Computers

Objectives

General

A computer is a piece of electronic equipment that helps us calculate, write, design, and do dozens of other things. The term for computers themselves, along with accessories such as modems, is "hardware." To do things such as write papers and analyze data, we need "software." Most computers come with some software already loaded on them, but many people also buy software separately and load it on their computers. A computer has both a hard drive, where software and documents are stored, and a disk drive, which you can use to store documents on diskettes. Here is begin using a computer in one of the campus labs:
  1. Push the rectangular button on the front of the computer hard drive and press the round button on the front of the monitor. 
  2. Press the "Enter" key until a blue sky appears on the screen. Using the mouse, a palm-sized device to the right of the keyboard, move the arrow on the screen over the word "Start" in the bottom-left corner of the screen and, using the left button on the mouse, click on "Start." Still holding down the left mouse button, move the mouse forward so that the arrow moves over the word "Programs." When the pop-up menu appears to the right, slide up to the name of the software program that you want to launch, such as Netscape Communicator. 

Word-Processing

When it comes to planning, organizing, writing, typing, and proofreading papers, a computer and a word-processing program are tremendous assets. Here are some tips for making the most of one word-processing program, WordPerfect.
  • Click on the word "Start," scroll up to "Programs," and click on "WordPerfect." 
  • In the upper-left corner of the screen, you will see a blinking vertical line, which is called a "cursor." To type a draft of a paper, simply begin typing. As soon as you have typed one word, you should save your document. When you save a document, you tell the computer to store the information that you have typed, either on a diskette or on the hard drive. If you are working in a lab, you will want to save your document on a diskette. Put a diskette in the disk drive, click on "File," and slide down to "Save." A dialog box will appear. Type a name for your document; this name should have eight or fewer characters, followed by a period and the letters "wpd" (Example: 106paper.wpd). Select the "a" drive. Click "OK." From time to time, you should save your work to make sure that you don't lose something. 
  • You can save yourself many hours of typing and ensure accuracy if you know how to cut and paste, which is a way to move material--such as a word or even several paragraphs--from one place in a document to another, from one document to another, or even from a file in one kind of software to another kind of software. Begin by highlighting the words, phrases, or paragraphs that you want to move. You can highlight this material in one of two ways: If the material is a paragraph or less, place your cursor at the beginning of the material, press and hold down the left button on the mouse, and drag the cursor over the material you want to highlight; when you reach the end of this material, let up on the mouse button. If the material that you want to move is more than a paragraph, place your cursor at the beginning of the material and simply click the left button on the mouse; without holding down the button, move your cursor to the end of the material--you may need to scroll down the document--and, while holding down the shift key on the keyboard, click the left button on the mouse. In either case, the material that you have highlighted should appear as white words on a colored background. Now you are ready to cut this material. Click on "Edit" at the top of the screen and then on "Cut." To paste this material, simply move your cursor to the place where you want to move the material--either in the same document or in a different document--click, click on "Edit" at the top of the screen, and then click on "Paste." The material that you highlighted earlier now will appear in the new place. 
  • To adjust the margins in a WordPerfect document, click on "Format" and then on "Margins." Type the number of inches you want each margin to be. For example, if you want the left margin to be one and a half inches, type "1.5" in the box next to the word "Left." Click "OK." 
  • To add page numbers to a WordPerfect document, click on "Format" and then on "Header/Footer." A dialog box will appear. Make sure that "Header A" has a black dot next to it and click "Create." Type your name and a space; then click on "Number," which appears about an inch above your cursor. Highlight the name and number. Click on "Left," which appears in the center of the screen, about an inch from the top. A box will appear. Click on "Right." Finally, click on the box that says "Close," which appears just below and to the right of "Left." Now you are back in your document. 
  • To use the spell check function in WordPerfect, place your cursor in front of the first word of your document. Click on "Tools" and scroll down to "Spelling." The computer will point out words that appear to be misspelled. Remember to proofread a hard copy of your paper, as well. Spell check will not catch misspellings such as "their" for "there." 
  • To find a word or phrase in a document that you have typed, click on "Edit" and then on "Find." In the dialog box that appears, type the word or phrase you wish to find and click on "Find." 
  • To create an outline, use the following instructions: 
    • Starting: Launch Microsoft Word. Click on "View" and then on "Outline." A small rectangle will appear in the upper left part of your screen. You now are in the outline function, which allows you to input and organize information very easily. 
    • Creating a point: Next to the rectangle in the upper left part of the screen, type "Introduction" and press the "Enter" key.Another rectangle will appear below the first one. 
    • Demoting a point: Under "Introduction," type your claim. To demote this point--in other words, to make it a minor point in the introduction section of your outline--click on the right-hand arrow in the upper-left corner of the screen. You should see your claim move to the right. Press "Enter." 
    • Promoting a point: To promote the current point--in other words, to make it another major point on your outline--click on the left-hand arrow in the upper-left corner of the screen. Now, type "Background" and press "Enter." Type a word or phrase referring to each major point in your argument, pressing "Enter" after each. 
    • Moving a point: To move a point up or down in your outline, place your cursor in the point and click on the up or down arrow in the upper-left corner of the screen. 
  • To make comments on a paper--in a draft workshop, for example--highlight the word or phrase on which you want to comment. Click on "Insert" and drag down to "Comment." When a dialog box appears, type your comment and close the box. The material you highlighted now will appear in yelloe. To see the comment, place your cursor over the yellow portion. 
  • Before you leave the computer lab, make sure that you can open the document that you just saved. While you still are in WordPerfect, click on "File" and slide down to "Open." In the dialog box that appears, select the "a" drive, click on the name of your document, and click on "Open." 
  • To quit, click on "File" and slide down to "Exit." 
Many different companies manufacture software. For example, in the area of word-processing, three of the most popular pieces of software are WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, and Microsoft Word. Often these different types of software are not compatible. You might think of them as speaking different languages. The WordPerfect software in the campus computer labs can't work with a document created in Microsoft Works, just as you probably cannot work with a document written in Japanese, unless that document is first translated, or converted. If you have created a document on Word, Works, or some other word-processing software at home and need to work on this document in a campus computer lab, follow these instructions to convert the document into WordPerfect format:
  1. While you still using your home computer, place a diskette in the disk drive and click on "Save As." 
  2. In the dialog box that appears, look for a phrase such as "Save File As Type" near the bottom of the box. Click on the arrow to show the various options. Find and click on "WordPerfect for Windows 5.x." 
  3. Now save the document as you normally would. When you bring this diskette to a campus computer lab, you should be able to open it in WordPerfect. 

The World Wide Web

The World Wide Web and e-mail are both parts of the Internet, an international network of computers connected by wires such as telephone lines. If you have a computer at home, you can obtain access to the Internet by buying a modem, installing software such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Explorer on your computer, and subscribing to an Internet provider such as America Online or Carolina Online. Universities, high schools, businesses, and many homes have access to the Internet, which they use to communicate with each other through e-mail, the World Wide Web, and other means. For example, many companies advertise their products by posting pictures and descriptions on World Wide Web sites. In other words, they store this information on a computer called a server, where people all over the world can obtain access to it simply by typing in the Web address, also called a URL. The standard format for a URL looks like this: www.uncp.edu, in which the first component (www) stands for World Wide Web, the second item (uncp) is the institution that controls the server, and the third (edu) indicates the type of institution. The most common abbreviations at the end of URLs are "edu" for education, "com" for commercial, "org" for organization, and "gov" for government.

The following instructions will help you obtain access to the Web and locate a specific Web site:

  1. Using the instructions under "General" above, click on Netscape Communicator. When another pop-up menu appears, slide down and click on Netscape Navigator. Netscape Navigator is a software program called a browser, which allows you to view information on the Web. 
  2. The computers in the labs are set up so that they automatically take you to the Web site of the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. To go to another Web site, click on the URL in the white box near the top of the screen; it should turn blue. Now type the URL of the site you want to visit. Example: www.uncp.edu/home/canada 
  3. Once you have reached a site, you can visit other sites or parts of the same site by clicking on links, which often are underlined and appear in a color different from the rest of the text. You usually when know when you are pointing your cursor at a link because the arrow on the screen will turn into a pointing hand. Example: Click on "Mark's Portfolio" and then on the name of this course. 
  4. You can scroll down the information on the site by clicking on the down arrow in the bottom-right part of the screen. Example: Scroll down to the bottom of the syllabus. 
  5. To return to the previous site, click on the word "Back" in the upper-left corner of the screen. No matter how far you get from the original site, you always can return to it by clicking on the "Back" button as many times as necessary. Example: Click on "Back" and return to the syllabus. 
  6. To print the information on this site, click somewhere in the site and then click on the word "Print" near the top of the screen. If you want to print the entire site, click "OK." Example: Print the syllabus. 
  7. If you want to print only a limited number of pages, fill in the boxes labeled "To" and "From" and then click "OK." If you don't know which pages to print, click on "File" in the upper-left corner and click on "Print Preview." Move through the pages, make a note of the pages you want to print, and follow the previous directions to print them. 
The following instructions will help you search for information on the Web:
  1. Click on the word "Search" near the top of the screen. You will arrive at a search engine, a computer program that looks through the information on the Web and gives you a list of sites relevant to your interests. Some examples of search engines are Yahoo, Excite, Infoseek, and Lycos. Click in the white box, type a word or phrase, and click on "Seek" or "Go Get It." Example: Search for "Twain." 
  2. The next screen will tell you how many sites contain information on your topic and list several of them. To visit one, click on one of the links. On a sheet of paper, write down the URL, which appears in the white box near the top of the screen. Make sure that you have written down the URL letter for letter, with no mistakes or extra spaces. To return to the list, click on "Back." Whenever you return to the computer lab, you can use this list to find these Web sites. Use the instructions above for locating a specific Web site. 
How to Build a Web Page

The following instructions will help you build a Web page for the site called All American: Literature, History, and Culture:

  1. If you are creating a page on an American author for one of my literature classes, visit the sample page on Fanny Fern (http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/17841865/lit/fern.htm) and study its appearance. Whenever you are unsure how your page should look, use this sample page as a model. 
  2. If you are creating a page on a historical or a linguistic topic for one of my composition or linguistics classes, visit the sample page on journalism (http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/allam/17841865/lit/fern.htm) and study its appearance. Whenever you are unsure how your page should look, use this sample page as a model. 
  3. While you are still in Netscape Navigator, click on "Communicator" and then on "Composer." You now are using Netscape Navigator's text editor, a program that allows you to design your own Web site. Text editors are very similar to word-processing programs, such as WordPerfect and Microsoft Word, in that they allow you to type information and then adjust the appearance of this information by pointing, dragging, and clicking. 
  4. To create a red box at the top, click on "Table" in the toolbar at the top of the screen. In the dialogue box that appears, change the number of columns to 1, the border line width to 0, the cell spacing to 2, and the cell spacing to 4. Click on the gray box next to the word "Color"; in the pop-up menu that appears, click on the bright red box in the second column, third row. Click on "OK." 
  5. Before you go any further, you should save your page. Insert a diskette into the narrow slot on the computer, click on "File," and click on "Save As." When the dialog box appears, make sure that the computer is set for the "a" drive and type a name with no more than eight letters. Click "OK." In the dialogue box that appears, type the full name of your Web page. If your Web page is on an author, for example, you would type this author's first and last name in this box. Click "OK." As you go through the following steps, remember to click every few minutes on the "Save" icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen. 
  6. To create the white area and narrow blue box, place your cursor below the red box and press "Enter." Now click on "Table." This time, leave the number of columns at 2, but still change the border line width to 0, the cell spacing to 2, and the cell spacing to 4. Choose "Left" under "Horizontal Alignment" and "Top" under "Vertical Alignment." Click "OK." You should see two boxes; each of these boxes is a cell. Click in the cell on the right so that the cursor is blinking there. Place your arrow over this cell and click with the right mouse button. In the pop-up menu that appears, click on "Table Properties." In the dialogue box that appears, make sure that the tab labeled "Cell" is highlighted. Change the cell width to 25 percent. Click on the gray box next to "Color" and choose the lightest shade of blue, which appears in the first row, second-to-last column. Click "OK." Now you should see a wide white box on the left and a narrow blue box on the right. 
  7. To fill in these boxes with text, simply click inside them and type. In the red box, type the name of the time period you are covering in your Web page: "Colonial America, 1607-1783" or "Antebellum and Civil War America, 1784-1865" or "Postbellum America, 1866-1913" or "Modern America, 1914-present." To change the color of this text to white, highlight it and click on the arrow on the right of the small black box in the toolbar next to the bold "A." In the pop-up menu that appears, click on the white box. While the text is still highlighted, click on the icon at the far right of the lowest toolbar at the top of the screen. In the pop-up menu that appears, click on the icon in the center. To fill the white box with text, click inside this box and type the information below, pressing "Enter" after each item. (You may want to type the words in brackets for now and then later, after you have done some of your research, highlight each line and type the appropriate information.) After you have typed the words, highlight the first line and click on the arrow to the right of the word "Normal" at the far left of the lowest toolbar at the top of the screen; click on "Heading 1." Referring to the labels in red below, change the size of each line of text. If the label is in italics, change the text to italics by highlighting it and clicking on the italic "A" in the toolbar. If the label is in bold, change the text to italics by highlighting it and clicking on the bold "A" in the toolbar. 
[Author's Name], [year born]-[year died] or [Subject] Heading 1
By [Your Name] Normal
Student, University of North Carolina at Pembroke Normal
[Essay] Normal
Bibliography Heading 3
[Citation] Normal
[Annotation] Normal
  1. To indent the annotation, click someplace on this line and click on the icon that appears second from the right on the lowest toolbar at the top of the screen. Your annotation now should appear indented about a half-inch from the left margin. Never attempt to create extra space by pressing the space bar or "Tab" key. 
  2. To fill in the blue box with text, press the "Tab" so that your cursor jumps over to the blue box. Type the information below, again referring the labels in red for details on format. If you are creating a page on an author, use the first item in each line. Otherwise, use the second item. To create a bulleted list, highlight the items you want to be bulleted and click on the eighth icon from the left in the lowest toolbar at the top of the screen. Again, see one of the sample pages for help. 
Major Works / People Heading 4
[list of major works or people] Normal in bulleted list
Careers / [nothing] Heading 4
[list of careers or nothing] Normal in bulleted list
Family / [nothing] Heading 4
[list of family members or nothing] Normal in bulleted list
Homes / Places Heading 4
[list of homes or places] Normal in bulleted list
Religion / [nothing] Heading 4
[list of family members or nothing] Normal in bulleted list
Chronology / Chronology Heading 4
[list of years and events] Year in bold, rest in normal
  1. To create a link to another site, toggle to Netscape click on the word "Link" near the top of the screen. When the dialog box appears, click in the top white box and type "Canada's America." Press "Tab" and type http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/canam/canam.htm; click "OK." When people visit your site, they will be able to click on this link and go to the All American site. 
  2. To create a link to another site, toggle to Netscape Navigator by clicking on the icon that looks like a ship's wheel at the bottom of the screen. Using a search engine or a portal, locate a relevant, credible Web site on your topic. While you are looking at this site, click on the URL, or Web address, in the white box at the top. The URL should turn blue. Hold down the "Control" key and press the "c" key on the keyboard. Now toggle back to Netscape Composer by clicking on the icon that looks like a pen and blue triangle at the bottom of the screen. In the bibliography section of your Web page, type the title of the site to which you are going to create a link. Highlight this title and click on "Link" at the top of the screen. In the dialogue box that appears, you will see your cursor blinking in a white box. Hold down the "Control" key and press the "v" key on your keyboard. You should see the URL you cut from Netscape Navigator appear in the white box. Click "OK." 
  3. To make sure your link works, click on "Preview" at the top of the screen. Now place your arrow over the link so that the arrow turns into a pointing hand. Click. You now should see the site to which you created this link. To return to the Composer function so that you can work on you site some more, click on the Netscape Composer icon at the bottom of the screen.
How to Post Web pages on Geocities
The following instructions will guide you through posting Web pages on Geocities, an Internet site that publishes personal Web pages for free in exchange for the right to publish advertising on the pages.
  1. Visit www.geocities.com.
  2. Click on "Build Your Web Site!"
  3. Click on "Sign me up!"
  4. In the space labeled "Yahoo ID," type your initials, the number 1, and "uncp."  Example: mac1uncp
  5. Type a password in the spaces provided.  Complete the rest of the form and click on "Submit this form."
  6. If you receive a message saying that the Yahoo ID is taken, change the number and try again.
  7. Complete the next form that appears.  In the space for number 1, type "Portfolio" or "Resume."  Click on "Submit."
  8. Record the information about your user ID and URL.
  9. Click on "Build your page now!"
  10. Click on "Yahoo! Page Wizards."
  11. Scroll down and click on "Personal Page."
  12. Click on "Launch Yahoo! Page Wizard."
  13. Follow the instructions that appear on the screen until you reach step 6.
  14. When you reach step 6, create a link to the project you are doing for this course.  For example, if you are creating a literature portfolio for Introduction to Literature, you should create a link to it.  If you are in my composition class, create a link to your online resume. Type the correct URL.  Examples:
    1. http://www.geocities.com/mac1uncp/lit.html
    2. http://www.geocities.com/mac1uncp/resume.html
  15. When you are asked to name your page, type "index.html" and click "DONE."
  16. Open your Web page--for example, your online resume or literature portfolios--in Netscape Composer.  When you are ready to post it on the Web, click on "Publish" in the toolbar at the top of the screen.
  17. Fill in the blanks with the requested information and click OK.  In the following example, I have used my user name (mac1uncp); you should plug in your user name instead:
    1. Page title: Mark Canada's literature portfolio (or resume)
    2. HTML Filename: lit.html (or resume.html)
    3. HTML or FTP location to publish to: ftp://ftp.geocities.com/mac1uncp
    4. User name: mac1uncp
    5. Password
  18. You may receive a message that begins: "Could not post the file /C|/windows . . ."  Click "OK."
  19. Return to Netscape Navigator and click on "Reload."  Type in the URL for your Web page and press return.  You should see the personal page you created.  Once you have posted your resume or literature portfolio, you should be able to click on the link you created and go directly to it.  If the link fails, check the address.  You may have made a mistake when typing the URL for the link. 
  20. Whenever you want to make changes to any pages you created, visit the page and select "Edit Page" under "File."  Make your changes, click on "Publish," and follow the instructions for publishing a page above.

E-mail

Through e-mail, short for electronic mail, people all over the world can send messages to one another. Each of these people has an e-mail address, which usually looks something like this: canada@nconline.com. The first part of the address (canada) specifies the individual user, and the rest of the address refers to the server (nconline.com), 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 and then to the person. To use e-mail on campus, follow these steps:
  1. Bring the yellow sheet you received from Computer Services, along with an IBM-formatted diskette, to a computer lab. Place a label on the disk and write "Eudora e-mail," along with your name and telephone number, on the label. Insert the diskette in the narrow slot on the computer. 
  2. Click on the word "Start" in the bottom-left corner of the screen and, holding down the left mouse button, slide up to "Programs." When the pop-up menu appears to the right, slide up to "Eudora" and click on it. Eudora is an e-mail program you can use to send and read e-mail messages. 
  3. A dialog box will appear on the screen. Click inside the white box under "POP Account" and type in your user name, which appears on the yellow sheet--followed by @papa.uncp.edu--and press the "Tab" key. Example: shakespeare@papa.uncp.edu 
  4. In the next box, type your full name. Example: William Shakespeare 
  5. Click on "OK." The computer will store this information on your diskette. In the future, bring this same diskette with you to the lab and insert it in the computer whenever you want to use e-mail. 
  6. To address a message, look in the upper-left part of the screen and find the icon that looks like a pencil and paper. Click on it. In the box that appears, type the e-mail address of your intended recipient next to the word "To." Example: canada@sassette.uncp.edu 
  7. Press the "Tab" key until the blinking line, or cursor, appears in the large white space below. Type a message. Example: I love this class, Dr. Canada. Let's meet every day! 
  8. When you have finished typing your message, click on the word "Send" near the top of the screen. 
  9. To read messages sent to you, click on the word "Mailbox" at the top of the screen, slide down, and click on "In." A dialog box will appear, showing a list of messages sent to you. To read the entire message, click on it. 
  10. In the next day or two, set aside about 30 minutes to explore the rest of Eudora. Try to create a signature, save a message, and print a message. Make sure that you can send and read messages by the time our next class meets. 
To help us share our ideas outside the classroom, I have created a listserv for this course. When you send a message to a list serve address, your message goes to everyone on the list serve--in this case everyone in the class. To use the list serve for this class, follow these steps:
  1. While you are in Eudora, address a message to listserv@papa.uncp.edu; tab down to the body of the message and type SUBSCRIBE eng221 (or whatever the name of this class is); click on "Send." You now will receive every message sent to the list serve. 
  2. To address a message to the list serve, type frs100@papa.uncp.edu next to the word "To" and tab down to the body of the message. Type your message and click on "Send." Everyone in the class, including me, will receive your message. If you plan to send a long message, such as a journal assignment, type the message in WordPerfect and save it to a diskette. Before exiting WordPerfect, select all of the text and copy it. Then launch Eudora and paste it into the message field. Now follow the directions above for sending the message the the listserv. 

Online Forum

An online forum is a Web site where visitors can post messages and thus carry on conversations. To organize the messages, participants post them on separate threads according to topic. Because you cannot save a message you write on an online forum, it is best to write the message in a word-processing program such as Microsoft Word or WordPerfect and then paste it in the message box in the online forum. Here is how to do it:
  1. Launch a word-processing program and type the message that you want to post on the forum. 
  2. Save this document on a diskette. 
  3. Cut the message. 
  4. Launch Netscape Navigator, go to the online forum where you want to post your message, and click on the appropriate thread. 
  5. Type your name and e-mail address in the appropriate boxes. 
  6. Paste your message in the message box. 
  7. Click on "Submit." 
The advantage of this process is that you will have a copy of your message on a diskette. If something goes wrong and your message does not appear on the online forum, you do not have to type it again; instead, you can open it on your diskette, cut and paste it, and try submitting it again.

Terms

Resources

Techweb: In addition to features current on technology and an online encyclopedia of computer terms.

Suggestions for Practice

  1. Individual exercise: Fill out a form to obtain an e-mail account. Using the information you receive back from me and the instructions under e-mail, create a Eudora disk to use when sending and reading e-mail. Join the listserv for this course and respond to the first quiz by sending an e-mail message to the listserv.
  2. Individual exercise: Launch Netscape Navigator. Find and print the syllabus for this course. Click on some links to see lesson plans for the individual units. Use a search engine to find information on the World Wide Web.
  3. Individual exercise: Using the instructions for contributing to an online forum, introduce yourself to me and your classmates. In your message, state your name, hometown, and major. Write a few more sentences in which you tell us something interesting about you.
  4. Pairs exercise: Use Netscape Navigator to find the answers to the questions below. Select and copy the information, paste it in a WordPerfect document, and save the document on a diskette.
    1. How many students attend the University of North Carolina at Pembroke?
    2. How old is this school?
    3. What is the last day of classes?
    4. What is your composition professor's e-mail address?
    5. What are the library's hours?
    6. Where can you find help with your writing?
    7. What should you do if you need counseling?
Updated August 17, 1999 | University of North Carolina at Pembroke
© Mark Canada, 1999 | canada@sassette.uncp.edu
Return to Be Your Best