NowComment
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(original) Flexible Instructional design with NowComment

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NowComment is most commonly used in traditional classes to complement face-to-face discussion, lectures, and other standard teaching methods (in distance education settings NowComment can serve as the primary vehicle for student-teacher interaction).

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One of the great advantages of online commenting is its flexibility; you can use it in a wide variety of contexts and sequences to meet your educational objectives. For example:

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NowComment to engage with assigned reading

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Requiring intelligent online comments is a good way to hold students accountable for having done the reading. This can be especially helpful in preparation for face-to-face discussion of that reading; students’ online comments are very useful as organic conversation-starters.

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Review NowComment comments before a lecture

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Reading their comments is very effective in revealing:

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  • how well they understand the material in general

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  • what parts they are misunderstanding

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  • what parts they skipped over (didn’t realize the significance)

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Professor Jennifer Burns (then at the University of Virginia, now at Stanford) said of NowComment:

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"As a professor teaching 100+ students, it gave me a sense [of] student understanding and personalities that I would never had otherwise obtained, and as a consequence, I feel like I know my students better and can teach them better. "

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NowComment to reinforce concepts after a lecture

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Particularly when assigning a difficult reading, consider lecturing first, to provide guidance on what to be looking for, and then use NowComment to help them work through the material and cement their understanding.

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NowComment as a tool for group projects

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One downside of group projects is that they provide an opportunity for “freeriding” by unmotivated group members. Both good students and unmotivated students will work harder when they know that you’ll have an easy-to-skim NowComment transcript of what each group member contributed.

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Role-based discussion using NowComment

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Students take on different roles (e.g. Democrats vs. Republicans in political discussion, different countries in a Mock UN debate, etc.) to debate their peers. If students tag their comments with the perspective they are taking then the class can sort by tag to see all the comments made from each perspective.

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Jigsaw Discussion

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Different students or groups are assigned different documents, or different parts of the same document.

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NowComment as a study tool

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You can provide sample test questions that the students work through in small groups (with optional face-to-face discussion before or after).

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NowComment for “snow days”

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When the class cannot meet in person for any reason (e.g. bad weather, the Instructor’s illness or travel requirement) planned assignments can be shifted to NowComment and the students complete them at school or from home.

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DMU Timestamp: April 18, 2014 23:57

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Quickstart: Commenting and Sharing

How to Comment
  • Click icons on the left to see existing comments.
  • Desktop/Laptop: double-click any text, highlight a section of an image, or add a comment while a video is playing to start a new conversation.
    Tablet/Phone: single click then click on the "Start One" link (look right or below).
  • Click "Reply" on a comment to join the conversation.
How to Share Documents
  1. "Upload" a new document.
  2. "Invite" others to it.

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