Each week's lecture has its own folder in the Files section of the PAWS course homepage. The principal files for each week will be located in the main folder, but in order to avoid clutter it is at times convenient to employ subdirectories. You can tell whether a particular folder contains subdirectories by looking at the folder icon: if to the left of the icon there is a little triangle pointing to the right, then there are subdirectories that you can access, as in the image below:
In this instance, the student has selected the folder for Week 1 (which is, as a result, shaded in yellow) and has access to two files in the main directory. But there are also subdirectories available for Weeks 1 and 2, as indicated by the little triangles. Clicking on the triangle next to the folder labeled Week 1 yields the following:
Now the little triangle is pointing downward, and you can see that there is a subdirectory available for Week 1, titled "OvidReadings." But the files listed in the directory on the right are still those for the main "Week 1" directory. Clicking on that "OvidReadings" folder will cause that folder to be activated (it turns yellow) and the files in that folder to appear in the directory to the right:
I make the course PowerPoint presentations available in pdf format since this is a more generally accessible format and allows me to reduce the size of the files. If you are using a Windows machine and get a message indicating that the file is corrupt, your machine is actually saying that it is having trouble opening the file directly from your web browser. To get around this, download the file onto your hard drive before opening it. The key combination that you need to use will vary, but what you want is the pop-up menu that includes the option "Save this link." (This is Microsoft-speak for "download this file" — it generally involves using a right-click, I believe.) Once you've saved the file onto your hard drive, you should be able to open it in Adobe Reader by simply double-clicking on it. Macintosh users: Safari often has a terrible time downloading pdf files from PAWS. If you find yourself getting a "too many requests" message, I'd recommend that you quit Safari and employ a different browser, such as Firefox.
There are two common sources of difficulty:
Your safest course is to follow the procedure set out below:
- the student is employing a bookmarked link that leads directly to the WebCT login page instead of to the ITS page for which I provide a link (For some reason the program responds badly to this: you need to begin at http://www.usask.ca/its/services/instructional_tech/blackboard/ and access the login link from that point.)
- the student has "caps lock" activated (Less common, but it happens!)
This should work.
- go to the course PAWS page
- activate the WebCT/Blackboard link in the "featured links" section
- activate the "Blackboard Login" link (on the right top-center of the page, in the highlighted box) or the "Blackboard CE" link in the menu on the far right of the page
- let the program check out your browser and settings (e.g, it does not like it if you have the "block popup windows" feature activated)
- log into WebCT as you would on PAWS
For the most part, taking the quizzes should be self-explanatory, once you've figured out how to log on to WebCT/Blackboard CE and gotten into the quiz site, but there are a couple of tips that you should keep in mind:
- make sure that you have done the assigned readings carefully in advance and that you have the relevant texts with you when you sit down to take the quiz. (Be aware: the quizzes are based on the readings for the coming week, not on the readings for the week before!)
- use a computer in one of the UofS computing labs or a branch of the library: that way, should something go amiss with the network, it is easily documented. Difficulties that arise due to problems in your home computing set-up will not be regarded as a legitimate excuse for not completing a quiz successfully.
- be certain to save each of your answers individually as you work through the quiz: should your time run out, or should your home network go down (assuming that you've taken the risk of ignoring the point above regarding the dangers of this procedure), the questions that you have attempted will be in the system and will be able to be marked. (You need to make a point of saving any changes that you make as well, should you change your mind about a particular answer: be sure to hit the save button for each individual question each time you have selected a different answer.)
- make a point of attempting the practice quiz two or three times before attempting the first official quiz. For the first quizzes, you might want to remind yourself of the appropriate procedures by taking the practice quiz one more time just before attempting the one that counts.
When completing the multiple-choice sections of the in-class examinations, you need to enter your student number correctly on the mark-sense form. Failure to do this causes a great deal of work for the instructor, who then becomes grumpy while marking — something you do not want to happen. On a more serious note, it also creates the potential for mistakes in recording the marks of other students, since it requires that data on the grading spreadsheet be shifted around manually. Before beginning to fill in your answers on the mark-sense sheet, be sure that you have used the blank spaces at the top-center of the form to record your name and signature, the name of the class, the name of the instructor, and the date of the examination. Still more important, be sure that you have recorded your student number in the section on the upper left of the page and that you have filled in the appropriate bubbles so that the computer can identify you when it goes to record your answers (as in the example below). Be warned: failure to record your student number correctly on a mark-sense form will, in extreme cases, result in an academic penalty.
The raw data from the mark-sense (multiple choice) section of the midterms will be posted on PAWS in the Exams folder of the Files section, along with an answer key, so that you can see what the machine saw as your responses to the questions.
The responses are listed by student number, followed by a series of numbers, each of which is preceded by a zero (0) — e.g.:030401040204050205040403020404The zeroes are merely separators; the numbers (1-5) indicate the individual response for each question, with 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, 4=D, 5=E.
It can be a bit confusing working through the figures, but they show you what the machine saw.
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