Lab 1 Writeup

In this lab exercise, we will consider the sorts of information available on the World-Wide Web (WWW). To do this, we will make use of several basic information technologies provided by Calvin, including: Novell, Knightvision, Microsoft applications (Word and the Internet Explorer) and Webmail. If you have any questions on any part of this exercise, don't hesitate to ask either the students around you, the teaching assistant or me for help.

First Things First

Responsible Use of Technology

Information technology can be used productively or abused. Always be clear on the difference between these two. Calvin provides a statement on the responsible use of technology that you should understand and abide by. You don't need to read it all now, but do so sometime this week. The basic message boils down to two issues:

You can find the statement here: CIT Policy on Responsible Use of Technology

Logging onto a Machine using Novell

Start by logging into your lab machine using the Novell login and password you received during orientation. If necessary, we will help you activate your Novell account. This will give you access to the Microsoft Windows operating system and to your personal Novell network account.

Create a Folder

The computers in our lab (and most labs on campus) will completely erase everything saved on the computer when the machine is rebooted. Plus, you can't guarantee that you'll always get the same computer to do your work. So saving files on the computer's hard drive won't work.

Your Novell account comes with a shared disk that follows you around campus. This is known as a network drive because you access the storage drive through the network. In our lab and on most computers on campus, your network drive comes up as the "H: drive".

Click on "Windows Explorer" (the folder looking icon second from the left at the bottom of your screen). Now, click on "Computer" and scroll down till you find the H: drive (also called BIGHORN). Open this collection by double-clicking on the drive listing. Since everything you do at Calvin can be saved here, and you'll have many things to save, you should use folders to organize your files. Right-click on the file listing for the H: drive, and create a new folder; call the folder something like "FIT" or "IDIS 110".

Critiquing a Website

Work in teams of 2 or 3. One of you should start up a web browser (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer), and go to one of these websites that sound interesting to you:

In your group, determine if your website is legitimate, questionable, authoritative, foolish, despicable, etc. As part of this process, ask yourself the following questions (adapted from Marv Knox):

You have some resources to answer these questions and determine the purpose and legitimacy of these sites:

We'll meet back together as a class to discuss what you've found. You'll also write up a critique of your website.

Writing Your Critique Using MS Word

To record your website critique, create your own Microsoft Word document that contains a critique of the team's website. (Your critique can read similar to the critiques of your teammates.) Do this as follows:

  1. Start up Word, create a new document, and save it to your H: drive in your FIT folder.
  2. Summarize, in your own words, your group's website critique and format it *exactly* as shown in this example: critiqueFig.pdf (courtesy of Prof. Vander Linden). Carefully follow the formatting and content requirements given in the example to avoid losing points:
    1. Header is centered, with a title that is bolded.
    2. Document includes the URL of the critiqued website.
    3. Document includes a bulleted list of referring websites.
    4. Document includes an indication of search terms/strategies used.
    5. Appropriately inserted footnotes are present.
  3. Save your file when you are finished.

Submitting Your Work

With few exceptions, everything you do in this course is turned in through Moodle.

  1. Click on the "Lab 1" assignment.
  2. Use the "Browse..." button to select your word document from your IDIS110 folder on your H: drive.
  3. When your file correctly shows in the "Upload a file" box, click the "Upload this file" button.
  4. Verify that your submission worked by looking for the "File uploaded successfully" status message. Your file should now also appear below the Lab 1 description. You can additionally verify the status of your submission by clicking on "Assignments" and checking that the appropriate date/time is displayed.
You are responsible for using Moodle, and you can lose points if you don't submit assignments properly. To avoid problems, always verify your submissions.

Getting More Help

Read "Truth and the Internet" by Vinton Cerf. Cerf provides a simple two-word answer for determining truth. How does his solution compare to "common sense" and "discernment"?

If you are unfamiliar with the Google search engine, look through their "Basic Search" help page sometime this week ( There's a good chance that you'll learn something new at this help page, even if you are well-acquainted with Google.

If you are new to any of these technologies (e.g., Webmail, Moodle, Web search engines), it would be wise for you to take time now to learn them. You can go to the FIT tutorials page for help with many of them, and they all provide on-line help systems. You may also come ask questions in person during either my office hours or the graders' lab hours, as listed in our course syllabus.