Instructor: Dr. Kahne R. Parsons


A.  Introduction

Once you have familiarized yourself with the appearance of WebCT/Blackboard and the tools available to you, you are ready to begin studying the content of the course.

This course will depend largely on your textbook as well as features supplied by the textbook publisher.  Some of these are contained within the WebCT/Blackboard environment; others you will access by using the OneKey system, which is Prentice Hall’s web site for students.

Most of the WebCT/Blackboard and OneKey material are designed to help you assimilate the chapters by testing you on concepts, maps, and vocabulary.  However, it is important that you know how to use these materials in their proper order.  The following will detail these features and how you should use them.

B.  Textbook Material

This consists of material supplied by the textbook publisher, Prentice Hall.  These will be especially useful as a supplement to the Unit Outlines.  Each chapter contains an Introduction and Overview with graphics, main points for each chapter sub-section, flashcards for review, and more.  It also contains a link (“Start Here”) to the Prentice Hall “One Key” site, which offers even more resources for the student.  You will need to register for “One Key,” but once registered, you can access all their Student Resources.

C.  Unit Folders

When you view Course Content, you will see Five "Folders" labled by Unit.  Each folder contains the assessments—Chapter Summary, Chapter Quiz, Map Labeling Quiz, Chapter Pretest—and the Chapter Assignment, which is a short answer question you upload to the course.

D.  Assessments:  Chapter Quizzes, Map Labeling, Assignments, and Chapter Pretest

  • Chapter Quizzes are exclusively multiple choice.  They follow the progress of your chapter in a linear fashion—e.g., they don’t skip around.  Thus, the first time you take a chapter quiz, you may follow along in your book.  However, as the quizzes are timed, don’t try taking the quiz before you have thoroughly read the chapter.  The second time you take the quiz (if you choose to take it twice), try doing it without the book or other aids, as you won’t have any of these available to you when you take your exam in the Testing Center.  The deadline for all quizzes is the morning te exam opens.
  • The Map Labeling Quiz will present you with a map from your textbook and ask you questions based on that map.  
  • You should take the Chapter Pretest as a final review/test of your knowledge of the subject.  Some of these questions will ask you to type in an answer.  Be sure and spell correctly or the quiz program will mark the answer incorrect.  (If upon review you see the answer marked incorrectlt due to a spelling error, e-mail me and I will go back and give you credit.)
  • The Chapter Assignment will ask you to answer one of the possible essay questions and upload your answer—in Word format—to the Assignments page.  The deadlines for these assignments are due every Monday.  Please be sure and keep up with the due dates on the Assignments, and remember:  you can always complete an Assignment early and submit it before the due date; the due date is simply the last day you may submit it. 
Additional Quiz Information
  • ALL quizzes are graded.  You can usually take them twice, and the average grade is your final grade on that exercise.  There is a 30-minutes wait before you can take it a second time.  This isn't usually an issue since few people take them that close together, but now that we have the shorter map-labeling quiz—5 minutes—I thought some people might try to take that one again right away, so keep this time factor in mind.
  • The quizzes are timed, but you have at least two minutes per question, and you will not be kicked off if you exceed the time limit.  Because the quizzes are timed, be sure you have set aside the necessary block of time indicated so that you don't get interrupted. 
  • You cannot take a quiz once the time period for that unit has expired.  (Truly, it’s physically impossible as the system cannot be enabled once the time has expired.)  Thus, it is very important that you DO NOT WAIT until the last minute to take your quizzes.  I emphasize again:  DO NOT WAIT.  I know the majority of students tend to procrastinate, and usually they have good “excuses” or reasons, since many students have very tight work schedules and family obligation, but these cannot change the outcome.  If you do miss a quiz or quizzes, please contact the instructor with the reason why (as a courtesy).  There are no make-ups available for missed quizzes, but usually, given the huge number of points overall from quizzes, missing one or two quizzes is not fatal to your grade, so don’t panic.

E.  Exams

  • All your exams are presented via computer in the TJC Testing Center.  The dates for the exams are posted on your WebCT/Blackboard calendar.  YOU MUST TAKE ALL EXAMS.  If you miss an exam, please contact the instructor at the earliest available opportunity. 
  • Again, the tendency of students is to wait until the last day to take the exam, but I would again stress that, if at all possible, you avoid this.  It is a rule of life that something will always happen to the best-laid plans:  your car will break down; your child will take ill (or you will); your boss will change your work schedule at the least minute, etc.
  • Exams will mix objective assessments from your quizzes:  (multiple choice, true-false, fill in the blank.  There will be NO ESSAY.  You will receive your score when you finish the exam.
  • The final exam is comprehensive.  You must take the final exam to pass the course.  Failure to take the exam results in an automatic "F" for the course.  (This is a college rule, not just my own.)  At the end of the semester, the instructor will drop your lowest exam grade and replace with with the final exam grade if the latter is higher; otherwise, all five exam grades will be averaged.  In the former case, the final exam will count double; in the latter case, the final exam will not count more than the other exams.

F.  Computer and Technical Issues

Personal Computer Hardware and Software
  • It is highly recommended that each student have his or her own personal computer, with unlimited access to the Internet.  Do not depend on a roommate’s computer or a computer at work, for example. 
  • Ideally, the student should use Windows XP or higher as the computer operating system, and Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher as the web browser.
  • Disable all pop-up blockers before accessing the course.  You can use Blackboard/WebCT's Technical Support to test your browser for compatability.
  • The student is responsible for resolving any technical issues (hardware, software) pertaining to his/her own personal computer.  If your computer crashes, please notify the instructor as soon as possible.  In the meantime, you have a number of options:  1) you can use on of the computers at the TJC Library; 2) you can use a computer at the Pirtle Tech Lab; 3) you can use a computer at any public library.
Apache Access, WebCT/Blackboard Problems
In cases where the TJC server is temporarily down, please be patient and check back in a few hours.  (How will you know it’s a server outage?  The usual error message is “server not responding.”)  If it is still down after a few hours, do not phone the instructor but rather the TJC Computer Help Desk.  [Note:  this is yet another reason not to put things off.  Example:  you wait until Monday afternoon to do your last two quizzes when the deadline is Monday at 8 a.m..  You try to sign up but receive the error message “server not responding.”  Likewise, your computer could be down for other reasons, so don’t wait! ]

All exams are taken on a computer using the program QuestionMark.  PLEASE TAKE EXTREME CAUTION when using this program:  DO NOT USE THE BACK BUTTON, EVER!!!  If you do, the program will act as if you just hit “submit” and you will be kicked off and whatever work you did will be submitted as your exam.  IF THIS HAPPENS, notify the proctor immediately!  They should let you back in, though you will have to start the exam over again from the beginning.  I REPEAT:  NOTIFY THE PROCTOR IMMEDIATELY IF YOU GET KICKED OFF OF QUESTIONMARK.  In short, take care of this while you are at the Testing Center, because there is nothing the instructor can do to change the result.
Sometimes your computer or phone line will shut off in the right in the middle of a quiz you are taking.  If this happens, just go back to WebCT and log on as usual, and go back and click on the quiz.  Usually, you can complete it, though the time will be reported as longer than usual.  If you can’t get back in, notify the instructor.

All quizzes are graded automatically.  Sometimes students experience a problem when they submit a quiz for grading but do not receive an automatic grade.  If, after a few hours, you do not receive an automatic grade, notify the instructor. 

Essays for the weekly question are not the "usual" formal essay, but rather two or three paragraph answers to the question chosen.  You can type the answer offline and then cut-and-paste it into the Text Box provided on the Assignment page.  Essays are graded according to a "rubric" based on the grading elements described below.

G.  Grading

Grading will utilize, in part, the following components:


Tests the student's passive retention of basic facts obtained through the reading assignment. Content retention provides the foundation (Level 1) of overall learning.  This applies to both assessments (quizzes) and written assignments.


Here the student presents factual and conceptual material clearly and coherently in written form. This includes proper use of spelling, grammar, and punctuation as well as overall organization of material. The student's ability to take the facts and concepts learned in the book and organize them in this manner demonstrates the student's ability to translate passive retention of facts (Level 1) into active presentation of knowledge (Level 2).


Student examines factual evidence in the context of broader historical concepts presented in this chapter.  Synthesis occurs when the student engages in comparison of these components with elements outside the boundaries of the chapter--for example, ethical issues, other historical periods or cultures, current events--representsing the culmination of the learning process (Level 3).

H.  Campus Resources

One last note concerning campus resources:  for students desiring additional help with academic issues (writing, studying, etc.), you can sign up for a two-hour Academic Training session at the Learning Loft, located on the third floor of the Rogers Student Center.  You can also utilize the TAC Writing Lab in Jenkins Hall 1108, which is available to students on weekdays.  You can also consult "Student Resources" under the Content Module "Introduction".