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As a new online learner, the most important thing for you to do is to familiarize yourself with the portal your college utilizes well in advance of taking the course. The most important tip is, do not expect to learn it overnight! This is not a recommended crash course!
Read for understanding all of the information provided to you. Also, give yourself some time to do a practice run before the actual online course begins. A resource to try a tutorial is provided below. This way you will use the interface much quicker when it starts. Some college professors will even grade you on your use of the portal, so be aware of this as well.
Basic Terminology You Should Know:
Portal: The place where you meet and access and share information, in this case, ANGEL, think of it as a management system.
Browser: A software or application where you look at and interact with information on the Internet
Interface: Where you interact with the computer using ANGEL
Operating System (OS): Your computer's operating system, in this case, MAC OS or Windows OS
With ANGEL, you will need Windows XP or Vista (OS) operating system and Internet Explorer or Firefox Mozilla as your browser, or you will need Firefox on a MAC (OS X) operating system.
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I will provide a brief summary of each of the functions, or pages of ANGEL, but am providing a link to the PDF at the end of this article for you to read more in-depth about each of them.
Public Home - this is the front page or login screen
Personal Page - this page tells you the courses you are enrolled in using ANGEL, as there may be more than one. This is also where you will find your mailbox, link to Wikipedia, Preferences (to change password), Instant Messenger (when you are taking a synchronous online course, or during office hours), and Help.
Course Page - this is where your interaction with the instructor will take place. The professor will provide course information, announcements, news, polls, and most importantly, your grades.
Calendar Tab - overview of the day, week and/or month's events
Lessons Tab - also important. Here is where your instructor will place required reading material, quizzes, and assignments.
Resources Tab - here is where you will find course syllabus, information about the instructor, or the institution.
Communicate Tab - send and receive email, work on group projects, live chat and office hours are found here.
Report Tab - for you to track your progress in the course or courses.
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Hands-on Resources for Students
You can find a printable guide to ANGEL to the official ANGEL Quickstart Guides in PDF.
For the learner who would like hands-on practice using ANGEL, I have found a fantastic resource and tutorial to help you from Everett Community College to help you to see what ANGEL is like and if you might succeed in distance learning courses. Please just use it as a basic guide and do not abuse the privilege to try ANGEL through them. I only provide it here because some students learn better with tutorials and a hands-on approach, but maybe you will like their college as well.
I recommend using both of these resources together to learn how to navigate ANGEL in the most efficient way.
This information is shared with you from my experience in taking online courses and being a bit unsure of my skills at first. The intention is only to help online learners. As a future online student, it is important that you educate yourself before courses begin. Once they start, there will not be enough time. Also, expect computer glitches; your instructor will as well, but he or she will also expect you to know how to use the system. Best in your online learning adventure!
Help Using the ANGEL Portal for Online Students
Don't be left in the dark before starting your online courses. Get some help with the things you will need to prepare with this great series.