Setting Up

Before you get started

Before you begin using COW, you should make sure two things have happened. First of all, your instructor should have asked the class to give her their valid U of M uniqnames, unless she already has them. Second, she should have given the class the go-ahead to enter COW.

Entering Cow

Follow these steps to enter COW:

  1. Open up your WWW browser of choice and point it to:
    It is recommended that you use a recent release of Netscape (3.0 or better) or a compatible browser. For the purpose of this tutorial, we're using Netscape, and so there may/may not be certain aspects that are exclusive to this browser.

    To see what your browser should look like at this point, click here. (Note: don't get confused, this is just a picture, it's not the actual page).

  2. Click on the 'umich Enter' button'
      At this point you will link to a page that reads 'Login Required' at the top.
  3. Type your uniqname and password in the appropriate boxes.
  4. Use your mouse to click 'Log in'.
      A few seconds later another page should automatically load.

Congratulations! You are now in COW. The page you are looking at now is your Hotlist. To learn more about that, scroll down and read on.

Your Hotlist

Your Hotlist is your home in COW. It is your starting point each time you enter. Important: The first time you enter, you won't have a list yet. You have to click on the Change Hotlist button at the bottom of the COW screen, then choose the conferences you want on your Hotlist. Then come back to your actual Hotlist and you're ready to start. Read on for more specific directions and explanations.

If you've done everything correctly so far, it should look something like this. (I suggest you take a look at this picture because a lot of the description below is based on it.)

Let's run through the different parts of this page:

The Toolbar At The Bottom Of The Page

Changing Your Hotlist

To start this process, click on the aforementioned 'Change Hotlist' button at the bottom of the page.

In the middle of this page you will see a list of all conferences to which you can subscribe. This includes all public conferences, and all private conferences to which you have specifically been given access to (example: if you are a student looking to sign up to a class conference, that conference is probably private, but you have the right to sign up to it).

This brings you to the Hotlist Editor. This page allows you to...

After you click the 'Save New Hotlist' button, you should see your new hotlist.

Now, you should see the list of the conferences you elected to enter, and the number of new messages in them. If they are old conferences, there's a good chance these numbers might be very large. Don't worry about this. You will have the chance to skip all old messages if you choose.

Your profile

If you click on your name, you go to your profile page. This page is used to provide a bit of information about yourself to the other participants of COW.

At this point the message will be a generic block, looking something like this:

This person has not set up her or his profile yet. She or he might want to include: An email address, a phone number ( home, work ), a statement about a favorite dairy product, Political Affiliation and/or Disillusionment, and a description of any Recurrent Nightmares.

This doesn't give a lot of information about you, so you probably want to change it.

Changing your profile

  1. Click on the 'Change Profile button at the bottom of the page.

    At the top of the new page, you should see a title reading "Cow Profile Editor". Below that, you should see a box containing that generic profile message you saw before (your current profile). To change this current profile...

  2. Highlight the text inside the 'Your Current Profile' box, hit DELETE or BACKSPACE. Start typing whatever you want your profile to say.

  3. If you want to have your profile interpreted as HTML, make sure to check the appropriate box below the text area. If you don't know what HTML is, simply make sure that there is no check in this box.

  4. If you want to always have responses that you enter into conversations interpreted as HTML, check that box. If you don't know what HTML is, simply make sure that there is no check in this box.

  5. You can also change what COW uses as your full name here, by changing it in the "Change Real Name" box. Your full name is entered at the top of each response that you enter into COW.

  6. Click on the 'Preview Profile' button.

    This will take you to a demo page which will show you what your new profile will look like.

    If you are happy with the way it looks:

    If you don't like it

    Important: unless you hit the 'Save Profile' button, no changes will take place! Simply previewing your new profile doesn't save your work.

About HTML:

HTML is the computer language used to write WWW documents, such as the one you are looking at now. It is not particularly difficult, but it does take a little time to learn. (Note: you do not need to know HTML in order to use COW). COW allows you to enter just about any text as HTML, including your profile, conference messages (fair witnesses only), topic messages (fair witnesses only), and conversations. So, for example, you can use the <B>bold</B> tag to make your name stand out in your profile. If you'd like to learn HTML, I have included a bare bones tutorial, including just the basic commands you might want to know.

Next Section

Last Modified: Friday, 02-Aug-2002 22:40:44 EDT

Originally generated by Shahaf Abileah and Aaron Rosen for OIT.
Now maintained by the COW Administrators

Copyright 1996-1998 Regents of the University of Michigan