Getting Started: "Newbies on the Internet"

by Judith Maginnis Kuster - Mankato State University (

Most Internet Guides are quite lengthy. But you don't need to know every detail, just what you find of value. Don't be put off by terminology-- it's only jargon. Using the Internet is not as overwhelming as it first seems. Nobody knows all about the Internet. Learn what you need to know when you need it, a little at a time.

The best source of information when you need it is your nearby friendly computer guru, the sysop (system operator) in charge of your computer system. Be nice to these persons. They are busy, but are always eager to help you make full use of your computer system.

Published guide books can be helpful, especially :

If you are already connected to the Internet, a lot of help for "newbies,"is available online. The good news: it's free. A good online guide is EFF's Guide to the Internet by Adam Gaffin. In easily understood language, it provides nearly everything you need to survive on the Internet. A printed version of the EFF Guide called Everybody's Guide to the Internet is sold commercially.

Online training for Internet use has also become available. An excellent example is Patrick Crispen's free course, Roadmap, distributed in the fall of 1994. Roadmap had over 62,000 students from 77 countries enrolled in the first three sections. The 27 lesson course consisted of 5-10 minute lessons about the various features of the Internet, sent to your email address. Crispen has stored (archived) all the lessons on a computer at the University of Alabama and you can retrieve them free using a few simple e-mail commands. Other online tutorials include CyberCourse, An Introduction to the Internet and a series of excellent pointers called Life on the Internet.

Finally, there are literally millions of people online to ask for help. Everyone was new once. Many of us are only a half-step ahead of the beginners.

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Kuster, Judith Maginnis (February 1995) "Newbies" on Internet, ASHA Magazine, p. 22, 24.