Creating A Public Announcement For Students In WebCT 6
Write the Overview
This document was written to give step-by-step instructions for emergency response personnel needing to communicate with the WebCT users. This is provided with the assumption that normal WebCT administrators would not be available at the time.
Describe your Intended Audience
Emergency response personnel.
State the Purpose
Provide an announcement on the main page for students to address issues like school closures and how that affects their online courses.
List any Prerequisites
Administrative account access.
Describe the Steps of your How-To
How to Send a WebCT Announcement1) PC users use Internet Explorer, Mac users use Safari2) Go to https://webct6.csusm.edu3) Say “yes”/”accept” all java run, certificate requests, etc. At the top of your browser, choose “Always allow pop-ups from this site”4) Use the Login form button.
5) Username: admin | Password: <will be provided elsewhere> -- login and accept any prompts (see step 3).
6) After logging in (this may take awhile to load the first screen after login), you will have three tabs near the top of the browser window (“My Courses” | “Administration” | “Content Manager”)7) Choose the “Administration” tab and expect it to take awhile to load. You will see a listing of courses on the left frame and the “body” area in the right frame will also have courses listed to begin with.
8) In the main “body” area frame, below the “California State University – San Marcos” (Institution level) text, you will see small little tabs. The default tab is “Courses” and there are four small tabs to the right of that. Choose the tab that looks like a volume speaker (two over from “Courses” – it is the middle tab) and that is the “Announcements” tab.
9) In the “Announcements” view (still in the “body” area) you will see a gray bar spanning the “body” area and a button in that gray bar that has “Create Announcement” – choose this “Create Announcement” option.
10) You should now see the “body” area replaced with a form to accept the announcement message for the campus WebCT users. The “To:” field is already set to “California State University – San Marcos” because it will post to ALL users logging into WebCT.a. Title: This is a required field and will show up inside of the announcement message as bold at the top (so don’t repeat the title text in the body area of the announcement). Titles must be unique within this announcement area, so don’t make it general like “Emergency Information” – at least include some dated information with it like “Emergency Information For March 2, 2009”
b. Message: The message area has two views that are toggled with the button “Enable/Disable HTML Creator” – This functionality requires Java to run for the HTML creator “Enable” and gives you a much nicer interface. However, if you need to, you can post a text version with the plain window. If you enable the HTML creator, it may take a bit of time to load the Java the first time. You may also have weird screen repainting issues the first time. If that is the case, close out of your current announcement and just come back in using step 9 above. It is highly recommended that you compose your message in some other program first (Word, Notepad, etc.) and paste in the text here. You can then format the look of it using the HTML creator tools if needed.
c. Recipients: You can/should use the “Select All Roles” for an emergency message (that includes all Instructors, Designers, Teaching Assistants, and Students).
d. Delivery Dates:
i. The default date/time set for the “Start displaying on” is when you came to the Announcements page so essentially it will post immediately. If you want to preview your message first (you should), you will NEED to push the time back a bit (at least give yourself 5-10 min) so it won’t send immediately. You can only EDIT an announcement if it has not been sent yet.
ii. The “Stop displaying on” is set to unlimited by default so it will always be present. For this type of message, you probably want to set an expiration date.
e. The “Also deliver as a pop-up message” is a pretty good way to get their attention since pop-ups are required and it only does this the first time they log in and haven’t seen the message yet. A long-term copy is still available in the Announcements area.f. Use the “Send” button (even if you set the “Start displaying on” date to later, this is the same/only option to submit the form.
11) After submitting your Announcement (“Send”) you will be back at the Announcements view (See step 9) but your newly created item is going to be in a table below the afore mentioned gray bar. If there are many announcements in this table list, you may not see it on the first screen. Note that at the bottom right of the table list there are sometimes options to scroll to the next page of announcements. Your new announcement will be at the bottom of the list, but since we only keep one up at a time (the old ones are “Expired”) you don’t have to worry about the order here.
12) When you find your announcement listed, IF IT HAS “Ready” IN THE STATUS AND NOT “Sent”, you can click on the small gray square to the right of the announcement title and receive the following options: “Edit” | “Preview” | “Delete” – if it was already sent then you only see “Preview” and “Delete” – Use the “Preview” option to make sure it looks OK. If it is OK, you can let it release at the time you specified or use the “Edit” option to go back in and move the date/time to the current so it will immediately publish. Note that the “Delete” is not a very good option as it will still show to people at least once before being removed (like an email message trying to be recalled). Thus, going back in to “Edit” the item before having it “Sent” is a better option.
13) In the top right corner of the website there is a link to “Log out” – You can log in with one of our training accounts (username: TR1 and password: csusm1) to verify the announcement as an instructor or student. Note that WebCT uses sessions that expire after a couple hours and when you try to go back to the same login with the same browser instance, it will not let you log in. Re-launch a new browser instance and follow the steps above to reach the login if you need to come back in and post new announcements.
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