Reef Education/Distance Education Courses Over the Internet

James Wiseman James.Wiseman at
Sun Oct 28 15:18:47 EST 2001

Hello Everyone,

A few months ago I posted a note about distance education in reference to
Reef Education/Conservation courses taught over the internet. A few people
replied with interest and suggestions, however with the caveat that there are
still many barriers to be overcome before this type of learning can reach

Currently my group ( is offering a 15 week course entitled
"Invertebrate Zoology for Reef Enthusiasts," taught by Dr. Ron Shimek.

I would like to give everyone the opportunity to "sit in" on the the first
week of this course to see how we have organized things, what type of
material is covered, and how information is conveyed over the "net." It is
also my fervent wish that some of you will post some comments for me (the
course administrator) that will help improve THIS course, but also FUTURE

A description of the concept, its mission, and history are summarized at:

We are using the large base of marine aquarium hobbyists for this class, as
they have a unique opportunity to study most of the marine invertebrates
covered - in their own homes - by removing them from their aquarium and
observing them as part of the laboratories for the course. This would also be
possible for people living adjacent to reefs.

The following is a welcome message that I sent out to the enrolled students,
telling them how to use the course resources, what is expected of them for
this first week, and preparing them for a new type of learning experience.
Please feel free to drop in and have a look around. If you are really
interested, the instructor will be holding the first online discussion
session on Wednesday October 31st at 8PM Eastern Standard Time.

"Good morning everyone,

I'd like to take a minute to welcome everyone to MACO, and introduce myself.
I am James Wiseman, and I will be working with Dr. Shimek to administer this
course. From time to time you will receive emails from me, and I will also be
posting announcements on the MACO webpage and the discussion board. Check
them often. This is our second time running this course, so (cross your
fingers) hopefully everything will go off without a hitch. I do realize that
from time-to-time you may encounter technical difficulties, and I encourage
you to email me, or post them to the discussion board.

With that said, we are fast approaching the start date for the course, which
is Monday, October 29th. At that time, the course will begin in earnest. How
about we review what we need to do before then, and what we need to be ready
to do?

1) Lectures. You should have all downloaded and perused the 1st lecture. This
requires that you install the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you haven't done
either of these yet, please go the the MACO Students Page at:

Familiarize yourself with the page. Click on "Lectures" and you will see that
they are arranged by week. Week 0 contains the introductory materials and the
schedule. The Document "Intro and Schedule.pdf" is your guide. It will tell
you what you are expected to do each week and what reading assignments need
to be completed. Please make yourself familiar w/ this document before
Monday!! :-) 

The Week1 folder contains your first lecture for the course. You would do
well to download it and be familiar with it for the first discussion session.
We will aim to keep all downloads for MACO to under 1 (one) Megabyte. Because
of the excellent pictures and figures, this may mean breaking the lectures
into parts, so be advised.

2) Discussions. We will have our first discussion on Wednesday October 31st
at 8pm Eastern time. There is a link to the Chat Room on the MACO Students
Page at:

Click on the Chat heading and you will be taken to a software program that
will connect you to #MACO, our private chatroom. Unfortunately, this program
only works with PC based systems. If you are using a Macintosh, you will need
to use a different program to access the chatroom. For instructions on
connecting to the chatroom using other programs, please see: Which will give you specific instructions for
whatever system you are using. We have tried to accommodate the majority of
people by setting up the chat program on our website, but realize that it
won't work for everyone. SO, try it out before Wednesday, and if you are
having problems, please email me.

3) Quizzes. You will hear more about these from the Instructor, I
guarantee...:-) The quizzes will be archived on the MACO Students Page as

4) Labs. You will hear more about these from the Instructor as well. 

5) MACO Students Discussion Board. Currently, we have been using the
"Questions and Comments" discussion board, which is open to everyone. Once
the course enrollment is closed, you will want to use the Private discussion
board. More details will be posted the first week of the course. Be aware, it
it YOUR responsibility to check the discussion boards for announcements. I
will not be "spamming" everyone with email whenever there is a change. You
will need to REGISTER for the discussion board in order to read and post. You
can register at: 

It will email you your login and you will have a DISCUSSION BOARD password.
This is different from the MACO password. will have to remember 2
passwords (write them down!) for the course. One for the discussion board,
and one for MACO.

Don't forget...CHECK THE DISCUSSION BOARD OFTEN. There is a link to the
discussion board from the Maco Students Page.

6) Passwords (Groan). After this first week of class, you will need a
password to gain access to the MACO Students Page, and the MACO Students
Discussion Board. I will email it to all enrolled students the first week. If
you do NOT receive an email from me and you read this on the MACO page,

If you are reading this and you are not enrolled in the course, but wish to
be, please go to:

Well folks, that's all I can think of for now, but I'm sure there will be
more...:-) I am really looking forward to taking this course with you, and if
there is anything that the Instructor or Myself can do to help, please don't
hesitate to email us or post on the discussion board. This is going to be a
challenging course for you all, so remember, stick to it, and WHAT YOU PUT

Thanks for your feedback,

James Wiseman

Thanks for your feedback,

James Wiseman

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