Online Courses Note:
Hosting and maintaining a site for online courses has grown more complicated and expensive since I moved to my present hosting system in 2013. Technical problems are few and far between on this site, but my skill set doesn’t include what it takes to solve problems. And problems usually come in the middle of an aging parent crisis. In between crises, I’ve been mulling what to do, what to do. It’s time to decide. I will look at some different hosting options over the next month. But it’s very likely that I won’t be able to continue to operate the Two Red Threads online course site in 2019. I will keep you posted but I ask that you try to finish your classes and review old class material before the end of 2018, just in case. Don’t panic about finishing, but if it just dropped off your radar please try to get it back onto your to-do list.
Please note that for now, at least, enrollment is closed in all classes: Before you can enter a classroom, you need to be registered in that course. After you enroll in New Age Looping Basics, Cross-Knit Looping or Freeform Looping, you’ll receive an email with instructions and a password. For the free Intro To Looping class, you can register here.
For more information about getting started on the course site, please go to the Orientation Page. This page addresses questions related to content delivery in your online classroom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will I see in my online classroom? When you’re logged into the course site, click the Front Page link to your classroom to see class material in the main panel of the window. Scroll down the main course page to follow the progression of lesson units. Most units have an introduction, which you’ll see on the main page, followed by links to one or more sub-pages. Click a link to go to the video demonstration on a subpage. Use your browser’s Back button to return to the main course page.
What’s that other column? In addition to the main panel, which is where you’ll find the course content, there’s a column on the right or left (views may be different). That column shows a full outline of the course. Click on an arrow to expand or hide elements of a unit. When one is expanded, you’ll see links to any pages that don’t show on the main course page. That’s a quick way to find a specific video you want to review later. Items that don’t have live links are found by scrolling down the main page.
Where are the videos? In a lesson unit, click the title of a video to open a new page with the video player. Enter the password given in the unit text and hit Enter to play the video.
How do I get a video to play in full-screen mode? Hover on the bottom of the video player between the volume control and the Vimeo logo. You’ll see a 4-arrow icon. Click that to go to full-screen mode. Click Escape on your keyboard to return to normal screen.
What if I have trouble playing a video? With so many different types of devices and internet connections to consider, you might need to try a few different things.
- Check Your Password. In addition to the password that gets you into the course site, you’ll need passwords to start the video players within a lesson. Those passwords are generally below the page title and above the video player.
- Reboot. The simplest and fastest way to solve most video problems is by rebooting your computer before you start watching a lesson. A computer that’s left “on” most of the time (even if it gets “naps”) caches a lot of stuff. Shutting down and booting up again gives it a chance to clear out the debris and start fresh.
- Clear the cache. You may want to clear your browser’s cache. For stubborn problems, clear the cache, reboot, then clear the cache and reboot again.
- Try a different browser. Particularly if you’re using Internet Explorer, many problems can be solved by changing to another web browser. For video viewing, Google Chrome is generally considered best. I use Firefox.
- Try a different device. Using a laptop or desktop computer may solve the problem.
- Check your bandwidth. Rural areas like where I live generally have fewer options and more limited bandwidth than urban areas. If you have have trouble loading videos, contact your internet service provider for advice. When I did that, they walked me through a couple of diagnostics, then flipped a switch remotely that improved my service. It’s still not as fast as, say, at the library, but it’s better.
- Dial-up. Sadly, online classes based on video lessons may be too much for a slow dial-up connection. Try a free intro class first to see if it’s doable before signing up for a paid course. Or ask about using the computer lab at your local school or public library.
- Load before playing. If you have buffering problems (frequent pauses or choppy playback), click the triangular Play button on the player, then click Pause. This signals the player to load the video. Stitch or check your email while that’s happening. When a gray bar extends all the way across the bottom of the video player, the video should be loaded and ready to play smoothly.
Can I use my iPad or smartphone for this course? The course is meant to be mobile-friendly. On my Galaxy tablet, I access the course through the web browser. Still, you may find that some features work best on your mobile device if you download an app. For the course site, there’s MyMoodle for iPhone, iPad Touch and iPad (free). For Android devices try the MoodleMobile app, or try a different browser (Chrome or Firefox). And for improved video playback on mobile devices, streaming players and TVs, visit Vimeo Everywhere for more information. And you may want to download a PDF reader app to view the class handouts on your mobile device.
How do I ask questions in the class? Courses includes a Forum where you can ask questions, reply to discussion threads, and learn from interaction with other students as well as the instructor. By default, you’ll be subscribed to a daily summary of forum activity, which will be sent to your email inbox. You can unsubscribe or change your forum subscription preferences and other information at Settings > MyProfileSettings > EditProfile. Click the Update Profile button at the bottom of the page to save changes. Your personal email address will not be visible to other students.
How do I post a photo on a course forum? It’s almost as easy as sharing a picture on Facebook or other social networking sites. In the Forum, reply in a thread or start a new discussion to open the text editor. To add a JPG image, look for the little tree icon in the post editor tool bar. It looks like this:
Unlike Facebook, the course platform does not automatically resize image files to fit the display in the window. To make sure your whole image shows without scrolling, after selecting an image to upload, do the following:
- Click the tab that says Appearance.
- Make sure “Constrain proportions” is checked.
- Change the dimension in the left-hand box to 300 pixels or less.
- Click “Insert”.
Please shoot at low resolution for forum posts whenever possible. The maximum size file you can upload to the site is 500 kb. If you have something shot at a high resolution and don’t have imaging software that lets you resize it, here’s what you can do:
- Go to picresize.com. Click “Browse” to choose a picture file.
- Look for the small print below and to the left of the file name you selected. Click “Quick Resize.”
- Select “Custom Size” and type “640” in the Width box. Make sure Pixels is chosen in the box to the right of Width. Make sure JPG is chosen in the box “Save As Format”.
- Click the yellow “I’m Done” button. You’ll see a status bar as your image is resized.
- When it’s done, you’ll have 20 minutes to claim your resized image. On the left-hand side of the window, choose Save To Disk or Save To Web (not the big “Download” button).
No toolbar in the Forum text editor? Some students have reported that they don’t see a toolbar in the text editor when they try to post in the Forum. This seems to be a problem related to the Internet Explorer browser, although it can also happen with Safari. Without that toolbar, you won’t be able to include a photo. When you hit Reply to a forum post or start a new thread, you should see this menu bar to the right of “Message*”:
If you’re not getting that menu bar and are using Internet Explorer as your web browser, please try Firefox, which you can download for free at mozilla.org. or Chrome, which you can also download for free.
How do I get my handouts? Handouts are available as PDF digital downloads via Etsy. They’re available to download as soon as you pay for the class. If you didn’t download them at that time, sign in to your account at etsy.com and look in the upper right menu bar for Your Account. Under that, choose Purchases & Reviews. Select your class purchase, and you’ll see a big blue button that says Download Files. To view them, you’ll need to have a PDF reader installed (download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader here) or select a PDF reader app for your mobile device.