A Collection of Resources for Digital Media Zone students.

For Beginners

Learning online from Web-based instruction may be a new experience for you. Although there are many similarities to face-to-face instruction, there are important differences as well. We hope that the following suggestions will help you adapt to the distance learning environment, maximize its strengths for your learning, and help you find ways to become a successful online student.

Preparing for Success

Define Time and Space. It helps to establish a definite time and place for studying. Developing a habit pattern and a familiar study location will help you make regular progress and increase your effectiveness. This not only makes your study more pleasant, it helps your mind become more focused.

Course Calendar. Some students find it helpful to create a personal course calendar to keep track of the completion of their assignments, exams, group projects, etc. It allows them to think ahead and visualize progress.

Be Aware of Computing Habits. At home, you may use the computer for games or while you are doing something else -- eating, talking on the telephone, etc. You may pay attention only to the portions of the computer program in which you have great interest. Participating in an online course is not like that. You need to stay focused on the content, ask questions, share ideas, and participate fully in the learning activities presented.

Seeking Help When You Need It

Be Assertive. If you have a question or comment, you must be willing to send a note to the instructor or your fellow classmates. One of the best things about this type of group communication is that other students are willing to help answer questions. Initially some students feel that they are taking a big risk by showing that they do not understand. Remember that the instructor or other students cannot see you to realize that you are confused, interested in sharing an idea, or having difficulty with the technology.

Use Online Help Features. If you need help with using Sakai, check the Help feature on the menu bar. Sometimes a Net search will help you discover solutions to technology problems. If you are exploring the Internet, many sites have a link to "Frequently Asked Questions " (FAQs).

Share Your Thoughts and Opinions. Let your instructor know how you feel about the effectiveness of participating in a distance education environment like the Internet. Your input will help the instructor plan for future distance course delivery.

Working Collaboratively with Your Fellow Students.Many online courses incorporate some type of group work (i.e., discussions, peer reviews, small group projects, etc.). Being an effective group member requires an attitude of collaboration. Collaboration is defined as the process of reaching goals as a group that cannot be achieved efficiently or effectively by acting singly (Bruner, 1991).

Benefits of Collaboration. Most students find time invested in interaction and collaborative efforts produces benefits both for themselves and fellow group members. These benefits include a better or stronger product/discussion/project; a broader exchange of new information; greater coordination of talents or services; and combined resources for shared goals.

Group Communication. Groups seem to be most effective when there is frequent communication for the sharing of ideas, plans, disagreements, and consensus. In a WWW course, communication is often accomplished through discussion board postings, email, and instant messaging.

Group Skills. Groups seem to accomplish more when everyone shares in the

  • vision for a successful project;
  • investment of risk and/or resources
  • ownership and credit
  • decision-making
  • investment of time (i.e., to build trust, respect, and accomplish goals).

These guidelines occur more easily if members of the group focus on relationship skills like respect for self and others, honoring one's own and others' needs, setting limits, listening and responding, tolerating ambiguity and conflict, and commitment.

Group Roles. Effective group projects do not usually "just happen. " They take a willingness and effort from all the members. That willingness and effort are frequently demonstrated as group members assume a variety of group-process-roles. In fact, some group members may often have more than one role at a time. The following chart provides an overview of roles that can either encourage or discourage group accomplishment.

Source: ET-MO Internet basics for beginners.



General Questions

Bengal Web Server

  • Do I need to upload my files to every time I make changes to them?
    Yes. Anytime you make a change to the copy of the file on your computer you will need to upload that copy to the server so you can view it at your bengal URL ( SecureFX has an option to automatically synchronize files between your computer and the server, however you need to setup this option before it will work. The SecureFX help files contain information on how to do this. Search the "Help" of SecureFX for "synchronize".
  • What's the "www " directory in my bengal account? Do I need it?
    The "www " folder contains your website and is where the server looks for your website files. This folder must be named "www " because without it the server will not be able to find your web page and you will not be able to access your page from the web. 
  • I deleted my "www " folder, what do I do now?
    You need to create a new "www " folder.
  • I renamed my "www " folder to something else, what do I do now?
    You need to rename it again to  www.
  • I don't have an "index.html " in my "www " folder. Is this a problem that needs to be resolved, or will it just appear later?
    You should not have nor should you create an index.html file in your "www " folder. This allows the TAs to see the contents of your "www " folder to find files if you have submitted an incorrect URL and to help find problems in your pages when you post to the discussion board.
  • I have FTP'ed my file to my Bengal space and received a message asking something about binary or ascii-II. The message stated that for text, one should choose ascii.... so I did, but now when I download the file from my bengal space, the file won't open and I get a message that says "error reading file.”
    A text file isn't just a document with writing in it. It's a text file only with text inside of it, and written by a plain text editor. Microsoft Word documents don't fall into that category. You can change the file settings by going to Options -> Global Options on the tool bar. This will open a window containing settings for SecureFX. On the left, under "File Transfer," click on "File Types." In the list that appears you will need to find the document's extension (three or four letters after the period), highlight it by clicking on it, and then click the "Delete" button on the right hand side of the window. This will make SecureFX ask again how you want to transfer the file the next time you upload a file of that type. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a file is text-only. Usually files with the following extension should be transferred as ASCII: .txt, .html and .xml. If you're unsure choose binary. Transferring a text-only file as binary rarely messes up the file.


  • How do I add an avatar to my profile?
    Go into the "My Profile" link in the "Discussion and Private Messages" tool, and you'll see a place to upload a file for your avatar. You'll need a digital picture -- the recommended size is 130x130 pixels or smaller. You can resize your image in an image editing program if you need to.

Cannot find the answer...

Send us your question by emailing the Zone.


MU Resources

MU Library

MU Bookstore

MU Division of Information Technology



Zone Resources

Digital Media ZONE Library

  • ZONE Library Use: 
    The Digital Media ZONE has a small library of books relating to the courses we teach. The books are available for review in the Zone and may be checked out by ZONE students.

Digital Media ZONE Hardware and Software

  • Hardware Checkout Policy: 
    ZONE Students can check out equipment from the Digital Media ZONE or the Reflector for class project purposes. Equipment can be checked out for 3 days at a time, with one renewal period possible. Please call or email the ZONE to check the availability of any equipment you need.
  • Software Use Policy: 
    The ZONE has software required for completing ZONE course assignments and projects available on both PCs and Macs on computers located in the ZONE. Because of the limited storage space on ZONE computers, please bring a personal storage device (a DVD, CD, portable hard drive, jump drive, etc) to save your projects. Any student projects saved on ZONE computers will be deleted at the end of each week.

Web Resources for ZONE Students organized by Course

You will find additional resources for your course within your online course environment (Sakai). The links below may be in addition to the resources in your course.

4360/7360 Introduction to Web Development

4364/7364 Flash Authoring

4370/7370 Intermediate to Web Development



Accessing your personal web storage space on Bengal using SFTP