Information for Students

    MAJOR MULTI-USE PLATFORMS

    • Canvas  is Washington College’s main “Learning Management System.”
      • It has many features and can also support other programs/systems as plug-ins. Almost all instructors will use this to some extent.
      • Big Blue Button is a video conferencing option offered through Canvas that you might be required to use to have synchronous lectures or discussions. You can often find links to this in the “Conferences” tab on the left-hand side of your class Canvas page.
      • How do I get started?
        • You can access Canvas easily by going to the college’s website, clicking on “information for” and choosing “current students”. The link is listed under “Academic Logistics.”  Bookmark the site for easy future access.
        • Once on the Canvas platform, you’ll see the classes in which you are enrolled (after the instructor publishes it). Each instructor may set up their Canvas page slightly differently, so it is worth exploring.  You can explore the different options for each class through the blue links on the left-hand side of the page. 
        • Assignments that need to be submitted through Canvas can be accessed through the “assignments” link. Sometimes Canvas can be slow in allowing you to upload files, so make sure to not wait till the last minute to upload your assignments.
        • The calendar feature is a useful way to keep track of assignments for your classes. You can merge your Canvas Calendar with your Outlook Calendar or Google Calendar, so you never miss assignment deadlines.  These videos show you how:
          Outlook
          Google Calendar
        • Many classes will require you to take quizzes and tests through Canvas this semester. Quizzes and tests can be set up with time limits and the Respondus testing software. In addition, your instructor might have set up your test or quiz to only be taken once.  If this is the case, make sure to not close your quiz or test until you have submitted it.
        • If you are not sure how to use a feature of Canvas, there is a very robust help system available. Just click on the help button on the bottom of the icon bar on the left. You will find a forum, live chat, and even a telephone number to call for help.
      • Microsoft Teams  is a general workgroup platform.
        • Teams is good for organized chat-style conversations and video chat.
        • Can be used for quizzes, assignments, and grading.
        • Integrated well with the Microsoft Office suite.
        • Many plugins available.
        • All on the same login as your washcoll.edu account.
        • Good phone app support.
        • Sometimes difficult to navigate.
      • Nearpod  is an interactive teaching platform.
        • There are pop-up quizzes throughout each lecture to check understanding of the topic.
        • You need to go to yet another website to get your content.

    FORUM/CHAT/VIDEO PLATFORMS

    • Discord is a general workgroup platform.
      • It was originally designed for people playing video games, so it is very good at voice chat.
      • Good for chat-style conversations.
      • There are a lot of public Discord channels that you can join beyond your class use.
      • Good phone app support.
    • Flipgrid  is a discussion platform that uses short videos instead of writing.
      • The instructor can post a topic, and everyone will reply with their own short video.
      • Good phone app support.
    • Google Hangouts is a general video conferencing platform.
      • It works well for individual and group meetings.
      • It is tied to a Gmail address, not your Washcoll address.
    • Perusall is a platform for reading and commenting on texts.
      • In Perusall, you read assigned texts collectively with the rest of the class. Instructors can leave questions throughout the text and you can see what other students thought about certain sections and have conversations with them in the comments.
      • It’s helpful to see what other students see as important or confusing in a reading.
      • It’s a good way to keep all the PDF readings together and organized.
      • You need to read everything on a screen. It doesn’t work with paper or physical books.
    • Slack is a general workgroup platform.
      • It’s used in a lot of corporations, so it is good to get used to.
      • Good for chat-style conversations.
      • Good phone app support.
    • Zoom  is a general video conferencing platform.
      • It works well for individual and group meetings.
      • This is a commonly used platform for class meetings and is relatively user-friendly.
      • Professors will provide you with a link in advance to join meetings.

      UTILITY PLATFORMS

      • Calendy  is a scheduling app.
        • It is often used to schedule office hours with professors.
        • It is only for making appointments – you will use another app for the actual video chat.
      • Google Drive  is a cloud drive to store/share files.
        • It is tied to a Gmail address, not your Washcoll address.
      • Google Docs is a word processor.
        • It is good for writing together with other people.
        • It is streamlined – it may not have all the features you are used to.
        • It is tied to a Gmail address, not your Washcoll address.

          Platforms for Specific Classes or Tasks
    • CoCalc is an online learning platform for computer science and mathematics.
      • Web browser based.
      • Includes many types of software.
      • You need to create a separate login.
    • Edfinity is a homework management website.
      • Homework questions are uploaded for you to answer.
      • Used for Math, Physics, Computer Science, Economics, and others.
    • Quizizz is a standalone quiz platform.

      TEXTBOOKS

    • Some classes will have websites made by the publishers of the textbook they use.
      • You’ll get detailed information about these from your instructor.
    • WCONLINE is an appointment scheduling and video conferencing platform used by the Academic Resource Offices.
      • You can schedule all tutoring appointments here (for the Office of Academic Skills, Quantitative Skills Center, and Writing Center) and view tutor availability.
      • Return to the schedule at the time of your appointment to log in to a video chat with a tutor.
      • Tutoring appointments must be made two days in advance.
    • WeBWork is an online platform for receiving and submitting homework assignments, most often used in math and science courses.

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