Getting started with Fronter
(Updated for Fronter version 82, October 2008)
Fronter is a web-based data system for communication and collaboration for learning and teaching. Teachers and students (and others) can meet here at any time to either present or retrieve information, or to communicate in various other ways. The entire system is on the Internet and all you need on your own computer is a normal Web browser program like Internet Explorer. Fronter is divided into rooms for the different subjects and classes. The rooms are alike in their starting points, but are gradually filled by teachers and students with information relevant to ongoing work.
1. Find Fronter
Start the Web browser program Internet Explorer.
Write in the address of Hedmark University College (www.hihm.no) in the address bar at the top of the screen.
Choose Student in the top menu. At the right hand side of the Student page you will find "Fronter innlogging" with fields for user’s name and password which the school has given you. You may also choose your preferred language: Norwegian ("bokmål" [Dano-Norwegian]), Norwegian ("Nynorsk" [New Norwegian]), or English.
It is also possible to find a log-in page on the address fronter.com/hihm.
If you have problems with use of Fronter you can contact the helpdesk at telephone 62430499 or at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
After you have logged in, you come to a start page which is called "Today."
Here you will find messages which come from all the rooms you belong to and e-mail sent to your student e-mail account. You can also fine an overview of other new activities which have taken place in the room, such as calendar information, etc. Today may have a different setup for different users.
4. Read messages on Today
Reading messages is one of the most important basic skills in Fronter. Although the messages are written in only one of the rooms you belong to, the messages from all the rooms of which you are a member may be read here on Today. You only see the titles of the messages on the start page. To read an entire message, choose Read more.
5. Read e-mail on Today
Students can read e-mail to the student address on Today, and can give response and write new messages. When you read a message you are moved over to the screen for e-mail. To read more messages choose Next. Other users must enter additional information to use this e-mailreader.
The screen in Fronter is divided into three main areas:
---- Permanent tools ----
(when you are in a room)
Personal tools is always present, independent of room.
Permanent options contains help, log out, a room overview, etc.
Room menu depends on the room you are in.
Contents depends upon the contents you have chosen to view in the room.
If you click on your own name in the upper area of the screen, you come to a screen where you can change the contact information about yourself. Much of this information is accessible to other users in Fronter when they are logged in. There is also some more technical information here.
If you are a student at the college, then you must change this information in the administration’s data system, Studentweb. It will then be updated in Fronter after one day.
If you are not a student, then you can change the information here in Fronter (you may also change your password under Log-in Information).
You can also put a picture of yourself here,
8. Go to a room.
In the overview Choose room at the top of the page, you can now choose one of the rooms you have access to. Click on the down arrow to the right of the open bar. You may now choose a room in the menu which opens on the left. The next screen contains a Room menu on the left-hand side where you may choose between Room, Members, Resources, Hand-in, Chat and Portfolio. Use the choices to acquaint yourself with the organization and contents of the room. Some rooms may have other choices.
9. Read messages in a room.
Messages are written in a room by users who have teachers’ access rights. The messages can then be read by everyone who has access to this room. They can be read on this room’s start page and on Today.
10. Reading of the contents in Archive
All the common contents in Fronter are to be found in some sort of room. The contents of each room can be organized in different ways.
You can read the contents of the Resources of a room by clicking on the different names of the folders which are there. The names can open subfolders (some of these may be special hand-in folders), they can open Word documents or other data files which have been uploaded, they can lead you to web addresses, they can start a test, or they can lead you to an ongoing discussion. You can also be active by creating and inserting new content yourself. This process is explained in the following points.
11. Uploading documents to Resources.
To upload a document to a Fronter folder, you need to have first created and saved the document on your own computer. Afterwards, do the following:
Go to the correct folder. Choose Upload file and then Bla gjennom (Browse) to find the relevant file on your computer, and then Open. Fill in the Title of the document. and choose Save to input the result in the folder.
12. Submitting a document in a Hand-in Folder.
Submiting a file in a Hand-in Folder is fairly similar to uploading it to Archive. Hand-in folders will usually be found under Hand in at the room menu. Choose the correct folder, and Upload file. If you are submitting in a folder for a group of people, you must also choose Customise owners, check Group Hand-in and the names of the people in your group. If you are submitting a document individually, then everything is already correctly checked. Afterwards, choose Bla gjennom (Browse), find the relevant file, choose Open, and fill in the Title of the document. Then choose Save. Only the teacher and the student(s) who passed in a document in a hand-in folder are able to view the document.
13. Creating links in a Resource folder.
Publishing links is accomplished in a similar fashion. Choose the correct folder, Choose Link, enter the entire URL (the web address which begins with http://), title, and description (if desired), and then choose Save. With web links, it is usually advisable to choose Open in new window.
14. Writing new documents in a Resource folder.
Choose this to write new documents of different types, and save it directly in Fronter. Choose Create, give the document a title, and choose Fronter document multiple authors, Fronter document one author, or one of the other types. Then choose Save. The different documents types require different ways of working.
15. Starting and participating in discussions in a Resource folder.
When you want to open a discussion in order to read the contents or participate yourself, you will find the first contribution’s heading and contents at the top of the screen. Underneath that, you will see the structure for the thread which has been written. To read a contribution, click on its title. If you want to respond to something you have read, choose Reply down and right of the text, write a headline and your message, and then choose Save. If you would like to add a new contribution on "first level" in the same discussion, you can also choose New contribution at the bottom, write a headline and message, and then choose Save. After clicking on Save in both cases, you will then be able to see exactly how your contribution fits into the structure of the discussion. If you see a + in the structure, you can click on it and se responses and comments.
If you would like to begin a new discussion, go to the folder where the discussion belongs, choose Forum, write a headline and message, and choose Save. There are different types of forums, but Discussion is the most usual. Please note that you may customize the opening hours of your forum, by deciding whether it should always be open for contributions or open only for a limited period.
The option Portfolio is where students can find an overview of their own activities, which tests they have taken, and what has been stored in hand-in folders in the whole room. This gives you an overview over our own activities.
This is Fronter’s chat system where members of a room can meet in order to "chat" with one another. When you have entered Chat, you will see a screen on the right which lists everyone who is in the room at the same time as you. You can write messages at the bottom, and input them by clicking Enter.
18. Personal tools
At the top of the Fronter screen, you will find a row of "personal tools." These are available at all times, and are customized for the user who is logged in on the computer.
My archive is like an archive in a room, but this belongs to you alone. Here, you may store information which you want to be available at any time or place.
My E-mail gives you the possibility of reading and writing email on an already existing email account. Students have their student e-mail address entered. Others can enter additional information to operate e-mail from here. You can also read and send stickys (personal messages) to other Fronter users. These can be seen on Today if the user have prepared for it there My archive is like an archive in a room, but this belongs to you alone. Here, you may store information which you want to be available at any time or place.
My Calendar offers you the possibility of inserting personal calendar information, or viewing information which is on the calendar in a particular room.
See who’s online, with the face next to it, gives you the possibility of directly "chatting" with the other users who are logged onto Fronter at the same time as you. You can make your own contact list here.
Contact gives you an overview of the other users, independently of room.
Survey gives you access to surveys when there are someone for you.
One final comment:
If you work from a private Windows-computer, it is a good idea to update Windows. If you do not do this, errors may occur when you are using Fronter. To update Windows, you must first start Internet Explorer and be connected to the Internet. Then choose Tools – Windows Update in Explorer. You will then be directed to a website where you can search for updates and have these installed. You must also be aware that local firewall software can stop Fronter access.
When you retrieve information from the Internet, you will occasionally be informed that you need a program called Acrobat Reader. It is an advantage to have this already installed on your computer. It can be downloaded without charge from the website www.adobe.no.