This section is intended to give an overview of the site and get you started as a student in a class.

If you're reading this you have probably already registered an account and created a profile.  Details on how to do that are located in the "help" section of the main menu bar.

But before we get into more details, this manual has multiple chapters.  There's  table of contents on the left hand side of the screen.  (There's a bunch of other stuff there too, so you might not have noticed it at first.)  Click on a chapter to read it.  You can also click on the grey triangles on the top and bottom right of this section of text to move to next or previous chapters.

UBIS has three teaching periods, or trimesters, per year.  Currently they start in January, April, and September.  There is an enrollment period before each trimester.  During the enrollment period you'll see the list of courses on the front page, categorized by language.  When you click on a category and then on an individual class, you'll see details about it including the papers covered, a summary of the course, and the teacher/facillitator, or TF.  If enrollment is open you'll also see an "enroll me" button.  Once you click on that your name is added to the list of people requesting that course.

If there is space in the class you will receive an email letting you know that you've been accepted.  Remember to log in again the week the course starts (as early in the week as you can) to participate in the class.  Details of class participation are in another chapter.

If you are familiar with the prior UBIS you'll have noticed some big changes.  We know that some of you are comfortable and familiar with the old site, but the new sites offers a lot of features that UBIS needs to move forward over the next few years.

Some key changes:

  • Most browsers supported, including phones and tablets.  Some pages might be hard to see on a phone with a small screen, but the site will display as best it can on limited space.
  • No longer need to cut and paste from Word when answering questions.  The new site will keep your login session active for a couple hours on each page.  When answering a question you can click on "save" and return to the question to continuing editing as many times as you want during the question week.
  • Account information, including username and password, is permanent.  You'll use the same account every time you return for a class.  (Which means you should remember your password.  Most browsers will offer to remember a password for you.)
  • All prior weeks available for browsing.  That's good if you want to review past questions and responses, but each week you need to make sure you've navigated to the current week.  It should be on the bottom of the main course page.  To keep the display uncluttered each weekly section can be collapsed or expanded -- just click the grey triangle next to the label with the date.

The new site is built using a system called moodle that is used universities and schools all over the world.  It supports multiple languages (as of this writing there are courses in English, French, and Spanish).

However because the site has so many features it can be confusing at times.  UBIS doesn't use nearly all of the features, so these guides mainly focus on the ones that are used.  You'll see navigation blocks, menu bars, clocks, calendars, and recently activity shown on the left or right side of the screen.  You can view profiles of students in your class and send messages.

You can also simplify the display to focus on just your course.  Each of the extra blocks on the left or right has a "-" button that will shrink it and a "<" button that will dock it on the left side of your browser screen.  You can still use the menu blocks even when they are docked by hovering your mouse over them, or returning them to full size on the screen by clicking the ">" button while they are docked.

The site offers a variety of ways to show course material, and different TFs will customize their courses in different ways, but most course activities are common among all the classes and the way to access them is standard.

During the course you'll log in, see your current course listed under "my courses" on the front page, and click on the course name.  (The course name will appear in other places too, like on your "my home" page.  Whenever you see a course name, if you click on it you'll be taken to that course (or to the enrollment page for it if you aren't enrolled in the course.)

Look for the current week of your course.  It should have a different colored background and you might have to expand it by clicking the grey triangle next to the weekly section title.  There will be reading material and instructions in that section.  There will also be one or more icons representing activities.  These will include discussion forums, roll calls, questions, and essays.

When you click on one of those you will go to another page with additional details or instructions.  For example on a question when you click you will see the full question text and a a button to click on to answer the question.

Whenever you have to enter text into the system there will be an edit box.  There will be a number of formatting tools as well (it will look a bit like an older version of Word or Write).  No need to use any of them if you don't want to.  At the bottom of the screen will be a button to save.  The label will vary depending on the activity, so it might say save, submit, post to forum, etc.  You can then return to your course's main page to do any of the other activities.

Details of each activity type are found in other chapters of this manual.

Feel free to explore the site and try different things.  As I said, we haven't attempted to document all aspects of moodle, only the ones that are most important for taking a course.  As long as you don't click on anything that says "delete" you really can't mess things up (and you'll only have permissions to delete your own things, not someone else's anyway).

If you do get stuck or find yourself getting lost or confused with the website, please ask your TF or the webmaster (there is a link at the bottom of every page to send email).  We know there are a lot of changes and we want to help everyone and make this a site were people are comfortable sharing and learning.