The online course is delivered to the student using the highly interactive Moodle platform. Moodle is the world’s largest provider of this type of service, used by over 50,000 different institutions in roughly 200 countries.
This teaching model allows students to participate in class asynchronously each week of their course(s). This means that students do not need to be online at the same time. This is especially helpful to students who are working full time, raising a family or the campus students who can not fit a specific course into their schedule.
The Moodle model enables users to extend learning beyond the traditional classroom or other types of distance learning models. Collaboration between instructor and students is essential and builds a true learning community.
Moodle online courses are not independent study courses. They are completely interactive using any Internet ready computer with either Internet Explorer or Firefox as preferred browsers. Additionally classes will have the availability of a virtual classroom component where the instructor and students can be interactive in real time. Both undergraduate and graduate courses may be available to the student online (refer to the University Distance Learning Course Schedule).
COMMON QUESTIONS REGARDING MOODLE COURSES
Username: Your username is your ArgoID (University-assigned Student ID Number), e.g. A000XXXXX
To create your secure password, click on “Forgot your username or password?” on the Moodle login screen and provide either your ArgoID number or your uprovidence.edu e-mail address to receive a password reset link in your University Inbox.
We encourage you to create your secure Moodle password to match your ArgoMail password (12 characters, at least 1 uppercase, 1 lowercase, 1 number, 1 non-alphanumeric character).
*Please note that your upcoming courses will not “appear” on your Moodle Home page until seven (7) calendar days before the start of the new term.
(See below for more FAQ’s as well.)
Moodle is an asynchronous (“not in real time”) course delivery method, but Collaborate Ultra provides live class meetings held in a virtual classroom on a scheduled day and time. Collaborate Ultra is a web browser-based app. It enables anyone to enjoy the full experience of an interactive online meeting, including sending and receiving voice/video, viewing and presenting shared content, and screen sharing.
To access your courses, the first step you’ll need to figure out is what your student ID number (ArgoID) is. It serves as your login account for both ArgoExpress and Moodle and is similar to this: A000XXXXX (the X’s represent your unique number). If you do not know what your ArgoID is or need help logging into your ArgoMail account, please contact our Service Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 406-791-5326.
Remember that most Collaborate Ultra meetings are held at specific times. You will be accessing the meeting link(s) from within your corresponding Moodle class section.
For a Moodle class, simply click Moodle and then Log into your Moodle Class. Scroll up to learn about creating your “secure password” and what to do next.
Nearly all college classes require text books, which you can order from our online bookstore (or find ordering information to purchase elsewhere). Some UP Distance Learning sections also require you to view video lectures, which are usually available electronically in your Moodle course. Besides your books, you’ll also need a class syllabus, which are typically also found within the class materials area of your Moodle course.
The first time you access Collaborate Ultra
You do not need to log into Collaborate Ultra separately; you will join any scheduled online meetings from within your Moodle course, where your instructor will provide a link.
The recommended Web browser for the best Collaborate Ultra experience is Chrome, but recent versions of Firefox (49+) will also work.
Click to visit the Blackboard Collaborate Ultra site for helpful information on how to get started participating in your Collaborate Ultra course meetings.
Here’s an online video introducing the Collaborate Ultra interface: https://youtu.be/1W4sGpVmJaY
This is especially helpful to students who are working full time, raising a family or campus students who can not fit a specific course into their schedule. Above, this page contains links to several brief tutorials that introduce the basics of how to use Moodle to participate in an online course.
If you have additional questions that aren’t answered there (or elsewhere in this FAQ), please don’t hesitate to contact our distance learning team for assistance.
This means that if you don’t click on a link to load a new page within that two-hour limit, Moodle assumes you’ve walked away from the computer and will drop the connection to protect your privacy. Unfortunately, typing on the keyboard does not count in Web applications the same as clicking on a link.
To avoid this problem, if you think you’ll take longer than two hours to compose a post, it’s safest to type it “offline” (polishing it in Wordpad or Word) and then copy and paste it into the Moodle forum composition window when you’re ready to submit your posting. If you used Word with a lot of formatting, you might want to click Moodle’s “Clean Word HTML” button (which looks like ) before you click “Post to Forum” in order to remove extra HTML coding that might clutter the posting in Moodle. (You’ll know if you need to do this if you experience it once.)
For example, if you take several hours to research and submit your answers, the connection to the Moodle server might be dropped for “inactivity” even though you working on the test. The way Internet connections work, simply clicking or typing in answers doesn’t qualify as “activity” unless you are periodically saving your work or moving on to another page of questions. If this should happen to you, you’ll need to get your instructor to reset your attempt before you can restart the exam.
PLEASE NOTE: It is also a very good idea to take online exams only from a stable (preferably wired rather than wireless) connection to the Internet. We have heard of students who tried to take exams from their smartphones—some while riding in a car on a road trip. Think of how often a cellular call can get dropped, and you can easily imagine the rest of the story…
Learn from those mistakes, find yourself a stable connection in a quiet space free from interruptions, and your online exams should go well!
One potential “show-stopper” is how the file might be named. Some computer systems consider certain characters “illegal” and prevent the file transfer before it even begins. For this reason, it’s best to leave characters like “%”, “&” or “#” or other punctuation or diacritical marks entirely out of a file name you want to submit.
Some instructors will also accept/require assignments as e-mail attachments, and that preference may be detailed on the course syllabus. To make your assignments easy for your professors to open, you should save your documents in Microsoft Word format (.doc) or in Rich Text Format (.rtf). However, for certain writing classes, or for classes where a “paper” document, portfolio, etc. is deemed necessary, you may have to rely on the traditional postal system. Our address is:
University of Providence
attn: Your Professor’s Name
1301 20th Street South
Great Falls MT 59405
Some of our professors live at a distance too. If any of them require hardcopies they will provide you with a different mailing address.
Here’s a map of North American time zones relative to Mountain Time to provide a reference.
If Life throws a curveball and you just can’t make it to your class, log into the Moodle portion of your course, and click on the Collaborate link. Rather than joining the live session, click the Session Menu button in the upper left-hand corner to reveal a link to access each week’s Collaborate recordings. Because the recordings are listed by date, it helps to know which week of the semester you may have missed class.
You can view the recording right in your browser. Some courses also allow you to Download and Save the recording of a session to your local hard drive. After you have saved the file to your computer, you can watch it using VLC (recommended) or another media player.
PLEASE NOTE: If you access the Recordings page and don’t find any “Recent Recordings,” select the Filter menu option in the upper right-hand corner to view recordings by date range, and you should be able to find previous weeks’ recordings.
Some professors use proctored exams. Essentially, that means they want you to be watched while you take the exam to insure that there’s no possibility of using reference material or more time than is allowed. Usually an instructor will proctor his or her own tests for campus students, but distance students are responsible for lining up their own volunteer proctor. There is a form to fill out and return to the Academic Program Assistant responsible for distributing proctored exams. Click here to download a copy of the form. Once you identify a local proctor, he or she can remain your proctor of record unless you relocate or change proctors for some other reason. Return the completed form to the Program Assistants using the information provided at the bottom of the page.
For this reason, it is STRONGLY advised that you make full use of your University-provided e-mail address. In fact, this is your official e-mail address of record once you have become a student, and all official correspondence regarding registration deadlines, applications for graduation, reminders of payment schedules, etc., will be sent only to that account.
Consequently, it is very important that you make your UP e-mail account your primary way of sending and receiving e-mail messages regarding your courses. If you have any difficulties accessing that account, please contact our Service Desk for assistance (406-791-5326 or 800-342-9824).
Most typically, employees of companies have very limited user rights that curtail their ability to install programs, download files or receive streamed data. Collaborate Ultra, for instance, uses streamed video and audio data during each class session. A student wishing to connect to class from his or her place of work or school should coordinate with the local Network Administrator. Occasionally, specific “ports” may have to be enabled on the firewall to allow attendance in the live class session. Our Service Desk staff members are available to work with your local network administrators should any issues arise.
If, however, you are using a stand-alone microphone, the first thing to do is check the microphone connection! Sometimes the cord isn’t plugged in all the way, which will cause “problems,” or it’s plugged into the wrong port. You are also well advised to not use a splitter of any kind. Using a splitter or connecting multiple devices to one input can degrade overall performance as well as affect your microphone input. Be alerted that Collaborate Ultra looks for a sound card with speakers and microphone connected. Sometimes it doesn’t know what to listen to if you have multiple devices and will require extra tweaking.
Warning: the following steps are general guidelines that work on a majority of Windows-based PCs. There are multiple Windows operating systems in the marketplace with myriad types of sound cards and they all have features that vary from these general steps. Nonetheless, something similar to them should be available on your PC. Mac users are again advised to consult their documentation.
Do you have a little loudspeaker icon on your taskbar next to the Time of Day? That is the Volume Control icon, and right-clicking on it allows you to access a menu that allows you to adjust your “Recording devices.” Depending on what’s attached to your computer, you may have several devices listed that you can select or configure. Here is an example of what that panel may look like:
You should see the green bars move when you speak into or lightly tap your microphone. If not, you may need to adjust its settings. By selecting the device you want to use as your active microphone and then clicking the Properties button, you will be able to adjust the volume levels.
Your computer may or may not offer advanced controls for your particular microphone. Please note that the settings panel shown above offers a Microphone Boost, which allows you to boost your mic output. So if your professor complains of hardly being able to hear you, this is probably the fix. Not all devices have this setting, however, so you will have to work with your particular levels to get the best result.
As always, if you have problems adjusting these settings so they work in your live class sessions, please contact our Service Desk for assistance (406-791-5326 or 800-342-9824).
Type in part of the name of the item you need to find. Moodle will bring up matches to that keyword search as you type:
Click on the suggested result, and Moodle will take you right to that item where it is found in the course:
That might be the safest approach, as would be composing your post offline in a plain text editor that does not embed hidden formatting codes which do not paste well into online forums.
Depending on what operating system you run on your computer, Notepad would be good on Windows, and TextEdit can be configured to use plain text on a Mac (see link here).
If you prefer to compose your longer posts in Microsoft Word in order to use spelling and grammar checking, you can “clean it up” by copying your text and pasting it into Notepad or TextEdit first, and then copying that version to paste into Moodle.
While this may seem complicated, it is what we have found recommended on numerous support sites for posting to web forums in a variety of Learning Management Systems such as Moodle, Canvas, Blackboard, and others.
Fortunately, this is fairly easy to work around. All students have an ArgoMail e-mail account, and accessing that through Office 365/Outlook also gives you access to 1 TB (terabyte) of Microsoft OneDrive cloud storage. Simply click on the applications icon in the upper left-hand corner to find the link to your OneDrive cloud storage, which you may need to initialize the first time you access it:
If you do not already have a folder called “Shared with Everyone” in your OneDrive Documents storage, you should create one first and make sure the sharing is set to “Everyone.”
Click to enter that shared folder, and upload your large file there:
When the file is finished uploading, click the “. . .” icon to select “Copy link.” This will bring up a dialog box creating the URL (web address) that points directly to your large file in your OneDrive shared folder. Confirm that address is a “View” link, and copy it (refer to the image below, and click the drop-down option below the link to change the setting if it reads “edit and view”).
This will be the link you can paste into a Word document that you can upload as your assignment submission within Moodle. Because this will be a one-page document, it will easily upload into Moodle. (This is only necessary if you are supposed to upload an assignment. If you are supposed to post to a discussion forum, simply paste the URL (web address) into the forum text editing box.)
Please note: if you find that some browsers (such as Chrome or Safari) may not work well uploading to OneDrive, you should try using Internet Explorer or Firefox instead.
In addition, when accessing OneDrive links to large files with embedded audio, you may see messages indicating the audio cannot be played because it exceeds size limitations. You can click on the “. . .” menu link above the file in OneDrive to select the Download option in order to save the file to your local PC, where you can then open the file (e.g. in PowerPoint) and play the audio fine.
(Note: The fifth tutorial above steps you through the process of uploading and linking to a large file.)