Frequently asked questions

1. When does the course actually begin and end?

Online courses operate from the same timetable as on-campus courses and so are subject to the dates contained in the Bulletin and Schedule. That means that we begin the course on September 8, 2008 and end on November 28, 2008. You will note in the schedule that aside from the first week, I consider Sunday the first day of the week and post any weekly notes and updates on Sundays. The course ends on a Friday in keeping with the OISE course schedule. Bookmark the informaion site to have easy access to the class schedule and to other resources like the entry link to WebKF and to BlackBoard (utor portal).

2. Does that mean I can't go into the web site until September 8th?

No. In fact, you are encouraged to log in ASAP in order to make sure that your username and password work and that you know how the site works. You will also find a place to post a note introducing yourself which should be done right away at the beginning of the class.

3. How is the course going to operate once we're underway?

Each of the "headings" or "titles" that you see are called views in WebKF. As a basic format, I open a new view with each new topic that I introduce. I also post a note in the new view to explain what the view is about, whether there are particular readings that might be useful for background, and I ask a question or pose a problem. From that point on, it is similar to a face-to-face class in that the class discusses the topic/question/problem etc. A major difference between this forum and a classroom is that there is a record of the discussion here that you can refer back to all through the course if you wish. There is also more of an emphasis on collaboration when it comes to creating responses to the articles and to curricular concepts.

While that is the basic method in which I operate, for those who have taken other courses with me, you may notice a difference. I try to facilitate the course in a manner that makes it useful to as many as possible so that means not exactly the same way as my Holistic Approaches to Information Technology online course. I do have a plan but it is subject to change depending on a whole bunch of things, including the needs of the group.

4. Do we all have to be on line at the same time for this discussion?

No, this is not a chat line. You participate in the discussion when it suits you. One of the advantages to having an on line classroom is that it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You and your partner may want to use a chat program when you are collaborating - more on that as the course progresses.

5. How many times a week should I log in?

I expect you to log in at least three times a week.

6. I like to read ahead in my courses. Can I get a schedule of the readings by week?

No. While we will cover certain planned topics in the course, I cannot guarantee the order or schedule for them. You will, however, find the list of primary readings for the topics in the course readings. In terms of the actual scheduling, I find that it depends a great deal on who is in the class, what their interests are and the direction that the various discussions take. Also, I may not necessarily assign readings for each topic. Sometimes, the questions or problems I pose are more general in nature and call upon you to talk from the basis of your own experience and/or personal beliefs. If you do want to do some reading, I suggest that you download the articles and read any that appear interesting (to get the flavour of the topics we will be discussing). Finally, you should also be aware that I do not necessarily assign the reading of all articles in the reading list during the course. I will point out specific items that I think are necessary at particular times, but I assume that as graduate students you will read what is made available to you and that you will also be reading beyond the assigned readings.