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Assigned Readings with NowComment

There are several significant advantages to using NowComment for assigned readings:

  1. Accountability

Requiring thoughtful online comments before lecture or discussion enforces student accountability for having done the reading. Teachers and discussion section TAs tell us that with traditional face-to-face discussion, the first x minutes are usually spent probing to see how many students did the reading and how well they understood it.

With NowComment you can require everyone in the class or discussion group to make a minimum number of comments by a certain date and time (a maximum per person can also be set); this lets you hear from everyone in the class and gauge their level of thinking and understanding.

NowComment also has a “Hide Comments” feature that lets you (the document uploader) but not other students see comments made on the document. This forces students to share their own thoughts without being influenced by earlier comments.

Additional tips related to accountability:

  • Consider using some mechanism to encourage students engage with the whole document rather than make all their comments on the initial page or two.

  • Communicate your expectations about their comments; for a given class or assignment do you want to accept “I agree with what he said”, or do comments need to share new information or perspectives with the group?

  1. Peer Learning

Depending on the learning culture in your classroom, you can encourage students to ask questions about passages they don’t understand and encourage other students to try to help answer those questions. Adding this social context to the reading encourages engagement with the material and in the learning process.

  1. Transcript of Comments and Discussion

Having the discussion in NowComment leaves a written record of the conversation; studies show that people retain very little from the just hearing something one time. The discussion transcript gives students something to review as often as they wish… and gives you an easy way join the conversation (if desired) to correct any mistaken information or guide the conversation.

  1. Cloud Availability

Students can access their documents from any computer (including smart phones and tablets), which helps minimize problems with lost or inaccessible readings.

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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