Penn State uses an online course management system called Canvas to deliver most of its online courses to registered students. Even though the course content for Earth 501 is open and available without having to go through a secure system, registered students need a secure way to submit assignments, receive grades, read copyrighted papers from the library, and generally make Penn State's lawyers happy. That's why I have to use a separate interface for the parts of the course to which only registered students have access.
How our course space in Canvas is organized
I made the default home page in Canvas the "Modules" page on which you will find a list of this course's lessons in order. If you expand the list you will get a link that goes to the this website where the content lives, and you will also see links to the discussions and assignments that you need to turn in for each lesson. It is probably easiest to keep two tabs open when you are working on this course: one tab for the course content material, and one tab for Canvas.
If you have any problems with Canvas, you should tell me right away and also contact the IT Service Desk: http://itservicedesk.psu.edu/canvassupport