PLACE Tutorial (aka Navigation Tour)
Welcome to the PLACE, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation's professional learning and collaboration environment. The PLACE is where we host most of our online professional learning opportunities such as MOOC-Eds. This video will provide a brief overview of the major elements of the place website including creating and updating your PLACE account, registering for a course, and navigating through some of the various features you will find throughout our online learning opportunities.
Before you can access any content in the place, you will need to create an account. In the upper right corner click "Create Account" and fill out the registration form. If you try to enroll in a course without a PLACE account, you will be asked to log in and given the option to create an account if you do not yet have one. If you are a United States citizen please select your state or province from the drop-down menu as some features are available only to participants in select states. You can update this information at a later time if you move or simply do not wish to provide it at this time. When you are done, click "Create my new account".
If you wish to update your profile at any point, click your name in the upper right in the top red navigation bar, then click "Profile", then click "Edit profile" in the user details section to edit things like your name, email address, area of responsibility, school name, etc. From this page you can also see a list of all courses you are enrolled in and easily access all of your forum posts.
Now that you have a PLACE account, you are ready to enroll in some professional learning opportunities. As you explore the list of courses on the main page, you may see some yellow bars over the course icons. These indicate a course's current status. "Registration Open" means that you may register for that course which will begin at a later date. "Course Open" means the course is currently open so you can register and start learning immediately. If there is no yellow bar that means that neither the course nor registration for an upcoming run of that course are open. Let's take a look at what a course's landing page looks like. Most landing pages will have a short introductory video as well as some text explaining what all is covered in that course. Important course information is provided in the column on the right, including course start date and end dates, the date that registration will close (i.e., the last day you can sign up), and the number of certificate hours that can be earned in the course. When you're ready to enroll in a course, simply click the "Enroll Now" button at the top right. Here you will see another form. You are not creating a new account. The information being collected in this form is specific to the course you are taking and is used for research purposes so that we may better understand who takes our courses and why, as well as their effectiveness. When you are done, click "Submit enrollment survey" and you will be registered for that course. Note that this process has only enrolled you in that particular course. If you would like to enroll in a different course or courses, you are welcome to do so but you will need to fill out a separate short enrollment survey for each course in which you enroll. The questions for each course may vary. When you enroll for a course you should receive a verification email. If you do not receive this email, please check your spam folder and mark it in whatever way your email provider requires to ensure that future messages are delivered to your Inbox.
After you have enrolled in your course, you will be taken to the course's homepage. This page will have some additional information that was not available on the landing page, so be sure to explore the features there, especially the frequently asked questions, the announcements forum which is where course leaders post important updates, and anything about requirements for earning CEUs or a certificate of completion. Below the introductory text is the course outline. Clicking the unit name opens a drop-down box with important information and an outline of that unit. An important feature of this outline are the checkboxes next to the subsection titles in that unit. You may manually check the solid boxes as you work through the course in order to track and record your progress, however you may notice that you are unable to manually check the boxes with the dashed outlines. These boxes denote activities that will be automatically checked upon completion, such as surveys and forums you are required to post in in order to receive your certificate of completion. Clicking the name of the subsection brings you to that point in the unit. Note that at the top of the page, clicking "Course Home" brings you to the course's home page, whereas the "home" icon brings you to the PLACE homepage. You cand navigate to any of your course home pages, including past courses, by clicking "My Courses and Resources" in the sticky navigation bar at the top of your screen and selecting the desired course from the drop-down menu.
Now let's take a look inside a course. You can navigate through the course by clicking the links in the left-hand navigation bar. Videos are a common resource you will find in all of the PLACE's offerings. Below the videos are a few important features. Every video will either have closed captions or a transcript that you could download. Below that is a link to "Save To My Bookmarks", which allows you to save that video to a list of bookmarked resources you can access from your profile, which you can access by clicking your name in the upper right in the top red navigation bar and then bookmarks. Note that all videos in the place are hosted on YouTube. If you are using a computer or the internet at a school, YouTube may be blocked. The only solution to accessing these videos is to watch them using a different internet connection such as your private home internet or some other free public source such as a library or coffee shop.
Throughout the PLACE you will interact with surveys and quizzes for various reasons. You have already filled out two surveys -- once when you created your PLACE account and again when you registered for a course or module. Some common surveys you will find are feedback surveys, which are typically included at the end of every unit or session. If you do not have time to complete a survey and wish to return to it later you can save your progress at the bottom then you can click "Submit Questionnaire" when you are finished and ready to submit your responses. A common use of quizzes in the place are for micro-credentials, which are competency-based professional learning opportunities that may require you to spend more than a couple minutes answering questions and uploading artifacts. No matter where you are in your progress in this quiz you can click "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page. You will then see this page where you have the option to either submit your responses or return to the attempt. You can also return to this attempt later on from the micro credential page in the course by clicking continue the last attempt. Your submission will not be reviewed until it is submitted.
Forums are an important feature used throughout the place in order to facilitate community and allow discussion about course content. When you arrive at a new forum you can see all the discussion threads that have been previously begun. The forum is sorted by the last post with the threads with the most recent activity listed from the top, though course administrators may pin some older threads of high quality to the top of the discussion. If you see these be sure to check them. The PLACE uses highlighting to draw your attention to unread posts. The first place you may notice this is in the forum itself. The number of unread replies to a post from the last two weeks will be highlighted for you in the "Unread" column. Posts older than two weeks old are automatically marked as read and then excluded from the unread count. You can use the checkmark at the top of the forum's "Unread" column to mark all of the unread posts in the feed as read. Highlighting is also used on the course homepage and the outline to notify you of unread posts in a forum. If you would like to create a new discussion thread, click "Add a new discussion topic", enter your subject and message using the editor to format your posts to include links, make a bulleted list, insert images, etc. If you check "Discussion subscription", you will receive notifications about replies to your post. You can also subscribe to any individual thread at any time by clicking on the grey dot in the farthest right column of the forum page next to the "Last post" column. Once you're subscribed, the gray dot will turn into an envelope icon. To unsubscribe, click it again. One important thing to note about forums in the PLACE is that after 30 minutes of submitting your post, you will not be able to go back and edit it. You will have the option to delete it, but you will be unable to make changes after 30 minutes of making your post. As you are reading posts in the forum, instead of clicking back and returning to the full forum to navigate to the next post every time, you can simply click the links by the arrows at the top of the post. The link next to the left pointing arrow goes to the next oldest post while the link to the right arrow goes to the next newest post. If you would like to update your forum notification settings, click your name in the upper right in the top red navigation bar, then "Preferences", and under "User account" click "Forum preferences". From this page you can update your forum activity notification preferences. Note that these changes will apply site-wide to forums across all courses and professional learning opportunities in which you are enrolled.
When a professional learning opportunity such as a MOOC-Ed offered through the PLACE ends, you will no longer be able to post new discussions or replies in the forums, submit surveys, or request a certificate of completion; however you will still have access to the course content and your bookmarks and you will still be able to read the posts on the forums -- you just won't be able to interact with them.
Many types of professional learning opportunities are offered through the PLACE, such as MOOC-Eds, on-demand modules, micro-credentials, and other resources. Most of the features we reviewed in this video will be utilized in each type of offering on the PLACE but note that they may have their own additional features not covered by this video. Should you ever have any questions or issues with anything in the PLACE, first visit our "Frequently Asked Questions" page and if your question is not answered there, send us a message using the form on our "Support" page. Finally we encourage you to join our general mailing list to receive the latest updates on courses and other professional learning opportunities from the Friday Institute. The easiest way to do so is by clicking the "Join our Mailing List" button on the PLACE homepage. We look forward to seeing you in the PLACE!