Week 7 (Final Week) Introduction

Week 6  Introduction

Week 5 Introduction

Week 4 Introduction

Week 3 Introduction

Week 2 Introduction

Week 1 Introduction

Welcome to ISS220: Time Space & Human Change

From Stone Age to Ancient States: The Story of Us

I’d like to welcome you to this summer online class.  My name is Professor Ethan Watrall – I will be your instructor for this class.  During the course of the semester we’ll explore the incredible story of how humanity came to be.  How we evolved biologically over millions of years from our earliest ancestors to become the dominant species on the planet.  How we evolved culturally from small groups of hunters and gatherers to living in ancient cities of tens of thousands of people.  This is the story of us.

The class officially starts on May 14.  Before we got started, I wanted to take the opportunity to answer some important questions about the class.

Do I have to come to campus? No.

This is an online course. There are no on campus activities at – no on-campus lectures, no on-campus exams at all.   You do need to have a high-speed Internet connection and you must log into the course website at least once a day to check for announcements (on the front page of the course website).

Is this class on D2L? Yes, and no.

The bulk of the class work is run through a separate course website (which is powered by WordPress).  This website (which is located at has all of your weekly course materials (lecture videos, etc), information on assignments, and course announcements.   Its probably a good idea to bookmark the course website so that you’ll be able to easily access it.   The course website will also be a platform for some of your weekly assignments.  D2L will be used for your weekly exams as well as for your course gradebook.  Other than that, we aren’t using D2L at all.  So, except for your weekly exams (and checking your gradebook), you won’t be spending any time on D2L.

How do I access the Course Website?

Technically speaking, you don’t actually need anything to view the website.  Its mostly open (see the About the Class section for more information on that).  You will need an account to post on the course blog (which you will need to do for one of your major assignments).    You will receive an invitation to the site in your MSU email on Friday May 11.  This will contain your login and temporary password that will allow you to login to the course website.

Please watch the following tutorials BEFORE you login to the site for the first time so you know how to login and change your password (note that this year’s website will look different than the one in the video, but the basic principle is the same).

Logging in:
Posting and Commenting:

What is the username/password to watch this and other videos?

To watch this video and ALL OTHER online course videos, you will need to use the universal login information. Please note that this is DIFFERENT from your WordPress login information, which is individual to you (sorry about another password to keep track of). If you enter this video password to one lecture video for the course, your browser should automatically save it and enter it every time you watch a lecture video (i.e. you should only need to use it once).

Password: 29raxake

What is required of me if I take this course?

You should go read the About the ClassAssessments and Grading, and Contact pages on the course website to get more information about the course requirements and how the course is structured. These pages have a lot of information on them, but please read through them carefully, as they will likely answer any questions you have about the course.

Are there any required textbooks for this class?

Nope.  All of the readings and lecture videos videos will be posted on the course website under the Schedule section of the course website for that week. Everything you need to reach or watch for this course are online and linked in each of the week’s schedule page.

I’m confused or have special circumstances, who do I ask for help?

Check out the “Getting Help & Asking Questions” section on the About the Class section of the course website.  This has lots of details about where you should go to answer specific kinds of questions.  The same information can be found on the Contact page. Please review the requirements for communication thoroughly – it will same you a lot of time and energy.    Do not email the entire class through D2L. 

It’s after Friday,  May  11th, and I did not receive an email invitation (and account info) for the course website.

Remember, the invitation will be arriving in your MSU email.  The first thing you need to do is check your junk main.  Sometimes MSU email considers these emails (which are automatically generated by the course website) to be spam.  So, check junk mail folder. If you still can’t find the email, let me know immediately.  We’ll figure it out and get your access ASAP.    If you registered after May 11, you won’t have been included in the first wave of account creations.  You will need to email me as soon as you register and I’ll create an account for you.  It is your responsibility to contact me – I won’t automatically create accounts for people who might have registered for the class later.  

I received an invitation but now it says the link is expired, what should I do?

It is important that you click the link and set up your account within 48 hours of receipt, otherwise the invitation will expire. If this happens, send me an email ASAP and we will get it figured out.

There will not be any mass emails regarding this class. All announcements will be posted on this page, so make sure you check it daily.

All class announcements will be done through the course website (not D2L and not by mass email).  This means you’ll need to be checking the course website regularly.  Each Monday morning, I will also post  short video about what we’re going to be doing that week (as well as any special announcements and reminders that need to be made)

I am really excited about working with each of you this summer. See you online!