Getting Started

Table of Contents

You will be using the website a lot in this class. The website allows you to check your grade at any time during term, so that you can easily find out what you got on a test, or whether you currently have an A or a B. It also provides a forum in which you can ask questions and post comments about the classwork. Finally, the website contains copies of all the notes and work from class. If you are absent, you are expected to print out the homework from the website and have it done by the time you return to school.

At the start of the year, you must set a password for your user account on the website. If you would like your parents to have access to your grades, you can register them as well. Finally, you are interested in using the website's capability of posting questions and comments, you can create a messages page for yourself, and you can set up a signature and/or picture to go with your posts.

1. Logging in

The menubar at the top of this page should have a "Log in" link in it. If someone's name is there instead, click on it and log them out.

Click on the "Log in" link and enter your username and password. Your username is your school ID number, and your password is your first name (first letter capitalized). When you have logged in, the menu bar should change; it now contains your full name, and some extra options like "Comment". You may have to refresh the page to see this.

You must always log in before your will be allowed to edit pages, view your grades, or post comments.

2. Your user settings

Your first task is to change your password. You should probably make a new browser window to do this in so that you can keep these instructions open.

Click on your name in the toolbar, then click on "Settings" in the menu that appears. You will get to a page titled "Your User Information". You can use this page to change your password, to change how your name appears in posts, or to enter or remove parent accounts.

The one thing you must set now is your password. Type in your old password (your first name), and then type a new password, typing it twice to make sure you didn't make any typos. You may also change the other settings if you wish.

3. Posting comments

To post a comment on a page, just click the "Comment" tab in the toolbar at the top of the page. If there is no such tab, that page cannot accept comments. Type your comment into the form that appears, and click "Post comment"; it shoudl appear at the bottom of the page.

You will notice that your name and the time are automatically included with the post. You can change the name that appears here, and its font and color, in the settings page.

You will also notice a small icon next to your name. This icon is a link to your messages page, a page that other people can use to leave messages specifically for you. You can also use this page to give a brief description of who you are. To set up your messages page, go to that page, and you should see a message that it does not yet exist. Click on the "Edit" link in the toolbar to create it.

In the Page that this takes you to, there is a large text area at the top for you to edit what you want to appear on your page. Then, at the bottom, there is a second text area labelled "Description." Whatever you type into the description will appear as a "signature" after all your posts. You should also type <lock:comment> into the description. This makes it so taht other people can post comments on your messages page, but cannot edit your description of yourself or your signature.

If you want your posts to be even fancier, you can give yourself an avatar, a small picture that apperas to the right of all your posts and makes it easier for other people to distinguish at a glance which are yours. To do this, first locate an image you would like to use, one that is around 80-100 pixels in each direction. Rename it to "avatar" (that is, avatar.gif, avatar.jpg, or whatever the extension was before). Then, click the "Upload" tab, select that image, and upload it. If you give a description to this image, it will appear under the image in your posts, rather than under the rest of your posts. So, for example, Mr. Z. has an avatar based on a fractal he made for his calculus class in high school, and its description says simply "Teacher".

4. Viewing your grades

At some point (probably not this early in term) you will want to know how you are doing in this class. Or, you'll want to know how you did on a test that I haven't handed back yet because some students have yet to make it up. You can see your grades by clicking on your name in the toolbar, then clicking on "Grades". You will see a calendar of term, which will display all your homework and attendance information, and a table with your grades on all graded assignments.

5. Other features of the website

If you want to, you can create an entire website for yourself within the class webpage. You will find that the webpae is useful when you want to work on group projects and have many people be able to see and edit some report you are writing. To learn more about the webpage, read the other pages in Website Instructions.