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The course element enables the integration of a Forum into a course. In a forum, participants can exchange information and ask questions to the course supervisors and tutors.

Depending on the configuration, participants can read, create, and manage posts.
Content

Usage: Learners' View

Overview

After opening a forum course element, you will see the topics overview, i.e. a tabular overview of all existing forum topics. This table contains the following information:

  • Topic title
  • Topic author
  • Information on the last post within a topic
  • Total number of replies as well as  marked and new (unread) posts.

The topic type is indicated by means of icons.

Overview course element forum

TypeDescription

This is the standard icon for each topic.

Newly created topics or topics which contain new, unread posts are marked with NEW.

The topic is marked as important and always displayed at the top of the topic list.

It is also possible to mark posts within a thread.

The topic is hidden and not visible to other users in the topic list.

Standard users are only able to hide their own topics, while moderators are also entitled to hide topics of other users.

The topic is closed. Users cannot reply to closed topics.

Standard users are only able to close their own topics, while moderators are also entitled to close topics of other users.

Functions for users

As a user, you have the following options in a course element Forum :

Subscribe to forum

You can subscribe to course elements to get automatically informed about changes.

 How to do that?

To subscribe to a course element, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the relevant course and go to the desired course element.
  2. Click the Subscribe button in the upper right corner of the course element view.

Example: Subscribing to a course element File discussion

Subscribe to course element

 

 

3. If you have already subscribed to this course element, you will see the button Unsubscribe. Click this button if you want to cancel the subscription.Unsubscribe button

For further information about the general configuration options for receiving notifications, refer to the page Subscriptions and notifications.

Options in the topics overview

In the overview table, the following functions are available:

 Open topic

Clicking on the title of a topic in the topics overview opens the relevant topic.

Create new topic

This function allows you to create your own topic. Other users can then respond to your topic and/or submit a rating.

 How to do that?
  1. Open the relevant course element.
  2. Click on New topic.
New topic button
3. Enter a title and your post in the appropriate text fields. More formatting options can be found here.Text fields title and post
4. Now you can mark your topic as important by selecting the checkbox. A topic which is marked as important is always listed at the top of the post overview.Mark topic as important

5. If anonymous posting has been enabled by the course author, this option is also available to you. To publish your topic anonymously, activate the respective checkbox.

Depending on the setting of the course author, the anonymous post may need to be released by the moderator. Only after the release, it will be visible to other users.

Post anonymously

6. If necessary, add a file as an attachment to the post.

7. Click on Submit.

8. Your topic will be created and is now available in the forum overview.

Submit button

Download table

Export table content as a file. The file format you have selected within your System settings will be used as the default format.

Open topic options

Depending on the user's rights, the following functions are available for an open topic and the posts it contains:

Back to overviewClicking this button will directly take you to the post overview. The post overview lists all existing topics.
Last postClicking this button takes you to the last post created on the respective topic.
View

Here you can filter the displayed posts. You can choose between four different post views. For example, you can view all posts or just the most recent ones.

 The following settings are available ...
  • All posts
  • All posts (flat)
  • Favourites
  • New posts
Available view options
Reply (directly)

With this option, it is possible to reply directly to a post. You should use this function if you want to reply to a post other than the last one in the thread. The reply is displayed directly below the entry concerned.  

 Learn more ...
  1. Click on the arrow next to the post you want to reply to.
  2. A reply window opens. Enter your reply, add a file if necessary, and click on Save .
  3. Your reply will now be displayed directly below the post.
Reply to forum post


StarClick on the star to mark a post as a favourite. You can undo this process at any time by clicking on the star again.
Mark as best postUsing this option, you can mark the best post on a topic.
ArtefactWith this button, you can save your posts to the ePortfolio.

Advanced functions

  • Quote
  • Edit
  • Delete

This option allows you to quote, edit, or delete posts.

 Quote post ...

The Quote function allows the user to refer directly to a specific statement from another user. In this way, the overview in the discussion is for example maintained.  

  1. Click on the expand icon and select Quote .
Use the forum function quote
2. It opens the reply field with the quoted text in the upper area. Enter your reply below the quote and click on Save .Forum reply window including quote


 Edit post ...

To edit your reply, proceed as follows:  

  1. Click on the expand icon and select Edit .
Use the forum function edit
2. You are now in the editing mode. Make your desired changes and click on Save to complete the editing process.Forum reply window open for editing


 Delete post ...

To delete a reply, proceed as follows:  

  1. Click on the expand icon and select Delete .
Use the forum function delete
2. Confirm the deletion process with Delete .Delete confirmation dialogue


Reply

Use this button to reply to the last post. The given answer is displayed at the end of the thread. 

 Learn more ...
  1. Click on Reply .
  2. A reply window opens. Enter your reply in the appropriate text field. Upload a file if necessary.
Reply to forum post

3. If anonymous posting has been enabled by the course author, you have the option of marking your post as anonymous. To do so, activate the checkbox Post anonymously .

4. Click on Save .
Mark forum post as anonymous


Rate

The option Rate allows the user to express their opinion on the quality of a post. 

 How to do that?

To rate a topic or reply, proceed as follows: 

  1. Open the course element Forum.
  2. Click on the thumbs up button to rate a post positively.
Rate a post positively
3. To rate a post negatively, click the thumbs down button.Rate a post negatively

The number above the respective symbols indicates how often a post has already been rated positively or negatively.

 Moderate topic

Users with the right to moderate have, among other things, the option to release posts, close topics, and delete other users' posts.  

 Functions for moderators ...

If you have the right to moderate in the forum, the following functions will be available to you: 

Hide topic

A hidden topic will no longer be visible to users without moderating rights.

 How to do that?
  1. Open the course element Forum and the topic you want to hide.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the Subscribe button and select Hide topic.

Follow the same procedure to make the topic visible again. 

Use the hide forum topic function 


Close topic

If a topic has been closed, it is no longer possible to respond to it.

 How to do that?
  1. Open the course element Forum and the topic you want to close.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the Subscribe button and select Close topic.

Follow the same procedure to reopen the topic.

 Use the close forum topic function

Configuration: Authors' View

In the course editor

The following functions are available in the course editor:

Add a course element Forum

 Click to open instructions on how to add a course element ...

To integrate a course element into your course, proceed as follows:

  1. Open the course you want to edit.
  2. Use the pencil icon at the top of the page to open the editing mode.
Switch from the course view to the editing mode

3. Select a course element from the menu on the right.

Select course element

4. In the new window, you can define the position of the new course element within your course structure (left navigation pane). The available positions are marked with an insert icon.

To insert the new course element into an existing substructure, you need to open the substructure by clicking on the small triangle symbol next to its title. The area will open and you will again see insert icons at the positions which are available.

5. Click on the insert icon at the desired position within the structure. The selected area will be highlighted.

6. Confirm your choice with Insert course element.

Insert course element into the course tree

7. The element will be inserted into the course structure at the selected position.

8. Depending on the course element, you have to make additional configurations or add content in order to complete the configuration.

9. For these changes to take effect, you must publish the course. The course element will then also become available in the course view.

Configure and publish course element



General configuration settings

In the course editor, you will find the following configuration tabs:

Title and description
 Configuration options in the tab title and description ...

ElementsDescription
Title

You need to enter a title for the course element. The title can comprise a maximum of 100 characters. All special characters and numbers are permitted. The title will appear in the navigation menu of the course and also as a heading in the content area.

 Changes to the title of the first course element, the so-called main course node ...

(warning)  If you change the title of the first course element, the new content will only be applied to the main course node and then displayed in the opened course. If you wish to edit the course title or description, you can do so using the more settings menu of the course.

Course editor settings in the tab title and description  
SubtitleYou can enter a subtitle for the course element with a maximum of 255 characters. All special characters and numbers are permitted. The title will appear as a tooltip in the navigation menu and - if selected and configured accordingly - as a subtitle in the content area.
Description

Here you can describe the course element. The description will appear in the content area below the title.

Depending on the settings configured in the element Display , this additional text is displayed to the user when opening the course element. The user can expand or collapse the view of the text.


Display

Define which information about the course element should be displayed in the course view. In addition to the content, you can optionally display the title and description. All course elements are provided with a reasonable presetting, which mostly includes the setting Title, description and content . You can adjust this setting in accordance with the options available for each course element.  

In the new user interface, the title is always displayed.


Set link for this course element

Each course element can be accessed via fixed link addresses. Therefore, an internal and an external URL is assigned to each course element. These direct links to concrete elements can be used within courses or provided to learners. The URLs are located below the title and description of the element and will appear upon selecting Set link for this course element .  

  • External link: To refer to this course element from outside of the course or learning platform, you can use the external link and insert it, for example as a href attribute, into the desired HTML page.
  • Internal link: To set a link to another course element within the same course, you can insert the internal link as a href attribute into the desired HTML page.
IDYou will need the ID number of the course element (on the bottom right), for example, if you wish to use the expert mode in the visibility or access tab.

Visibility
 Configuration options in the tab visibility and access ...

In the areas Visibility and Access, authors and course owners can individually determine the presentation of course elements. If no input is made in the access area, the content of a course element will by default be visible to all course participants after publishing the element. Apart from the general options listed below, additional configuration options are available depending on the course element.

The following general options are available for the configuration of visibility and access:

Course editor - Tab visibility and access

 

General configuration optionsDescription 
Blocked for learners

If you select this checkbox, all other configuration options will disappear. The course element content is now exclusively accessible for tutors and administrators of the course.

Block access or visibility for learners
Depending on dateMark this checkbox to specify a particular access time. You can set individual dates or date ranges by filling in only one or both input fields respectively. You can also create or delete dates via the + and - buttons.Set access or visibility rights depending on dates
Depending on group

Select this checkbox to restrict the accessibility of the course element to learning groups or learning areas. You can then select existing groups and areas or create new ones.

If you set restrictions with the configuration option "depending on group", the corresponding course element will be restricted for all non-members of the group. This includes, for example, users who have not yet confirmed the group invitation or who are on the waiting list for a group. Such users cannot yet see or access the restricted course element.


Set access or visibility rights depending on groups
Depending on assessmentHere, you will find all assessable course elements. These include, for example, the elements test, assessment, task, or structure. 

If you select the option Check for "passed", you will be able to choose a course element from the input field Course element, which the user must have passed as a prerequisite to accessing this course element. 

If you select the option Check score, you can indicate a number of points in the input field "Passing score", which have to be achieved in order to be able to access the course element.

Set access or visibility rights depending on assessments
Depending on attribute

The visibility of this option is system-dependent.

Via this option, you can set visibility or access rights according to user attributes. Only users who meet the predefined attributes will be able to see the course element or have access to its content. Multiple attributes need to be linked with an operator (AND/OR).

Different kinds of relational operators might be available depending on the selected attribute. For example:

  • "contains the value"
  • "does not contain value"
  • "has exactly the value"
  • "does not have value"
  • "starts with value"
  • "ends with value"
  • "greater than" (>)
  • "less than" (<)
  • "greater than/equals" (<=)
  • "less than/equals" (>=)

A list of all available attributes of several selected institutions can be found on the page Overview of the OPAL-Shibboleth attributes.

Set access or visibility rights depending on attributes
Apply rules also for author, owner and tutorThis option does not become visible until one of the other options has been selected. If you activate the checkbox, the same access rules which apply to users will also be valid for tutors and course administrators.Apply rules also for author, owner and tutor
PasswordThis option is only available in the area Access and can either be applied to the whole course or a structural element of the course. Enter the desired password, which users will need to use in order to gain access to the course content, in the text field.Set access or visibility rights depending on passwords
Display expert modeClick on the button Display expert mode to open an input field, which allows you to perform a more complex configuration according to your needs. For more detailed information about the expert mode, see the help page Visibility and access> Access rights in the expert mode.Set access or visibility rights in the expert mode
Advanced configuration optionsIn the case of individual course element types, there are further attributes to configure access to editing rights for course participants.

If various restrictive single options are set, they will be linked with AND, i.e. all conditions of the single options must be met for the user to see and have access to the course element. The only exceptions are the single options Attributes. In this case, various restrictive single options can also be linked with OR. The OR linking only requires the fulfilment of one condition in order to enable visibility or access, unless other restrictive single options prevent this.

All restrictions are also automatically valid for all subordinate course elements.

Note about hiding access restrictions

If a course element is visible, but there are

  • current or future access restrictions or
  • restricted rights for the course element,

the user will be informed accordingly when accessing the course element. This information helps the user to learn more about the functions available, e.g. which functions will be available at what time and under what conditions.

If required, however, you can hide this information text (from the user) for each course element individually.

 How to do that? ...

Notification message about existing access and authorisation restrictions in the course view.

Course element with notification message about authorisation restrictions
  1. To hide this message, open the course editor and switch to the Visibility tab of the respective course element.
  2. In the section Information if course node is visible but not accessible (max. 248 characters), remove the check mark in front of the entry Show access restrictions below the text field.
  3. Publish your changes.
Course editor setting to hide notification message

The note will no longer be visible in the course view.

Course element without notification message about authorisation restrictions

For individual course element types, there are further attributes which can be used to regulate access to editing rights for course participants.

The following editing rights can be restricted or extended using the general configuration attributes (depending on date, group, etc.):

Task
  • Assignment
  • Edit task folder  
  • Drop box - Delete own solutions
  • Drop box  
  • Return box
  • Assessment
  • Sample solution
Blog
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
File Dialogue
  • Only file download / read in the forum  
  • File up- and download/ read and write in the forum
  • File up- and download/ moderate in the forum
Forum
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Calendar
  • Read  
  • Add and edit dates
Link List
  • Display  
  • Display and add
  • Display, edit, and delete
Bibliography
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Messages
  • Read
  • Write
  • Manage
Folder
  • Download
  • Upload
  • Delete
Podcast
  • Read  
  • Read and write
  • Moderate
Page
  • Display  
  • Display and edit
Profile
  • Display
  • Add
Test

Configurable in the tab Visibility :

  • Conduct test
  • View assessment
  • View results
Wiki
  • Read  
  • Add and edit articles

 

 

 

Access
Learning content

In this tab, you can perform the basic configuration for a course element Forum . You can, for example, allow anonymous posting in the forum. Detailed instructions are given in the following section Special configuration settings .

MultilingualismIn this tab, different translations can be added to individual course element areas.

Special configuration settings

 In the tab Configuration , you will find the following configuration options for a course element Forum :

Anonymous forum use

Enabling this function allows users to post anonymously.

  1. Open the course editor of the course element Forum and switch to the tab Configuration .
  2. Activate the checkbox in front of Allow anonymous posts .
  3. Confirm the anonymous forum use with Save .

Allow anonymous posts

Have posts released by the moderator

This option will only appear if you have activated the function Allow anonymous posts . Activate this additional option if you want anonymous posts to be released by moderators before other course participants can see them.

  1. Open the course editor of the course element Forum and switch to the tab Configuration .
  2. Activate the checkbox in front of Anonymous posts have to be released by the moderator .
  3. Click on Save .
Configure that anonymous posts have to be released by the moderator

 

In the course view

In the course view, you have access to all Functions available to users as well as to the following options:

Moderate forum

If you have the right to moderate in the forum, the following functions will be available to you: 

Hide topic

A hidden topic will no longer be visible to users without moderating rights.

 How to do that?
  1. Open the course element Forum and the topic you want to hide.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the Subscribe button and select Hide topic.

Follow the same procedure to make the topic visible again. 

Use the hide forum topic function 


Close topic

If a topic has been closed, it is no longer possible to respond to it.

 How to do that?
  1. Open the course element Forum and the topic you want to close.
  2. Click on the down arrow next to the Subscribe button and select Close topic.

Follow the same procedure to reopen the topic.

 Use the close forum topic function

Via the course element's access rights, you can also enable other users to moderate in a forum.

Manage anonymous forum posts

If the option Anonymous posts have to be released by the moderator has been activated in the course editor, the following functions will be available to you in the course view:

Release post

This option makes the content of an anonymous post visible to other users.

  1. Open the course element Forum and navigate to the post you want to release.
  2. Click on Release post. The post will then become visible to all users.
Release post button
Delete post

This option deletes the anonymous post and does not make it visible to other users.

  1. Open the course element Forum and navigate to the post you want to delete.
  2. Click on Delete.
Delete button

3. Confirm the deletion process with Delete.

Confirm deletion process