What's new ?
- June, 17 2008: Firefox 3 has been released. Unfortunaltely for now, The Tutor isn't compatible with it, so you'll still need Firefox 2 if you want to use The Tutor
- March, 13 2008: Version 0.1.2 of The Tutor has been released
- March, 11 2008: Version 0.1.1 of The Tutor has been released
- The Tutor requires personal MIT certificates. If you don't have a personal MIT certificate installed on your browser, you can get one at https://ca2.mit.edu
- Click on this link: Install Extension!
- If this the first time you install a Firefox extension from the web.mit.edu domain, Firefox should popup a window that prevents the extension from being installed (look on top of your browser) as shown below. This is a Firefox security feature.
If it didn't popup this message, you can proceed with step 8.
- Click the button in the upper right corner, it pops up the following dialog:
- Click the button
- Click the button to close the dialog
- Now, click the install link again:
Install Extension! , the following dialog should popup.
- Click on "Install Now" (this button becomes clickable after a few seconds) and restart Firefox. That's it
- You will need MIT certificates. If you don't have MIT certificates installed, or if the network is down, a message will popup.
- The only visible difference so far is in the status bar at the bottom right of your browser. You should be seeing the following:
This is the Tutor Master Switch. Uncheck it when you want to turn off the annotation feature. If it was unchecked and you decide to check it, hit the reload button if your annotations do not pop-up as expected.
- Annotating a webpage is very simple. Let's look at a example: In the screenshot below, we've been visiting the following webpage: http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-giraffe.html
- Your annotations are attached to some particular location on the page. To select a location,right-click on what you'd like to annotate, and select "Annotate" from the context menu, as shown below.
- A little editor widget will appear, where you can type your annotation. This widget is bound to the specific tab and webpage where you created them. Feel free to have many editors open at the same page for a given tab, and to switch back and forth between tabs. Just keep in mind that if you change the URL for a given tab, all its editors will disappear. Hence, remember to save your annotations before you change URL (for a given tab). If you need to check another website while you're typing an annotation, open another tab or browser window.
- In addition to the text box in the editor, notice that there are menus to let you change characteristics of the annotation you're writing, such as
- The type of annotation, which can be either a simple comment, or a reading memo (the 6.831 staff will see these !)
- Its visibility: public (every can see it and that you are the author), or anonymous (everyone can see the annotation but not the identity of the author), or private (only you can see your annotation). Note that when you're writing a reading memo, the visibility menu is replaced by a menu that lets you choose as part of which assignment you want to write the current annotation. Annotations that are marked as reading memos are private but the 6.831 staff can also see them (they may also become anonymous shortly after the due date if the faculty commented them and would like to share them with the class).
- When you press the "Save" button, it creates your annotation and the editor widget disappears. You can now see the annotation in your browser, right next to the content you wanted to annotate, as shown below.
If you need to read what's behind, you can minimize the annotation. You can also delete it. An edit feature is available through the Tutor Web-Based interface. Each note is asiigned a permanent and unique id (the #751 on the picture): If you copy that link location, you can now refer to this particular place in the document.
- If you want to browse through all your annotations, or edit them, The Tutor has a Web-based interface (requires MIT certificates), based on the Exhibit framework. You can use facets on the right-side panel to select the notes you're interested in. You can edit an annotation by double-clicking on its contents.
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
- How can I see and navigate through all my notes ?
Try our Web-based interface (requires MIT certificates)
- My notes don't show up ! What's wrong ?
Did you check the option in the Status Bar ? If you just did so and it still doesn't work, try the 'Reload' button
- Can The Tutor annotate PDF's ?
Unfortunately not yet. This version can annotate HTML, and without many modifications probably any xml-based language If you're interested in annotating PDFs online, check out our NB tool
- Did the 6.831 staff really receive the Reading Memo I just typed in ?
You can check for yourself here (requires MIT certificates), which lists (in real-time) all your reading memos
- I have a question. Who can I ask ?
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org
- I like/dislike such and such feature. Does anyone care ?
We DO care a lot about your impressions and your feedback will tremendously help. Please send your comments to email@example.com
- I'd like a new feature to be implemented. Will you do that soon ?
We welcome suggestions, and we will probably be releasing several updates over the course of the term (which you will be prompted to install by the Firefox Update Manager). Please email us your suggestions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Is my information secure ? What gets stored where ? What about privacy ?
- The Tutor stores your annotations on a SQL database located on campus.
- Some personal information (such as your MIT user name, the URL of the page you're annotating , and the annotation text itself) is recorded when you annotate a webpage, even for a private note. This information will be deleted from the remote database if you delete the note.
- A request containing your user name and the url of any page you are currently browsing is sent to a server database (even if you don't have any annotation on that site): This is just to check if there are annotations to display for you on that page. After the request has been sent, this information is not stored in the database as long as if you don't annotate anything on that website. If you would like that request not to be made when you're browsing, make sure you uncheck the option in the Status bar].
- Do you plan on using all those annotations for anything ?
Yes, After the term is over, we would like to be able to extracting statistics from the annotations that have been entered during the term, as part of our ongoing research, to improve The Tutor and understand better the features users need, like and dislike. Of course, all the data we may end up publishing will preserve the author's anonymity. We are currently in the process of getting a COUHES Approval for that to happen, and users of The Tutor will be notified if they need to sign a consent form.
UPDATE: As of Nov 1st 2008, our study on Tutor has been completed. We got a COUHES approval, and students who wanted to participate had to fill a consent form.