What is the World Wide Web?
Also called "The Web," "W3," and "WWW," the World Wide Web is a global collection of multimedia documents that reside on the Internet. Web pages or documents contain links to other pages, forms to fill out, programs to be downloaded, sound files, movies and more. This system is woven around the world with hypertext and an addressing system as the glue holding it all together.
The Internet originated as a result of a U.S. Department of Defense project designed to create a computer network system capable of working despite disruptions caused by natural or man-made disasters. This original network was called ARPANET. As time went by, additional government and university agencies were added to the network.
A good online resource to look up words related to the Internet or technology is http://www.whatis.com. This web-based encylopedia explains many of the concepts we will be exploring throughout the semester.
Everything You Wanted to Know About Hypertext....But Were Afraid to Ask
Hypertext is a type of content that forms links to other content. Usually hypertext can be identified as underlined, colored text. Behind that colored text an Internet address is invisibly embedded so that if you click on it, the document at that address will be displayed on your screen.
Knowing all the screen indicators (cursor becoming a hand, address showing at the bottom of the browser screen) are becoming increasingly important because the look and design of a Web page are often as important as content to those doing the development. As such, graphics, icons and blocks of what looks like just plain text can actually be hypertext. Sometimes, the only clue provided to the viewer is seeing the mouse pointer turning into a hand when passed over portions of text or an image.
Navigating the Web
Once you are connected to the Internet and have started your browser software (Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer), you then either type a web address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) such as http://old-www.hartnell.edu in the Location field within the browser and press Enter or you click on a bookmark to access a web page.
You may also navigate the Internet by using a Search Engine, Search Directory, or meta search engine (a tool that allows you to type in one search inquiry which is then used to search the databases of multiple search engines), tools that allow you to search for web sites by typing in key words or clicking on hypertext subject categories. If you are performing research for class assignments, you may find more appropriate information by using one of the many online databases the college library provides to support instruction. We'll be learning more about the various ways to explore the Internet in the coming weeks.
As you work on this course, following the instructions within your textbook and exploring web sites accessible through the hypertext links on each weekly web page, you may wish to start bookmarking helpful web sites you would like to quickly access again. A browser bookmark works exactly the same way as a paper bookmark--it saves your place on the Internet so you can return without having to remember and retype the URL. A bookmark stores a copy of the web site's address and the title of the web page. It functions like a hypertext link, automatically returning you to the URL stored as part of the bookmark.
Internet File Types
Part of the fun and convenience of using Internet resources is the ability to download and then view or store information. Files you download from the Internet may be in a variety of formats: text, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, images, sound, PDF files and more. Some of these files will automatically display within your browser. Others require the use of browser plug-ins or additional programs.
The Internet has changed the way we conduct business, communicate, attend school, seek answers, perform research or shop. The use of Internet resources allow individuals from anywhere in the world to share information and work collaboratively. Online classes, such as this one, permit students from any location to pursue an education without the constraints of a traditional "face-to-face" classroom and rigid class schedules.
Throughout the course of this semester we will explore the variety of tools and resources the Internet has to offer. Each week's assignment will provide you an opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in conducting online searches, evaluating web-based materials, and creating electronic documents of your own. The tutorials listed below will provide additional assistance to help you get started.