Technical Help - How to use this web site

For the most part, using this web site will be staightforward for anyone used to navigating web sites. So don't worry - jump in and explore!


If this video doesn't start automatically, view the video in one of these formats:

Hardware & Software requirements

A computer with any modern web browser should be able to run this web site without problem. If this is not the case, please let me know. I test it using Safari and Chrome on a Mac. This site is certqainly optimized and designed for use from a computer rather than a small mobile device, but every attempt will be made to make it useable on such devices (I'll test in on an iPad; for example, there will be no Flash videos).

This web site does use some files that require browser plugins, but these are standard formats for which the ability to view is included by default on most computers and hand-held devices: pdf (Adobe Acrobat), mov (Apple Quicktime), and mp4 (standard video).

For the most part, this web site doesn't require a particularly fast connection. As you might expect, however, viewing videos works best with a high-speed connection.

How do I get to the web site?

The main pages of this web site is open to the public, but the wiki/weblog pages require you to log in with a username and password. Before the course begins, I will send you an email with the class username and password.

Getting around & using the web site

At the top of each web page, under the "MB 451 Microbial Diversity" banner, is a menubar with links to ach of the main sections of the web site:

Let's go through each of these one at a time.


This is the entry page of the web site. Not much here but a Table of Contents (the same as the menubar), and links to resources to help new users get started. Notice, however, that the TOC listing for "Announcements" will have the title and date for the last posted announcement. This is an easy way to know if there is a new announcement to look at.


You should check this page every couple of days. This is where class announcements will be posted, with the most recent postings at the top. Some of these will be the same announcements I give at the beginning of the traditional lecture section, but other timely news will appear here as well.


Most of the sutff normally found in a Syllabus will be here. You need to read this very carefully at the beginning of the semester; we'll review this on the first day as well. You may also need to refer to it periodically during the semester - think of this as the "course rules". My contact info is here as well.


The schedule outlines how the class will (hopefully) proceed. It is also the gateway to the course material - each of the lecture topics, lecture modules, and Discussion session titles will be links to the course material. I'll do my best to stay ahead of the material, and will link in the pages when they are ready, but no later than the day of the tradiational lecture (for lcture topics & modules) or the first day of the week for the Discussion sessions.

The course material pages no longer cotain senstive material, and so no longer require a username and password to access.


This page contains information about the exams, exam dates, and expectations. Also on this page are copies of every exam I have every given in this class - these are an important study resource!


The Grades page has a copy of my gradebook spreadsheet with all of your scores listed, using your self-assigned PIN (which I will request from you) as your "name". In addition, there is information about how grading in the class works, including the grading scale.

Getting around & using the course Discussion wiki

The Discussion Wiki page is your gateway to the Discussion sessions.

When you go to the Discussion wiki page, or directly to specific Discussion session pages from the Schedule page, you will have to log in with the class username and password. Again, I will provide you with these by email a the beginning of the semester.

The entry page for the Discussion session describes how the Discussions sessions will work. You should carefully review this- this is critical info! Failure to keep up with the obligations of the Discussions sessions will destroy your grade.

Moving around in the Wiki

Don't be taken aback by the fact that these pages appear different than the other web pages on this site. You'll also find that moving around in the wiki is a little different than in the rest of the web site. This might take some getting used to if you've not worked with wiki or blog pages much before.

You can click the "Wiki" button at the top of any of the wiki pages to come back to the entry page, or you can use the "back" or "forward" buttons on your browser to move forward or backwards.

On the right side of the Wiki page is a box with a series of links. Probably the only one that you'll use a lot will be the "Current discussion" link; these will be links to the pages that are relevant at any particular time.

In the body of the Wiki, you can click links within the wiki pages to move to the pages referred to by the link. For example, on the Discussion Wiki main page, there are links to the "Who are we?" page and the weekly discussion topics.

Usually you will start at the main Wiki page, and click on the Discussion session topic for the week. This will take you to the weekly topic page. On this page you'll find a prompt for your task for that session. Each of these is different. Use the "back" button to return to the question page.

At the bottom of the main Wiki page is a link back to the regular MB 451 web site.

Posting on the Wiki pages

To post on any of the Wiki pages, click on the "Add a new comment" link.This will bring up a text field, into which you can type what you want. BE SURE TO ADD YOUR NAME AT THE END - OTHERWISE WE WON'T KNOW WHO POSTED THIS COMMENT. When you're finished, click "Save comment", and it will appear on the wiki page. Nothing to it! However, once you post something, you can't change it - if you need to change something, you'll have to delete it and re-enter the correct comment from scratch.