This course is built around a series of class lectures, rather than around a text book. As such, most students will find class attendance to be critical to successful completion of the course. Reading may enhance your depth and breadth of understanding, but will not necessarily provide you an advantage for course completion or grade purposes.
Helpful books and resource documents are provided electronically in the electronic reading room. All books referenced have sufficient information for you to acquire your own copies, however, you are not required to do so to complete the course. Obviously the electronic format of the resource documents provides for faster updates and makes the information readily available at home or school for academic only use by students in the class. Longer range need for material of this type for use in a professional career will require you to purchase books as the material is copyrighted and available only during the duration of the class in the site. In determining to what extent you should utilize the reading material and whether you should purchase the books several factors may be related to your decision.
(1)- The lectures will provide the overview and emphasized coverage on which you will be tested. Reading will provide you repetition from another authorís perspective and more broad and in depth topical coverage, but will not necessarily focus attention on the points to be tested in the course. Some students benefit from this type of coverage, while others become confused by large amounts of material with no emphasis matched to what you will be tested on. Since learning patterns vary between students, you are the individual most qualified to determine the extent to which you use supplemental reading.
(2)- Over a period of years, most students will maintain only a broad general feel for the materials they are taught in their courses unless they are using the materials on an active daily basis. With the twists and turns of a typical career, most students will find themselves in need of doing something they learned about in class years ago. These former students refer back to their text-books, course notes, and homework for an emergency refresher course on the subject. Details do tend to come back faster because there is some outline filed in their head somewhere. The fact that people usually do their review by re-reading their old text-book underscores the value of a good text library. If you have your course text-book and used it during the course, it frequently becomes a comfortable place to go back to. If you didnít buy or use a text-book or reference you will not have this advantage. The fact that your course notes and homework may be review documents helps one to understand why it is so important to clearly outline and explain each step in your homework (the person you teach may be yourself)
In addition to having electronic copies of reference books, the class server folder also has copies of the Power Point Notes used with lectures. Many students print these slides out in a format that leaves room for their own notes beside them and come to class prepared to take notes in this preprinted format. Sometimes having the lecture notes available on-line to students misleads people as to what is really provided. Many people have a subtle belief that the notes are a Readerís Digest or Cliff-Notes version of the course and that by browsing over them they will learn the topics and emphasis for the course. In fact Power Point lecture notes are a listing of ideas that are covered and explained in the lecture. The Power Point slides are designed to provide a visual focus for the points being made in lecture Ė they were never designed to be a self guided tutorial and review manual for people who didnít attend class, or to provide carefully documented examples to take the place of doing neat homework for later review.
Some experimenting is being done with putting the lecture and power-point notes together in Real Player Files. There may be limited amounts of such material available in the course. Obviously these files are intended to provide helpful reviews and were never intended to replace an interactive class-room atmosphere.
The course web site is organized as an enhanced syllabus and as such contains all normal syllabus material. It also contains reference material, test archives and homework material.