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Paul Halsall/Fordham University
HSRU1300: Sect.7 /Fall 1996
Introduction to Medieval History

Class Participation & Email Discussion

Class participation is an important part of this course. There are a number of ways for you to take part in class, and all are important:

Do your reading before class.
Pop quizzes based on the readings will be given as needed and without warning! If you have read the texts, ask questions about them or refer to them in your class room remarks. For some class sessions there are more readings than I expect one person to do - and in these cases I shall assign readings to various groups of students to report on.

Use Email Discussion
Frequently students feel under pressure and tongue-tied in class. Contributing comments via email gives you more time to think about what you want to say. Each student should contribute at least two email comments/questions/discussions each week. These can be short or long. What I am looking for is real thinking about the issues. You are especially encouraged to comment on my class remarks and other students' comments. Attack!

How to Contribute Email Comments
Some of you have commercial email accounts, but these instructions are for users of Fordham's Vax MAIL program.

In these instructions, type exactly the commands as given in capital letters.

  • Using "MAIL
    • When you log in, invoke the MAIL utility by typing
      You will be presented with all your new mail which you can read by hitting the ENTER key.
  • Sending Mail
    • To send mail, type
  • Address
    • You will then be presented with a request for an address. Within Fordham all you need to type is the name of the email account you are sending mail to. For this class you send it to me at
      [To send mail outside Fordham is slightly more complicated. You must type:
      for instance, to send mail to me at a commercial account I have, you would type
      SMTP%"[email protected]"
      By the way "SMTP" stands for "simple mail transfer protocol"]
  • Subject
    • After typing the address, you will be asked for a "Subject". Be descriptive in describing the comments of your note or comment. Press the ENTER or RETURN key, and begin typing your message. You must press ENTER or RETURNat the end of each line.
  • Sending what you have written
    • Once you have finished writing, you can either cancel the message by typing "CTRL-C" [ie the "Control Key" and the "C" key at the same time], or send the message by typing "CTRL-Z"
  • Address for this class
    • Send class comments to me at HALSALL and I shall distribute them to all other students. [Students using outside mail accounts send comments and notes to
      [email protected]]
  • To send mail and be able to edit the text:
    • One of the problems of just typing "Send" is that you can only type one line at a time, and after you have pressed return, you cannot edit the line. This means that I, for instance, often end up sending email with typos.
      But it is possible to make your messages editable. To do this type
      and you will have a screen in which you can move up and down between lines of text. Once you have finished, you again type "CTRL-Z" to send the message.
  • Replying
    • Very often you can avoid having to type addresses and subjects, merely by typing
      while you are reading any message. When you do this, you will invoke the line editor as when you type SEND. To invoke the screen editor type
      A series of messages under the same subject is called a "thread" and enables you to follow an argument when you are receiving messages about differerent subjects.
  • Commenting on Mail You Receive
    • One of the best things about email is that you can take the whole text of the email you receive and tear it apart line by line. To do this type:
      This command will invoke the screen editor as with "REPLY/EDIT", but will also incorporate all the text of the message you are replying to. The usual procedure is to delete [on the screen editor presseing "CTRL-J" will delete a word to the right] all the mail header information and all the parts of the original message which are not related to your reply. It is usual to marke this quoted material by placing angle brackets down the side, as follows
>This is an example of quoted text
>and this is the next line.

At Fordham you have to manually type these brackets. [Anyone who has a commercial email program such as Netscape will know that the program does this automatically.]

  • Quitting MAIL
    To leave the MAIL utility type
  • These instructions should get you started, After you have used them a few times, it will all seem very easy!