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Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Processing 9th Edition
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Distance Learning: GDP Software

The following FAQs ("Frequently Asked Questions") have been compiled by keyboarding author and instructor Arlene Rice, a professor at Los Angeles City College and co-author of Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Processing 9th Edition (also known as "GDP"), to address some basic questions that instructors might have concerning the new GDP software and how it can be used in a distance-learning environment.

Choosing a distance-learning environment
How can I research teaching strategies for a distance-learning environment?
What distance-learning platform should I use to deliver course information and content?
After I choose a distance-learning platform, what content should I include?
What is the
relationship between GDP software and my distance-learning platform?

Using GDP Software as a distance-learning platform
How do I set up a distance-learning course using GDP?
Can I use any computer to
manage my classes at the Instructor Management Web site?
Can my distance-learning students complete work on any computer with GDP installed?
How can I communicate with my distance-learning students?

For specific tips on fully utilizing the GDP Software, visit Technical Tips, a password-protected feature of the Instructor Resources.

 

Q: How can I research teaching strategies for a distance-learning environment?
A: See "Teaching in a Distance-Learning Environment" on pages PH-54 through PH-59 in the Instructor Wraparound Edition of Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Processing 9th Edition for a good overview of teaching in a distance-learning environment. The Internet also has a wealth of excellent resources. Check these sites for details:

Internet Address Description of Content

Overview of Blackboard.

Overview of WebCT.

Overview of FirstClass.

Microsoft's links to instructional resources, technology center (including online resources), instructor networks, training, certification, etc.

E-learning magazine and articles related to distance education.

One home page for a rich variety of distance-learning resources.

A forum for collaboration and networking for distance-learning educators.

A site that partners with colleges, universities, K-12 school districts, and corporate training organizations to design, build, and support eLearning communities.

The Cyber Instructors' Institute site designed to allow faculty to interact with colleagues about select online teaching issues. Also brings instructors together to learn from one another and allows them to exchange teaching innovations and solutions to online teaching problems.

Links to online courses across California's community colleges.

California Virtual Campus with an overview of all online course offerings in California.

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Q: What distance-learning platform should I use to deliver course information and content?
A: If you do not have a great deal of experience in creating Web sites, you might want to consider using
WebCT,  FirstClass, or Blackboard. These distance-learning platforms come with pre-designed templates through which the most common teaching tools (such as a syllabus, tests, lectures, etc.) are immediately accessible. The instructor uploads, copies, or types the content for each tool as desired. Students access course materials—usually—by obtaining a password from their instructor. See PH-55 in the Instructor Wraparound Edition of Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Processing 9th Edition or go to the individual Web sites for details.

If you have some experience creating Web sites and want more flexibility and interactivity in the content and delivery of your online course, you might want to consider using Microsoft FrontPage. FrontPage has a class template that can be downloaded from Microsoft's Web site to help you get started. View an example of a keyboarding Web site created with FrontPage.

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Q: After I choose a distance-learning platform, what content should I include?
A: See PH-55, "Creating a Distance Learning Class," and PH-56, "Using Distance Learning in a Keyboarding Class," in the Instructor Wraparound Edition of Gregg College Keyboarding & Document Processing 9th Edition for suggestions on Web site content.

Generally speaking, you want to begin with a home page that contains basic course information such as the course name, instructor's name, school name, email, telephone, and a brief course description. It should be simple and welcoming. Next, it is a good idea to include a FAQs ("Frequently Asked Questions") page to answer basic questions and concerns. Your Web site should also include pages with steps for getting started, assignment sheets, announcements, etc, arranged in an order that is logical and intuitive from the student's point of view.

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Q: What is the relationship between GDP and my distance-learning platform?
A: GDP is the course software that delivers detailed instruction on keyboarding, formatting, and document processing to your students in conjunction with the textbook and Word manual. GDP also facilitates grading, recordkeeping, and the exchange of work between you and your students via GDP and the Instructor Management Web site.

The distance-learning platform (FrontPage, WebCT, FirstClass, Blackboard, etc.) is used to deliver course content, such as a specific syllabus, lecture materials, assignment sheets, discussion groups, etc.

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Q: How do I set up a distance-learning course using GDP?
A: The following outline establishes helpful guidelines for arranging your own distance-learning course using the GDP software.
Preparation

In preparation to set up a distance-learning course, you will need to gather all your students' email addresses, and you will need to have an email address for yourself. GDP functions seamlessly when you use MAPI-compliant email. Almost all email is MAPI compliant except for America Online and CompuServe. Many vendors, including Microsoft, provide free MAPI-compliant email accounts.

Register as an Instructor at the Instructor Management Web Site
Go to the Instructor Management Web site and register as a new user. A personal password will be forwarded to your email address a few minutes after registering. You will then return to the log-on page of the Instructor Management Web site, type your email address and personal password, and follow a few simple steps to complete your registration.

Create a Class
Once you are inside the Web site, go to the Gradebook to create a class. You will type a course name and register your students using their email addresses. New students are initially listed on the List of Students by their email address. Once a student sends work to you at the Instructor Management Web Site by using the Update button in GDP, that student's name will be listed instead of an email address.

View the Students' Portfolio
After students have submitted work to the Instructor Management Web site, you can view their work in detail. From the Gradebook you can seamlessly send private annotations and public class announcements as email messages. When you send a private annotation, you have the option of including a detailed report in the email message. If you include the detailed report, the student will see your comments. Your comments will be followed by the scored copy of the document or exercise—for reference purposes.

Manage Classes
GDP will help you manage your classes by allowing you to delete a class, transfer students, edit a student's email address, use grading features, etc.

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Q: Can I use any computer to manage my classes at the Instructor Management Web site?
A: As long as the computer you are using has Internet access, you can access the
Instructor Management Web site. GDP does not have to be installed. You will need MAPI-compliant email enabled on that system to send announcements, annotations, and email to your students via the Gradebook. Almost all email is MAPI compliant except for America Online and CompuServe.

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Q: Can my distance-learning students complete work on any computer with GDP installed?
A: GDP is very flexible, and your students can use a variety of configurations to complete lessons and submit their work to the Instructor Management Web site. However, the most seamless configurations are described below:

Configuring GDP (Home Version) for Students Working From Home
When your students install GDP at home, they should follow the steps in the Home Version User's Guide under 1.4 "Installing GDP." They should enable distance-learning features and save their student data on other media, which, in this case, should be their hard drive. Choosing a distance-learning configuration activates the Update feature in GDP so that students can send you their work seamlessly.

Configuring GDP (Campus Version) for Students Working On Campus
When you install GDP in your classroom, follow the steps in the User's Guide at 2.4.1 "Install GDP on a Distance-Learning Workstation" to configure GDP. Select a standalone, distance-learning configuration with data stored on a floppy disk, and install GDP on each workstation in your classroom. Choosing a distance-learning configuration activates the Update feature so that students can send you their work seamlessly. Saving data on a floppy disk rather than on the hard drive lets students move freely from one workstation to another. If you were to store data on the hard drive, students would have to return to the same computer each time to complete their work.

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Q: How can I communicate with my distance-learning students?
A: Regular communication is critical to student success in any distance-learning course. Students need to feel that they are a part of a "real" class with a "real" instructor. You can personalize your course by using some of the methods discussed here to encourage communication between you and your students.

GDP allows you to communicate seamlessly with your students by clicking the Email button on the Instructor Management Web site. A pre-addressed email window is automatically displayed. Students can seamlessly and easily communicate with you by clicking the Email button in their installation of GDP. A pre-addressed email window is automatically displayed. You must have MAPI-compliant email to use the Email feature in GDP. (Almost all email is MAPI compliant except for America Online and CompuServe.)

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