Q: What's the difference between COVE Studio and COVE Editions?

A: COVE Studio is where you read or annotate unpublished but “vetted” and pre-formatted primary material. You can also upload your own texts for annotation. It provides a safe, password protected space where you and your students can annotate texts for class. At Studio, you can also create an edition for publication (perhaps with other editors).

COVE Editions is where we publish scholarly editions as well as "flipped classroom" student projects. Both types of publication can make material available for re-use through 1) a classroom space; 2) a timeline-builder; 3) a map-builder; and 4) a gallery-builder. Here, you and your students can assemble existing scholarship into customizable timelines, maps, and galleries, then add content of your own—for example, as a class project or as research for final papers.

Q: How do students sign up?

A: Right now, the easiest way to sign up is to have students pay $10 each at NAVSA here: If you would like to pay for all your students yourself in one payment, it is best to contact to make arrangements. We have begun to offer institutional subscriptions so that you and your students can sign in using your institutional credentials. Purdue will be the first such subscriber in 2020; Princeton will be the second. Soon after, we will make this service available to other schools.

Q: Why should I consider charging students for this service?

A: You can save students money by providing all your course texts this way ($10/student/year), thus saving your students money on expensive anthologies. Unlike with a print text, at COVE Studio you also gain the ability to annotate a text, not to mention students also have access to the other tools available at COVE (map-builder, gallery-builder, timeline-builder). You also thus support a non-profit, scholar-driven platform designed to facilitate open-access scholarship and to make scholarly content more affordable for university libraries. It’s also cool!

Q: Does it matter what literary period I am teaching?

A: COVE tools are by no means limited by period, as evidenced by, for example, this course on Leonardo da Vinci. A long-term goal of COVE is to convince other field societies to adopt our platform and start creating period-specific content that is shared with all sites built on the platform. This development has already begun: in July 2020, the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) voted to build a sister Romantic site logically dubbed CORE that will be dedicated to building Romantic content. At COVE Studio, we have already been encoding/formatting texts from Shakespeare and Milton to Woolf and Sassoon.

Q: Is it possible to upload texts for students to work on together that are not included in the editions that COVE has produced?

A: Yes! COVE makes available not only our published critical editions but also properly digitized and formatted primary texts (e.g., with line numbers for poetry and proper formatting for plays); these are distinct from the published editions at COVE Editions and can be accessed through the anthology-builder at COVE Studio. If you choose to upload and format your own texts, you can also add those to your anthology. You can upload any text you wish at COVE Studio and thus make it available for annotation.

Q: I would like to know about annotating a text. Are each student's comments signaled by their name as in the Gallery Builder?

A: Yes, each annotation includes the first name and first initial of the author’s surname. You can also search for all the annotations of a single user (thus facilitating grading).

Q: How do I keep track of student work at COVE Editions?

A: Students in your classroom space are listed on the left of your classroom page. If you click on any name and then “Your activity” on the corresponding page, you get a list of all activity by that user. At the bottom of your classroom page, you will also find graphs that provide you with a bird’s eye view of student work in the class, as in the graph below.

Q: How technologically advanced must a student be to be able to use COVE tools effectively?

A: The tools are designed to be easy to use by anyone. There is always some learning curve at the beginning but we have worked to make the tools easy by, for example, implementing the same interface to add material to the map-builder, timeline-builder, and gallery-builder at COVE Editions (even though each is powered by different software). The annotation tool includes an easy-to-use WYSIWYG interface (i.e., no need to learn any code). The tool has been used successfully by students in levels as early as middle school.

Q: What is the learning curve like for using COVE? How quickly can students start using the tools?

A: Any platform requires getting used to. The hardest part may well be just getting all students into your anthology (at COVE Studio) or your class page (at COVE Editions). Allow some time for this. Emailed logins and passwords sometimes get eaten by spam filters or students forget what email they used to register or they click the wrong link when trying to join your class. Rest assured, we are here to help if you run into trouble. Simply email and we will respond as quickly as we can. Once students are in, all elements are designed to be as intuitive and easy-to-use as we can make them.

Q: Is it possible to color code an annotation to signal different types of annotations?

A: Yes, annotations are color-coded at both COVE Studio and in COVE Editions. You can also easily distinguish among types of annotations by using the tag feature. You can create any tag scheme you wish or use the default tags provided. You can then filter for that tag so that you see all annotations that correspond to that tag. Or, you can choose not to use the tag scheme at all. Your choice. Clicking on the gear icon at the top right of COVE Studio (after getting to a document) gives you numerous choices for which annotations you see at one time; see below for a screenshot.

Q: How might COVE contribute to collaboration between students and faculty in the study of texts and contexts?

A: One goal of COVE is to bridge the gap between teaching and research. All of our tools facilitate student-teacher collaboration. Two editions have now been created by faculty spending a semester with students developing an edition for publication at COVE, complete with supplemental material like a timeline, map and/or gallery. A good example is Lorraine Janzen Kooistra’s now successfully peer-reviewed COVE edition of Clemence Housman’s Were-Wolf.

Q: Since COVE gives access to peer-reviewed work by scholars in the field, how have you found the balance between students using that as a resource and making their own content? For instance, if a student makes a timeline and adds the available events in COVE from a scholar, how do you have that work recognized in the student work?

A: Scholarly content can serve as a model that students can then attempt to emulate in their own work. For collective projects, we have found it most useful to create one collective map or timeline or gallery project that your students add to together. You can sprinkle in vetted timeline/map/gallery items; students can then add their own content, which is clearly distinct from the vetted content. Students have in the past enjoyed seeing each other’s research in this way. They can also build their own timelines, maps, and galleries, but that approach can quickly become unwieldy in a class with numerous students.

*Helpful hint* It’s important to clarify that students should click on the collective resources and not on “Create timelines,” etc., at the top of your course page. Make sure they scroll down to your collective resources under “Galleries, Timelines, and Maps.”

Q: How can the tools be used in face-to-face classrooms?

A: There are many ways to incorporate the work into f2f instruction: you can use student annotations of your primary text to jump-start in-class conversation. (Some students who are shy about speaking in class feel much more comfortable writing their thoughts using the annotation tool.) Students can make in-class presentations of their research in your collective timeline, map and gallery as well. Groups of students can work together to build a collective resource that they can then share with the class.

Q: Can you use COVE for history or the history of art?

A: Absolutely! The gallery-builder is tailor-made for art historians and the timeline- and map-builder for historians.

Q: What's new/ what's in the works as COVE expands?

A: COVE is keen to expand to other periods and subject areas. Soon, we will be building (for the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism) a Romantic-focused section of COVE. COVE was also centrally involved in an Arts and Humanities Research Council grant to create PRO: The Pre-Raphaelites Online, with project partners, the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Watts Gallery, the Delaware Art Museum, the Yale Center for British Art, and the Rossetti Archive.

COVE continues to seek grant funding to build new functionalities, including the implementation of IIIF, TEI support, image annotation, linked-data visualizations, a live iOS map app (a sort of Pokemon Go for scholars), and much more. Since this work will require grant support, it is hard to say when any of it will materialize. We are always happy to receive suggestions for new ideas.

Q: Where can I find sample assignments for using COVE tools?

A: We have made available a variety of “teacher resources” at COVE, including syllabi from classes having used COVE tools. We also publish teaching essays for more in-depth discussion of pedagogical practice.

Q: Can I include multimedia (videos, audio files)?

A: Yes! The COVE Editions software allows you to embed media files or add URLs, along with images, to enhance your content. Students can record narration and insert an audio file or link to YouTube clip (either an existing one or something they create). Annotations in COVE Studio can similarly include images, audio files, and even films.

Q: I want to know whether COVE's open-access ethos will make it possible for me to have my students engage with specific scholarly articles I want them to read and be ready to discuss in class.

A: Yes! You can upload anything through the COVE Studio interface that you can then make available for annotation. One reason for our approach (login/password) is that it creates a safe space where you can follow fair-use guidelines for educational material. Since the material is non-profit, password-protected, not world-readable, and made available only for teaching purposes, most things are fair game.

Q: I'm interested in linking my course with one by a colleague at a different university. Can COVE help with that?

A: Yes, indeed! You can have anyone join your class space at COVE Editions or your course anthology at COVE Studio, thus making it possible to link up two courses or to start a collective project with other scholars.

Q: Does anyone integrate archival primary sources into their courses using COVE?

A: Yes! The gallery-builder is particularly helpful for such an activity. A good example is Catherine Golden’s archive course at Skidmore. You can see her students’ work here and read her essay describing the experience here. COVE Editions has also been used to create a digital collection to accompany a brick-and-mortar exhibition, as explained by Rebecca N. Mitchell (University of Birmingham) here and Joshua King (Baylor) here.

Q: I’ve been reading in the LARB article about “the racism that undergirds Victorian studies and maintains it.” Can COVE help with that?

A: COVE offers a flipped-classroom approach to learning. If you are not happy with the ideological leanings of existing anthologies, you can use our anthology-builder at COVE Studio to build your own anthologies or have your students fill in lacunae in extant scholarship. We are committed to increasing the number of pre-coded texts available authored by Black authors (and are always happy to take suggestions for new things to encode) but you don’t have to wait: you can upload them yourself! COVE also draws on 20 articles about race that are integrated into the COVE Editions timeline- and map-builder. These come to COVE from BRANCH:

You will find covered such pertinent topics as the colonization of Africa; Australian aboriginal rights; the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica; the Slavery Abolition Act; the Indian Mutiny; and much more.

Read the LARB article here.