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.
Follow these steps to enter COW:
- Open up your WWW browser of choice and point it to:
http://cow.itd.umich.edu/COW/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).
- Click on the 'umich Enter' button'
At this point you will link to a page that reads 'Login Required' at the top.
- Type your uniqname and password in the appropriate boxes.
- 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 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 banner is sometimes comforting, sometimes amusing. But it will always have a cow on it.
When you are first in COW, you will start with only one conference, Conferencing_On_the_Web, in your hotlist. One of the first things you will want to do is add more conferences.
The Toolbar At The Bottom Of The Page
After you click on 'Logout', you should see a page that reads:
Thank you for using the extended CGI service provided by ITD Web Services.
After you see this, you are free to go wherever you wish. Anytime after clicking 'Logout', if you wish to re-enter COW, you can go back to the main page and retype your uniqname and password.
Changing Your Hotlist
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
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.Changing your profile
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.
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.
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.
Originally generated by
Shahaf Abileah and
Aaron Rosen for
Now maintained by the COW Administrators
Copyright 1996-1998 Regents of the University of Michigan