Comedies, Problem Plays and Romances, Assignment #1
Logging on to the Web Board

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Table of Contents: Course Two


Due date:
Friday January 16 at the latest
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. Create a "profile" for yourself, using your real name and email address. Note that your login, and your contributions to the Board, will not count unless you create a profile.
  3. 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.

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.

Students who contribute at least once a week, on average, and who respond thoughtfully to the postings of others, will receive at least 80% in this assignment; the top 20% will be achieved by those whose contributions are particularly well supported. Other levels of interaction will be graded according to a balance between the frequency of contribution and the quality of the postings. Web Board contributions will not be marked for grammar and spelling.

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What is a WebBoard?

A Web Board 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 Web Board is based on the "Help" file at .

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

  1. Use the Web Board 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 if you are to use the Web Board, but it is only used for recognizing your user name and password.
  3. On the opening page of the Web Board, you will be asked to enter your UVic NetLink ID and password, then to select the Web Board for the course (English 366E). Then click on "Submit."
  4. 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.

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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
Search -
opens the Message Search form which you use to find specific content in Topics or Messages
More... -
offers a variety of other features which you should explore -- especially the creation of your personal profile.
Help -
displays a index for linkable help topics
Logoff -
takes you to the home page for the course.

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

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. There is a spell-checking feature for the Web Board, but I turn it off for the course, because it is irritiating in failing to recognise characters' names, and puts a damper on the informality of the discussion.

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.


Unless you are fluent in HTML encoding, 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 29 December 2002.

Send queries to Michael Best, English Department, University of Victoria, Victoria B.C. V8W 3W1, Canada.