Category Archives: Distance Learning

SoftChalk Hands On Workshop at DCCC

DCCC currently has a limited number of licenses of SoftChalk, a content authoring software that allows instructors to make online, engaging, and interactive content.  To see examples of what SoftChalk can do, visit the links below:

Health and Science Sample Lesson
History Sample Lesson
Linguistics Sample Lesson
English As A Second Language Sample Lesson
Science Sample Lesson

If you are interested in using one of DCCC’s licenses, we are offering two hands on workshops to get you started using the software.  Liz Irizarry will be offering the sessions on Nov. 30th 2-3pm and Dec. 7th 2-3pm.  You are welcome to attend one or both of those sessions.  To sign up for the workshop(s), visit the following link:

The agenda for the two days is as follows:

Day 1 Agenda – Nov 30th
Intro to Softchalk
Basic Features
Creating a Lesson
Using MS Word to import content
Q&A Time

Day 2 Agenda – Dec 7th
Review from Day 1
Inserting images
Inserting YouTube videos
Inserting a Power Point
Q&A Time

If you have any questions regarding SoftChalk or the workshops, please contact Liz Irizarry at

Help with Moodle Gradebook

We are still continuing to learn more about the Moodle Gradebook and how it fits in with Starfish and the varying grading schemes used across the school.  Our department has been trying to help individuals on a case by case basis.  However, we have seen that most folks use one of three methods:  Weighted System, Points System without categories, or Points System with categories.

Scenario #1:  Weighted System.   

Tests = 25%
Projects = 20%
Discussions = 30%
Final Exam = 25%

Weighted Mean Example

Weighted Mean Example

Scenario #2:  Points System (No Categories)

Test #1 = 100 pts
Test #2 = 100 pts
Research Project = 80 pts
Final Project = 80 pts
Discussion #1 = 60 pts
Discussion #2 = 60 pts
Discussion #3 = 60 pts
Discussion #4 = 60 pts
Final Exam = 200 pts
Total Points = 800 pts

Points System (No Categories)

Points System (No Categories)

Scenario #3:  Points System (With Categories)

Test #1 = 100 pts
Test #2 = 100 pts
Research Project = 80 pts
Final Project = 80 pts
Discussion #1 = 60 pts
Discussion #2 = 60 pts
Discussion #3 = 60 pts
Discussion #4 = 60 pts
Final Exam = 200 pts

Points System (With Categories)

Points System (With Categories)

This is by far not the only way to set up your gradebook.  You are certainly free to do what is needed to match your grading scheme.  The only method that is not allowed is the Sum of Grades method.  This method is problematic for Starfish as it always treats empty grades as zeros and those assignments count against the student.  If you would like for someone in the Office of Distance Learning and Instructional Technology to review your gradebook, do not hesitate to contact us.

Not Including Dropped Students in Course Emails

Several instructors have asked me how to email their class but not include inactive students.  The inactive student role was one that DCCC created by copying the student role but changing a few settings so that students cannot access the course and they are not seen in the gradebook.  This role is what instructors should change their students to when they drop a course.  There are two ways that you can email your whole class, through the Course Announcements forum (we have renamed our News forum) and the QuickMail block (part of our school’s template).

The Course Announcements forum can be used as a way to send mass emails.  However, it all depends on the subscription setting on the forum.  If you have forced your students to be subscribed, then all active students (not inactive) and instructors in the course will receive an email of the forum post.  If you have not forced your students to subscribe and you would like to, you just need to update your forum.

Course Announcements Forum

Update a forum to force subscription

The QuickMail block can also be used to email the whole class.  There is a trick to making sure that you do not include the students who have been changed to the inactive student role because they do appear in the list of users in your course within the QuickMail block.  After you click on Compose an email within the block, you will be taken to a screen to create your email.  Click on the Students Only option under Role Filter.  Then, if you do not have any groups, click on the Not in a Section option under Potential Section.  This should highlight all active students in the course.  You can then click on the Add button to send them to the Recipients list (see pictured below).

QuickMail Block

Emailing all students except inactive students

If you are using Groups, then you will follow the same steps as above but when you get to the Potential Section area, you’ll want to hold down your Control button as you select all the groups that you would like to send the message to (see pictured below).


Emailing all students except inactive ones when you use groups

Click on the following link for a help document on how to execute the steps described above.

Recorded Webinar Viewing Schedule

DCCC’s Distance Learning Team will be showing various recorded webinars throughout the semester.  Please consider coming to any of the following.

Student Engagement and Web 2.0 in Blended Learning
Summary – Dr. Norm Vaughan shares his views on how to successfully incorporate Web tools, create an environment to empower students for future learning using a blending format, and more. If you enjoy integrating wikis, blogs, YouTube videos, Facebook and other sources, this webinar is for you. Run time – 90 mins

Jan 18  Love 108   2-3:30 pm
Jan 19  Reich 100  2-3:30 pm
Jan 20  Gee 187    9-10:30 am and
Gee 143    1-2:30 pm

Online Strategies for Assessment Design
Summary – Both Dr. Patricia McGee from the University of Texas and Dr. Veronica Diaz from EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative will be discussing the differences between assessment and evaluation, the true purpose of the assessment, layered approach to assessments, and more. Run time – 120 mins

Feb 15 Love 108    2-4 pm
Feb 16 Reich 100   2-4 pm
Feb 17 Gee 187     9-11 am and
Gee 143     1-3 pm

Strategies to Help Design Your Online Course
Summary – The following will be covered:
•    Focusing on goals and objectives for online course design
•    How to create a user friendly flow in your course
•    Concept based versus topic based courses
Run time – 90 mins

Mar 21 & 22  Finch 124  3:30 – 5pm
Mar 23 Gee 149  1 – 2:30 pm