CourseNoteBook User's Guide

CourseNotebook is an experimental program and web site that is used to facilitate traditional-learning as well as distance-learning courses. As you use this program remember to always keep backup copies of your work and other important information. In addition, do not count on the web site always being available as server and network problems will occasionally occur.


Quick Start Hints

The Main Menu Bar

The main menu bar consists of three drop-down menu boxes, three text boxes, and an Update button. The boxes from left to right are:

  1. Course Selection Drop Down - this box lists the courses you are signed up for that use the coursenotebook program. Click the drop down arrow and then click on a course number. Press the Update button. Now all of the selections you make below will relate to this course. The All Courses option lets you take a look at messages posted in all of the courses on This gives you a way to visit with students in classes other than your own.
  2. Message Filter by Type Drop Down - this box lists the options All Messages, Public, Instructor, and Private. When you choose All Messages then no filtering occurs. The Public option will show all messages except for Private messages. The Instructor option will show special class messages posted by the course instructor.
  3. Message Filter by Time Drop Down - this box lets you filter out old messages.
  4. Number of Messages Text Box- enter the maximum number of messages you would like to view in this box and then press the Update button.
  5. Name Text Box - You can enter the first few letters of a person's name and then click Update to view all the messages posted by a user whose last name begins with those same letters. For example, to see all of the messages you have posted, set the Message Filter by Time Drop Down to All, enter your last name in the Name Text Box, and then click the Update button.
  6. Subject Text Box - You can enter the first few letters of a subject and then click Update to view all the messages posted that have a subject that begins with those same letters.

The Message Area

Each message consists of 3 parts: a message bar on top, a message preview pane on the lower left side, and a hyperlink pane on the lower right side.

The message bar displays who posted the message. You can click on the [info] hyperlink to find out more about the poster (you can set your own info by clicking the Settings hyperlink). Next is the course area the message was posted to. If the course name is underlined then it is a hyperlink to the course's home page. Clicking on either of these hyperlinks will launch a new browser window. Next, the date and time the message was posted is displayed. On the next line down the subject of the message is displayed.

The message preview pane shows the first paragraph of the message. The program determines the end of a paragraph by locating two <br> tags (when you press the enter key twice in a row) or the first <p> tag.

To see the entire text of a long message you click on the "read more of message #xx" hyperlink on the right side of the screen.

Posting Messages

At the bottom of the coursenotebook screen you will find a large textbox that you can type messages into. By clicking on the Post Message button, the new message will be posted to the list of current messages in this course area. Instead of typing your message directly into the box, you might want to copy (Ctrl C) and paste (Ctrl V) it from another program such as NotePad or WordPad. When submitting homework, it is a good idea to do it all first in Notepad or WordPad, run a spell check, and save it on your floppy disk. Now cut and paste it into coursenotebook. This way you will have a backup copy in case an error occurs during the posting process.

You have three radio button selections to choose from when you post a message. These are:

The messages that you post here are Public, meaning that everyone can read them. You can embed HTML tags within your message as discussed below.

Allowable HTML Tags

Before you start using these tags, make sure you have a pretty good idea what you are doing. Visit HTML Quick Reference or A Beginners Guide to HTML for help on learning HTML. Most of these tags work in pairs. For example, <b> turns on bold and then </b> turns off bold. Be extra careful if you use tables. Make sure you have </table> tags for each <table> you create or you will mess up the formatting on all of the messages that follow. The accepted HTML tags that you can use in your messages include tags that start (or end) with:

The Settings Area

Click the Settings hyperlink at the top of the coursenotebook screen to access the settings area. Here you can tailor coursenotebook so that it will start you with your preferred settings each time you log in.

©2002 John E. Phillips