|This lesson explains the basic structure and components of the CATE system, how they fit together, and how they can be reached. You'll use various CATE modules to build online components which, taken together, comprise your class website.|
- Read the material on this page
- Follow the links and read the relevant Help documents
- Visit CATE pages
- Visit some class websites
- Observe the FTF demonstration
Modules, components, and websites
The CATE system comprises two distinct aspects.
One aspect is for students, and the other is for you, the instructor.
In a sense, this is like a theatrical production.
Students sit in the audience and see the play onstage.
You, on the other hand, are the producer, director, playwright, set designer, costume designer, and star, all rolled into one. You can sit in the audience any time you want, but you can also go onstage, back stage, into the box office, dressing rooms, etc.
In order to do those things, you need a CATE account, and you need to log into and use your CATE account.
Students, on the other hand, don't need CATE accounts. Depending on how you design your class, they'll probably need usernames and passwords to access class materials, but they don't actually need accounts of their own, because everything they access will be a component you've built in your CATE account.
A module for each component
When students use your online classroom, they probably won't need to be very aware of the different components. They'll just read, listen, watch, follow instructions, click on links, and go about the learning process.
But you need to understand that an online classroom is built from a variety of components, you need to know what those components are, and you need to know how they fit together.
If you think about using a word processing application such as Microsoft Word, you can probably sit down and start writing just about anything. Maybe you're going to write a thank you note or a business letter or a letter to the editor or an essay or the Great American Novel. Doesn't much matter with Word. You just sit down and start typing.
With the CATE system, however, you need to decide what you're going to work on, then use the appropriate module to create, edit, and maintain various kinds of instructional pages.
A complete online class will probably have all of the following components, and maybe some others as well:
- Instructor's personal homepage
- Section homepage
- Schedule page
- Multiple lesson pages with lectures and instructions
- Quizzes, tests, and exams
- Message Board
Each one of those components is created, edited, and maintained in the corresponding module. For example, if you want to work on grading, you go to the Gradebook module. If you want to adjust your class schedule, it won't do much good to go to the Personal Homepage module; you'll want to use the Schedule module.
After you log into your CATE account, you can find all those modules on the CATE Main Menu. Likewise, when you're working in any module you can use the links at the very top of the page to go back to the Main Menu or to move directly to any other module. Some modules also have shortcuts built into them so that, for example, you can jump from the homepage for a particular section directly to the gradebook for that section.
Keep in mind that students can't log into your CATE account and they never see these modules. They only see the material you create with these modules.
Getting to class websites and components
You're never required to use any particular component. You only need to do so if you want to make that particular kind of page. If you're teaching a fully online class, you'll probably use all -- or nearly all -- of the modules. But maybe you just want a personal homepage. In that case, you'll only need to use the CATE Personal Homepage module. Or you might just want to upload a few files for your students to access. In that situation, you'll probably just need to use the Personal Homepage module, Section Homepage module, and File Management module. The choice is always yours when deciding what components to utilize and how much of the system you want to use.
In any case, even if you're only making a personal homepage, you'll need to know how your material fits into the overall CATE system and the larger SRJC website, and you'll need to know how students and other visitors can find your Web-based material.
Here's a diagram of how all the CATE components fit together and how they fit into the campus website.
Here's a quick explanation of the diagram.
Because the Internet (and your online class materials) are useless without links -- otherwise, how would anyone ever get to your website? -- the basic links happen automatically. All you need to do is create and activate your CATE personal homepage to make the links happen. You don't need to phone the CATE office or Computing Services and say "Hey, I activated my personal homepage, so will you please set up links to it."
For our purposes, the center of the known universe is the CATE homepage at http://online.santarosa.edu. You need to know how to get there, because that's probably how you'll reach your CATE account. Students will probably want to know how to get there -- although it's not absolutely necessary -- because that's the best way (but not the only way) to find CATE personal homepages, section homepages, class websites, and so on.
You can memorize the URL, you can bookmark it, you can make it your browser's start page, you can follow the links from the SRJC homepage. Doesn't matter. But, just like you need to know how to get yourself physically to campus when you teach a face-to-face class, you need to always know how to get to the CATE homepage from wherever you are.
From the CATE homepage, visitors can easily find materials created in the CATE system. The diagram shows two main routes.
The first is the Directory of Faculty Homepages at http://online.santarosa.edu/homepage. That page is automatically updated on the fly every time someone creates, opens, or closes a CATE personal homepage. Just click over to the page, look through the alphabetical listings, and click to arrive at any personal homepage in the CATE system. To reiterate, you don't need to do anything except create and activate your CATE personal homepage. Your name -- with a link to your personal homepage -- will automatically show up on the Directory. That makes it incredibly easy for students to find your homepage.
The second route for finding your CATE-based material is through the Class Homepages directory at http://online.santarosa.edu/course. On that page, students and other visitors are offered a plethora of approaches for finding and reaching your pages. They can find you by your section number, by your course number, by your name, by your department, and so on. Again, this approach for finding your material will work just as soon as you've created and activated that material. In this case, however, we're talking about your section homepage(s). Therefore, in order for students and other visitors to find you via this path, you'll need to create and activate at least one section homepage using the Section Homepage module.
Those two avenues -- the Directory of Faculty Homepages and the Directory of Class Homepages -- are both controlled by the CATE system, but the system adjusts itself whenever you create a CATE personal homepage or section homepage(s).
Similarly, students and other visitors can find you from other approaches. For example, the SRJC schedule of classes offers links. If you take a look at one of those pages, you'll see Computing Services has built them so that the section numbers are links and the names of instructors are links. Therefore, you can click on the section number to reach the corresponding CATE section homepage and you can click on the name of the instructor to reach the CATE personal homepage for that instructor. Of course, if the instructor hasn't built the section homepage or personal homepage, then the links don't work.
The automated links make it easy for students and other visitors to reach your personal homepage and section homepage(s). As we've seen, however, you might very well have many more Web-based components available for your students, including a schedule page, lesson pages, etc.
In that case, you'll need to begin using various CATE tools not only to create those class components, but also to tie them together so your students will have a consistent, standardized navigational interface for moving through your website.
As you can see from the diagram above, that means moving from your personal homepage to your section page to your schedule page and then onward to lesson pages, gradebook, Message Board, chat room, etc. Of course, the components you utilize, and the way you link them together, depends on whether you're teaching a FTF class or an online class and what choices you make in putting materials on the Web for your students.
If you move beyond a personal homepage and a section homepage and start putting lessons or other documents online, you'll want to learn about navigational tools and techniques.
How to...Put Your Class Up: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_put_class.html
How to...Use Automated Links: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_use_links.html
How to...Activate a Page: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_activate_page.html
Organizing all the components of a class website: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_organize.html
Use these CATE directory pages to find personal homepages and section homepages of interest to you:
Faculty homepages: http://online.santarosa.edu/homepage
Class homepages: http://online.santarosa.edu/course
Use the links above to visit some SRJC class websites.
Many of them will be passworded, so you might want to take a look at our online demo classrooms:
A plain-vanilla sample class: http://online.santarosa.edu/presentation/schedule/?3390
A colorful sample class:http://online.santarosa.edu/presentation/page/?6540
Demonstration (For face-to-face session)
We'll walk through the class structure, visit some components, and talk about how everything gets linked together.
WWII 101 A plain-vanilla sample class website
Rock 101 A fancier sample class website
Please provide us with comments, corrections, and/or suggestion regarding this material. Be sure to identify the lesson and the material to which you're referring.
Thanks for taking the time to help us improve these online training materials.
CATE Online Training Feedback