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 work, download and install the Quicktime plugin for your browser.

If you don't want to install a new plugin, view the video in one of these formats:

But be forwarned - these are very large files, and will take a while to download.

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 Firefox 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 iPod Touch; 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 plugins are included by default: pdf (Adobe Acrobat) and m4v (Apple Quicktime). If you don't for some reason have these installed, you should probably do so:

For the most part, this web site doesn't require a particularly fast connection. As you might expect, however, viewing videos or listening to OLD Audio recording s works best with a high-speed connection. Modem or slow cell phone connections will be frustrating at best, unuseable at worse.

How do I get to the web site?

The main pages of this web site is open to the public, but the lecture material pages and the wiki/weblog pages require you to log in with your username and password. Before the course begins, I will ask you to provide a "PIN" that will serve as your password. This PIN will also be your code for looking up your scores on the Grades page.


  • Your username is your Unity ID
  • Your password is the PIN you provided me for this class, the same PIN your grades are posted under.

If you're using your own computer or computer account, feel free to store these in your keychain so you don't need to re-enter them every time you go to the site. If you use a public computer/account, be sure to close and quit the web browser when you're finished - otherwise someone else who uses the machine after you may have access to the site under your name.

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 are password-protected; this is needed because there are images & papers in here that aren't mine to give away, and we're using them under "fair use" for the class. To log in, use your unity ID as your username and your class PIN as the password. If your computer system uses keychains, you will probably not have to type in the username or password after the first time. (Details are above in the "How do I get to the web site" section.)


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 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 your username (unity ID) and password (PIN). If you are using your own computer or account, click the "Remember me" box so that you might not have to enter this info every time to go to the Discussion wiki.

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.

The first time you come to the Discussion session page, you should click the "Who are we?" link and tell us a little about yourself. This way we'll have a ist of little biographies so that when you see someone make comments on the wiki, you can look up who they are.

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. When you're finished, click "Save comment", and it will appear on the wiki page under your name and icon. Nothing to it! However, once you post something, you can't hange it - if you need to change something, you'll have to delete it and re-enter the correct comment from scratch.