Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Photo Contest! -- CLOSED

Votes are in! Julia and Andy Kupas, you win the webcam and photo feature on www.dallas.edu/Online! Congrats! Mike, you win the mini mouse! Kelli, you win the earbuds! Winners, please email Melody at mtrowell@dallas.edu with your address. Thanks to everyone who submitted photos. What fun! Can't wait for our next giveaway! Spread the DCC Online word to your fellow classmates and instructors!
Dallas Christian College's website recently got a facelift, featuring lots of new tools and a new layout. The DCC Online section, however, still needs a new photo! That's where YOU come in!

We want YOU featured on the new Dallas Christian College website! And what better way to do this than to have you submit your own photos? So, we're having our very first online contest! Entering is easy, so start snapping those pics! (Contest is open to students and instructors.)

Contest Rules:
  1. Take a photo of you, your friends, and/or your students studying/working on a computer. (This is an amateur contest, so you don't have to have more camera than what is probably on your phone.)
  2. “Like” our Facebook page
  3. Upload your pic to our Facebook page (just post on our wall) by December 5th at 11:59 p.m. CST (Make sure to give your pic a title!)
  4. We'll choose the top 3 photos and let the DCC Online Facebook community vote for their favorite!

Tips for taking your photo:
  • Make sure the lighting is good (sunlight works best) and minimize shadows.
  • Keep the photo simple and uncluttered.
  • Creativity is a plus! Show us your style!
  • Photoshop (or other photo-editing software) to enhance the quality or creativity of the picture is allowed. 


1st prize--Logitech C600 webcam and photo featured on http://www.dallas.edu/Online
2nd prize--Mini optical travel mouse with retractable cable
3rd prize--In-ear earbuds with case

*The winner will be announced on December 6th via Facebook, Twitter, blog, and Moodle. Multiple entries will be accepted. By submitting your photo, you are giving DCC permission to use it in electronic and print publications.

Melody Trowell (Online Instructional Designer, Online Tutor)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Access Over 8,000 Seminary Classics

How would you like online access to over 8,000 seminary books--for FREE! That is what you get when you go to Books.Logos.com. Logos, the maker of the software required for DCC Bible classes, has digitized over 8,000 books from different seminary libraries. They have made them available for free (at least for now) to anyone to use.

That is why I have added the link to this resource in the "Quicklinks" on the DCC Online course pages. I also added the link to Biblia.com, which gives you online access to your Logos library from any computer (as described in "Two Free Services to Help Online Bible College Students").

You may be thinking, "What's the catch?"

There is no "catch" to Biblia.com. It gives you access to the library you have licensed with your Logos Bible Study software. Books.Logos.com has one downside. The books in this resource are all out of copyright--which is why Logos could legally scan them and make them available.

Typically, we think of older books as "out-of-date" and consider them less valuable for research. But these "classics" are still valuable, because 1) Some of these books are the sources quoted by newer books, 2) These books allow a student to look back at the scholarly thinking and see how it led to our current thinking, and 3) Some information has not changed.

Check out these resources. They can enhance your research and study.

Bruce Long
Associate Dean of Online Learning
Dallas Christian College

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two Heads are Better than One: Updated File-Send Feature on Online Tutor Contact Form

We all know the saying "two heads are better than one," but when it comes to asking for help we often neglect to remember it. One of the fantastic features of online tutoring at Dallas Christian College is the ability for students to send the tutor a file to review before turning in an assignment, from research papers to exegetical papers and speeches to PowerPoints. What better way to ensure your success in an assignment than to have the online tutor review it before submission? This can be done via the Contact the Online Tutor Form. Up to this point, students were given the option of emailing the tutor their files for review, but now with the help of FileStork in conjunction with Dropbox (featured in this helpful article), students can more easily send files to the tutor with just a few simple mouse clicks.

So students, check out the Contact the Online Tutor Form and submit a file for review. And instructors, consider FileStork for assignment submissions. No more waiting for email to load and no more cluttered instructor inboxes! Now let's start putting our heads together!

(YouTube video showing form location and details)

Melody Trowell (Online Instructional Designer, Online Tutor)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Student and Instructor YouTube Tutorials

We now have playlists on our YouTube channel devoted to student and instructor tutorials. I will periodically add videos to these playlists, but there are already quite a few videos uploaded.

Student Tutorials
These videos cover how to upload assignments to Moodle, how to access a course in Moodle, how to use the Moodle messaging system, and more. Here are a few (for the complete list, click here.):

Instructor Tutorials
These videos cover an overview of a Moodle course, how to grade assignments, how to reply to and average discussions, and more. Here are a few (for the complete list, click here.):

Melody Trowell (Online Instructional Designer, Online Tutor)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Two Free Services to Help Online Bible College Students

I have been enjoying two great web services that every online Bible college student should know about. The first service is one I would recommend for every college student...period.

Dropbox is free, and I use it every day. It provides two huge benefits:

  1. It automatically creates an online backup of anything I save to my Dropbox folder. There are two main reasons online students do not backup their work: a) It is a hassle to remember to do and b) It costs money to buy a backup hard drive. Dropbox solves both of those problems. I download a small application that creates a folder called "Dropbox" that resides with all my other folders and documents. Having a backup is a simple matter of saving to that folder. Whenever I am connected to the internet, Dropbox automatically and securely uploads the file to my free space online. Both problems solved: automatic and free!
  2. It keeps all my current work available to me wherever I am working.
    I find that I often need to access the same files from multiple devices. I work with two laptops, an iPad, and a smartphone. And sometimes I am working on a public computer or a family computer. Dropbox allows me to access my files from any of those devices. I know I am a little geeky to use all those devices, but almost every online student has been in the situation where he or she was at work and needed to access a school file. Dropbox makes that a breeze. (Note: Even if you cannot load the application on your work computer, you can use the Dropbox website to access your files.)

Are you ready to get Dropbox so that you can responsibly backup all your schoolwork? If you go to http://www.dropbox.com, you can sign up for an account and get 2 gigabytes of storage for free. Before you do that, let me tell you how you can get another 250 megabytes of additional storage for free—enough space to backup the final project for several online classes. Dropbox uses a referral program. If you go to http://db.tt/ieiICAL to sign up for Dropbox, you will use a referral from me. That will give you an added 250 megabytes of free storage as well as giving me 250 megabytes of additional storage (up to an 8 gigabyte limit). Yes, this benefits me, but it also benefits you…and you can choose to simply go directly to www.dropbox.com if you prefer.

Biblia.com (http://biblia.com) is a web version of Logos Bible Software. Even without purchasing Logos Bible Software, anyone can create a free account and access the free resources available for Bible study. Since all Dallas Christian College students purchase at least the Bible Study Library, that means that almost all the resources available on the computer where Logos is installed are also available on any other computer. Why is this a benefit?

With the advent of Logos Bible Study Software version 4, the software is licensed so specifically to an individual that DCC cannot legally purchase a copy of the software for public/lab computers. Therefore, unless a student has his or her laptop, there is no way to access the Bible study resources on campus (library, tutoring center, classroom, etc.). That is when Biblia.com comes in. Students can go to Biblia.com, log in with Logos credentials, and access the majority of their Logos resources from any computer. Although the web service does not have all the power of the installed software, it does provide search capabilities for specific resources or for the entire licensed library.

In addition to the web service, Logos provides applications for iPads/iPhones/iPod Touch, and the Android version is available in beta. My smartphone is Windows Mobile 6.5, which doesn’t have an application. That is when I am most likely to go to http://biblia.com. That brings up another good point—there is a mobile version of the Biblia.com website designed for a smaller screen.

In other words, you can access your Logos Bible Study software from any place you can get on an internet device!

These are two really useful web services, and they are free. What are you waiting for?

Bruce Long * Associate Dean - Online Learning * Dallas Christian College

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New! Call the Online Tutor

Need tutoring help? Don't have time to use or are uncomfortable using the Virtual Tutoring Room or Contact the Online Tutor Form? Then, call me! Just dial 214-453-8148 during tutoring hours (posted in the Tutoring Center). I will help you on the spot. Feel free to call outside of tutoring hours and simply leave a message, and I will return your call during the next scheduled tutoring time.


There are many ways to utilize DCC Online's tutoring services. Just choose the method that best fits your needs.

Immediate Assistance
*I typically respond very quickly to forms and emails I receive Mon-Fri 8:00am-10:00pm CST.
Scheduled Assistance
  • If you're unable to meet me during the scheduled tutoring hours, you can set up a time to meet me in the Virtual Tutoring Room at a time that fits your schedule.
At DCC, we're very committed to ensuring our students' success, so that's why we've made online tutoring available in so many different ways. But, it can only help you if you use it! Spread the word!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hints and Tips for Online Learners

June 30. 2011

On June 11 I had the privilege of officiating my son's wedding. In the homily, I gave the couple three key ideas (three Scriptures) to hang onto as they began their life together. My hope, of course, was that some wisdom from above would help them have a happy marriage. They were at a beginning point, and I wanted them to have a great start.

With DCC 101 beginning Monday, and other classes starting tomorrow, DCC Online Students are at the beginning point of a new semester of classes. That being the case, I wanted to offer a few hints and tips to help you have a great start.
These thoughts come from two perspectives: 1) my perspective as the director of online learning and 2) my perspective as an online student. After you read my thoughts, I want you to post comments to this post in which you note some of the best hints and tips you have learned (assuming you have taken at least one online class).

From the Director's Point of View
  • Get logged in and start working on your online class as soon as you get the notification that the class site is open. From the statistics we have gathered, one of the surest ways to do poorly is to wait until part way through the first week of class to get logged in and started with class. When the classes are only 6 or 7 weeks long, you cannot delay.
  • Read and Post to the discussion forums! If you do not make at least one substantive post to the discussion forum, you will be marked absent. After two absences, you will automatically absence-fail the course. Just as important to your success is that some of the best learning occurs when students get engaged in the discussion forums.
  • Read the comments your instructor puts on your written assignments. Do not just look at the grade and move on. The assignments are designed to help you learn, but the learning is not complete until you review the comments from your instructor.
  • Back up your work!
From My Experience as an Online Student. I did a graduate degree almost entirely online, and I learned some things. Here are just a few:
  • The best learning occurs when you engage the instructor in a dialog after you get your assignments back. Not only do you need to read the instructor's comments on your graded assignments, you need to message the instructor about any questions that are raised in your mind. If you do not understand a comment or think the instructor misunderstood your point, get it clarified. Some of my best learning occurred when I did that.
  • Start a master bibliography. There were many books and resources that I used repeatedly in papers. When I was done writing, I always had to go through and get my works cited page all set and formatted correctly. If I had kept a master bibliography, I could have just copied and pasted many of those resources into the paper and saved time.
  • Post to the discussion forum early in the week. If you post early in the week, there is a lot to say about the discussion prompt. If you wait until later in the week, then other students will have already said the things that are most apparent. If you wait, you will need to dig really deep to say something new and substantive. That can be good for you, but it will definitely take more time.
Now it is your turn! DCC Online is a community of learners. We can help one another. If you have learned a hint or tip from taking online classes that you want to pass on, please post a comment below and tell us about it. We have set the blog to allow open comments, so you do not even need to register to post a comment. Help one another!

Bruce Long
* Associate Dean - Online Learning * Dallas Christian College