quiltlef.gif (8176 bytes) VCCS Litonline Introduction to Literature
English 112 (English Composition II)

Setting and Using Your E-Mail and Web Browser

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E-Mail

  • Most e-mail packages allow users to set certain options. Your professor may ask you to set your mail in a specific way, for example, to have your last name first or to use assigned subject lines for your message headers. Remember that your professor receives hundreds of messages and manages the incoming mail by these settings. Use the online Help menu in your e-mail software package to help you with the setup.

    • Name

      Become familiar with the options for setting your "user name" (also known as "screen name" or "real name"). Follow your professor's directions for formatting this option for the class. and follow your professor's directions for formatting this option for the class, for example, "Smart, Pat" <smartpat@speedmail.net>.

    • Return Address

      Become familiar with the options for setting your "return address" (also known as "reply to" address). Follow your professor's directions for formatting this option for the class. This setting determines where e-mail goes when readers reply to a message from you, for example, "Smart, Pat" <smartpat@speedmail.net>.

    • Signature Block

      If your e-mail software allows automatic signatures, set this feature so that every message you send ends with appropriate identifying information, for example, your "real name" and your e-mail address. Follow your professor's directions for formatting this option for the class, for example, Pat Smart <smartpat@speedmail.net>, English 112-01 Fall 1997

    • Subject Line

      Always use a concise subject line that identifies the specific content of your message. Follow your professor's directions for formatting this option for the class.

  • Writing and Editing

    • If you are composing a message that you want to reflect on and edit, write it in your word processor and save it as a file there. Then copy and paste the text into the body of an e-mail message when you are ready to send it. Unless otherwise instructed, do not use any fancy formatting in the body of your e-mail messages.

    • Short messages should be included in the message body of your e-mail. If the message is longer than a screen or two, you might want to divide it and send it as several subsequent messages with distinctive subject numbers such as Drama 1, Drama 2. For formal writing, consider sending the message as an attached file, but always check with the professor about submission formats and conventions for attachments. See some conventions for file attachments at Submission Formats.

  • As a member of the academic community, you are expected to conduct yourself in person, in print, and on line in a responsible way and in the spirit of courteous educational inquiry. Of course, you are expected to abide by the policies of the college and the laws of the state and the country.

  • The Submission Formats page of VCCS Literature Online offers additional guidelines for setting e-mail options and for some of the conventions of this medium for academic and professional use. In particular, review the Netiquette section.

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Web Browser

You can control the appearance and functions of your Web browser in many ways. If you are not using your own personal computer, be sure to get authorization before changing browser settings. Because different browsers (Netscape Navigator, Microsoft Explorer) and different versions of the browsers (2.0, 3.0 Gold, Communicator) have different methods of adjusting the settings, the guidelines here are general. Use the online Help menu of the browser itself to find the exact procedure. For an online class, you should become familiar with the options of the browser that will be your course delivery tool.

  • If the words on the Web pages on your screen are too large or too small for you to read comfortably, you can adjust them, usually under "font" settings. Some people enlarge the font to 12 or 14 point type when they read on screen and reduce it to 8 or 10 point type when they print in order to save paper.

  • If the colors of the Web page are difficult to read, set the browser for a white or gray background and black text and links, overriding the colors of the page author. Whenever possible, use the author's original colors, however. Also, dark pages will often print more clearly if you override the author's colors and use a white or gray background for the print process.

  • Use the BACK button on the top menu of your browser to return to the immediately preceeding pages in reverse order. Use the GO menu bar box to see a list of the pages you have just visited; you can choose to return to them one at a time.

  • Use the ADD BOOKMARK or FAVORITES feature of your browser to keep on file the URLs (uniform resource locators or Web addresses) of sites you think you'll want to return to without having to type the entire address in the locator bar. Be sure to bookmark the pages for your course information. Learn how to organize the bookmarks logically so they will be easy to use.

  • Your Web access will be more efficient if you do not have a lot of other programs open at the same time. On the other hand, you can have your word processor open and COPY and PASTE chunks of text from Web pages into your word processor.

  • You can also save Web pages as .TXT files in your word processor. Be sure to keep careful records of the source of any information you copy, including the URL, author, and date of access. For scholarly attribution and for courtesy, you will have to provide that information. You can have your e-mail open and copy a URL from a Web site into your e-mail and e-mail it to yourself or to somebody else.

  • If slow-loading graphics (images, pictures) are taking too long to appear on your screen or are delaying your access to the text, set your browser to ignore images or to load them after the text has loaded. If the image feature is turned off, you can choose to load images after the page has downloaded fully. Sometimes an image appears as a small thumbnail; if you click on the image, a larger version appears.

  • Some browsers allow you to open more than one browser window so that you can review one Web page while another one is still loading or use one window for one activity and the other window for another activity. For class activities, using two windows can be helpful.

  • Some Web pages automatically open a second window for you when you choose certain options. Usually, you must close these windows manually when you finish reading/viewing them.

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