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Histories and Tragedies, Assignment #1: Logging on to the Bulletin Board


Due date:
Friday of week 2
0% (but mandatory).

The following information is included to help you in completing this assignment. It is intended as an introductory guide for students who have little or no previous experience with email and bulletin boards. For those of you who have already taken English 366E, it is a repeat and you will not need to read all of this file.

This "assignment" is a requirement (pass/fail) of the course; you must complete the following basic tasks:

  1. Log on successfully to the WebBoard:
  2. Send a message to the forum. This can be done any time in the first two weeks of class, and should deal with one of the questions that arise from your reading of the first play.
  3. Send a short message to the instructor privately by using regular email.

Some participation in the WebBoard is expected as part of the course. At the very least you should log on once a week to see what is being discussed, even if you "lurk" and don't actually contribute anything yourself. There will be no formal evaluation of your participation, by quality, since the intention is to make the discussion free and open. Participation does, however, count for 10% of the final grade.

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What is a WebBoard?

A WebBoard is a forum for electronic discussion. You will be able to read what others have said about a topic and contribute your own two (or more) cents' worth. There will also be some extra materials in electronic form available for you to consult.

This discussion of the WebBoard is based on the "Help" file at .

WebBoard is a Web-based application. You access it in the same way you access any other Web page on the Internet:

  1. Use the WebBoard link from the course Website () or go to the Board directly ().
  2. A dialogue box asking if you will "accept a cookie", or "allow a cookie to be set" might appear. If so, click on "yes" each time your browser asks. If you browser does not ask about accepting or allowing cookies, it means it has already been automatically set. The cookie is necessary, it is only used for recognizing your user name and password.
  3. When you get to the WebBoard dialogue box, which looks like this:
    Choose "Bookmarks", and select "Add Bookmark" from the Netscape menu if you are using Netscape as your browser. Choose "Favorites", and select "Add to Favorites ..." from the Explorer menu if you are using Internet Explorer. This will save the location (URL) for your future use of WebBoard.
  4. The first time you open up the course WebBoard, you will need to register yourself as a "New User". Choose the "New Users" button, and a "New User Information" dialogue box will appear. Enter the details requested and your password (don't forget it!).
  5. Once you click the "Create" button, you will become a user on your course WebBoard.
  6. Important. When you log in to the WebBoard for the first time, you should click on the button "More…" at the top of the screen. On the page you are taken to, click on "Edit Your Profile" and fill in your real name and email address, making sure that you do so accurately. If you do not follow this step, I shall be unable to track your participation on the WebBoard, and will be unable to allocate the portion of your final grade that depends on your activity in discussion.
  7. A dialogue box asking if you will accept a cookie, or allow a cookie to be set might appear again. If so, click on "yes"again each time your browser asks. If you browser does not ask about accepting or allowing cookies, it means it has already been automatically set.
  8. Now that you are a registered user, the next time you access WebBoard you will type in the "Login Name" and "Password" you created above when you are presented with the login screen.

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Using the Web Board

WebBoard has a menu of clickable features at the top of its page and uses two side-by-side frames to display information. The left-hand frame allows you to choose a message whose contents are then displayed in the right-hand frame. The border between the left and right frame can be moved using your mouse.

The main organizing structure of the WebBoard is displayed in the left frame and consists of a hierarchy of Conferences, Topics and Messages. A "Conference" is the top level of the hierarchy; You will see that there will be a Conference for each of the plays we study, and one for each of the major assignments. "Topics" and "Messages" are the two lower levels of the hierarchy and evolve within a Conference depending on it is used. When the WebBoard is first opened all the available Conferences are listed in the left frame with a "+" sign to the left. Clicking the "+" sign expands the Conference to show Topics and/or Messages. Topics will also have "+" signs which if clicked expand them into Messages. Once a "+" sign is clicked, the same Conference or Topic will have a "-" sign to the left which if clicked will collapse the hierarchy under it.

All Messages are hotlinks, that is, links to pages that if clicked will display their contents in the right-hand frame. The page, which is displayed in the right-hand frame, may also have hotlinks in it, which will link to further pages. Navigation in the WebBoard is just like navigation in any Web-application.

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The Menu Bar is along the top of the frames and contains the following features:

* Post -
to post a new Topic or Message to a pre-selected Conference
* Refresh -
updates your Conference list
* Chat -
displays the available chat rooms (none are planned for this course)
* Profiles -
allows you to update your personal profile information (e.g. to change your password), or to review the profile of any Conference on the system
* Search -
opens the Message Search form which you use to find specific content in Topics or Messages
* Mark All Read -
turns off the new message flags in the specified Conference. (After doing this you should "Refresh" the Conference.)
* More -
offers a variety of other features which you should explore
* Help -
displays a index for linkable help topics
Message Options -
once you have linked into a Message, the Message is displayed in the right frame and permits a number of options (in addition to linking any of the hotlinks embedded in the Message.) These option are listed at the top of the message frame:
* Top -
returns you to the first Message in a Topic
* Post -
starts a new Topic in a Conference. Note that a file can be attached to a Message created through the Post feature.
* Reply -
creates a new Message within the given Topic. Use this option, or the following one, when you want to add your note to a particular Topic.
* Reply/Quote -
includes the text of the Message to which you wish to reply
* E-mail Reply -
lets you e-mail the person who posted the current Message. Note that the e-mail is sent by the mail program you use with your regular Internet service, not by the WebBoard program.
* Delete -
deletes a Message you have posted. (You can't delete other people's Messages.)
* Edit -
allows you to modify a previous Message you have posted and post it as a new Message.
* Previous -
backs up to the previous Message in the Topic
* Next -
moves to the next Message in the Topic
* Previous Topic -
displays the first Message of the previous Topic in the Conference
* Next Topic -
display the first Message in the next Topic in the Conference

Use the Menu Bar "Help" button to learn more about using the WebBoard.

If you have general questions about Webboard, or are having trouble connecting, contact the Onlinehelp Desk:

PHONE: 250.721.8476

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The Rhetoric of E-mail

As the last sentence suggested, the first thing to understand about e-mail is that it is informal. E-mail users don't wear ties or power clothes. No-one runs a spell checker through an e-mail message to make sure that it is correct--finger fumbles are fine.

The aim is to make us feel that you are talking, not writing an essay. And don't feel that you have to chat a whole lot. A single line is enough to ask a question or to respond to one. You don't need to start with "Dear John" (or anyone)--just leap right in. The "To:" in the header for you message will say who you are e-mailing.

Good Manners

Informality, however, does not mean that you can trample on the feelings of other contributors. One thing that often happens in e-mail correspondence, perhaps because the contributors often live hundreds of kilometres apart, is "flaming"--discussions that become insulting or overbearing. The aim should be to be stimulating, controversial even, but always to respect the opinions you are differing from, and to respect those who post messages, even if you find them a bit elementary or bizarre.

Smileys (Also Known Pompously as Emoticons)

One way in which e-mail can become more like chatting than writing is with the use of smileys: unusual punctuation conventions that are intended to convey non-verbal information. Think of them as faces on their sides.

:-) [colon, hyphen, close bracket] happy face (can mean "just kidding," for example)

:-( [colon, hyphen, open bracket] sad face (can mean "sorry if I was rude" etc.)

;-) [semicolon, hyphen, close bracket] wink.

And so on--you can try your own if you are creative with your keyboard.


E-mail consists exclusively of "plain text" files, which means that you cannot underline, bold, or italicize what you write. There are, however, a number of ways of providing emphasis or punctuation that involves underlining:
  1. As in your assignments, a word that should be underlined or italicized can be preceded and followed by the underline character: thus you can distinguish between Hamlet the character and _Hamlet_ the play. But remember that email is informal--you don't need to be picky about titles and so on.
  2. A word that you would make bold can be preceded and followed by an *asterisk* (or even two if you want to be **really** emphatic).
  3. And you can spell something in CAPITAL LETTERS, though you should be aware that to do so tends to turn your readers off, since the effect is a bit like someone shouting.

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This page last updated on 28 December 2002. © Internet Shakespeare Editions, 2002.