HOW IT WORKS
HFCL consists of a collection of related, but independent, web sites. Each site has content suited to a particular intellectual purpose, and the sites are linked to provide easy navigation from one set of information to another.
Note: Instead of using browser "frames," HFCL makes extensive use of browser "windows." This may seem disconcerting at first, but it turns out to be a very effective way of presenting chunks of related, but independently categorized information. If you are looking at a window that you no longer want to see, you can make it disappear by choosing "CLOSE" from the browser menu or by clicking in the window's "close" box.
The tutorials site provides the online equivalent of an introductory communication textbook. The tutorials can be read from beginning to end (as might be done with a paper text), or they can be read as hypertext.
A number of different kinds of links are available from within the tutorials. Some take you to other sections of HFCL -- as, for example, a link on a person's name after a quotation will take you to the Citations section. Some provide "footnote" information. Some provide examples or illustrations of the topic under discussion. Of particular interest are the "question" links, shown by this icon:.
The questions site provides a collection of "essay" questions such as might be found at the ends of chapters in a print textbook. Most of the questions are linked to sections of the tutorials that present information relevant to their answers. Readers may begin in a tutorial and click on a question link, or they may begin in the questions and click on the question's number to be taken to one of the tutorials.
The citations site provides bibliographic information for quotations and other references from within HFCL. It would be nice if we could link from a citation to the actual text of the work, but most are not yet available online.
While the tutorials are intended to provide a brief introduction to the study communication, the focus site provides a collection of detailed essays, articles and multimedia presentations. Some of the focus segments can be reached from within the tutorials, but all of them can be reached from the glossary site.
The adoption of this "focus" method of presenting new information solves a thorny problem common to web site design. Although they contain hypertext links, the tutorials are written in a linear "textual" fashion. Because of this, an ongoing expansion and updating of the tutorials would represent a major piece of work. Instead of attempting this, the tutorials will grow very slowly, and HFCL will expand primarily by means of the addition of new focus segments.
The glossary site serves as an index for HFCL and as a dictionary of communication terminology. This site will expand as terms are added and definitions are updated. The glossary home page has a link to a search engine which may or may not be working at the moment. Someday we hope to upgrade our software and make searching a permanent feature of HFCL.
The HFCL directory provides an easy way to switch among the various sites. The directory page can be sized as the reader desires and placed near the edge of the screen for easy access. Clicking on one of the directory page's site buttons will open the home page for that site in a new window.