User:Vtaylor/CIS2/Catalyst features and guidelines

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  • Chat - One feature that I discovered that we do not use frequently is "chat". Chat is found there, and it is similar to an instant messaging client such as AIM. Chat could definitely be useful in group collaboration, and groups could schedule meeting times to go on and have live chats. Instead, we chose to communicate over the forums, which send messages but do not allow for live communication.
  • Participants - When doing group work, the online users function is very useful to tell who is online. This is helpful, since you can work together more easily when you know one of your teammates is online at the same time you are. The participants list is also helpful, as it can tell you when people last logged on.
  • Calendar - The features I like about Catalyst are the calendar, the course menu, the activities bar and the event informer . I made full use of them in all the classes I took that hosted by Catalyst. They help both new and continuing students to the site in easily accommodating to the structure of the course. By checking regularly with these features, students know what to do for the entire course even at the very beginning. With these well designed tools, I believe Catalyst system is really doing a good job on behalf of the instructors for online classes.
  • The catalyst features seems to me that is very complete and useful, I had not used before and it's very easy to understand. The part I like and I used a lot is the area of activities where you can keep track of pending work or there I can check if I need to complete some quiz. At first I hadn't noticed that I had a mailbox there and a student had written me to ask something about the class at the beginning and I read that message 3 weeks later. After that I found this mail service is very useful since you can use and maintain a little privacy if you need to talk to some other specific participants.
  • I think Catalyst has so much potential to be a good website for students. The design is that kind easy to use that each person can figure out what he/she has to do by spending a little time. This has a simple but deep design. This is the first time that I'm using Catalyst and I see it very nice and interesting. Each topic is designed at a good place and in addition it has a great classification of topics. It contributes online classes so, many people who want to study in distance form can access it and use it easily. Taking classes in Catalyst is a great idea.
  • I thought it is neat to have the email function on the main page. If you want to post a message on the forum but you do not want others to see it this is the way to do it. You can just compose an email to the only person that you want to send the message without going to your regular email.
  • I discovered the jump to function, before that I going all the way back to the main menu to get to the subject I was interested in. With the jump to function, I just click the dropdown menu and select the subject I'm interested in.
  • One feature I just learned is the "Jump to" space bar on the top right corner. I didn't know that if you click on the back and forward button it actually takes you to the next page. Ever since I started this class till today I used click on the 09F_0531 on the top to go back to the main page then back to the weekly assignment then the next topic discussed, but now I know how to do that using this short cut. For those of you who do what I used to do, this will be very helpful and less time consuming.
  • I think my favorite feature is UNSUBSCRIBE FROM THIS FORUM. It makes it so you do not receive e-mail notification everytime someone replies to a topic, creates a topic etc., I actually think it should automatically be turned off, and the person turns it on at will, I have two online classes, this and EWRT2.
  • I get TONS of e-mails, especially at the end of the week when everyone crams, and I lose e-mails in the middle of the rush, ones I should really be looking at for work!! sad
  • When you click a forum topic, at the top right corner, it has "unsubscribe from this forum".

  • Using catalyst is not to hard but it can be confusing at the beginning so when you log in and you are directed to the home page the best thing to do is,

click on the frequently asked questions, most of your simple questions will be asked and answered there. I also recommend to click on the first time at catalyst, it's like a mini orientation guide for catalyst an if you are still having a difficult time they have 24/7 phone an online service, sometimes is not you it can be your computer. I have asked them questions before and they have been able to answer me right away they understand it is a class and you have deadlines to meet. .. LG

Here is an excellent guide to getting started with Catalyst. It uses the same wiki educator as we did for our projects. ..MH

That was the most useful page and I think she should add the suggestions you guys gave!

I also want to mention that people using catalyst need to be careful not to bloxk other users from contacting them. For additional privacy, users can chose not the receive private messages from those they have not allowed by adding to their contact list. ..MH

  • Step 1:

Write your custom/title of a link or the URL, then select it and click on "Insert Web Link", as image below:

  • Step 2:

Insert your link at textbox "URL", and select "Target". Target options:

  • None: open URL on current browser frame ---> example
  • New Window: open URL on new frame (often open up new browser or tab). ---> example (Recommend).
  • Same frame, same window, other (out of order): open URL on current browser frame ---> example ..VL

  • It is just a small tip to customize catalyst for easy view.

For example, if we study chapter 4, we can choose to display only chapter 4:

After you click "show only topic 4", the display should be like this"

To return full view mode, just click at the same spot again. Hope it help. ..HL

  • A simpler way is to check the Distance Learning information

Schedule of Classes - Summer 2009 - scroll down to the list of classes. Also indicates fully online and hybrid courses.