Geology 302C on Blackboard



If you are an experienced user of Blackboard, go to the web site and "login" with your UTEID. From there select "10SP Climate: Past, Present, Future".













If you are a new user of Blackboard, and want to find out more about it, please read on!



[Note: the materials below are taken from

My thanks go to Drs. Leon Long and Libby Stern for making such a wonderful resource.]


Note:  the discussion below is full of computer jargon.  See the Glossary for explanations or definitions.


We have just begun to use Blackboard, a university supported computer-based course management system.  With your patience for our inexperience, we hope that Blackboard will enhance your learning and simplify communication in this large class.


To use Blackboard, you will need the following:

• A Web browser      For Windows operating systems, either of these:

Internet Explorer 4.01 or higher (Internet Explorer 5.0 is recommended)

Netscape 4.7 or higher (Netscape 4.73 is recommended)

For Macintosh:  Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher


• A UT-EID (Electronic IDentification—what you use to access “UT Direct”)

• Ability to navigate the Web (use a browser), and handle multiple open windows

• Ability to open, close, and save files and attachments, in particular a PDF reader (Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is free software)

• Also recommended is an e-mail account.


How to access Blackboard:


1.  Use a web browser ("Internet Explorer" or "Netscape") to access the following web site (type this address into the browser address window):

2.  You will be asked to provide your UT-EID and password.

3.  There will be a link for each course in which you are enrolled, including “Climate: Past, Present and Future.”  Use your mouse to select this web link.

For more information on how to access and use blackboard, see this web site:

Uses of Blackboard in GEO 302C:

We are still developing how best to use Blackboard for GEO 302C; here are definitions of the major subunits in this facility, and their uses.

1.  Announcements             regarding logistics of GEO 302C (example, schedule of review sessions)

2.  Faculty information      how to contact the professor

3.  Documents                     where I will post my selected PowerPoint presentations from class,  etc.

4.  Discussion boards          the place to raise questions related to GEO 302C (see rules for discussion below)

How to post to a discussion board:

1.  Click the discussion board button.

2.  You may read or add to an existing discussion by clicking on an existing “forum,” and add a new “thread” to the discussion.  You may post a message to the existing thread (this is difficult to explain in detail, but rather self explanatory if you try it).

 Rules for Use of GEO 302C Blackboard Discussion Boards

Blackboard discussion boards are available to all GEO 302C students, TAs, and the instructor.   Everyone can read anything that you post to a discussion board, and your identity, although encrypted in your username, ultimately cannot be concealed.  In a sense you are a "public figure" to be held accountable for your words and actions.  Thus normal courtesy and civility are expected of everyone.  Your peers will also think better of you if you think carefully about constructing good phraseology, spelling, and grammar before you send forth a message.  Before posting a message, it would be a good idea to run it through a spelling checker.

The following uses of the GEO 302C Blackboard discussions are FORBIDDEN:

• Dirty, obscene, or inappropriate jokes

• Anything that insults a person's race, gender, religious faith, or sexual orientation

• Reference to athletic teams or events

• Negotiation to buy or sell something

• Reference to social events (unless you would like to throw a party just for GEO 302C students)

• Appeals on behalf of any private or public do-good organization (religious, charity, fight against disease, etc.), no matter how worthy

The guiding principle here is that GEO 302C Blackboard discussion boards are meant only for the business at hand.  The Computation Center endorses (and will enforce) the "no-no" list above.  If you wish to indulge in something on that list, send a personal e-mail message.

With adherence to these minimal requests, we hope that the GEO 302C Blackboard discussion boards will become an excellent forum by which you may seek help from your peers, TAs, and professors, or mentor others.  You are welcome to ask questions, make comments, form study groups, whatever.

Please take care to use the GEO 302C Blackboard discussion boards properly.  Address your message to the discussion board only if you intend for a large audience to read it.  If your message is intended just for an individual, use e-mail instead.

Climate science has important political implications (utilization of natural resources, minimizing pollution, etc.), and sometimes the GEO 302C discussion boards carry some highly opinionated exchanges.  We welcome this!  However, just as the U. S. Senate has learned through experience that it must have rules to limit debate, so must we.

It will be an experiment in management procedure, and traffic on the discussion board will be monitored by Dr. Yang.   If someone violates the rules above, the message may be deleted and her/his privilege to post future messages on the board may be revoked at the discretion of Dr. Yang.




You do not have to own a computer to access the computer-based GEO 302C  resources.  All libraries and the SMF (Student Microcomputer Facility) have public computers for student use for free, but many require you to set up an IF (Individually Funded) account.  Use of the computers via the IF account is free, but other services such as printing will be charged to the IF account.

To set up an IF account do one of the following:

• Subscribe online (using UT-EID) at this site:

• Go to the Varsity Center Help Desk (bring UT-ID)

• Go to the SMF in the Flawn Academic Center (bring UT-ID)

More information is available at:

TO OBTAIN E-MAIL (if you do not already have an e-mail account)


Information may be found at this web site

Your ITAC fees support free access e-mail for all students through the UMBS (University Mailbox Service).  Information is available at:

To activate your mailbox, go directly to this web site


You may access your UT UMBS e-mail account (ending with “”) with several programs including Eudora, Outlook, or Pine.  You may also access Webmail, a new mail service at UT Austin, which is offered at no charge to all UT students, faculty, and staff.  With Webmail, you can access your e-mail from any computer using a standard Web browser (Netscape, Explorer, etc.).  An advantage of Webmail is that virtually all computers connected to the Internet have a Web browser.


A UMBS e-mail account limits the amount of information (messages and attachments) to 10 MB.  If your “inbox” contains more this amount, future incoming mail will be returned to the sender.  If you send a critical e-mail message to a course instructor when your mailbox is full, that person will be out of touch, unable to respond to you.



(This is intended for inexperienced computer users.)


Note:  if a term appears in italics, look for a separate heading to describe that term.


BEVOWARE (formerly UT CONNECT):  free software bundle that includes many basic utilities such as email, anti-virus, printer drivers, browsers, etc.

Browser, or Web browser:  a software application used to locate and display web pages.  Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the two most popular browsers to access the World Wide Web on the Internet.

Byte:  a unit quantity of information in a computer; pronounced "bite."

E-mail:  electronic mail, software that permits you to send and receive messages, composed at a computer keyboard, with anyone else who also has an e-mail address, anywhere in the world.  E-mail may be ad­dressed to a group of users as a mail list, or just to a specific person.

Eudora:  free software used to read, send, or manage e-mail.

Floppy disk (also, diskette):  3.5-inch wide (easily portable) disk, inserted into a computer, used to store information (only the disk inside the protective plastic case is actually "floppy").

Hard drive:  a computer's internal information storage disk with very large capacity.

Hardware:  physical part of a computer operating under the guidance of software.

HTTP:  the prefix of most web site addresses, denoting the use of HTML or Hypertext Markup Language, the normal file format of the web.

IF account:  individually funded user number that permits you to use the University's network services.  The IF account is free (to use computers in the SMF), but your IF account will be billed for services such as TELESYS (UT’s dial-up by modem service), printing, and data storage.  See more at:

Internet:  worldwide information system accessible through your personal computer.

Internet Explorer:  software used with the Internet to "browse" — move about freely on the WWW.

Logging in, logging out:  start-up procedure to activate, or shutdown procedure to deactivate a computer.

M:  "mega" or 1 million.  (More accurately, for computers it is 220, or 1,048,576.)

MB:  Megabyte, or approximately 1 million bytes.

Macintosh:  brand of computer manufactured by Apple Computer, Inc. that runs a unique Macintosh operating system.

Mailbox:  an account on a server, such as the University Mailbox System, that receives e-mail messages addressed to you and holds them until you pick them up with a reader such as Eudora.

Modem:  device attached to a computer and a telephone line, facilitating transfer of information by phone.

Netscape:  free software used with the Internet to "browse" — move about freely on the WWW.

Operating system:  a computer program that runs all other programs.  Operating systems perform basic tasks such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the display screen, keeping track of files, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers.  Common operating systems include Windows, Macintosh, DOS, Linux, and Unix.

Password:  short secret code that identifies you as the only authorized user of a particular piece of com­puter-stored information, for example messages in your mailbox.  Each computer (SMF, TELESYS, etc.) requires a different password.

PC:  personal computer, referring to any computer intended generally for home use, but more commonly referring specifically to computers running the Windows operating system.

RAM:  random access memory, the amount of memory available almost instantly in your computer during usage.  Information content in RAM "evaporates" when the computer is turned off, in contrast to per­manent storage on the hard drive.

Server:  computer that sends and receives data throughout a network accessible to users.  The data may consist of files, e-mail, web pages, news articles, etc.

SMF:  Student Microcomputer Facility, pronounced "Smerf."  Located on the second floor of the Flawn Academic Center, UT campus.  Also a computer named SMF.

Software:  set of instructions that direct the functioning of a computer's hardware.

TELESYS:  high-speed modem system that provides dial-up access to UT's Computation Center and other computers on and off campus.  Cost is 30 cents/day.

UT EID:  UT Electronic Identifier that allows you to use secure services that require you to identify yourself.  To gain access to the service (such as Blackboard) you must also use a personal password.  More information at:

VRC:  VaRsity Center, the location of the Help Desk of the Computation Center.

Web, or WWW, or World Wide Web:  a system of Internet servers displaying documents in the form HTML, which supports multimedia formats (web pages).  These documents are viewed with a web browser.

Windows:  the most common computer operating system used on PCs (written by Microsoft).


Last updated on 01/25/10 12:51 PM