Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Writing a paper together as a group is problematic in terms of pragmatics, so I've worked with Dan Doernberg at to create a group publishing forum through his handy site.

Using this will be part of your grade for the project, with posting at least five comments on your group's paper as a part of the assignment. That will allow me to see who is contributing what to the paper, and it also will be a fairness check for your group, to make sure everyone is contributing as equally as possible to this part of the process. I think this will be a helpful tool for everyone.

In short, this process will work similarly to the Wittgenstein beta test that many of you did earlier in the term. Only the text you will be working on will be your own. For this research showcase project, you will be asked to create a group paper discussing and explaining your work. Using, you will be able to upload the document to this site, and everyone in your group will get to comment on drafts of it line by line.

The first step is to create a user account.

Browse to:

Here are the basics from there (form letter provided by Dan):

"Dear Students,

The textual analysis tool we are using for this week's work is on the site. Here's the procedure you should follow to create an account:

a) If you don't already have an account, go to the NowComment site and click the "Sign Up" link, which will take you to a signup page where you should fill in these fields:

Login name (use your firstname+lastname as shown on the school's records)
Your email address (use your school address with the school's domain name; you'll have to reply to an email sent to that address to activate the account. Later you can edit your Profile to switch to a different email addresses if you want.)
First name
Last name
An account password (enter it twice as a safeguard against typos)
Optional-- upload a photo of yourself or an image that will appear with each comment you post

Once you're done (should take a minute or less) click the "Sign up" button; unless there's an error of some kind, you'll be taken back to the homepage where a message will say "Thanks for signing up! We're sending you an email with your activation code."

b) Check your email in a few minutes and, once it arrives, open it to click on the activation link (or copy-and-paste it into your browser's URL window).

c) Once you log in on that page with your login name and password (the ones you specified above) your account is active.

d) Go to and navigate to your School, Course, and Section (small classes may not have a section).

e) Click on the link for the section you're enrolled in, which will take you to a page with a link that says something like:

Our records don't show that you've registered for this course with NowComment.

Click that "Register" link to request that your teacher and/or TA let you in (once they've checked your name against the class roster).

f) Once the teacher or TA accepts you into the class you should receive an email saying you're accepted, and you'll be able to access the document then.

g) Once accepted into the class, log in and start commenting on your document.

h) These comments can range from copy editing to structural and style issues, but they need to be stated clearly and completely in a formal academic style useful to your group in creating this document.

i) Each student in the group will earn a base amount of points for commenting; five meaningful comments at the minimum.


Brett Oppegaard


Basic NowComment help file

2-Pane View (Original Document in the left window, comments separately in the right)

How to View Existing Comments

Comments can be on the whole document, a paragraph, or a sentence.

Click icons or text to see Comment summary lines in the right-hand pane.

The number of comments will also appear in "thought bubbles" in the left hand window (inline with the document text).

How to Add a Comment or Start a New Conversation

Click on highlighted text or icon in left-hand window. In right-hand window click on Add Comment and fill in the Add Comments screen that appears.

How to Reply to a Comment

Click on highlighted text or icon in the left-hand window. In the right-hand window click on Full View to see expanded comments and then click on the reply button on the existing comment.

Alternately-- click on a right hand summary line and a reply button (and the full conversation) will appear.

How to see all the summary lines in a Conversation

Click on Expand/Collapse All. Clicking it again shows just the summary lines of the initial comment of each conversation.


Comments in Context View (Shows both the original document and comments in one window)

How to add a Comment

Click once on highlighted sentence or paragraph and fill in the Add Comment screen that appears.

Alternately--- click on the Reply Button in an existing comment and fill in the comment screen that appears.

To Get a Printout of Comments for Discussion

Go to your web browser’s File menu and then choose Print.


Comments Only View (Shows just comments)
View comments sorted by:
1) Commenter (person)
2) Date (first one submitted, then second, etc.)
3) Document Sequence (comments on paragraph #1 sentence #1, then para#1 sentence#2, then.... paragraph #1 in general... then para#2 Sentence 1....finally whole-document comments about the text/author/era in general.

Dan Doernberg, Publisher LLC
Phone: 434-975-0780


The captains of each team (JJ, Ross, Bryce and Ryan) will need to upload the draft paper to the site by sending a copy via email to Dan Doernberg at Dan also would be the one to troubleshoot any problems with the site.

In terms of workflow, I would suggest that the draft of this paper is complete no later than Saturday, with back and forth commenting going on Sunday through Tuesday, adding all of the polish either by the end of the day Tuesday, or on Wednesday before class.

By the way, I've also put a help file in our Google group's stash of files (right-hand side of the Google group; just click on "files" link, then click on NowComment help file).

These are all great projects. I'm thankful for your hard work so far and looking forward to the final results. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance,

- Brett

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