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Computing

One reason that online education takes a lot of patience and flexibility is that technology has limitations.  Here are some ways to recognize and deal with common problems:

Getting Online

To access the Web, your computer has to contact a server.  A server is a computer that can handle more than one user at a time.  This course uses 3 main websites; they are located on 3 separate servers.  Two of these are maintained by college staff; one is maintained by your textbook's publisher.

On-Campus vs. At-Home Contact

  • When you use a computer in one of the JSRCC computer labs and you click on the Netscape or Internet Explorer icon, it opens right away because the college maintains a direct connection to the Internet.
  • At home, you are probably using an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and paying a monthly fee to do so.  Your ISP provides a server so that you and a few thousand other computer users in your area can get online at the same time.

At either location you may notice that access is faster and that you get bumped off less often during "off-peak" hours, e.g. after midnight and before 10 a.m. or so.

Developing a Routine

Efficient students manage to minimize distractions, e.g. by working online when the family (or at least the kids) have gone to bed or by studying in a place where the family agrees not to intrude.

Especially if you have a 14.4 kps modem (a slow connection), you may want to get online and request a page to load, then do a bit of reading in your textbook while waiting.  Playing solitaire on your computer or using the CD-ROM drive draws computer resources and may further slow your downloading time. After a while, you'll learn how to take advantage of wait time by reading or reviewing your assignment or by drafting or making notes for required writing.

Common Error Messages

To alert your prof. to an error message or problem besides the one listed above--
When you see a new error message, then, use your <PrtScrn> key (just to the right of F12) to capture the screen, open Word, paste in the screen shot, and hit <Enter> to type any needed notes above or below the image.  Save the Word file and attach it to an email alert to your professor's email address.

Recommended Computer Skills

Click to a list of skills you should have or will need to develop to succeed in this course.

Sick Computers

If your computer stops working at home, don't hesitate to use one of the faster computers at the college.  All you need to use the open lab on campus is a photo ID and a 3.5" diskette ( a "floppy" diskette, which is square with a slide at the top), which you may be asked to scan for viruses before taking your place at a workstation in the open lab. 

 


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