Monday, January 14

Hello everybody, and welcome to SPRING SEMESTER 2013. I hope you had a great winter break and that you will have an exciting semester ahead! In this online course, you have a week of orientation activities to help you get acquainted with the tools and resources you will be using this semester. Please get started on the activities soon because you have some assignments that are already DUE ON TUESDAY. Here is how to get started:

Course websites. You will find all the information you need about the course assignments at the website for the class you are enrolled in. Just click on the website for the course you are enrolled in, and then click on the Week 1 Orientation link to find the list of assignments along with detailed instructions:
You will see all fifteen weeks of the semester listed on the homepage of each course website, and you are welcome to work as far ahead as you want. So, if you have some free time now before your other classes begin, you could get a really good head start on the class. Some students are already working ahead on Week 3! GO SOONERS!

Desire2Learn. When you log on to Desire2Learn, you should see the course listed in "Spring 2013 Courses." If you do not see the course listed, check with me right away and/or contact 325-HELP so that you can get access to the course.

Assignment Stack. Each week there will be something you turn in to me via email, which I will then read and comment on. In the first week, for example, you will turn in a Proofreading Practice assignment. As you turn those assignments in, I list them in the Stack. You can always check the stack to make sure I have received your assignment. I work through the stack in the order that the items were turned in; I will try to get each assignment back to you within 48 hours (not counting the weekend), but if there are a lot of items in the stack, it can sometimes take longer. If you have turned something in and do not see it listed in the stack, please contact me so that we can track down the missing email!

Questions...? The first week's Orientation activities are designed to introduce you to all the class activities and procedures, so don't worry: everything will become a lot more clear as you work your way through the Orientation assignments. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the class that are not answered at the course website. 

Monday Events on Campus. From 11:30AM-12:30PM you can get free hot chocolate in the first floor lobby of the Union (time/location/details). Find out more about this and other events at the Campus Calendar online.

#PDFTribute.  As you will learn during this semester, I am someone with a strong commitment to the public domain and open access to knowledge (that's why I put my course websites on the Internet instead of inside Desire2Learn). You may have read in the media about the suicide last week of Aaron Swartz; as a tribute to his memory, there are many academics who are posting links to PDF downloads of their articles and books, and I have done that for my four books here: #PDFTribute to Aaron Swartz. Perhaps some of your other professors are doing the same; Aaron Swartz's death is a great loss to the computer world, but it is very moving to see so many academics around the world participating in this virtual tribute by sharing their work openly for all.

January 14: Makar Sankranti. Today is the Hindu holiday of Makar Sankranti, which you can read about in this Wikipedia article or here in this BBC article. It is celebrated, under various names and with various rituals, throughout India. In many places, kite-flying is part of the holiday, as you can see in this lovely image from the Makar Sankranti celebration in Mumbai: