Internet

 

Be Your Best
>Communication

Objectives

By the time you finish this guide, you should:

  • understand directories, files, links, and other aspects of Internet structure;
  • have an e-mail account and know how to send and read messages;
  • know how to reserve space on the Geocities server;
  • know how to use basic graphic principles to create an attractive and effective Web page;
  • be able to use Microsoft Word to create a Web page;
  • be able to publish a page on the Web;
  • know the meanings of the terms below.

Terms

Resources

The following Internet and print sources can help you with the concepts covered in this unit:

 

The Easy Way to a Web Site features step-by-step instructions for creating and posting Web pages.

Netscape allows you to download its browser and Web-authoring software for free.

TechEncyclopedia provides definitions of more than 14,000 computer terms, including "search engine" and "portal."

UCIS, UNCP's computer office, can help you set up and use your e-mail account and obtain Internet access in your residence hall.

Updated January 30, 2002
Mark Canada, 2002
mark.canada@uncp.edu

Introduction

Many Americans have heard of the Internet, but fewer actually know what it is and how it works.  This guide will help you to learn about the Internet's structure and show you how to design and publish your own World Wide Web site.  While some of the concepts covered in this unit may seem foreign and perhaps even a little intimidating, stick with them until you understand them.  Once they become second-nature, as they will as you study and practice them, the rest of your semester--and indeed the rest of your life--will be much simpler. 

The Internet is an international network of computers connected by wires such as telephone lines. Schools, businesses, government offices, and many homes use the Internet to communicate with one another.  You have access to the Internet when you work in one of this university's computer labs.  You also may have access at home or in your residence hall.  If not, you can obtain access once you have three things.  First, you need a computer and a modem, a device that allows you to connect your computer with the Internet.  Many new computers have built-in modems.  Second, you need a browser, a piece of software that allows you to view information on the Internet.  Many new computers also come with a browser, usually Internet Explorer.  You also can download another popular browser, Netscape Navigator, from the Internet for free.  Finally, you need to subscribe to an Internet Service Provider, or ISP, such as America Online or Carolina Online. 

E-mail

One popular component of the Internet is electronic mail, or e-mail, which people at separate locations can use to send messages to one another  In general, each of these people has an e-mail address, which usually looks something like this: mark.canada@uncp.edu. The first part of the address (mark.canada) specifies the individual user, and the rest of the address refers to the server (@uncp.edu), which is a computer that can store a lot of information. Many universities, such as the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, have servers, as do large corporations and Internet providers such as Carolina Online. When you send a message to someone on e-mail, your message goes through that person's server, where that person then can retrieve it. You should already have a UNCP e-mail account and address, which looks something like this: mac001@uncp.edu.  If you do not, call University Computing at 521-6260.  You also can obtain a free e-mail account from one of various Internet companies, such as Yahoo! and Excite

The World Wide Web

In addition to allowing people to send e-mail messages to one another, the Internet also allows organizations and individuals to post information about themselves so that others can see it.   For example, many companies maintain World Wide Web sites, where visitors can read information, see pictures, and click on links to get more information.  In fact, you can set up your own World Wide Web site by reserving space on a server.  To understand how this process works, imagine that you wanted to store some articles you have written at a library so that people could come and read them.  First, you would need to obtain permission from the librarians, who would assign you a folder where they would store your articles.  Whenever you finished a new article, you would put a name on it and send it to the librarians, who would then place it in your folder.  When people wanted to read one of these articles, they would need to know the address of the library, the name of your folder, and the name of the specific article they want to read.  When they supplied this information, the librarian would give them the article they want.

The World Wide Web works the same way.  First you need to identify an Internet company (librarian) and ask permission to save Web pages (articles) on its server (library).  The company (librarian) then assigns you a directory (folder) where it will store your Web pages (articles).  As you create each Web page (article), you give it a file name (name) and publish it on the server (send it to the library).  When people want to read your Web page (article), they need your Web address, sometimes called a Uniform Resource Locator, or URL.  The URL consists of the domain name of the server (address of the library), name of your directory (name of your folder), and the filename of the particular Web page (name of article).  The standard format for a URL looks like this: www.geocities.com/markcanada_uncp/index.html, in which each component stands for something different:

  • www (World Wide Web)
  • geocities (name of institution that controls the server)
  • com (type of institution): "edu" for education, "com" for commercial, "org" for organization, and "gov" for government.
  • markcanada_uncp (directory)
  • index.html (filename): The filename usually ends in "htm" or "html"; it should have no more than eight characters and contain no capital letters, spaces, or punctuation marks.

Web Page Construction

For step-by-step instructions for creating and posting Web pages, see “The Easy Way to a Web Site.”

Elements of Web Design

Anyone connected to the World Wide Web can not only read material on it, but also publish his or her own Web pages.  While some people who write for the Web prefer to use a special code called hypertext markup language, or HTML, beginners probably will appreciate the ease of Web-authoring software, a product that makes what they write easily readable on the Web.  One such product is Netscape Composer, which you can download for free from the Netscape Web site (www.netscape.com).  As you will see in the instructions below, creating a Web page is about as easy to creating a word-processing document and actually involves some of the same princples. 

Just as people with good ideas do not always know how to express them effectively, many people who publish material in print and on the Web do not make effective use of graphic and navigational elements.  In other words, their pages are hard to read and hard to use.  You can set yourself apart from the crowd if you learn a few basic principles of graphic design, particularly Web design.

  • Focal points, such as relatively large photographs or headings give viewers' eyes someplace to go on a page.  In general, try to put one focal point at the top of each Web page.  If the focal point is a photograph of a person, make the person look toward the middle of the page, thus attracting the viewers' eyes to the heart of your material and not off the screen. 
  • Color, when used effectively, can make a page more appealing and can attract attention to particular elements.  Used carelessly, color can make a page hard to read.  Avoid overusing color and and make sure your text has adequate contrast with the background.  In other words, if the background is dark, use a light typeface on top of it.
  • Typography--in other words, the appearance of letters on a page or screen--has a significant impact on how viewers process information.  Indeed, experienced designers know how to manipulate typefaces--whole sets of letters, a through z, along with punctuation marks, designed to be used together in printing a body of text--to organize information, to convey different messages, or simply to appeal to the eye. Thus, while the letter "s" always has the same linguistic value, a designer may decide to print that "s"--along with the rest of the alphabet--in a particularly typeface, such as Times or Arial, because of the way that typeface makes the letters look on the page.  Most typefaces belong to one of two families.  One family has what are called serifs: tiny extra lines that appear on the corners of letters. A holdover from the days when scribes wrote out manuscripts, serifs facilitate reading by guiding the eye from letter to letter. Some of the most popular typefaces--including Times New Roman, Bembo, and Garamond--are serif fonts.  Serif fonts tend to work well for long stretches of text, such as the body of an essay.  Because of their history, they also have a traditional feel.  The second class of typefaces is called sans serif--Latin for "without serifs"--because these typefaces lack the extra lines on the corners of letters.  Sans serif typefaces, such as Arial and Helvetica, make for good display text, such as headings.  They have a more modern feel than serif typefaces.  Type comes in various sizes, generally measured in a unit called a point, which is roughly equivalent to 1/72nd of an inch.  Appropriate type sizes for body text range from 10 to 12 points.  Display text may be of various sizes, but usually is about 18 to 72 points. 
  • Similarity suggests connections.  In other words, if you have three roughly equal sections of you Web page, use the same typeface, size, and color for the heading of each section.
  • Bullets, graphic symbols used in front of items in a list, can help viewers to find and to process information.
  • Links--words or pictures that viewers can click to go somewhere else on the page or somewhere else on the Web--can help people navigate your Web site.  Your home page, or index, should contain a list of links to the other components of your site.
  • Templates are patterns that you can use to create several pages with the same basic design.  Some Web-authoring software products, including Netscape Composer, come with templates.  You also can make one of your own pages a template simply by making copies of it and changing the content in each copy while retaining the format.

Adding a Picture

  1. To place a photograph you have taken with an ordinary camera on your Web page, you first need to scan the photo.  Here are directions for scanning a photograph in the UNCP Writing Center, courtesy of Writing Center Director Dean Hinnen: 
    1. Place photo in upper right-hand corner of scanner (next to green arrow), face-down. 
    2. Double-click on the PaintShop Pro icon. 
    3. Click on File. 
    4. Move arrow to Import, then to TWAIN, then to Acquire. 
    5. Click on Acquire. DeskScan program will activate and scanner will "preview" the image. 
    6. Click on Final. Scanner will make its "final" scan. 
    7. Click on the X in the upper right-hand corner of the DeskScan box to close DeskScan. 
    8. Edit image in Paint Shop Pro (optional). 
    9. Click on File. 
    10. Click on Save or Save As. 
    11. Change the file type to JPEG (.jpg extension). 
    12. Rename the file (optional, the default name is Image1.jpg). 
    13. Click on Save to save file. 
    14. Close PaintShop Pro. 

To place your photo on your page, open the page in Microsoft Word, place your cursor where you want the image to appear and click on "Insert" in the toolbar at the top of the screen.  Wait a few seconds and click on “Picture.”  In the pop-up menu that appears, click on “From File…”; in the next box, find the name of your picture and click “OK.”