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Eng/221 Team User Manual

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| Online Discussion Forum Manual | | | Research and Text by | Margarita CrespoSteven DowlingCraig Stephens |

© 2011 University of Phoenix |
Table of Contents Understanding the Forum 5 The Layout 5 Materials Tab 5 Discussion Tab 6 Main Forum 7 Chat Room 7 Course Materials 7 Learning Teams 7 Individual Forum 7 My Items 7 Assignments Tab 7 Grades Tab 8 Understanding Forum Settings and Useful Links 9 Class Members 9 Preferences 9 Tips/FAQ 10 Useful Links 11 Reference and Citation Generator 11 Grammar and Writing Guides 11 Center for Writing Excellence 11 Leaning Team Toolkit 12 Understanding the Discussion Questions, Chat Room, and Course Materials Forums 12 Discussion Questions 12 Where Discussion Questions are Posted 14 When Discussion Questions are Due 15 Starting and Continuing Conversations Created by Discussion Questions with Classmates 15 Chat Room 16 Course Materials 17 Understanding Learning Teams, Posting, the Individual Forum, and My Items 17 Learning Team 17 University of Phoenix Chat 18 Learning Team Threads 18 Learning Team Communication 20 Individual Student Forum 21 Drafts Forums 21 My Sent Items 22 Table of Figures Figure 1 5 Figure 2 6 Figure 3 6 Figure 4 8 Figure 5 8 Figure 6 9 Figure 7 9 Figure 8 9 Figure 10 10 Figure 11 10 Figure 12 11 Figure 13 13 Figure 14 13 Figure 15 14 Figure 16 14 Figure 17 15 Figure 18 16 Figure 19 17 Figure 20 18 Figure 21 18 Figure 22 19 Figure 23 19 Figure 24 20 Figure 25 21 Figure 26 21 Figure 27 22 Figure 28 22

Welcome to University of Phoenix online learning classrooms. You have taken your next step to earning your degree. This guide will teach you how to navigate and the requirements for the online classrooms. This manual will become a great resource in your educational endeavors at the University of Phoenix. Good luck and we look forward to your continued success.

Understanding the Forum
The Layout

The layout of the Online Discussion Forum in laid out in an easy to access format.

To access the online classroom, select the classroom tab (1) at the top of the page. Here you will see the additional sections or tabs associated with the online classroom. These sections include material (2), discussion (3), assignments (4), and grades (5). (See Figure 1)

Figure 1
Figure 1
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Materials Tab
Under the materials tab you will find information concerning course materials for your class. Near the top of the page you will find the course name (1), followed by a description of the course. On the left there is a text box titled Course Outline (2). Here you will find various subjects of information including the course overview, class policies, required software and links assignments by week. As you scroll down the main page, you will see a breakdown by week (3) which includes the week’s topic, objectives and required reading for the week. (See Figure 2)
Figure 2
Figure 2
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Discussion Tab
The discussion tab is where you the student will spend most of your time. Here you will access several different forums where you will participate in different discussions throughout your course. You will access these forums though the toolbar (1) located at the left of the page. The different forums are Main (2), Chat Room (3), Course Materials (4), Learning Teams (5), Individual Forum (6), and My Items (7). (See Figure 3)
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Figure 3
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Main Forum
The Main Forum is where most of your discussion will take place. Here is where you will receive Daily Questions posts from the instructor and discuss learning information with other students in order to receive participation credit. Most of your time will be spent in this forum.
Chat Room
This forum is used as a communication tool for the students of the class. Here you can post questions or other information and receive responses from other students. Your instructor may also utilize this forum to communicate information to the class.
Course Materials
This forum is for the instructor to post information pertaining to materials used for the course and assignments that need to be completed. Typically the instructor will post the course syllabus, information on class policies, and templates for assignments.
Learning Teams
This forum is used for communication with your team. Typically every student is assigned a team on week 2 and this forum is a great way for the team to communicate and check with each other concerning team projects. Which learning team forum you use will depend on which learning team the instructor assigned you to.
Individual Forum
This forum is a direct communication between you and the instructor. The forum is private and only instructor and you can see the posts in this forum. Questions asked to the instructor in this forum are answered here. The instructor will also post your previous week’s grades here.
My Items
This forum has two parts. The first is called My Drafts. This is a place you can access a draft that was never submitted. The next section is titled My Sent Items. This shows all the posts you have sent in any of the above listed forums.
Assignments Tab
By selecting the Assignments Tab (1) at the top of the page, you are at the part of the online classroom where you turn in your homework. On the left is a toolbar (2) for summary and by the week. At the top middle of the page is and your score for the class. Note that your percentage is based on the total amount for the whole course. As you scroll down the page, it is separated by week. This is where you upload you assignments for the instructor to review. When an assignment is submitted, you will see the green check mark (4) and the date/time when it was submitted. (See Figure 4)
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Figure 4
Figure 4
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Grades Tab
By selecting the Grades Tab (1), you will see your posted grades for the class. At the top is a percentage based on possible points for assignments so far in the class (2). As you scroll down the page, you will grades based on assignments and participation. Here are comments posted by the instructor as well (3). (See Figure 5)
Figure 5
Figure 5
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Understanding Forum Settings and Useful Links
Figure 6
Figure 6
Students have access to a variety of useful links in their classroom. Students can use the links in Figure 6 to access information about their class members, change forum settings in with preferences, and be provided with useful information through tips/FAQs.
Class Members
The class member’s link allows you to see all the students that are enrolled in a course as well as the professor. The University email address of each person listed is also shown next to their name (as shown in figure 7). When you click on a listed e-mail address, Microsoft Outlook (if installed on your computer) will automatically open with the receiver’s e-mail address listed as the one you selected.
Figure 7
Figure 7

If you click on a name you will be redirected to that persons sent items (as shown in figure 8). This allows you to see all posts made by that person, when, and where. This feature also allows you to easily access the posts made by clicking on the name of the post you want to view.

Click here to view a message’s content.

Click here to view a message’s content.

Figure 8
Figure 8

Preferences
You can personalize your forum by changing preferences. The General tab allows you to change many display features in the classroom. You can change the way your name appears (1) as well as the font type (2) and size (3) of all messages you post. You also have the option of allowing spell check to check your responses prior to posting them and composing messages in new windows. You may want to automatically include a signature with every message you post. Signatures generally contain your name, e-mail, time zone, and any other information you would like to share. You may include your credentials (ex, MBA, PhD., etc.) or phone number (see figure 9).
Figure 9
Figure 9
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Figure 9
Figure 9

University of Phoenix also offers a filtering tool that allows you to identify student responses by color. This is a feature that could be of great use in your threads. Filtering student responses by color allows you to easily identify one student’s responses in the forums. You can begin using this feature by doing the following:
1) Select the Preferences link; 2) Click Organize Messages tab; 3) Pick student name you want to color code; 4) Select a color from the color palate; 5) Click Apply Color;
Figure 10
Figure 10

Tips/FAQ
Figure 11
Figure 11
The tips and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) link provides you with helpful information that allows you to easily navigate the Online Learning System. Selecting a listed topic will provide you more information. See figure 11 for common tips and FAQs.

Useful Links
Figure 6
Figure 6
The useful links section gives you quick access to four different sections. These links are Reference and Citation Generator (1), Grammar and Writing Guides (2), Center for Writing Excellence (3), and Learning Team Toolkit (4). (See Figure 12)

Figure 12
Reference and Citation Generator
This link takes you to a very useful tool. The generator will provide examples you can use on your reference page and in-text citations for papers you will write. All examples are in APA format. However, you must be careful you input your information correctly. The generator will not correct errors if you input the wrong information in the fields.
Grammar and Writing Guides
This link takes you to a part of the University Library called Grammar and Writing Guides. Here you will find quite a bit of useful information concerning grammar and writing styles. Some of the other features found on this page include information concerning plagiarism, writing style, business writing, and writing tutorials.
Center for Writing Excellence
This link takes you to part of the University Library called the Center for Writing Excellence. This is where you can submit your academic papers to 3 different review services. These services are WritePoint, CWE Review, and Plagiarism Checker. WritePoint is an automated service that checks basic grammar and usage. CWE Review also checks punctuation, format, and organization. The Plagiarism checker will check your paper against other student’s papers, giving you a percentage score on how original your paper is.
Leaning Team Toolkit
This links takes you to another section of the University Library called the Learning Team Toolkit. Here you will find a tutorial explaining the process of learning teams. You will also find University copies of the Learning Team Charter and Learning Team Evaluation, which you will typically need for each learning team you are part of.

Understanding the Discussion Questions, Chat Room, and Course Materials Forums
Discussion Questions
Discussion questions serve as conversation starters and are posted by the instructor for the students to respond to. Each week there will be a minimum of two discussion questions. Some instructors may opt to include more than two discussion questions, however, only two are required to be responded to per week. Responding to discussion questions beyond the required set of two is optional but may help in meeting the participation requirement of posting substantive forum posts twice a day for at least four of the seven day school week.

Discussion questions are located under the Main section of the forum and usually within a subdirectory such as “Week 1” or “Week 2”. The specific structure of the Main forum is determined by the instructor when they set up the course.

To access discussion questions, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to the forum section on the University of Phoenix in your web browser by clicking on Classroom (1) – Discussion (2) – Main (3) (See Figure 13).
Figure 13
Figure 13

2. The Main forum contains the primary general correspondence between students and the instructor for the course (not including the learning teams). First click (1) on the appropriate week to expand the forum to display the contents under that week; the discussion questions for that week will be located in that hierarchy. The discussion questions can be identified by post subjects containing the acronym “DQ”. Next, click on the discussion question post to view the actual post content (2) (See Figure 14).

Figure 14
3. After clicking on the discussion question the post will appear (See Figure 15):
Figure 15
Figure 15

The post may or may not contain instructions and a due date; the instructor may choose to include only the actual discussion question text.

Where Discussion Questions are Posted
Two discussion questions are required to be responded to twice a week. Discussion questions are located under the Main section of the forum and usually within a subdirectory such as “Week 1” or “Week 2”. The specific structure of the Main forum is determined by the instructor when they set up the course. The example below shows a discussion question was responded to and marked as substantive (1) (See Figure 16). A green icon with a white “S” will appear next to any post marked as ‘substantive’ by the instructor ( ) ). A reply to another discussion question post was also marked as substantive (2), however, note that this is a reply to another student’s discussion question post and not a direct reply to the discussion question.
Figure 16
Figure 16

The exact date and time the post was made is also displayed in the forum (3). Taking note of the date and time the post was made is important when trying to follow a disussion thread.

When Discussion Questions are Due
Always refer to the course syllabus for the exact due dates for discussion questions. The instructor may specify their own due dates for discussion questions. An example of a standard set of due dates for discussion questions would be the first discussion question with a due date on the 3rd day of the course week and the second due on the 5th day. The course week begins on a Tuesday and ends at the end of the day on the following Monday. In this example the first discussion question is due on Thursday and the second on Saturday.
Responding to Discussion Questions
When responding to discussion questions posted by other students the topic must remain relevant and the content of the reply must add to the discussion. There is also a minimum character count length that is required to meet if credit for the post is to be warranted. Also, proper APA references and citations must be entered where appropriate.
Starting and Continuing Conversations Created by Discussion Questions with Classmates
Visual cues are located throughout the forums which help students know more details about the posts they make. The first visual cue to notice is the hierarchy in which posts follow. The main discussion question (1) (See Figure 17) is followed by a response by a student (2) and a response to their post by another (3).
Figure 17
Figure 17 Understanding Forum Icons
Various icons are displayed to help students understand the nature of certain forum posts. Important icons and their definitions are: 1. - The icon of a person indicates the post was created by the student. These icons indicate self-posts. 2. - The icon of a green circle with a white ‘S’ inside of it indicates the post was marked as being substantial and was given credit by the instructor. This icon indicates the post was given credit for meeting requirements. 3. - The icon of a red circle with a white ‘U’ inside of it indicates the post was marked as being unsubstantial and was not given credit by the instructor. This icon indicates the post did not meet requirements and was not given credit. 4. - The icon of a black graduation cap indicates the post was created by the instructor. Discussion questions to be responded to will display this icon. 5. - The icon of a blue circle with a white question mark inside of it indicates the post was discussion question-related. It is important to note that this icon may not be used for discussion questions and may be replaced by a green ‘S’ or red ‘U’ icon at the instructor’s discretion.
Chat Room
The chat room exists as a location to talk about off-topic subjects. The chat room is located in the Forums navigation menu on the left side of the Discussion page (1) (See Figure 18):

Figure 18
Some instructors will also opt to place the introductory biographies thread in the chat room. An example below shows a student posting information about a new PDF reader application for the iPad in the chat room (1) (See Figure 19):

Figure 19
Figure 19

Course Materials
Course materials exist as a location for the instructor to post important course documentation such as the syllabus. The course materials forum is located in the Forums navigation menu on the left side of the Discussion page (2) (See Figure 18).

Understanding Learning Teams, Posting, the Individual Forum, and My Items
Learning Team
Learning teams provide students the opportunity to work and learn collaboratively; improve the quality of student work, and “provide a sense of community” (University of Phoenix, 2011, para. 1). Working in learning teams gives students the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience. Students also need to learn how to participate in team activities as a member as well as a leader; learning teams give students this opportunity.
Learning team members can communicate in multiple ways. The most common form of communication occurs through the learning team forums. However, team members may also use e-mail, the phone, and the chat room. Chat rooms can be created outside of the school as well as by using the University of Phoenix’s chat room feature. A summary of any communication outside of the classroom should be posted to the learning team thread for student and professor reference.

University of Phoenix Chat
University of Phoenix has created a chat room feature into the faculty and student website. Learning teams can communicate in real time using the chat feature. Please note the chat feature is available in all areas of the student website not just the classroom. You can access chat by following these steps (see figure 20):
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Select the Chat box; 2) Select Turn on Chat; 3) Select a student to begin chatting with

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Figure 20
Figure 20

Learning Team Threads
The main method of communication for learning teams is the learning team forum located in the classroom. The professor will assign all students to a learning team. To access the team you are assigned to (see figure 21):

1) Access the student Classroom; 2) Select Discussion; 3) Click the correct team thread;

Figure 21
Figure 21

Members of a learning team can post messages to each other as well as attachments they would like the other team members to view. Students can also respond to create new threads with attachments or written messages. Once you have navigated to the correct learning team link, you can create a new thread to begin a conversation by following the steps (see figure 22):

1) Select assigned Team; 2) Select Post New Thread; 3) A new thread will be created under Thread;

Figure 22
Figure 22

To include an attachment in your new thread message with a response follow these steps (see figure 23):

1) Give new thread a Subject; 2) Type Response; 3) Select choose file; 4) Locate your file on your computer using the new window that opens; 5) Select Open; 6) Select Post Message;
Figure 23
Figure 23

To respond to a current message in the team threads is similar to that of creating a new thread. You would however begin your message by doing the following (see figure 24): 1) Select the thread you want to respond to; 2) In the new window click Reply;
Figure 24
Figure 24

The Learning Team Forum provides the team the best method of communication. Everything posted in the Team Threads remains accessible throughout the course. Instructors can also check in on the status of the team’s project, get a sense of the team communication, and collaboration.
Learning Team Communication
Communicating with your learning team members should be treated the same as communicating with teams you are a part of in your work environment. Communication should always be in a respectful tone and manner, honest as well as clear. Depending on assignments or projects, the team may decide to communicate more frequently or set a schedule for deadlines. It is important to be clear about deadlines, specifying the date, time, and time zone the team expects responses by.
University of Phoenix also offers a filtering tool that allows you to identify student responses by color. This is a feature that could be of great use in your learning team. Filtering student responses by color allows you to easily identify one student’s responses in the learning team thread. You can begin using this feature by doing the following (see figure 25): 1) Select the Preferences link; 2) Click Organize Messages tab; 3) Pick student name you want to color code; 4) Select a color from the color palate; 5) Click Apply Color;

Figure 25
Figure 25

Individual Student Forum
Student’s can access their individual forums by selecting their name under Individual Forum heading (see figure 26). Students can use this forum to respond to or send messages to the professor. Students receive a new message in their individual forum whenever a grade is posted by the professor. The individual forum also logs a notification of when students have submitted an assignment. However, the students do not receive a new message notification in their individual forum when they submit an assignment.
Figure 26
Figure 26

Drafts Forums
When students post messages, they can save the message as a draft for later. The student’s website will also automatically save student drafts as they type their messages. This is useful if the website accidentally closes or if there are any other technical errors that occur. The student would then be able to access any saved drafts by doing the following (see figure 27):
1) Access the student Classroom; 2) Select Discussion; 3) Select My Drafts; 4) Select the draft you want to access;

Figure 27
Figure 27

Note: Students can also remove drafts by selecting Remove.
My Sent Items
Students can see all items they have sent, when the post was made as well as its location in my sent items. Students will also be able to see any deleted posts. This provides students the ability to easily navigate to specific posts as well as see if their post received credit. My sent items can be accessed by (see figure 28):
1) Selecting My Sent Items; 2) Sent Items are Listed; 3) Deleted items identified; 4) Posts marked for credit;
Figure 28
Figure 28

References

University of Phoenix. (2011). Why learning teams? Retrieved from http://www.apollolibrary.com/Library/ltt/toolkit1.aspx

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