Online Study Group - Moderator Guidelines
These guidelines are intended to answer questions and inform the moderators of the NALS Online Study Group of what is expected of them.
Look at the Assignment Schedule posted on the NALS’ website to confirm the date and topics for which you volunteered. Also, you may have a co-moderator with whom you are not familiar. Be sure to contact her well in advance and work out the logistics of your session.
You can divide up the workload with your co-moderator any way the two of you choose, though it should be a fairly equal division. Each co-moderator will be entitled to receive three (3) hours of CLE. You might decide that each of you will write half the questions. Or one of you will do the questions and answers and the other will initiate discussions. Or one of you will take the even-numbered questions and the other will take the odd-numbered questions.
NALS will not provide you with any textbooks. You will be responsible for buying or borrowing whatever you need to prepare the questions and moderate the class.
You should read and be well-versed in the chapter(s) you are moderating and familiar with the chapter(s) your co-moderator is handling so that either of you can easily handle questions. In the event you are using questions from a previous OLSG session, you are responsible for updating the annotations to the currently used version of the textbooks.
Please e-mail your questions and answers to Peggy Sullivan, PP, PLS, NALS Education Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org ) and Diana Price, Staff Liaison (email@example.com) , as far ahead as possible, but at least two weeks before the Tuesday you are teaching. The NALS Education Committee will review the annotations noted for each answer before sending the questions and answers to Jay Moore (firstname.lastname@example.org) at the NALS Resource Center. Jay prefers that you use Times New Roman font and 12 point type in Word format if possible. You should send two versions of your questions—the student version (questions only entitled [your date]08-06-08QS) and the annotated version (questions with answers annotated to the textbook(s) and entitled [your date]08-06-08ANS). All questions must be annotated. In the reference line of your e-mail to Jay, please show the date you will be teaching and the topic. You will not get a reminder about when to turn in your questions and answers. It is up to you to get your materials to the NALS Education Chair and Jay Moore well in advance to provide time to review and to get the materials posted to the website. Please ask Peggy and Jay to confirm that they have received your message and attachments.
Experience has shown that the students come to the sessions well-prepared. You should probably start the study group by asking if there are any questions about that material, or any questions for which the students could not find answers. Obviously, as moderator, you must know where the answers to those questions are in the textbook. Again, you must be prepared. If there are no questions from the students, then begin the session with the questions that you have prepared. We suggest that you post the question and answer together, and then ask for any issues or concerns on that particular question. Then, you can move on to the next question/answer.
We suggest that the questions you prepare be primarily in a multiple choice format since the certification exams are multiple choice. You might also want to include true-false questions, or any other short-answer type. It generally takes about 40 questions to fill up 1 1/2-hours though it depends on how much discussion you initiate and how much participation you have from the students. Some topics, such as ethics, work best with less questions and more discussion, while other topics, such as written communication, will need more than 40 questions. Watch your time so that if you see that you are running through the questions too quickly, you can ask more questions to generate discussion. It is your responsibility to keep the participants on track. Sometimes they can get hung up on a particular question or area of the material. It is OK – and often necessary – to get them moving along.
Be prepared to lead a short discussion on each question, discussing the wrong answers, possibly adding personal experience, and giving the students more than they could get from the textbook. You also might lead into a more in-depth discussion than the textbook covers.
When you sign in to the Online Learning Center, you should designate yourself as a moderator so the attendees will not be confused. You could use something like “MOD-Mary.” Make sure you bold all of your typing and change your font color to dark green (last row, second from the bottom).
Start the class by: (1) introducing both moderators and give your e-mail; (2) ask students to enter their e-mail addresses if they want to receive a copy of the transcript (they will only get the transcript, not the questions, answers, or certificate); (3) tell students they need to comment approximately every four minutes or else the system will kick them off (this can be avoided by answering questions, agreeing, disagreeing, asking a question or even private chatting with themselves); (4) tell the students that it’s OK to answer "I don’t know" to a question; and (5) encourage the students to ask questions about the assigned material. The log will start automatically so you don’t have to worry about it. It will turn off when the last person has left the chat room.
A certificate for 1 1/2 hours of CLE is posted beside the questions on the schedule. This certificate is for the students, but you should print it for yourself and make a note that you taught this class and are entitled to receive three hours of CLE . If the students are unable to print the certificate, ask them to call or e-mail the NALS Resource Center email@example.com to have it faxed to them.
You should be prepared to copy questions and answers into the transcript. This takes a little practice, but it is not difficult. First, open the document containing the questions. Then, go into the NALS Online Learning Center. Take a moment to change the size of your screens so that you can view both the questions and the chat log. Then, to copy a question, block the question with your mouse, and press CTRL C. (This doesn’t work if you try to cut and paste with your mouse; you must use the CTRL C method.)
Then move your cursor to the chat log, and press CTRL V. The blocked question will appear in the box; then click on SEND to make the question appear in the transcript. You can do the same with the annotated answers. It will save you the time of typing the answers. You can practice this block and copy method by going to the Online Learning Center anytime it is not in use.
When posting the answers, please include the question number, the correct answer, and the annotation to the correct book, section, and/or page number so that students will be able to find it easily. Also, you may want to keep the questions and answers to a reasonable length. It seems that when cutting and pasting something very long, the moderator sending it gets bumped out of the on-line session. If there is a long question, cut and paste the body of the question first then the answer choices (if it is a multiple choice question).NOTE: Be careful of symbols (section symbol, quotation marks, etc.) because they do not seem to transfer when things are copied and pasted into the log. After you hit Control V to place the material into the space but before you hit send, you can fix the quotes but not the section symbol. There is no "Insert" at the OLC where you could search and insert the symbol. Underlines does not transfer well into the chat.
If you have never attended a CLE session in the Online Learning Center, it might be a good idea to participate either in a CLE or Study Group session before your assigned Tuesday, to see how it all works. It is to your benefit as a moderator to become familiar with the Online Learning Center, the chatting procedure, and the whole process BEFORE your assigned Tuesday. Things will go more smoothly if you feel confident about the procedure.
There will be a log started automatically. When everyone leaves the Online Learning Center, the log will automatically turn off. Within the next few days after the class, a staff person will pull the transcript and e-mail it to everyone who had entered their e-mail addresses in the log.
It is also important to keep all the students on the same question at the same time. Allow time for questions from the students and discussion. This will help eliminate confusion between questions. If a question is asked about #3 and you’re already on #4, take the time to stop the class and go back to answer the question. Or, if one moderator is leading the class while the other "listens," ask the listening moderator to look up the answer in the textbook while you go on with the class to #4. The listening moderator can find the answer and type it in for everyone to see. NOTE: The students will likely be well prepared for the sessions so be prepared to move briskly through the questions.
One of the most difficult tasks might be to keep the discussion on the assigned material. Students might want to chat about matters not related to the assignment. Do what you can to keep them focused and "on track."
If the students have any questions about the exams, testing dates, testing sites, etc., that you cannot answer or do not feel comfortable answering, ask them to contact the NALS Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If something unforeseen happens and you absolutely cannot be the moderator on your assigned Tuesday, immediately contact NALS Education Chair Peggy Sullivan, PP, PLS, at email@example.com; (816) 559.2157 (work); (816) 478.6163 (home), (816) 853.2866 (cell), or the Education/Certification Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 918-582-5188.