ftp stands for File Transfer Protocol and is a means of moving files in the UNIX environment. A common Internet site is an anonymous ftp site. It is a site that stores software that anyone can login to anonymously and download.
A ftp site could be used as a depository of information for a particular course. This could be reference material, labs, homework assignments, applications (if allowed), databases, faqs, etc..
To log on to an ftp site, you need a program that can access the ftp world. Most web browsers will allow access to ftp sites. When you connect to an anonymous ftp site, your login username is "anonymous" and your password is your e-mail address. The files that available to the public are usually in a directory called "pub" or "public"
If you are using a graphical user interface web browser than it should be a matter of pointing and clicking to select the files that you need. If you are using a command line interface under the UNIX operating system, then you will need a solid understanding of the UNIX directory structure and ftp.
FTP Information Source