Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Chat Wittgenstein and get extra credit

Students in this class get the unusual opportunity over the next two weeks to participate in a custom-designed beta test of new software being developed by Electiondocs.com. And earn extra credit in the process (up to 20 points).

The site's founder, Dan Doernberg, and I have collaborated on setting up the next two readings, Wittgenstein's aphorisms 1-79 from "Philosophical Investigations," in this software for this test.

The first document is at:

Aphorisms 1-36

The second at:

Aphorisms 37-79

To participate, you first will need to sign a waiver in class Wednesday night and return that to me.

Second, you'll need to create a free account at electiondocs.com.

To do that:

Go to the ElectionDocs home page: http://electiondocs.com/
Click on the "login" link (upper right-hand corner)
Click the "Create a New Account" link
Fill in all the required information (uploading a photo is optional) and click the "Sign up" button.
After submitting your information, our software will send you a confirming email; click on the link given after the line "Visit this URL to activate your account". Once this is done your new account is active.
Click on “Log In,” and then enter the same username and password you chose earlier. Only if you're working from a secure, private home computer should you click the “Remember Me” box to remember your password information. In general it's best to enter this information each time rather then use this shortcut.

B) Accessing the Documents

Once the account is set up you can go directly to the two documents through the links above.

On those, you'll be able to post comments line by line and interact with the comments from your classmates on specific sections of text.

Highlight either the "whole document" icon, the paragraph icon or the sentence icon to comment on the text at any of those levels (I've placed a comment on each level as examples). The Document Focus and Comment Focus links switch the views. Ideally, we'll get some back and forth comments among us, about specific parts of the text.

To earn the extra credit, you'll need to make significant posts about the content. A significant post should be at least 50 words, but as long as you want. And, most importantly, it should convey some idea or question or comment you have about the text, with your own original interpretation included. These posts can start threads or continue threads.

I will give up to 10 extra credit points for each of the two batches of aphorisms (2 points per post), for a total of 20.

I will demonstrate this in class Wednesday, Jan. 21, and go over any questions then.

Please give it a try. Thanks!

- Brett

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