Getting Started

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Introduction

About Me
Course Syllabus
Internet Basics and Protocols
Learn to read very carefully
E-Mail Me

Introduction

Greetings! This page will tell you everything you need to know to get started in this course. Even if you've been surfing the web since before you learned how to walk you will want to read this page.

First,  you may have noticed that many parts of this course are being conducted online. Why? To help you get a better job, to impress your friends, to make you happier, smarter, more carefree... (Okay, those aren't the only reasons we are conducting this course online but indulge me a few moments, I'll answer this question below.)

Are you nervous or suprised or generally wary about this whole Internet thing? Should you be frightened at the prospect of using the Internet? Maybe. If fright is a motivator, then use it. But ask yourself one important question: am I willing to learn? If the answer is yes, then you have nothing to fear or worry about. Your fellow students and I will do everything possible to help you in these first weeks as you plunge into the vast waters of cyberspace. Trust me, I've helped billions of students (well, thousands actually) learn how to navigate the web and send e-mail. If you are willing (and willing includes being willing to admit you need help and seeking it from me or a fellow student) then you'll be surfing the web in less than an hour. Really.

What if you don't have access to the Internet? You have three choices: 1) you can use the library or the computer labs at Fullerton College for FREE access to the Internet (yes, there is no charge, except for printing; 2) you can set up a computer at home to gain access to the Internet; 3) you can sweet talk your mom and dad or boyfriend or girlfriend or close friend into using their computer for the entire semester (just make sure you don't piss them off before exam time); or 4) regrettably,  you can take another section of this course offered by instructors who don't require Internet access (harsh, I know, but some students have chosen that option >:-{))

Back to the why question: Why do I insist that students learn how to navigate the Internet? I believe that learning how to use a computer and familiarizing yourself with the tools to access the Internet and the World Wide Web are the most valuable skills you can learn in college right now. I don't care if you are training to become a beautician, an auto mechanic, a sky diver or a pearl diver, you will need to know how to use a computer and you will need to know how to find and exchange information on the Internet. Businesses cite a lack of technology skills as one of the major limitations of new employees. As Yoda says, you will learn...you will!

Some of you will resist. But if you give it a chance, if you are willing to learn, even if you have never sat in front of a computer, I will make sure you gain the skills you need. I take it as a personal mission to train all of my students how to use the Internet. I can't teach you everything about using a computer, that's not the purpose of this course. What I can do, however, is open a world of opportunity for you and show you the vast ocean of resources that are available through the Internet. It's part of that life-long learning thing. And there is no better place to start than in an oceanography class.

The following sections provide an overview of the important sections and features on this web site. It is designed to give you an overall warm and fuzzy feeling for the course. Some of these sections will be covered in greater detail as you proceed through the syllabus. For now, just familiarize yourself with these summaries.

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About Me

You will find a biography of me posted on a page called About Sean Chamberlin. It's probably more than you ever wanted to know about a professor, but I provide it as a starting point for conversations and to let you know that I'm just an ordinary guy doing an ordinary job the best I can. In fact, the listings in the biography came from an e-mail questionnaire sent to me by a former student. The idea is to send it to all your friends as a way to get to know them better. If you'd rather not know my favorite toothpaste or favorite 90s band, then just read the top part and skip the rest or just leave that page unturned all together. If you find anything that sparks your interest, then feel free to send me an e-mail.

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Course Syllabus

The Course Syllabus is the nerve center of our course. It is arranged into sections that take you to all of the required reading. You will be tested on your understanding of the material in each section. At the end of each section you will find a hyperlink to practice quizzes designed to help you learn the material. You will also find a hyperlink to the exam for each section. You will learn more about grading and the exams in the Course Guidelines. The most important thing to remember is that the syllabus is your guide to the required reading for the course.

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Internet Basics and Protocols

Everybody should read Internet Basics and Protocols a couple times. First, it is part of the required reading on the Course Syllabus. Second, it's got lots of important information. Third, it tells you specifically how to send e-mails and submit exams. This is where web veterans get into trouble. I am very particular about the e-mail I receive and if it's not the way I like it, I delete it without reading it. So please check out those sections at the very least. Internet Basics and Protocols provides *invaluable suggestions* for managing the online aspects of this course. All students will be responsible for submitting materials online. This section will help you figure out how to do that. Here you will learn proper procedures for submitting e-mails, quizzes, exams, assignments and other forms of correspondence. This section also helps familiarize you with using a web browser (that's the program you are using to read this page) and helps you learn how to send and receive e-mail, if you are new to these kinds of things.

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Learn to Read Very Carefully

What amazes me more than anything about this world is people's seeming inability to read carefully. In a world of sound bites, it's easy to gloss over the details, but in a college course, not paying attention to the details can be killer. When I worked as a ticket seller for the Washington State Ferry System, I found that many people *tune out* their surroundings and miss important details (like the large sign in big letters that says what time the ferry leaves, which dock it leaves from, etc.). In a course like this, the devil is in the details. Get in the habit of reading each word, even if you think you've read it before. When typing your e-mail address, get in the habit of reading each letter, or the consequences can be severe. It really is incumbent upon you to learn how to read very carefully. It will make your life and my life much much easier and it will make your ability to succeed in this course a lot easier.

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E-Mail Me

I love teaching and I especially love teaching through the Internet. This is a very powerful medium with tremendous potential for teaching and learning. Despite what many think, the Internet offers much closer interactions between students and teachers. We can respond to each other through individual e-mails. We can chat and discuss topics 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can review charts and graphs, play with interactive demonstrations, review bits of video and explore other worlds in a way that we could never do in the classroom. I hope you enjoy surfing these pages as much as I enjoyed creating them. As always, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to e-mail me, drc@oceansonline.com.

Surf long and prosper!

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