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The Messages course element allows you to create news and important information for your course participants. These will be visible to users in the course as well as in the notifications. The total number of messages displayed can be specified by the course author, as can the time period in which they should be visible to course participants.

Content

Usage: Learners' View

Overview

The Messages course element gives you an overview of all existing messages and news. The entries are sorted by date. The most recent ones will be shown first.

Overview of messages course element

Functions for users

As a user, you have access to the following functions in a Messages course element:

Subscribe to messages

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

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.

By default, the Messages course element will be subscribed to automatically after opening it. You can cancel the subscription at any time by clicking the Unsubscribe button.

Show older messages

Use this button to access older messages. Note that this function is only available if the number of messages to be displayed has been exceeded. The maximum number of displayed messages is set by the course author.

The course author can also enable extended rights. Users with extended rights are allowed to create, edit, and delete messages. Detailed instructions are provided in the Functions in the course view section on this page.

Configuration: Authors' View

In the course editor

The following functions are available to you in the course editor:

Add a messages course element

To integrate a course element into your course, proceed as follows:
1

Open the course you want to edit.

Use the pencil icon at the top of the page to open the editing mode.

Switch from the course view to the editing mode

2

Select a course element from the menu on the right.

Select course element

3

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.

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

Confirm your choice with Insert course element.

Insert course element into the course tree

4

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

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

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

Title and description

Course editor settings 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.

(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.

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. For an example of the different setting options, refer to the help page Displaying information about the course element.

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

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 Publishing within courses (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.

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.

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.

Publish your changes.

Course editor setting to hide notification message

2

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
  • Edit or delete files / 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
Message configuration

In this tab, you can configure different settings for the display of messages and the automatic subscription. Detailed instructions are given in the following section Special configuration settings.

Multilingualism

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

Special configuration settings

The following functions are available to you in the Message configuration tab. To access them, open the course editor of the Messages course element and switch to the Message configuration tab.

Display

Decide how long messages should remain visible and how many messages should be displayed.

To do this, change the number in the respective text fields and click on Save.

Even if the number of messages exceeds the maximum specified in the configuration, users can still access older messages using the Show older messages button. In other words, the messages will be retained.

Customise display of messages

Subscribe automatically

This option allows you to decide whether messages will be subscribed to automatically after reading them. Just activate the checkbox. You can undo this setting at any time by deactivating the checkbox. Click on Save to confirm your changes.

Subscribe automatically option
In the course view

In the course view, you have the following options:


Create messages

This option allows you to create new messages.  

1

Open the Messages course element and click on Create message.

Create message button
2Enter a title and your message in the appropriate text fields. For the message, there are several formatting options available to you. A detailed description can be found under this link.
Message content
3

Optionally, you can choose to send an email to the participants of the course in order to inform them about the new message. The following three options are available:

  • To subscribers
  • To participants in learning groups and course owners
  • Use plain text only in emails

Select the desired checkbox. 

You will receive a notification if the size of the embedded media exceeds the limit for sending the email. In this case, you can use the Use plain text only in emails option to send the email without the embedded media. But even if you decide to use this option, the media will still be displayed in the course view.

Email notification
4Click on Save to complete the creation process.
Complete creation process

Edit messages

This option allows you to edit an already created message.  

1

Open the Messages course element and select the message you wish to edit. Now click on the pencil icon.

Edit message button
2The editor window opens. Make your desired changes and click on Save to complete the editing process.
Complete editing process

Delete messages

An already created message can be deleted at any time.  

1

Open the Messages course element and select the message you wish to delete. Now click on the trash can icon.

Trash can icon
2Confirm the deletion process with OK.
Confirm deletion process