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History of Science Course Syllabus - Flat Earth woodcut

History of Science Online

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LibraryThing: OU History of Science Collections HSCI 3013 - section 995 - Spring 2014

Discussion forum Tips & Tricks

We are actually using two different discussion boards for this class: Confluence (which has tons of neat features and tricks), and Desire2Learn. This page explain some tips and tricks for using Confluence, because that is where we will have the vast majority of our discussions.

New Topic. Each week you will create three New Topics on Confluence when you post your Starting Assumptions, an Interpretation, and a Reflection. Just click the New Topic button in Confluence.

Add Reply. You will also respond to other students every week, replying to their Starting Assumptions, their Interpretation, and their Reflection. To do that, just hit the Add Reply button, or you can click on the Add Reply link that appears as part of their post.

Use cool "Subject" lines to get people's attention! Do you want people to read your post? Then pick an exciting title! If you just call your post "Interpretation", some people might read it... but if you call your post "What Newton REALLY Thought About Alchemy," then more people are likely to take a look.

Finding unread messages. Discussion boards can fill up with lots of messages, and it is nice to be able to know which messages are new. Confluence shows you all the messages in a topic all at once, in one big screen. When there are new messages in a topic, you will see a golden bullet icon by the topic name. Then, when you open a topic, you will see the individual posts that are new (down at the bottom) marked with the golden bullet. If you get done reading all the messages you want to read in all the topics in a forum, you can click on the link that says "Mark Forum As Read." Then later, when new messages are added to the forum, you will see the icon off to the side that lets you know there are new messages.

Finding your own messages. At Confluence, if you are looking for the messages that you have posted in a particular topic (or if there is somebody in the class you are looking for), then you can use the Search link.

Find out if somebody has replied to you: get an email alert! Confluence can send you an email alert when new replies are added to your posts. Just click on the link down at the bottom of the page that will turn on the "watch" feature -- and if you want to turn the watch feature off, just click on the link again and it will turn the feature off.

Say more with links and pictures. You can make your posts more intriguing and dynamic by adding pictures and links. It's easy!

Post-Icons and Emoticons. Emoticons, described here, are a great way to "liven up" your contributions to Confluence.

Spell Check. Please spell-check all Wikipedia Editing Project assignments and posts to discussion boards (making your posts more readable through correct spelling is a courtesy for other students).

Editing and deleting posts. Confluence allows you to edit a post after you have created it, adding a little note that the post was edited which gives the date. In Confluence, you need to send the instructor an email if you want to have a post deleted: this is because I don't want to accidentally delete the posts of students who replied to you. If you want to remove your post at Confluence right away, just use the edit feature to delete the contents of your post! Then you can contact me to have the post completely removed.


"Never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by stupidity." Anon.

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HSCI 3013. History of Science to 17th centuryCreative Commons license
Kerry Magruder, Instructor, 2004
Brent Purkaple, TA

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Many thanks to the pedagogical model developed in Mythology and Folklore and other online courses by Laura Gibbs, which have been an inspiration for this course.

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This course is currently undergoing major reconstruction to bring it into alignment with the new version of the course at Janux