Introduction to DeAnza Catalyst

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Getting started with Catalyst

DeAnza College uses Moodle as its Learning Management System which is referred to as "Catalyst" - at DeAnza Catalyst and Moodle are the same thing.

Moodle is a free software/open source e-learning platform (also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or Course Management System (CMS). "Moodle" is an acronym for Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment.

The main functions within the Moodle learning management system.

  • Profile - provides control over aspects of student environment - outside communication, subscription to discussion posts, text editor presentation for assignment submission and discussion posts. Explore the options to see what combination work best for you.
  • Grades - provides immediate access to current grades on all assignments and quizzes that have been graded
    • Instructor graded assignment grades appear after the instructor releases them for viewing. Students see their own grades. Instructor see grades for all students.
  • Navigation - Course Menu block, links, pull-down menus are available throughout. These are automatically update when resources and activities are added or modified. Course Menu lists all the sections in the course. If you click on the [+] next to the chapter, it will drop down a menu which lists everything the students needs to complete within that particular section.
  • Courses - To view all the online courses offered, go to "All Courses" in the navigation menu of the Moodle main page (after login) under "My Courses".
  • Help - context-sensitive help is available throughout. Watch for Help buttons - questions marks "?" in a circle. Click on the link and help text will display in a separate window.

Your class may include some or all of these Moodle functions.

  • Resources - information pages, primarily used to provide information and instructions about activities associated with the topic modules. Modules match the chapters in the text and are used to guide weekly assignments.
  • Assignments - individual assignments are submitted using Assignments. These are graded and the instructor may provide feedback with the assignment grade.
  • Forums - discussions are grouped within the Forums. Usually there are multiple discussion topics within a Forum. In general, there is one Forum and multiple topic discussions for each lesson module.
  • Quizzes - Quizzes are used for grading submitted materials. Usually there are multiple sections or questions within a quiz. Please be sure to complete all questions and submit the finished quiz for grading.
  • Choices - one question surveys. Choices are also used to forming groups for projects.
  • Messages - similar to email, but only students and instructors can send and receive messages with Message function.
  • Chats - similar to Instant Messaging, but only students and instructors can participate in chats with the course Chat function.
  • Surveys - the usual student feedback questions to help the instructor and the administration monitor and improve courses.
  • Books - information presented as a series of linked pages, with a separate table of contents menu always visible
  • Glossaries - searchable, alphabetical listing and display of definitions of words and phrases
  • Questionnaires - specific for information gathering with pre-formated response types - scales, ranges
  • Wikis - collaborative writing space for students - individually, in groups or as a whole class.
  • Course Calendar - lists assignments due day and time.

Explore the options to see what combination work best for you.

More information

Comments, Suggestions and Questions

A key component of online learning is taking responsibility for your own learning. Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. As the "guide on the side" your instructor is always available to respond to your questions throughout the course.



see Discussion participation

Students' suggestions

  • Frequently Asked Questions - Using Moodle 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 Moodle and 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

  • Profile : Email - I also want to mention that people using Moodle need to be careful not to block 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

  • Clickable links in your text - Write your custom/title of a link or the URL, then select it and click on "Insert Web Link", as image below. 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

  • Section View - 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

System requirements

Supported Operating Systems

Moodle is an open-source learning management system. This software may be viewed on Windows 98, NT 4.0, ME, 2K, XP, Mac OS X, or Linux (with a window manager that supports the Firefox browser). Please note that older versions of Windows may be less secure (with older encryption technology) than later versions.

Supported Web Browsers

The Firefox web browser is the recommended application for use with Moodle. Firefox is available for PC and Macintosh platforms. Click on the link the to acquire the latest version of Firefox for your platform. Download this program to your desktop and click on it to install to your computer. * Please note that some users have reported problems with Internet Explorer, and both Opera and Safari may not show the built-in HTML editor.

Firefox Configuration

You must enable Cookies, Pop-up Windows, and Javascript for the Moodle website