Here is a brief overview about taking a graduate-level course "over the web."

 Workload

Timing

Equipment Required

Software Required

 Prerequisites

Textbook

 Electronic Access

Registration and Fees

Pedagogical Method

Discussion Groups

 Blackboard

 Email the Instructor
   

Workload. This course will taught completely by Internet-based technology, using web-based pedagogy. That means the student learns by interacting with the computer rather than listening to an instructor lecture. There is substantial electronic interaction with the instructor and other students. On the average, students find that instruction via web-based pedagogy is more time demanding (more work) than traditional instruction, but that they learn more. It's greatest advantage is that students can be located far from the college campus and learn at convenient times.

Timing. Some web-based instruction is billed as "asynchronous" meaning that the students can do what they want, when they want. Other web-based instruction is "synchronous," meaning that there are on-line class meetings and discussions and students must be logged on at definite times. This course will be somewhere in between, we call it, "asynchronous with deadlines." You will have weekly assignments and tasks that must be done, but you have leeway to do them at convenient times throughout the week. You will also write other major assignments. The course will conform to UAF's Fall 13 calendar that requires me to submit a grade by 24 December 13.

Equipment Required. Most modern computers (Pentium 1 and later) can handle the course material. Modems are sometimes a problem. Some home computers have slow connections. Most of the files will not be large, but we will jump from file to file and if you have a slow connection you may get frustrated. But if you have a slow connection, you are probably accustomed to that. Some of my lessons use multiple frames, so a 19-inch or larger monitor is nice, but if you have a 17-inch you should be able to get to the same place by scrolling.

Programs required. You will need Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, and Microsoft Word and Excel, 97 or later. Note, I have IE 8.0 and have problems with Blackboard and some other UAF programs, so I downloaded Firefox. It is free and you can get from the UAF download center. If some UAF programs don't work for you using IE, try firefox.

Prerequisites: The course is intended for graduate students in environmental engineering and students in natural science who are studying some aspect of environmental science. It is organized such that a working environmental professional with an engineering or science background should be able to succeed. Mathematics through calculus will be helpful and we use chemical names and expressions frequently. I will assume you have not used either recently. We will also use biological terms. I will assume the students have not had college biology, but have some general biological knowledge, perhaps from high school biology, a long time ago. The instructor is an unabashed fan of Wikipedia. Many terms incidental to the course are well explained via that site.

Textbooks: The recommended textbook is: Hazardous Materials and Hazardous Waste Management, Second Edition, by Gayle Woodside, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 0-471-17449-1. You may get it through the UAF Bookstore, they have a good record for getting these out in the mail. Visit their website http://www.uaf.edu/bookstore/ or call them at 907-474-5088. Anyhow, if you go on the web, you may find a used copy of the book from Amazon or other commerical vendors. Its up to you.

Electronic Access:We use Blackboard as our electronic course management tool. To access Blackboard you need a UA Username and password. New students are issued a UA Username from the Office of Informational Technologies (OIT) when they are officially accepted to the University of Alaska. To find your UA Username and change your password, on the Internet, go to https://elmo.alaska.edu/ (Note there is no "www.") Select option 2 and follow the prompts to login (if you do not know your UA ID number, you can select option 3). You will set your password and view your UA ID and Username once you have successfully logged in. You can also find directions to set the system up to forward your emails to your Hotmail or other off-campus account from http://www.alaska.edu/google/faqs/general/#mail. If you need help, you can contact a Help Desk at by e-mail at helpdesk@alaska.edu, fax at (907)-450-8312, phone in the Fairbanks area at 450-8300 and outside of Fairbanks at 1-800-478-8226. If you leave a message on a phone recording, they are quite good about returning calls, but keep in mind the beginning of the semester is their busiest time. As with all UAF Administrative services, they are very stressed at the beginning of a semester, so cut them a little slack, if they do not respond immediately. If it takes more than a work day for them to get back to you, email the instructor, at raperkins@alaska.edu and I will try to help.

Registration and Fees:
The registration and fee payment process can be accessed via: http://www.uaf.edu/reg and the entire process handled via the web. If you have not been admitted to a UAF program, you can register by following the links for "non-degree seeking students." The course is exactly the same whether you are seeking a degree or not; no distinction is made on your transcript. By registering as a non-degree seeking student, you avoid all the formalities of the admission process. There is some risk, however, if you plan to later pursue a graduate degree. For most graduate degree programs, you are allowed only a certain amount of transfer credits and only a certain amount of courses may be taken prior to formal admission to the degree program. This varies considerably between institutions and programs. If you have questions about a graduate degree at UAF, contact me. If you are an off-campus student taking three credits, the only fees you need pay are the $15 Technology Fee and the engineering $25 Computer User Fee. This is sometimes a problem, since the Registrar's computer does not know who is or isn't coming to campus.  Just don't pay any additional fees up front, and I will send the Registrar a list of off-campus students after the dust settles - if it is necessary – it hasn’t been a problem lately.

General Pedagogical Method (How you will learn):
The course is divided into 14 modules. The general content of these modules is found in outline form in Modules and Topics page. There are group discussion assignments and group projects. Each module starts with an index page that has a general statement about the learning objectives of that module. Next are links to the sub-modules Then homework assignments are outlined. The sub-modules are usually arranged so that you may choose which to do first. That will give you some flexibility in scheduling your time. Many learning goals are reached via a brief introduction followed by referral to other informational web sites. After you have reviewed that site and return to the sub-module there are questions or other tasks for you to quiz yourself. At the ends of most sub-modules are links to assignments for you to submit. Most modules have a section with detailed learning goals.

Discussion Groups: An important part of your learning experience will be communicating with other students via Blackboard. You will be assigned to a discussion group. The group will be tasked with discussing certain topics. You will be asked to read and comment on the submissions of other students.

Blackboard: Blackboard is our electronic course management tool. There you will find the quizzes, discussion boards and other material. You access blackboard via http://classes.uaf.edu . When you log in you will see a screen that leads you to our course. If you have problems with your password, call the IT Helpdesk 907 474 6564. Once you are at the course site you can access any of the course material or communicate with other students.

Email the instructor: If you want to communicate with Dr. Perkins directly with a question about the course, use email, raperkins@alaska.edu. Start your subject line with "ENVE 649," Followed by "Questions," or "HELP," or whatever. The instructor usually answers these emails the next day or ASAP. Homework is also sent by email, but these are handled differently and are not graded or answered immediately. Instructions for labeling the subject line of the homework emails are found in each homework assignment.