be
posting links to web pages in WebCt and it is possible to get a virus
simply by visiting a hacked web page, you'll need to surf protected in
this class for the benefit of all! This means you will need:
- up-to-date virus
- you should also
have a good firewall too, since if we must use the Banner-based
class email list, your classmates addresses will be on your computer (and
vulnerable to theft by spammers).
- and ad/spyware
- There are free
versions of these which are reliable and have been well reviewed.
Please contact the instructor to learn more about them.
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Q: Are there books for
- Yes, the main book is Kagan's Western Heritage, TLC 5th edition.
This is a different book than the face to face courses use and comes with
more online resources. The textbook IS REQUIRED. It's about 400
pages long, and you really do need to read all of it (honest!).
- If you buy it used, you MUST make sure
that the Primary Source CD is included! While Amazon and Barnes and
Noble are perfectly good sources of used books, you may find that ABEbooks.com
gives you more details on the books available and whether they have the
CD or not!
- If you want to access the electronic version of
the book on-line in addition to the paper version (handy for reading at
work or if you travel) you will also need to make sure the book comes
with a code attached for accessing restricted online materials. If
your book doesn't have this, you'll still be able to log in to WebCt and
see most of the materials, just not the e-book! All copies
purchased from the CCBC bookstores will have the code.
- There is also online course documents including
readings, some assignments, the course vocabulary, class policies,
rubrics, and more. These files are PDFs and you can download them
from the web.
- In addition to these readings, there are on-line
exercises and tutorials/PowerPoints.
- Web Classes are all about reading. You have to do it and you have to keep
up with the schedule to pass the class! If you know you dislike
reading or find it a difficult way to gain knowledge, consider taking one
of our face to face classes. We have evening times, weekend times,
and accelerated courses too!
- Here's a link to the Essex Bookstore.
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there a syllabus for this course?
A: Yes! You can get more information at the
pages below. First let me explain what is meant by "syllabus." The
syllabus is the Course Schedule of Readings and Assignments AND the Course Policies. The Course Policies very similar to
those found in the FTF 101 Thinkbook at my Western Civ Site (below). They will be posted in full on WebCT.
The Preliminary Course Schedule is here on this site (see Schedule) and
the complete one will be posted on the WebCt Calendar and on the WebCt main
- http://faculty.ccbcmd.edu/~ltrauth/history/ is my open
Western Civilization site. It contains study tips and contact info
and a WebCT link. Please use this as your point of entry into WebCT
once you have familiarized yourself with the information here on the
Public Pages. Look at the Thinkbook here for an idea of the policies.
- http://faculty.ccbcmd.edu/~ltrauth is my root home
page. There is a link to WebCT here too, as well as links to the other
pages, and to my CV in case you want to learn more about me.
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Q: What are the assignments for the course?
A: The course will have:
- Multiple Choice Quizzes that are
submitted on-line. These
will self-score. Practice quiz
scores will NOT count towards your final grade, but UNIT quiz scores WILL.
Also, a score of 70% on each unit’s Unit quiz is required to open
up the bulletin boards. Why? Because this requires you to
start the reading on schedule and experience has shown me over the years
that this is critical to success! Of course, you can take the quizzes
multiple times to achieve the needed score, but you need to start them
well enough in advance that you have time to do so if need be, without
missing the discussions!
- MANDATORY on-line participation
via bulletin boards worth over half the points in the class. These
posts have regular deadlines. This is not a self-paced class or a
class where you can just log in on exam days. You'll need to be
logging on regularly and doing the quizzes and posts.
- The typical assignment asks you to read the
posts of other students, answer questions from the book and/or one of the
primary sources on the CD that comes with the book, or to find reliable
web site that expands our understanding of a topic posted by another
classmate. Most posts will be a 1-2 paragraphs in length or
so. So they are not long, but they are due on a regular basis. Replies to the posts of your classmates
are also required.
- Posting will be about twice a
week during the regular terms and every day during a short semester
- THREE Proctored Exams that you take at one of the three CCBC testing
centers, one at the end of each unit. The test will be taken on WebCT, but you'll need a proctor
to open the test for you. Tests can be taken at any time/day the
testing centers are open during the exam period. You can go to any
center that's convenient to you!
- Exams are a combination of multiple choice,
short answer IDs, map, and primary source analysis questions.
- The MC & MAP are visible immediately
- The IDs and Source Analysis open up once
you’ve submitted the first half of the test.
- If you can't take tests at CCBC, it's your
responsibility to arrange things with the testing center at your home
school and give me the e-mail contact information by Orientation. The
tests MUST be proctored! If you have no college or
university near you, you may be able to arrange proctoring for a fee at a
Sylvan Learning center.
- One or two short papers (2-3 page)
and/or an annotated bibliography.
- We will often do PEER REVIEWS of
these papers as this is a proven way for you to perfect your writing
skills. These reviews require diligence and time, but are always
worth points commensurate with their effort.
- The paper may be done in Blog
format (i.e. as a series of posts, but still w/ bibliography).
- A MANDATORY orientation, held both at Essex and Catonsville (pick one). This session is mandatory because
experience has shown me that those who don't come to the orientation
typically either fail or drop the course!
Orientations will be on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday of the first week
of class during short sessions such as Winter or Summer. In
winter, Friday or the next Monday will be the snow date.
- During the regular Spring and Fall semesters,
they are generally on Wed,Thurs, or Fri of the second week of class.
Specific rooms and times etc. will be e-mailed to your Squirrel Mail address before the start
- Session time is generally late afternoon. I try to have one that is after 5pm,
but it may be JUST after 5pm, so you may still need to arrange to leave
work a little early.
- How do I make this
Mandatory? By assigning a substantial point penalty (-100 out of
500) to anyone who doesn't come, just as many professors assign point
penalties for missed classes.
you can document that you couldn't attend due to an emergency
such as serious illness, then you can make up the session at my regular
office hours during the week following the orientation during a regular
semester. If you know in advance (i.e. not an emergency)
that you can't attend the orientation, you can meet me during my office
hours (during a regular semester) BEFORE the orientation. If it
is summer or winter I will not have regular office hours right before
or after the start of class. I will try to be available for pre-
or post-orientation meetings according to the above criteria but can
not promise it.
SHOULD NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS CLASS IF YOU CAN NOT ARRANGE TO ATTEND ONE
OF THESE SESSIONS. There are other webclasses at CCBC and through
Maryland Online that are more suitable for people who are too busy or
live too far away to attend one.
- Review sessions are recommended
but not mandatory. They will be in person and/or via chat.
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Q: How hard do you grade and what if I'm not ready?
- I don't ask more from students than you can do
if prepared for college work. However, I do expect you to be
professionals. Think of school as a job and take assignments as seriously
as you'd take an important task at work. As professional students, I
expect you to study diligently, take initiative, talk to me in person or
online if you begin to have problems, turn in papers that are proofread,
free of typos and grammatically correct, and so on.
- I don't do this to be mean but because the
professors at the area four-year schools and your future employers will
expect the same standards. It would actually be a lot less work for me not
to give fewer assignments or grade less carefully, but I'd really be doing
YOU a disservice!
- Remember that the difference between CCBC and a
4-year school is not that the equivalent classes are easier, but that we
only teach the first two years of classes and that we offer more help for
the student than many 4-year schools (as well as smaller class
sizes). I teach the same level of class here, have similar assignments
and grade the same way as I have at a local private college which
currently charges nearly $1000 per credit hour.
- I'd also be doing you a disservice if I
underestimated you and assumed you couldn't handle a "real"
college history course. If you sign up for this course willing to
commit the time to it, then I know you can be successful. I keep
the standards high, but am always there to answer questions and give
you quick feedback!
- BUT WHAT IF I'M NOT READY FOR A COLLEGE
- This can happen but it's why we have pre-requisites.
See the important information on prerequisites below and on the
- If you feel you're not yet ready for this
class or not ready for it on the web, you can take it face-to-face, or
wait until a semester where you have more time or have taken English 101.
- But by and large, if you are comfortable with
the level of readings and prepared to read the book, participate,
memorize, and study for exams, you should be fine with the history
content material. You may need to rewrite work – that's normal! You
may not do as well at first as you expected – that's normal too.
But if you stick with it and put in the TIME and effort, you'll
succeed. You'll also learn a lot and have the confidence of knowing
that you are now really ready to move on to the 200 or 300 level courses
you may have to take in the humanities or social sciences at a four year
- PLEASE NOTE that we do not yet
have a placement test for technology skills. That is why I have the skills test as
the first required assignment and available before the start of the
term. If you have a lot of trouble with this test, this may not be
the right format for your optimal learning this semester.
- This course is HARDER THAN a
FACE-TO-FACE COURSE! WHY?!
- You must be very disciplined to set aside the
time to read and do assignments on your own time with little in-person
contact with your instructor.
- There is no body language and no vocal cues to
help you understand what is being discussed.
- While sitting in a lecture is fairly passive,
reading and writing are the main activities here and they require a lot
of active concentration.
- All these things mean that web courses take
MORE TIME and MORE EFFORT than in-person classes.
- How much time is a face-to-face class?
History is pretty typical in requiring TWO or TWO AND A HALF hours
outside of class for EVERY hour in class. That's a total of 9-11 hours a week for face-to-face,
including class time.
- This class will
take MORE TIME than that. Really! You will fail or end up
dropping if you don't have the time for this class.
- I want you to SUCCEED so I
have NO REASON to lie to you about this, and this is not "just
- Please take the Distance Learning Assessment
at the On-line
PRE-Registration Page BEFORE
REGISTERING to see if this form of learning works for you! Look at
your schedule and ask yourself if you really do have the time to spend
on this and your other courses. And family. And work.
And housekeeping and shopping. And exercise. And
leisure... It takes planning to be a successful student,
especially a successful web learner!
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Q: Are there prerequisites for this course?
YES, YES, YES!!!! To take this course you must:
- Have a successful passing grade in
English and 051 and 052 or otherwise be ready for English 101. Reading skills are
essential for history classes.
- CCBC allows students to take a few courses
without first taking the placement exams, but please don't wait. If you haven't taken the reading
placement exam, you should do so right away. Then you'll know what
course work you're prepared for!
- Because writing is important too, students need
to have taken and passed Writing 051 and 052 as well.
- I encourage students to have
actually finished English 101 when they take this class.
- Many students find that taking
English 101 and this course in the same semester is more writing and
reading than they really want to do, particularly when this course is on
the web and EVERYTHING involves reading and writing! This is not
required, however, it just makes the course easier!
- If you find at a later point that you're having
trouble writing papers, is is possible to rewrite them and can make use
of web resources such as the CCBC On-line Writing Center (OWL). The
only caveat is that you must turn them and any outlines required in on
time to begin with and make a serious attempt to do them. Emailing me a
page with your name on it doesn't count!
- All students may use a pocket dictionary on the
exams and students with documented disabilities may request extra time to
write exams as per their accommodations!
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Q: Is there anything
else I should know about an on-line course?
Yes. They are harder to pass and require
more time than face-to-face courses.
- I know, I
know... I've already said this, but I need you to know I'm
serious!!! I repeat: they are HARDER to pass and require MORE TIME
than face-to-face classes. Typically web classes have drop rates
about twice that of regular classes. This is all web classes,
not just mine and not just history!
- Really! Many students don't want to believe this.
You don't have the support of daily contact with other people to keep you
motivated. You will have to be VERY disciplined to study the material on
your own. Everything you'd normally just say to me, you have to type, as
do I. I ask that everyone take the On-line
PRE-Registration Page provided on the Distance Learning/Weekend
College page of the CCBC web site (and on the intro page for the History
course), and talk to me about the results so we both have the same common
understanding of how much work is required for a web course and what the challenges
Don't be a casualty! Plan for Success!
The biggest reason NOT to take this course is:
"I don't have time for a real, in-person course."
- Web classes ARE real
classes. They take at least as much time, just not as much travel.
The time can usually be whenever you want or need it to be, but you
must still find 10-13 hours each week during a regular semester, for each
course you take!
- What about during the Summer or Winter
Semester? Summer is 3x as fast as Fall or Spring, so plan on 25-30
hours a week. Winter is even faster! Plan on 35-40 hours a
week per class during the very short Winter term. These
accelerated courses are VERY time consuming, but the reward is that you
earn 14 weeks of credit in just 3-5 weeks.
- It is a web course, but it is NOT
- There are very firm deadlines, just like
there are in a face-to-face class. Miss a deadline and you CAN'T get full
points for the assignment due. The more days you miss it by, the fewer
points you can earn. Within a few days, you will not be able to earn any
points at all. Assignments due via drop box may have no deadline
flexibility at all. Please see the course Thinkbook for all late
- If you fail to take your exam during the scheduled
times, you can't make it up, except in the case of a documented
emergency. Any makeup permitted will be made up during finals week by
taking the cumulative final for the course (which counts for the final
and the missed midterm). This is the same for my face-to-face classes,
and is a logistical necessity. A failed midterm grade can also be
replaced by the cumulative final if you have participated regularly
throughout the term and have turned in all assignments.
- This Course DOES require you to
come to CAMPUS too!
- Even if you
work or are at another area school, you will still need to find a way to
get to campus ONCE at the beginning of the semester for the orientations
during week 1 or 2 (see above in assignments).
- The exams are proctored. If you live in the Baltimore area, you must take them at one of the CCBC
testing centers (Essex, Catonsville, Dundalk).
are not near CCBC, you can arrange to take the test at your campus' testing
center, but it is your responsibility to give set things up and make it
feasible for me to get the exam material to your proctors in plenty of time.
- There are also reviews that are
- I won't be able to lecture all the material
at the reviews. You must come with questions and I'll answer them
and talk about problem spots. They are NOT AT ALL a replacement
for reading the book. They will be useless to you if you don't
read and have questions.
- People who come to the reviews typically
score about a letter grade higher on the exams.
- ABOUT getting your WORK TO CCBC: Most work is submitted
electronically. Neither CCBC nor I can be responsible materials get
lost in the mail, are faxed and not received, emailed and not received,
or if a WebCT error results in a failure to save items for grading.
You can avoid a lot of potential problems by:
- Always double checking to see that
assignments have been saved.
- CC'ing yourself on any email that is sent
with attachments. If you get the attachment, you know it went
- Saving copies of all work and all emails
until the end of the term.
- Writing discussion posts off-line in a word
processor, saving them, and then pasting them into the post dialog box.
- Sending any mailed information with a
- Having one of our secretaries/executive
assistants initial anything you leave in my mail box so that somene else
knows you left it.
- People often want to know why I make this
course sound so scary. Don't I want students in the class? Of
course I do, but look at the alternative!
- Would you rather I
lied and said it was going to
be a piece of cake? My goal in saying all this is just to help you
determine if this class is really what you want and need at this
want to see every student be successful. Being prepared
for the courses you take is a crucial first step to that success, so if
this course isn't the one for you right now, the best thing I can do is
to help you determine that. Only if you're prepared will you enjoy the
class! And if you are still interested and prepared, I'd love to
have you! I'm happy to talk to you more about the assignments and the
schedule so you can get a better feel for the class too.
- If all this doesn't
sound like what you were anticipating, please consider taking the course
as a regular face-to-face class. We offer sections during both the day and
evening and on the weekend. Many people do find that easier and more
engaging than distance learning. We also offer tele-sections of the
course many semesters if you aren't concerned about the self-study nature
of the course but don't have the needed technological equipment or
experience for WebCT. Telecourses don't generally require web
I look forward to hearing from you soon,
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Updated: Nov 2008
Please Send Questions and Comments to:
Laura Trauth, History Department
The Community College of Baltimore
7201 Rossville Blvd.,