Student Orientation Letter
Online Ant 103
Spring 2002                     Back to Welcome Page
Dear Online Student, 

Hi! I am Drew Habermacher, your instructor for online ANT 103: Introductory Cultural Anthropology.

Please read the following very carefully to learn how to get started. It answers the questions most frequently asked about this course.

Course Registration? 

1. If you have not yet registered for ANT 103 Online Cultural Anthropology, please stop and do it now. You will need to do it so your name can be entered into the online course roster which gives you access to the Blackboard online class room.

2. If you have already registered for online Ant 103 through Prince George's Community College or any of the other participating colleges in M.C.C.T.. (e.g., Montgomery College, Hagerstown C.C., etc.), please login to Blackboard (the online course classroom) as indicated below.

How do I login to the Blackboard 5 Online Course Classroom? 

1. Go online and browse to Prince George's Community College's Blackboard site at

2. Then, click on the button labeled <Login>.

3. Next, you will see a dialogue box that asks you to enter your user name and password.

What are your Blackboard login username and password?

Your user name will be the first initial of your first name, the first 3 letters of your last name, your birth month expressed as two digits (for example if your birthday is in March, it would be entered as 03) and your birth date expressed as two digits (for example if your birth date is on the first of the month, it would be entered as 01). Use only lowercase letters to enter your username and use no spaces. 

For example, if your name is Tyrone Shoelace and your birthday is April 8, then your user name will be tsho0408.

Your password will be: your full 9-digit Social Security Number (no spaces and no

For example, Tyrone Shoelace's password will be 123456789.

What if you are not registered through Prince Georges Community College?

NonPGCC Students: 
If you are NOT registered for the course at PGCC but you ARE registering for this course through another college (Montgomery College, Hagerstown Community, etc. college participating in M.C.C.T.), then you must email me at  with ALL the following information:

  • your full name, your birth date (Mo/day/yr), 
  • your student number or social security number, 
  • your email address, 
  • your phone numbers (home & work), and 
  • your (snail)mail address. 
Once I receive this information, I can enroll you into the Blackboard online classroom and you will be able to login as indicated above.

Change your Blackboard password!

You should immediately change your password. To change your Blackboard password, follow these steps.

1. Login to Blackboard using your given username password. 

2. From YOUR Blackboard Welcome page (you will see WELCOME, <Your name will be shown here>! in bold letters at the top of this page), click on Personal Information in the Tools Box on the left side of the page. 

3. Click on Change Password and fill in the requested information. You can change your password to any combination of numbers and letters (lower case only).

4. Make a note of and REMEMBER your new password. 

5. Click the Submit button in the lower right corner. 

Very Important: You will have only one username and one password for Blackboard 5 regardless of how many Blackboard courses you may be taking. If your login is successful, you will see the Blackboard Welcome screen and links to your courses will be listed in the box labeled "My Courses." 

When can you get into the Blackboard 5 online classroom? 

1. Just prior to the class start date, registration information for all students who have registered for the course through Prince George's Community College will be uploaded into Blackboard 5. This upload will create a registered student's username and password AND add the student to all classes in which the student is registered at that time.

2. A second upload will occur about a week later to add students who registered since the first upload was done.

Who teaches me to how to use the Blackboard online classroom? 

You are expected to teach it to yourself. You must be proactive and take the responsibility to learn it. It is not difficult to learn.

You can get some very helpful pointers if you attend the scheduled orientation for online students at PGCC. Also, the instructor will provide some pointers, especially in the beginning of the semester.

How does Blackboard work? 

1. Locate and read the Blackboard Student Manual which can be accessed via the PGCC Distance Learning website at

2. The Blackboard student manual is also accessible from Student Tools inside your Blackboard online course classroom.

3. After you read the manual, if you still have questions about some function in Blackboard, then contact

How do I get started with my online anthropology course? 

1. Add your preferred email address to Blackboard:

  • Login to Blackboard using your given username & password. 
  • From your Blackboard Welcome page (you will see WELCOME, <your name here>! in bold letters at the top of the page), click on Personal Information in the Tools Box on the left side of the page.
  • Click on Edit Personal Information and fill in your Personal Information. While you're there, fill in other information to help your professor and classmates know more about you. 
2. Next, go to the Blackboard  COMMUNICATION area (it is a button on the left) and send me an email. (Disregard this instruction if you have previously provided me with this info.) This email should include: 
  • Your full name 
  • Your mailing address 
  • Your day AND evening phone numbers
  • Your preferred email address
3. Carefully read the materials posted in the following BB button areas: Announcements, Syllabus, Assignments.

4. The course assignments are organized in weekly units called modules. To begin the course work, follow the instructions in the Welcome Announcement and go to Assignments area, find Module 01 and do as it instructs.

5. Purchase your textbooks at the College Bookstore or through any online bookstore.

6. Email me at  or call me at 301 322-0548 with any questions or concerns. Except for weekends, I will respond to emails and phone calls within 48 hours.

How will I submit written work and receive graded written work in my online course? 

1. Essays and other written assignments must be submitted as MS Word .doc files to the Digital Drop Box area in the Communications area. Graded work with comments will be returned to you in your Digital Drop Box.

2. Essays and other written work will be graded and returned within ten (10) days of the due date for the assignment.

Do I ever have to do any work on campus? 

1. Yes, the comprehensive examination is a proctored exam which you must take on campus. You will be told more about this during the semester.

2. Also, you may need to visit a library to complete some of your course assignments.

How do I communicate with the instructor and other members of the class? 

1. Once you login to Blackboard,  go to the Communications area and you will find a list of everyone's email addresses. (That is why it is critical everyone enters and keeps their email address current.)

2. We will also be communicating using the Discussion Board (a.k.a. fora, conferences,  threaded discussions) in Blackboard. In addition to module assignments requiring participation in graded Discussions, there is a special forum called "The Culture Cafe" where students may introduce themselves, ask questions and share information and thoughts. It is not graded and runs the entire semester.

3. The Virtual Classroom is the chat area of Blackboard. From time to time I will schedule and announce optional 30 minute chats. Chats are not graded and not required; they serve as online "office hours" between the instructor and the students who attend them.

How often to I need to go online for this course? 

1. I will respond to email within 48 hours and I expect all students to respond to my email messages within 48 hours.

2. At least every other day (every 48 hours), you should visit the Blackboard online classroom for this course to: 

  • read new announcements posted since your last visit, 
  • take quizzes, 
  • check any new entries to the course calendar, 
  • read and post messages to the Discussion Board assignments,
  • submit written assignments to the Digital Drop Box, 
  • check your grades in the online grade book (in the Tools area of Blackboard). 
How important are the Discussion Board assignments? Do I really have to do them? 

1. Discussion assignments are graded. They are conversations about the course material you are reading.

2. Online students are required to participate in them. (See the course syllabus for their exact percentage of the semester grade .)

3. Discussion Board assignments must be completed within the time period indicated in the assignment. Generally they close ten (10) days after the date they begin. (This may be shorter during summer school, however.)

How firm are the deadlines and due dates in this course? 

1. Very firm! Once a due date for an assignment has passed, it may not be made up nor submitted late. Why? There are more assignment opportunities and points than you can actually use.

2. Since there are more essay, quiz and discussion points than you can actually use if you completed all of them, missing a quiz, discussion or essay assignment is usually not fatal to your grade - at least at first. After you miss a couple, then you are hurting your grade. (See the online syllabus for details.)

3. The only exception to the above deadlines policy is as follows: 

     a. Students who have work conflicts with an assignment due date may provide the instructor that information PRIOR to the due date to be missed to request an extension. 
     b. Sickness requiring a doctor or hospital visit may be eligible for an extension. 
     c. Proof of the visit must be submitted WITHIN A WEEK of the missed deadline. If such timely proofs are judged by the instructor to be acceptable reasons for having missed an assignment due date, a brief extension of the due date will be granted. 

The foregoing information should get you started on the course. However, I am sure you will come up with questions I have not thought to answer. If so, call or email me. 

I look forward to working with you to make your online learning experience go as smoothly as possible.

Best of luck,
Andrew Habermacher, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology       

18January 2002 
A. Habermacher