Frequently asked questions (FAQ),
   a visitor's guide to the site

?
What is the general purpose of the site?
What courses are included here?
What is the Musings newsletter?
What about independent study?
Information about textbooks?
What is the general organization of the site?
How do I navigate the site? What should I do if I get lost?
How do I search the site?
Can I bookmark any page at the site?
How often are pages updated? How do I know when they are updated?
What if a page is missing?
Privacy?
Ads? Commercial links?
How can I contact the instructor? What about other sources of additional information?
What is the instructor's (site owner's) background?
How often does a question have to be asked to be classified as "frequent", so it gets listed here?
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What is the general purpose of the site?

The site was originally designed for students, both prospective and current, in my classes. The resources here may also be of interest to others -- to students taking similar courses elsewhere, or to those just wanting to explore on their own.

For prospective students, the site provides some basic information to help evaluate the course. These include a syllabus and some sample materials, including tests.

For current students, the site provides a variety of materials, mainly optional supplements to core class materials. These include practice quizzes, sample tests and Internet resources.

Some materials, including practice problems (quizzes, tests, other), Internet resources and file downloads, may be of interest to students taking similar courses elsewhere, or to those exploring on their own.

Instructional material on some topics is available. There is no attempt here to write a textbook. When I choose to write a page on a specific topic, it is because I want to expand on something beyond what is in the textbook. Such pages, then, are oriented toward specific needs that I perceive. Some of these pages may well be useful to students taking similar courses elsewhere. These pages are listed on individual Course pages.

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What courses are included here?

I teach courses in chemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology.

The chemistry courses are introductory "survey" courses. Introductory chemistry (Intro Chem; X11) is approximately equivalent to a year of high school chemistry; it is at the level generally required or recommended before taking regular university level General Chemistry ("Chem 1" at UC Berkeley). Introduction to Organic and Biochemistry (Intro Org/Biochem; X402) introduces organic chemistry and biochemistry at a similar level. Together these courses comprise what is often referred to as "chemistry for health science students" (e.g., nursing students).

The molecular biology course (X107), is an upper division course, with suggested pre-requisites of college level biology and chemistry.

Biotechnology in the News (BITN) was offered in Fall 2003, in Berkeley. This short course is intended for the general public; no science background is required. The purpose of the BITN course is to help the general public understand some of the scientific issues behind news stories involving biotechnology. There are no plans to continue this course, but the web resources will be maintained and expanded.

The Musings newsletter is at the same level on this site as the courses. See the next question.

There is overlap between Musings and BITN; there are many cross-references between them.

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What is the Musings newsletter?

The Musings newsletter presents current science; it is intended as both fun and instructive. Each week I post a few stories about recent developments in science.

There is overlap between Musings and BITN; there are many cross-references between them.

Musings newsletter. That link will always take you to the current Musings page. An "introduction" and a link to sign up for weekly e-mail announcements are also there, and are at the top of every Musings page.

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What about independent study?

The resources at this site are available for public (non-commercial) use. (They are copyrighted materials, and are not to be distributed for profit.)

I appreciate that some people do not have convenient access to traditional classroom courses, or may prefer to study on their own. The resources here could be useful to some students doing independent study. However, they are all intended to complement a textbook (which is listed in the course syllabus) -- not replace it. With some adjustment, the resources could easily be used with other, similar textbooks.

I welcome comments and questions from all site users; that is good feedback about the site materials. Specific questions about site materials, including practice problems, are always welcomed. If you are interested in assistance with working through a substantial amount of material, please inquire.

On some pages you will see text in a box of this color. Such text is particularly intended for "visitors" -- people using resources at my site for other courses or for personal study.

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Information about textbooks?

The textbooks for each course are listed in the course syllabus, which is linked to the course page. Along with the textbook information is a link to information about buying the books, either from the regular college bookstores, or online.

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What is the general organization of the site?

For the most part, you can consider that the site has three levels of pages...

Some of the content pages are useful for more than one course. Thus the links may actually be considerably more complex than the above list suggests. However, if one thinks of that simple structure, it will generally guide you.

The actual file names do not correspond to the hierarchy discussed above. That discussion above is intended to guide a visitor to this site about the logical organization of the site, not the file structure.

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How do I navigate the site? What should I do if I get lost?

Typically, a visitor to the site enters at the top level (Site Home Page, or "Courses Page"), then chooses a middle level page (for an individual course), then chooses a specific lower level (content) page for that course.

There is a navigation bar at the top of each page, and additional navigation links at the bottom. These links will take you back to the home pages for the appropriate individual courses, and also to the Site Home Page (Courses Page) with its master listing. If you are desperate, go back to the Site Home Page (Courses Page), and "start over". There is also a link to the Contact page; please feel free to e-mail me if you need some help, or if you simply have suggestions to make it easier for the next person.

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How do I search the site?

There is no search function on my site.

Google allows you to limit a search to a site. Add the search term
site:bbruner.org
to your search to limit it to my site. Note there must be no space after the colon.

Example:
Try the following Google search...
recombination site:bbruner.org
You will get 10 hits (as of July 2016). Some of them are in the Musings newsletter. If you wanted those specifically, modify the site-search term to be:
site:bbruner.org/musing

The search output will take you to the page containing the term, but not to the term. When you get to the page, do a simple text search there to find the term on that page.

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Can I bookmark any page at the site?

That should generally work. I try to avoid renaming existing pages (though I do it occasionally).

The Musings newsletter is a special case. New "current" pages are added regularly (every few months). If you bookmark to the "current" Musings page, it will still be there, but it may not be the "current" page anymore. The link to the Musings section on any of my pages, including the home page, uses an "alias", which will always redirect to the current page.

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How often are pages updated? How do I know when they are updated?

How often pages are updated varies widely.

One section of the Site Home Page (Courses Page) lists "Recent Changes." This section lists major changes, especially those that may be of immediate or wide interest.

Many of the materials were originally written for courses I taught. Most of these are not actively maintained. However, the basics on these pages still seem useful, so the pages remain. I will correct errors and such, including bad links, as I learn about them, so please send me such comments.

Most pages show the date of the last update at the bottom.

On some pages, I note new items, in red, with a note such as NEW, date added. These "new" alerts generally stay up for one year. I do this for the Musings newsletter, which is an active section of the web site. I also do this with my page of Book suggestions and with pages that list Internet Resources.

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What if a page is missing?

I try to minimize changing the file names for existing files. However, I may occasionally delete a file that I think is no longer of interest, or I may consolidate related files.

You should be able to find old files at the "Wayback machine". Go to Internet Archive; enter the complete file name for the file you want. I suggest you start with the most recent version listed. However, if it is just a "filler" file, go back a year or so to get the original content.

You can e-mail me and ask about missing files. I usually keep a copy of files I delete.

If a link on my pages leads to a missing page, that is an error. Please let me know of the error.

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Privacy?

Pages that I post do not use cookies or counters. I do have access to some simple site usage statistics, showing the number of "hits" per page.

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Ads? Commercial links?

There are no ads on this site.

There are some links to commercial sites, but they are not intended as product endorsements. Some commercial sites have useful information.

Inquiries about placing ads or linking to sites for commercial purposes will generally be ignored.

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How can I contact the instructor? What about other sources of additional information?

Each page has links at the top and bottom for contact information. Some pages also include a direct e-mail link to me.

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What is the instructor's (site owner's) background?

My background is in chemistry and molecular biology. I have worked in both academia and the biotech industry. The web site started with the goal of providing supplemental materials for my classes. Now that I am retired, I try to maintain the materials for others.

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How often does a question have to be asked to be classified as "frequent", so it gets listed here?

Depends on the question. Once may be enough. I will try to respond to all comments and questions appropriately. That may involve changing something at the site, or may involve posting better information. Feedback welcomed!


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Last update: August 10, 2017