Overview

Greetings

Since we don't get to see each other face-to-face, take a peek at my intro page. In there is also some small discussion about online courses in general. In return I'd ask each of you to introduce yourself to the rest of the class by posting a quick something to the Discussion Board in Blackboard Vista, under the Introductions topic.

If anybody here has taken an online course before and has anything to add, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it on the Discussion Board. If you have anything about the course you don't want to share with everyone, please email me. If it's of a critical nature, you'd rather be anonymous, email it to Professor Char.


Lectures

On the Lecture frame (page) there is a list of topics, by week. The link there will take you to an HTML outline of topics for discussion. This page will contain associated reading in the text, as well as a pointers to anything else I have for the week, such as examples, and a recorded lecture.


Meetings

I'll hold one session each week, 1-2 hours. The purpose of the meetings is three-fold:

These meetings, largely, are not required. If you understand the material and hand in correct work, great.

I will, probably, have each of you present a problem to the discussion at some point in the term.

We will probably meet in a Wimba classroom. This is a 3rd-party add-on to Bb Vista, which I'll make available as soon as I see my courses up there. This provides for text-messaging, as well as voice*, and a presentation/whiteboard area. These meetings can be archived, to be viewed at your leisure (somebody please remind me, at the beginning of each meeting, to start the recording).

*You don't need much to take advantage of the VOIP. If you have a desktop mike and some earbuds that you can plug into your speakers or soundcard, you're good to go. If you want to buy an analog headset for $15, great. You can get a USB headset for $30.

The only problem with the standard desktop microphone and speakers is that the mike will pick up what the speakers say. My Toshiba has some speaker-canceling software, but I haven't tried it. I have a Logitech USB headset, $30, works well.


Assignments

I would like you to submit your work before the meeting (i.e., assn 1 will be discussed during week 2's meeting). I am not looking for you to have everything correct, but for a good effort. I want to know where you are, and I want to see good questions and better understanding during our discussion. After the weekly meeting you'll have a chance to fix up what you didn't get and submit it again.

You may work together on the weekly assignments (see Collaboration, below). You will each (individually) submit your work to me, in some electronic format (preferrably PDF).


Collaboration

We will be using various tools in .

Vista provides a bulletin board for asynchronous discussion, chatrooms for synchronous discussion, a calendar, a mechanism for submitting assignments electronically, and a room, where synchronous discussion may happen.

I encourage you to post appropriate questions (general knowledge, group assignments, etc.) to the bulletin board. If a fellow student can answer, great. If not, then I'll get to it. But everybody will have the benefit of the discussion.

You may discuss the weekly assignments amongst yourselves, and help each other out. Please note that this is different from simply copying somebody else's work. It's not too hard for the instructor to tell the difference.

Disclaimer: Vista is not administered by the Computer Science department. I will help and answer questions as best as I can, but IRT is the holder of the keys.


Submission

You will submit all work through Vista.

For weekly assignments, I would really like that you submit everything in one file. There are free PDF-creators out there. See http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/. You can hand me a Word doc (though I'd prefer RTF). If you write your stuff by hand and scan it, please gather all of the images together in one container. PDF does the job; RTF works fine too.

Please do not email me any work w/out my prior consent. I use a text-based mail client, and tend to filter out things that have attachments.