Forums

Setting Up Forums

Activating Forums

Forums is not enabled by default. You can enable Forums for your course or project site by going to Edit Tools in Site Info for the project/course site in which you are working. Once the tool is activated it will automatically generate a forum and topic. The forum will be named after the name of your OWL site (e.g. "BASKETWEAV 1000A 021 S16 Forum") and the topic of the forum is named "General Discussion".

Using Forums

There are three levels to the Forums tool: Forum, Topic, and Conversation. The forum is the overarching discussion topic/title, which can have any number of topics within. Within the topics are conversations, which are essentially the posts created by the contributors (Students are set to this role in Forums by default).

New Forums

New forums are generated using the New Forum option. These settings can be changed through the Edit Forums option. To create a new forum:

  1. Select New Forum.
  2. Enter a title and navigate through the other available options.

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    • Description - There are two available descriptions. "Short Description" will display without expansion underneath the forum/topic. "Description" will display when you click "View Full Description" underneath the forum or topic.
    • Attachments - Forums, topics, and messages have an attachment option.
    • Forum Posting - Forums and topics can be locked or moderated using these options. You can also require the user to create a post in the forum before being able to read any of the other messages within the forum.
    • Availability - If you want to specify availability, select "Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide)". For both open and close dates either click on the calendar icon beside to select the date and time, clicking done once finished, or manually type the time and date into the field.
    • Mark All Messages in Conversations Read - You have the option to mark all messages in a thread as read.
    • Grading - (AFTER creating a corresponding Gradebook item) You can attach a forum or topic to a Gradebook item.
    • Permissions - (See images and further instructions below) Locate the Role you wish to change in the table below Permissions (1.a). The current permission level will be displayed in the drop-down menu below Permission Level (1.b). To change permission settings for a role, select the preset Permission Level labelled in 1.b to open a drop-down menu (2.) with other options. To see each preset permission level in detail or to customize the permission level settings select the Customize button to open a drop-down menu(3.a). Read each setting carefully and simply check/uncheck the options you wish to modify(3.b).
  1. Click Save to post the forum or topic. (OR Select Save Draft if you are not ready for it to be displayed to users).
  2. To make changes to the Forum or Topic, return using Forum Settings.
  3. To remove the item, select Delete from the dropdown options "More" next to the Forum, or click the Delete button at the bottom of the Forum Settings.

Forum Permissions and Roles


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New Topics

In order to create new topics within an existing forum, select the New Topic option beside the forum title. Many of the settings are the same as those in the Forum Settings.

    • Attachments - Forums, topics, and messages have an attachment option.
    • Topic Posting - Topics can be locked or moderated using these options. You can also require the user to create a post in the forum before being able to read any of the other messages within the forum. You can also use the option to make all posts in the topic anonymous.
    • Availability - If you want to specify availability, select "Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide)". For both open and close dates either click on the calendar icon beside to select the date and time, clicking done once finished, or manually type the time and date into the field.
    • Mark All Messages in Conversations Read - You have the option to mark all messages in a thread as read.
    • Grading - (AFTER creating a corresponding Gradebook item) You can attach a forum or topic to a Gradebook item.
    • Permissions - (See images and further instructions below) Locate the Role you wish to change in the table below Permissions (1.a). The current permission level will be displayed in the drop-down menu below Permission Level (1.b). To change permission settings for a role, select the preset Permission Level labelled in 1.b to open a drop-down menu (2.) with other options. To see each preset permission level in detail or to customize the permission level settings select the Customize button to open a drop-down menu(3.a). Read each setting carefully and simply check/uncheck the options you wish to modify(3.b).

Organize

Organize is used to sequence your topics and forums in a particular order. Select the drop-down menu beside each forum/top and select the order in which you want them to appear (1 appears first).

Monitoring/Grading Forums

There are multiple ways to grade a message. It is important to note that you must first create a gradebook item to give a mark. If you are giving a mark per week you will want a gradebook item per week as well as forum or topic. You can then attach that forum or topic to the appropriate gradebook item. See Gradebook for more information.

Statistics & Grading

This tool allows you to monitor the actions of everyone registered in the course. The first page, Statistics & Grading by User, will display a general table showing Authored, Read, Unread, and Percent Read. You can enter a detailed report for individual students by clicking on their student name (4.a). This second page, Statistics & Grading by Topic, will show everything you will need to give the student an appropriate forums participation mark. You can select a topic, Forum Title or Topic Title (4.b), from the list to grade. This will lead you to a page that consists of the student list and you can grade each student individually.
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Select the appropriate Gradebook Item from the drop-down menu and input your grade. Make sure to select Submit Grade to complete this process.

Grading Messages Directly

You can grade a message in a topic through Forums by first selecting the topic you want to assess. Inside the topic select the thread you want to mark. Each thread contains messages which can be individually graded by selecting Grade associated with each message.

You can also grade messages through the Gradebook.

Grading Forums/Topics

Forums and topics can also be graded by selecting the More option beside any forum/topic and then selecting Grade. This will bring up a table of all the students and a similar Grade option to grading messages beside each student.
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Watch

This tool will allow you to receive emails every time a message is posted to a topic if you have Notify me selected. You can turn off these messages by selecting No notification.

Printing Topics/Messages

The option to print topics/messages is available in the forums tool. Simply select the desired topic/message and the print button will be available in the top menu.

Video Tutorials

Tutorials

The following video tutorial should help with the above documentation.

external link: Forums Tutorial (Please be patient as the video loads)