discussions
Chapter 14: Discussions
CHAPTER 14: DISCUSSIONS
IMPORTANT: Topics in this chapter apply to various roles. See specific topics for your role.
ABOUT DISCUSSIONS
For All Roles
The Discussions tool provides asynchronous communication between Section Instructors, Teaching
Assistants, and Students. With the Discussions tool, these users can post messages that can be read by all
users enrolled in the course.
The Discussions tool is divided into discussion categories, discussion topics, and discussion messages.
Discussion categories can be used to group related discussion topics, but topics can also exist on their
own. Topics can be a question or the introduction of a new concept to which users enrolled in the course
can post messages. By default, discussion messages are presented in threads, which are a series of replies
to the same subject, allowing users to follow the discussion.
With the Discussions tool, you can:
•
create and manage discussion categories.
•
create and manage discussion topics.
Section Designers, Section Instructors, Teaching Assistants, Students, and Auditors can read, post, and
manage messages.
The Discussions tool can be used by Section Instructors and Teaching Assistants to:
•
post important notices to the entire class.
•
create topics relevant to the course and generate class discussion through open-ended questions.
•
create topics to facilitate communication within groups of Students that are working collaboratively
on a project.
•
encourage peer review of assignments. Students can attach files to their discussion messages.
•
evaluate and grade each Student based on their participation in class discussions.
CREATING AND MANAGING DISCUSSION
CATEGORIES
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For various roles. See specific topics for your
role.
Creating Categories
For All Roles
You can create categories to group similar or related discussion topics together.
EXAMPLE:
You can create a category called Graded Topics that contains all the topics that Students
will be graded on.
After one category is created, any topics that are not assigned to a category appear under Uncategorized
Topics.
If you want, you can create a new category and a new topic simultaneously. For more
information, see Creating Topics.
NOTE:
1. From the Discussions screen, click Create Category. The Create Category screen appears.
2. In the Title text box, enter a title for the category.
3. If you want to provide Students with information about the category, enter a description:
a. If you want to use HTML to create the description, do one of the following:
•
To use the HTML Creator to create the description, next to HTML Creator, select On. The
HTML Creator appears.
NOTE:
•
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
To hand-code the description in HTML, select Use HTML.
b. In the Description text box or HTML Creator editing area, enter a description for the category.
Text entered here appears below the category title and displays to Students. The description can
contain up to 500 characters.
4. Click Save. The Discussions screen appears and the category is created.
Editing Categories
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For All Roles
1. From the Discussions screen, locate the discussion category you want to edit and click its ActionLinks
icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Edit Properties. The Edit Category screen appears.
3. Edit the category as desired:
a. In the Title text box, edit the category title.
b. In the Description text box, edit the category description:
a. If you want to use HTML to edit the description, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator to edit the description, next to HTML Creator,
select On. The HTML Creator appears.
NOTE:
•
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be
available or it may appear by default.
If you want to hand-code the description in HTML, select Use HTML.
b. In the Description text box or HTML Creator editing area, edit the description.
4. Click Save. The Discussions screen appears and the category is edited.
Linking Categories to the Course Content and
Learning Module Tools
For Designers
If you have content items, such as assignments, assessments, chat rooms, or web links, you can create
links to these items in the following locations:
•
Course Content Home and other content folders in the Course Content tool
•
learning modules in the Learning Modules tool
Users can access these items by clicking the links from these locations.
1. Locate the item that you want to create a link for and select its check box.
2. From the Create Link on drop-down list, select the location for the link and click the Go icon. A link
to the item is created in the specified location.
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Moving Categories
For All Roles
You can change the order in which categories appear on the Discussions screen.
1. From the Discussions screen, click Reorder Categories. The Reorder Discussion Categories screen
appears.
2. If you want to move a category above another category:
a. Select the category that you want to move. You can select multiple categories.
b. Locate the category that you want the selected category to appear above and click its Move
Selected Items Above icon. The selected category is moved to its new location.
3. If you want to move a category to the bottom of the list:
a. Select the category that you want to move. You can select multiple categories.
b. In the last row of the table, click the Move Selected Items to Bottom of List icon. The selected
category is moved to the bottom of the list.
4. Click OK. The Discussions screen appears and the categories are reordered.
Viewing Links to Categories
For All Roles
If there are links to an item, such as an assignment, quiz, chat room, or learning module, in other locations
of a course, you can view a list of these locations.
1. Locate the item and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click View Links to this Item. A pop-up window appears, displaying a list of locations containing
links to the item.
Deleting Categories
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For All Roles
WARNING:
Deleting a discussion category deletes all topics and messages in the category.
1. From the Discussions screen, do one of the following
•
To delete one category, locate the category you want to delete and click its ActionLinks icon. A
menu appears.
•
To delete several categories, select the categories.
2. Click Delete. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK.
4. If the categories are linked in the Course Content tool, another confirmation message appears. Click
OK.
The Discussions screen refreshes and the categories are deleted.
CREATING AND MANAGING DISCUSSION TOPICS
For various roles. See specific topics for your
role.
Creating Topics
For All Roles
Topics allow you to create a forum where users can post messages to exchange ideas, thoughts, and
questions on a particular subject.
You can:
•
create a topic and leave it uncategorized.
•
create a topic in an existing category.
•
create a topic and a category simultaneously.
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You can also create a topic for a group of Students. For more information, see Creating
Discussion Topics for Groups.
NOTE:
1. From the Discussions screen, click Create Topic. The Create Discussion Topic screen appears.
2. In the Title text box, enter a title for the topic.
3. If you want to communicate to Students what they are expected to discuss in the topic, enter a
description:
a. If you want to use HTML to create the description, do one of the following:
•
To use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On. The HTML Creator appears.
NOTE:
•
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
To hand-code the description in HTML, select Use HTML.
b. In the Description text box or HTML Creator editing area, provide instructions or enter text to
explain what Students are expected to discuss in the topic. Text entered here appears below the
topic title and displays to Students.
4. Next to Item Visibility, select one of the following options:
•
If you want to make the topic visible to Students, ensure the option Show Item is selected.
•
If you want to temporarily hide the topic from Students, select Hide Item.
5. If you want Students to receive a grade based on their participation in the topic:
a. Select Topic is gradable. A column for the topic is automatically added to Grade Book.
b. If you want the Grade Book column to have a name other than the topic title, in the text box next
to Grade Book column title, enter a new title.
c. Select a grading scheme:
•
If you want to assign a numeric grade to the topic, select Numeric grade and, in the Out of
text box, enter the maximum grade that can be attained.
•
If you want to assign a letter grade to the topic, select Alphanumeric grade.
6. To specify whether Students can edit their own messages after posting them, do one of the following:
•
To allow Students to edit their posted messages, select Editable Posts.
•
To prevent Students from editing their posted messages, and if the setting is selected by default,
clear the Editable Posts check box.
7. If you don't want to allow messages to be posted to the topic, select Locked. A Locked icon appears
next to the topic title on the Discussions screen and the messages screen.
8. If you want to post messages anonymously to the topic, select Anonymous.
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If the topic is gradable, this setting is not available. Author names display to Section
Instructors and Teaching Assistants when a topic is graded.
NOTE:
9. If you want to place the topic in a category, next to More Options, click the Expand/Collapse icon
and do one of the following:
•
To place the topic in an existing category, select Specify an existing category and, from the Select
drop-down list, select the category.
•
To create a category to place the topic in:
a. Select Create a category.
b. In the Name text box, enter a name for the category.
c. If you want to provide Students with information about the category, enter a description. Text
entered here appears below the category name and displays to Students.
10. Click Save. The Discussions screen appears and the topic is created.
Editing Topics
For All Roles
You can change the title, description, and properties for a topic.
1. From the Discussions or messages screen, locate the discussion topic you want to edit and click its
ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Edit Properties. The Edit Topic Properties screen appears.
3. Edit the topic as desired:
a. In the Title text box, edit the topic title.
b. In the Description text box, edit the topic description:
a. If you want to use HTML to edit the description, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator to edit the description, next to HTML Creator,
select On. The HTML Creator appears.
NOTE:
•
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be
available or it may appear by default.
If you want to hand-code the description in HTML, select Use HTML.
b. In the Description text box or HTML Creator editing area, edit the description.
c. If you want to change the visibility of the topic, do one of the following:
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•
If you want to make the topic visible to Students, select Show Item.
•
If you want to temporarily hide the topic from Students, select Hide Item.
d. If you want to change whether a topic is gradable, do one of the following:
•
If you want to make the topic gradable:
i.
Select Topic is gradable.
NOTE:
A column for the topic is automatically added to Grade Book.
ii. If you want the Grade Book column to have a name other than the topic title, in the
Grade Book column title text box, enter a new name.
iii. Select a grading scheme:
•
•
If you want to assign a numeric grade to the topic, select Numeric grade and, in the
Out of text box, enter the maximum grade that can be attained.
•
If you want to assign a letter grade to the topic, select Alphanumeric grade.
If you do not want the topic to be gradable, clear the Topic is gradable check box.
NOTE:
A column for the topic was automatically added to Grade Book when this
topic was created. If the column does not already contain grades, ensure the
Section Instructor or Teaching Assistant deletes the column for this topic in
Grade Book.
e. Select whether you want to allow Students to edit their own messages after posting them:
f.
•
To allow Students to edit their posted messages, select Editable Posts.
•
To prevent Students from editing their posted messages, clear the Editable Posts check box.
Select whether you want the topic to be locked:
•
To allow users to post messages to the topic, clear the Locked check box.
•
To make the topic available for viewing only, select Locked.
4. Click Save. The Discussions or messages screen appears and the topic is edited.
Linking Topics to the Course Content and
Learning Module Tools
For Designers
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If you have content items, such as assignments, assessments, chat rooms, or web links, you can create
links to these items in the following locations:
•
Course Content Home and other content folders in the Course Content tool
•
learning modules in the Learning Modules tool
Users can access these items by clicking the links from these locations.
1. Locate the item that you want to create a link for and select its check box.
2. From the Create Link on drop-down list, select the location for the link and click the Go icon. A link
to the item is created in the specified location.
Copying Topics
For All Roles
You can copy a discussion topic and all its messages:
•
above a topic in another discussion category.
•
below a topic in another discussion category.
•
into a category that does not contain any topics.
NOTE:
For the purposes of copying topics, the Uncategorized Topics section functions like a
category.
1. From the Discussions screen, select the topic that you want to copy. You can select multiple topics.
2. Select the location to copy the topic to by doing one of the following:
•
To copy the topic above a topic in another category:
a. Next to the topic that you want to copy the topic above, click the Click to view move options
icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Copy Selected Items Above. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is copied
to its new location.
•
To copy the topic below a topic in another category:
a. Next to the topic that you want to copy the topic below, click the Click to view move options
icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Copy Selected Items Below. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is copied
to its new location.
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•
To copy the topic to a category that does not contain any topics:
a. In the empty category, click the Click to view move options icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Copy Selected Items Here. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is copied to
its new location.
Moving Topics
For All Roles
You can move a discussion topic and all its messages:
•
above or below a topic in the same discussion category.
•
above or below a topic in another discussion category.
•
into a category that does not contain any topics.
NOTE:
For the purposes of moving topics, the Uncategorized Topics section functions like a
category.
1. From the Discussions screen, next to the topic that you want to move, select the check box. To move
multiple topics, select the check box next to each topic.
2. Select the location to move the topic to by doing one of the following:
•
To move the topic above a topic in the same category or another category:
a. Next to the topic that you want to move the topic above, click the Click to view move options
icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Move Selected Items Above. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is moved
to its new location.
•
To move the topic below a topic in the same category or another category:
a. Next to the topic that you want to move the topic below, click the Click to view move options
icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Move Selected Items Below. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is moved
to its new location.
•
To move the topic to a category that does not contain any topics:
a. In the empty category, click the Click to view move options icon. A menu appears.
b. Click Move Selected Items Here. The Discussions screen refreshes and the topic is moved
to its new location.
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Viewing Topics
For All Roles
You can view the messages posted to one topic or to all topics.
1. Do one of the following:
•
If you want to view all messages posted to a topic, from the Discussions screen, locate the topic
that you want to view and click its title. The messages screen for the topic appears.
•
If you want to view all messages posted to all topics in Discussions, from the Discussions screen,
click All Topics. The messages screen appears. The topic that each message is posted to appears
in the table under the Topics column heading.
2. If you want to read a message, under Subject, click its subject. The Message pop-up window appears.
From this screen you can perform actions on the message and on other messages in the thread.
3. If you want to read all messages in a thread, under Subject and next to the message, click the Display
Complete Thread icon. The Compiled Messages pop-up window appears displaying all messages in
the thread. From this screen you can perform actions on individual messages or on the entire message
thread. For more information, see Creating a Printable View of Messages.
Viewing Links to Topics
For All Roles
If there are links to an item, such as an assignment, quiz, chat room, or learning module, in other locations
of a course, you can view a list of these locations.
1. Locate the item and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click View Links to this Item. A pop-up window appears, displaying a list of locations containing
links to the item.
Showing or Hiding Topics
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For All Roles
You can make an item, such as a chat room, learning module, web link, media library collection, or file
visible to Students by showing the item in your course. Alternatively, if you do not want an item to be
visible yet, you can hide it temporarily.
NOTE:
•
By default, when a quiz, self test, survey, or assignment is created, it is hidden from
Students.
•
Before you can show a quiz, self test, or survey and make it visible to Students, you
must add at least one question to it.
•
Before you can show an assignment and make it visible to Students, you must
distribute the assignment to Students.
To show an item:
1. Locate the item and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Show Item. The item is shown.
•
To hide an item:
1. Locate the item and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Hide Item. The item is hidden.
Setting or Modifying Release Criteria for Topics
For All Roles
You can selectively release items by setting release criteria for them. Setting release criteria for items
allows you to control when and to whom the items are visible.
1. Next to the item for which you want to set or modify release criteria, click the ActionLinks icon. A
menu appears.
2. Click Set Release Criteria. The Set Release Criteria for screen appears.
3. Set or modify the release criteria for the item.
Deleting Topics
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For All Roles
Depending on administrator settings, this function may not be available to Teaching
Assistants.
NOTE:
When you delete a topic, all messages contained in the topic are also deleted.
1. From the Discussions or messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To delete one topic, locate the topic you want to delete and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu
appears.
•
To delete several topics, from the Discussions screen, select the topics.
2. Click Delete. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK.
4. If the topics are linked in the Course Content tool, another confirmation message appears. Click OK.
The Discussions screen refreshes and the topics are deleted.
Assigning Grades in Topics
For Section Instructors
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, this feature may not be available to Teaching
Assistants.
If the course contains a discussion topic that is gradable, you can evaluate each Student's activity in that
topic and assign a grade. During the grading process, you can view the content of all messages posted by
each Student. You can also compare the Student's level of participation in the topic to the class average.
Grades assigned to Students in Discussions are automatically entered in a corresponding column in Grade
Book.
1. From the Teach tab, from the Discussions or messages screen, locate the gradable topic in which you
want to assign grades and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Grade Topic. The Grade Discussions for screen appears.
3. If you want to compare a Student's participation in the topic to other Students in the course before you
enter a grade, compare the values under Class Averages to the corresponding values for the Student
under Student Overview.
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The value for Total Messages Read corresponds to the number of messages marked as
read by the Student. Therefore, if a Student reads the same message several times, the
message is considered to have been read only once.
NOTE:
4. If you want to view the messages posted by a Student before you enter a grade:
a. Click the ActionLinks icon next to the Student's name. A menu appears.
b. Click View Student Posts. The Student Discussion Posts screen appears, displaying all messages
posted to the topic by the Student.
c. If you want to print all messages posted by the Student, from the Student Discussion Posts screen:
i.
Click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears.
ii. Make your selections to print the compiled messages.
d. If you want to download all messages posted by the Student, from the Student Discussion Posts
screen:
i.
Click Save as File. Your browser's save file dialog box appears.
ii. Make your selections to save the compiled messages to the desired location on your local
computer.
e. To return to the overview screen, click Back to Discussion Activity Overview. The screen
refreshes to display the Class Averages and Student Overview information.
5. Enter a grade for each Student:
a. Under Name, locate the Student for whom you want to assign the grade.
TIP:
The Student's name may appear on another page. You can use the paging controls
to navigate to other pages. For more information, see Navigating Multiple Pages.
b. Next to the Student's name, and under Grade, enter a value in the text box.
TIP:
The value displayed next to Grading Criteria indicates whether you can enter a
numeric grade or an alphanumeric (letter) grade.
c. Complete the previous two steps for each Student for whom you want to assign a grade.
6. Click Save Grades. The screen refreshes and all grades are saved.
Editing Grades in Topics
For Section Instructors
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, this feature may not be available to Teaching
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Assistants.
You can edit the grades you have assigned to Students for a gradable topic. Any grading changes made in
Discussions will be reflected in Grade Book.
1. From the Teach tab, from the Discussions or messages screen, locate the gradable topic in which you
want to edit grades and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
2. Click Grade Topic. The Grade Discussions for screen appears.
3. Under Name, locate the Student whose grade you want to edit and, under Grade, click the displayed
value. The Edit Value for pop-up window appears.
4. Do one of the following:
•
To change the value back to the first grade that was entered for the Student, select Revert to
Original.
•
To change the grade to a new value, select Change To and enter a new value in the text box.
5. If you want to enter an explanation for the change, in the Comment text box, enter a comment.
6. If you want to see a history of all changes made to the Student's grade, click View Audit History. The
Grade Audit History pop-up window appears:
a. To sort by any column, click that column's title.
b. To change the sort order, click the column's title again.
c. To print the audit history, use your web browser's print function.
d. To export the audit history as a comma or tab-delimited file:
i.
Click Export Log. The Export Grade Book Audit Log Data pop-up window appears.
ii. Under Specify Export Format, do one of the following:
•
To create a text file where field information is separated by a comma, select
Comma-delimited.
•
To create a text file where field information is separated by a tab keystroke, select
Tab-delimited.
iii. Click Export. Your browser's download dialog box appears.
iv. Make your selections to download the file to the desired location.
v. Click Done. The Grade Audit History pop-up window appears.
e. Click Done. The Edit Value for pop-up window appears.
7. Click Save. The Grade Discussions screen appears and the grade is edited.
NOTE:
You do not need to click Save Grades. The grade is already saved.
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READING AND POSTING DISCUSSION MESSAGES
For Section Designers and Section Instructors
You can use Discussions for:
•
reading messages.
•
reading new messages.
•
posting messages.
•
replying to messages.
•
forwarding messages.
•
viewing all messages that you posted.
If there are enough messages to appear on multiple pages, you can use the paging controls to navigate to
the messages. For more information, see Navigating Multiple Pages.
Reading Messages
1. From the messages screen, locate the message you want to read and click its subject. The Message
pop-up window appears and the message is displayed.
2. If the message includes an attached file that you want to view or download, click its file name. The
attached file opens.
3. If you originally posted the message and you now want to edit it, click Edit Message. The Edit
Message pop-up window appears. For more information, see Editing Posted Messages.
NOTE:
If the topic has been locked, you cannot edit the message.
4. If you want to reply to the message, click Reply. The Reply pop-up window appears. For more
information, see Replying to Messages.
NOTE:
If the topic has been locked, you cannot reply to the message.
5. If you want to forward the message to a user's Mail inbox, click Forward. The Create Message
pop-up window appears. For more information, see Forwarding Messages.
NOTE:
If the topic has been locked, you cannot forward the message.
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6. If you want to read the next message in the thread, click Next Message. The next message in the
thread is displayed.
7. If you want to read the previous message in the thread, click Previous Message. The previous
message in the thread is displayed.
8. If you want to read another message in the thread, under Name, click the subject of the message you
want to read. The selected message is displayed.
9. If you want to display all the messages in the thread, click Display Complete Thread. The Compiled
Messages pop-up window appears. For more information on printing or downloading messages from
the Compiled Messages pop-up window, see Creating a Printable View of Messages.
Reading New Messages
All messages that have been posted in a topic since the last time you visited that topic are considered new
messages. Topics that contain new messages display a New link next to the topic title. A message remains
bold, to signify that it is unread, until you open it.
Instead of searching a topic for your new messages, you can compile them into a list and then read and
reply to each message. You can also compile new messages for All Topics or compile new replies for All
My Posts.
From the Discussions screen, do one of the following:
•
If you want to read all new messages posted to a topic, next to the topic title, click New. The
Compiled Messages pop-up window appears displaying the new messages.
•
If you want to read all new messages posted in Discussions, next to All Topics, click New. The
Compiled Messages pop-up window appears displaying all new messages.
•
If you want to read all new replies to messages that you have posted:
a. Next to All My Posts, click New Replies. The Compiled Messages pop-up window appears
displaying all messages posted in reply to your messages.
b. If you want to see your original message, next to In Reply to, click the Expand icon. The content
of your message is displayed.
From the Compiled Messages pop-up window, you can perform actions on individual messages or on the
entire list of compiled messages. When you return to the Discussions screen, the New link will no longer
be displayed.
Posting Messages
You can post messages in plain text or HTML. To post messages in HTML, you can use either the HTML
Creator or you can hand-code the HTML.
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Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available or it may
appear by default.
NOTE:
1. From the messages screen, click Create Message. The Create Message pop-up window appears.
2. If you came from the messages screen for All Topics, from the Topic drop-down list, select a topic for
your message.
3. In the Subject text box, enter the subject heading for your message.
4. Enter the content of the message:
a. If you want to create the message using HTML, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On. The screen updates
and the HTML Creator appears.
•
If you want to hand-code the HTML, under the Message text box, select Use HTML.
b. In the Message text box or HTML Creator editing area, enter the content of your message.
c. If you want, insert an equation into your message.
5. If you want to attach files to your message:
a. Click Add Attachments. The Content Browser pop-up window appears
b. Do one of the following:
•
If the files you want to attach are on your computer:
i.
Click the My Computer icon. Your computer's file browser or the Upload Files from Your
Computer screen appears.
ii. Locate and select the files. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected
files listed under Add Attachments.
•
TIP:
If the files you want to attach are in WebCT, locate and select the files. The Create Message
pop-up window appears with the selected files listed under Add Attachments.
If you want to remove an attached file, next to the file, click its Remove Attachment
icon.
6. Decide if you want to preview your message, save your message as a draft, or post your message:
•
To preview your message, click Preview. The Preview Message pop-up window appears and
your message is displayed.
a. If you want to edit your message before posting it, click Edit. You are returned to the Create
Message pop-up window and you can edit your message as desired.
b. If you want to print your message, click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears. Make
your selections to print the message.
c. If you want to post your message, click Post. The messages screen appears and your message
is posted.
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•
To save your message as a draft, click Save as Draft. The messages screen appears and the
message is saved as a draft.
•
To post your message, click Post. The messages screen appears and your message is posted.
Replying to Messages
You cannot reply to messages that have been locked.
NOTE:
1. From the messages screen, locate the message to which you want to reply and, under Subject, click its
subject. The Message pop-up window appears and the message is displayed.
2. Click Reply. The Reply pop-up window appears. The Subject text box of the message is already
complete.
3. Enter your reply:
a. If you want to reply to the message using HTML, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On.
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
The screen updates and the HTML Creator appears.
•
If you want to hand-code the HTML, under the Message text box, select Use HTML.
b. In the Message text box or the HTML Creator editing area, enter your reply.
c. If you want, insert an equation.
4. If you want to attach files to the message:
a. Click Add Attachments. The Content Browser pop-up window appears
b. Do one of the following:
•
If the files you want to attach are on your computer:
i.
Click the My Computer icon. Your computer's file browser or the Upload Files from Your
Computer screen appears.
ii. Locate and select the files. The Reply pop-up window appears with the selected files
listed under Add Attachments.
•
If the files you want to attach are in WebCT, locate and select the files. The Reply pop-up
window appears with the selected files listed under Add Attachments.
TIP:
If you want to remove an attached file, next to the file, click its Remove Attachment
icon.
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5. If you want to preview the message before posting it, click Preview. The Preview Message pop-up
window appears and the message is displayed as it will appear to other members of the course.
•
If you want to edit the message before posting it, click Edit. The Reply pop-up window appears
and you can edit the message as desired.
•
If you want to print the message, click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears. Make your
selections to print the message.
•
If you want to post the message, click Post. The messages screen appears and the message is
posted.
6. Do one of the following:
•
If you want to save the message as a draft, click Save as Draft. The messages screen appears and
the message is saved as a draft.
•
If you want to post the message, click Post. The messages screen appears and the message is
posted.
Forwarding Messages
You can forward Discussion messages to other members' Mail inboxes.
You cannot forward messages that have been locked.
1. From the messages screen, locate the message you want to forward and, under Subject, click its
subject. The Message pop-up window appears and the message is displayed.
2. Click Forward. The Create Message pop-up window appears. The Subject text box of the message is
already complete and the Message text box contains the original Discussions message.
3. Specify one or more recipients for the message:
•
To enter recipient names manually, in the To text box, enter each recipient name.
NOTE:
•
Multiple recipient names must be separated by semicolons.
To browse for recipients:
•
Click Browse for Recipients. The Select Message Recipients pop-up window appears.
•
Locate the recipients you want to post the message to and, under To, select the recipient
names.
•
Click Save. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected recipient names
below the To text box.
4. If you want to post a copy of the message to one or more recipients, do one of the following:
•
To enter recipient names manually, in the CC text box, enter each recipient name.
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NOTE:
•
Multiple recipient names must be separated by semicolons.
To browse for recipients:
•
Click Browse for Recipients. The Select Message Recipients pop-up window appears.
•
Locate the recipients you want to post the message to and, under CC, select the recipient
names.
•
Click Save. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected recipient names
below the CC text box.
5. If you want to post a copy of the message to one or more recipients, but you want to hide those
recipients from other recipients, do one of the following:
•
To enter recipient names manually, in the BCC text box, enter each recipient name.
NOTE:
•
Multiple recipient names must be separated by semicolons.
To browse for recipients:
a. Click Browse for Recipients. The Select Message Recipients pop-up window appears.
b. Locate the recipients you want to post the message to and, under BCC, select the recipient
names.
c. Click Save. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected recipients below
the BCC text box.
6. If you want to change the original message's subject heading, in the Subject text box, edit the subject
heading.
7. If you want to mark your message as high priority, select High priority.
8. If you want to, add text or edit the original message:
a. If you want to add or edit the text using HTML, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On.
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
The screen updates and the HTML Creator appears.
•
If you want to hand-code the HTML, under the Message text box, select Use HTML.
b. In the Message text box or HTML Creator editing area, add text or edit the original message.
c. If you want, edit or insert an equation in the message.
9. If you want to attach files to the message:
a. Click Add Attachments. The Content Browser pop-up window appears
b. Do one of the following:
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•
If the files you want to attach are on your computer:
i.
Click the My Computer icon. Your computer's file browser or the Upload Files from Your
Computer screen appears.
ii. Locate and select the files. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected
files listed under Add Attachments.
•
If the files you want to attach are in WebCT:
i.
Navigate to the location of the files and, next to the title of each file, select the check box.
ii. Click OK. The Create Message pop-up window appears with the selected files listed
under Add Attachments.
TIP:
If you want to remove an attached file, select its Remove Attachment icon.
10. If you want to view the message as it will appear to the recipient:
a. Click Preview. The Message Preview pop-up window appears.
WARNING:
Clicking Cancel will delete the message you are creating.
11. If you want to save the message and post it later, click Save as Draft. The messages screen appears
and the message is moved to the Drafts folder in Mail.
12. Click Send. The messages screen appears and the message is moved to the Sent Mail folder in Mail.
Viewing All Messages that You Posted
You can use the All My Posts screen to view all of the messages that you have posted in Discussions. You
can also view the replies to your messages.
1. From the Discussions screen, click All My Posts. The All My Posts screen appears and all messages
that you have posted are displayed.
TIP:
The topic that each message is posted to appears in the table under the Topics column
heading.
2. If you want to read a message, under Subject, click its subject. The Message pop-up window appears
displaying your message and any replies to your message. From this screen you can perform actions
on your message and on other messages in the thread.
3. If you want to read all messages in a thread, under Subject and next to the message, click the Display
Complete Thread icon. The Compiled Messages pop-up window appears displaying all messages in
the thread. From this screen you can perform actions on individual messages or on the entire message
thread. For more information, see Creating a Printable View of Messages.
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Navigating Multiple Pages
If there are enough items to appear on multiple pages, paging controls appear at the bottom of the screen
and you can use them to navigate from one page to another. You have options to go to a specific page, go
to the next page, or return to the previous page. If there are no items on the page or if there are not enough
items to appear on multiple pages, you cannot use paging controls.
You can also the Paging Preferences icon to set the number of items to be displayed on each page. By
default, ten items are displayed per page. You can set a maximum of 999 items per page.
•
If there are enough items to appear on multiple pages, you can use the following options to navigate
those pages:
•
To select a specific page: From the Page drop-down list, select the page and click the Go icon.
NOTE:
•
You may see the page number followed by the number of records in parentheses.
For example, 1 (1-10) means page 1 contains records 1 to 10.
•
To view all pages: From the Page drop-down list, select All and click the Go icon.
•
To go to the next page, click the Next Page icon.
•
To return to the previous page, click the Previous Page icon.
To set the number of items per page:
1. Click the Paging Preferences icon. The Edit Paging pop-up window appears.
2. In the Number of records per page text box, enter the number of items and click OK.
MANAGING DISCUSSION THREADS
For Section Designer and Section Instructors
A threaded discussion is a series of messages on the same subject with the originating message listed first,
followed by replies to that message. An unthreaded discussion consists of messages that are listed in
chronological order.
You can use Discussions for:
•
viewing threaded and unthreaded discussions.
•
expanding and collapsing threads.
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•
copying threads.
•
moving threads.
•
deleting threads.
•
displaying all messages in a thread.
•
locking and unlocking a thread.
Viewing Threaded and Unthreaded Discussions
A threaded discussion is a series of messages on the same subject with the originating message listed first
and followed by replies to that message. An unthreaded discussion consists of messages that are listed in
chronological order.
You can view discussion messages in threaded or unthreaded view.
NOTE:
By default, messages are listed in threaded view.
From the messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To display messages in the unthreaded view, click Unthreaded. The messages are displayed.
•
To display messages in the threaded view, click Threaded. The messages are displayed.
Expanding and Collapsing Threads
A thread is a series of replies to the same subject, with the original message at the top of the thread.
From the messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To expand a thread, next to the thread's subject, click the Expand icon. The collapsed thread is
expanded.
•
To expand all threads within the topic, in the table heading row, click Expand All. All threads in the
topic are expanded.
•
To collapse a thread, next to the thread's subject, click the Collapse icon. The expanded thread is
collapsed.
•
To collapse all threads within the topic, in the table heading row, click Collapse All. All threads in
the topic are collapsed.
Copying Threads
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You can copy an entire thread from one discussion topic to another. The topics can be in the same
category, in different categories, or in the Uncategorized Topics section.
1. From the messages screen, select the first message in each thread you want to copy. All messages in
the selected threads will also be copied.
2. From the Copy to drop-down list, select the topic to which you want to copy the threads, and click the
Go icon. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. Either the messages screen or the Specify Thread pop-up window appears:
•
If the messages screen appears, the topic you selected was empty. Each selected thread is copied
to the topic as a new thread.
•
If the Specify Thread pop-up window appears, select a location for the threads to be copied to
within the existing threads in the topic by doing the following:
a. Under Name, select Start a new thread or the message that you want the threads to appear
under.
b. Click OK. The messages screen refreshes and the threads are copied to the selected topic.
Moving Threads
You can move an entire thread from one discussion topic to another. The topics can be in the same
category, in different categories, or in the Uncategorized Topics section.
1. From the messages screen, select the first message in each thread you want to move. All messages in
the selected threads will also be moved.
2. From the Move to drop-down list, select the topic to which you want to move the threads, and click
the Go icon. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. Either the messages screen or the Specify Thread pop-up window appears:
•
If the messages screen appears, the topic you selected was empty. The threads have been moved
to the topic as a new thread.
•
If the Specify Thread pop-up window appears, select a location for the threads to be moved to
within the existing threads in the topic by doing the following:
a. Under Name, select Start a new thread or the message that you want the threads to appear
under.
b. Click OK. The messages screen refreshes and the threads are moved to the selected topic.
Deleting Threads
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NOTE:
Depending on administrator setting, this feature may not be available to Teaching
Assistants.
Deleting a thread deletes the first message in the thread and all of its replies.
1. From the messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To delete one thread, locate the thread and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
•
To delete several threads, select the threads.
•
To delete all threads on the page, select the check box next to Subject. All threads on the current
page are selected.
2. Click Delete. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. The threads are deleted.
Displaying All Messages in a Thread
A thread is a series of replies to the same subject. You can follow a discussion by consecutively viewing
each message in a thread.
Do one of the following:
•
From the messages screen for the topic that contains the thread you want to view:
a. If you are not already viewing the messages in threaded view, next to Display, click Threaded.
b. Locate the first message in the thread that you want to view and click its Display Complete
Thread icon. The Compiled Messages pop-up window appears.
•
From the message screen for a message that you have opened, click Display Complete Thread. The
Compiled Messages pop-up window appears.
From the Compiled Messages pop-up window, you can reply to and forward individual messages, or print
and download the compiled messages.
Locking and Unlocking a Thread
If you want to prevent users from replying to a message, you can lock the message thread. Users can still
view the message thread, but they cannot reply to the message or forward it to other users. You can only
lock one thread at a time.
1. From the messages screen, locate the thread that you want to lock and click the subject of the first
message in the thread. The Message pop-up window appears.
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2. Do one of the following:
•
If you want to lock the thread, click Lock Thread. The screen refreshes and the thread is locked.
The Reply and Forward controls are no longer available.
•
If you want to unlock a locked thread, click Unlock Thread. The screen refreshes and the thread
is unlocked. The Reply and Forward controls are now available.
MANAGING DISCUSSION MESSAGES
For Section Designers and Section Instructors
You can use Discussions for:
•
displaying all messages.
•
displaying unread messages.
•
copying messages.
•
moving messages.
•
sorting messages.
•
deleting messages.
•
selecting and deselecting messages.
•
marking messages as read.
•
marking messages as unread.
•
editing draft messages.
•
editing posted messages.
•
creating a printable view of messages.
If there are enough messages to appear on multiple pages, you can use the paging controls to navigate to
the messages. For more information, see Navigating Multiple Pages.
Displaying All Messages
From the messages screen, next to Display, click All. The screen updates to display all messages.
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Displaying Unread Messages
From the messages screen, next to Display, click Unread. The screen updates to display only unread
messages.
Copying Messages
You can copy messages from one discussion topic to another. The topics can be in the same category, in
different categories, or in the Uncategorized Topics section.
Copying a message also copies all replies to that message.
1. From the messages screen, select the messages you want to copy:
•
To copy a message and its replies, select the message. You can select multiple messages.
•
To copy all messages in a thread, select the first message in the thread. All messages in the thread
will be copied. You can select multiple threads.
•
To copy all messages on the page in the topic, in the table heading row, select the check box. All
messages on the page are selected.
2. From the Copy to drop-down list, select the topic to which you want to copy the messages, and click
the Go icon. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. Either the messages screen or the Specify Thread pop-up window appears:
•
If the messages screen appears, the topic you selected was empty. The messages have been
copied to the topic as a new thread.
•
If the Specify Thread pop-up window appears, select a location for the messages to be copied to
within the existing messages in the topic by doing the following:
a. Under Name, select Start a new thread or the thread that you want the messages to appear
under.
b. Click OK. The messages screen refreshes and the messages are copied to the topic.
Moving Messages
You can move messages from one discussion topic to another. Topics can be in the same category, in
different categories, or in the Uncategorized Topics section.
Moving a message also moves all replies to that message.
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1. From the messages screen, select the messages you want to move:
•
To move a message and its replies, next to the messages you want to copy, select the check box.
You can select multiple messages.
•
To move all messages in a thread, next to the first message in the thread, select the check box. All
messages in the thread will be moved.
•
To move all messages on a page in a topic, in the table heading row, select the check box. All
messages on the page are selected.
2. From the Move to drop-down list, select the topic to which you want to move the messages and click
the Go icon. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. Either the messages screen or the Specify Thread pop-up window appears:
•
If the messages screen appears, the topic was empty. The messages have been moved to the topic
as a new thread.
•
If the Specify Thread pop-up window appears, select a location for the messages to be moved to
within the existing threads in the topic by doing the following:
a. Under Name, select Start a new thread or the message that you want the moved messages to
appear under.
b. Click OK. The messages screen refreshes and the messages are moved to the topic.
Sorting Messages
If a column title is underlined, you can sort items by that column. You can sort in either ascending order
(A to Z, or 1 to 9) or descending order (Z to A, or 9 to 1). An up-arrow next to the column title indicates
that items are currently sorted in ascending order. A down-arrow next to the column title indicates that
items are currently sorted in descending order.
NOTE:
Items remain in the specified sort order until you go to another screen.
From the table heading row:
a. Click the title of the column by which you want to sort items. If the items were not previously sorted
by that column, they are now sorted in ascending order. If the items were previously sorted by that
column, they are now sorted in descending order.
b. If you want to reverse the sort order, click the column title again. The sort order is reversed.
Deleting Messages
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Depending on administrator settings, this feature may not be available to Teaching
Assistants.
NOTE:
When you delete a message, all replies to the message are also deleted.
1. From the messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To delete one message, locate the message and click its ActionLinks icon. A menu appears.
•
To delete several messages, select the messages.
•
To delete all messages on the page, select the check box next to Subject.
NOTE:
If you want to delete messages that span multiple pages, you must adjust the
number of messages listed on a single page to include all messages you want to
delete. For more information, see Navigating Multiple Pages.
All message on the current page are selected.
2. Click Delete. A confirmation message appears.
3. Click OK. The messages are deleted.
Selecting and Deselecting Messages
You can select or deselect individual messages or all messages in a topic.
NOTE:
When selecting a message to copy, move, or delete, all replies to that message are included
in the action. For all other functions, the action is applied only to the selected message.
From the messages screen, do one of the following:
•
To select individual messages, next to each message you want to select, select the check box. The
messages are selected.
•
To select all messages on the page, in the table heading row, next to Subject, select the check box. All
messages on the page are selected.
•
To deselect individual messages, next to each message you want to deselect, clear the check box. The
messages are deselected.
•
To deselect all messages on the page, in the table heading row, next to Subject, clear the check box.
All messages on the page are deselected.
Marking Messages as Read
1. From the messages screen, select the messages you want to mark as read:
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•
To mark selected messages as read, next to the messages you want to mark, select the check box.
•
To mark all messages on the page as read, in the table heading row, next to Subject, select the
check box. All messages on the page are selected.
2. Click Mark as Read. The screen updates and the selected messages are marked as read. The Unread
indicator under Messages is also updated.
Marking Messages as Unread
1. From the messages screen, select the messages you want to mark as unread:
•
To mark individual messages as unread, next to the messages you want to mark, select the check
box.
•
To mark all messages on the page as unread, in the table heading row, next to Subject, select the
check box. All messages on the page are selected.
2. Click Mark as Unread. The screen updates and the selected messages are marked as unread. The
Unread indicator under Messages is also updated.
Editing Draft Messages
If you saved a message as a draft, you can edit it and then post it to the topic.
1. From the messages screen of the topic that contains the draft message, click View Drafts. The View
Drafts pop-up window appears.
2. Under Name, click the message subject. The Draft Message pop-up window appears.
3. In the Subject text box, edit the subject of the message.
4. Edit the content of the message:
a. If you want to edit the message using HTML, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On.
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
The screen updates and the HTML Creator appears.
•
If you want to hand-code the HTML, under the Message text box, select Use HTML.
b. In the Message text box or HTML Creator editing area, edit the content of the message.
c. If you want, edit or insert an equation.
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5. If you want to attach files to your message:
a. Click Add Attachments. The Content Browser pop-up window appears
b. Do one of the following:
•
If the files you want to attach are on your computer:
i.
Click the My Computer icon. Your computer's file browser or the Upload Files from Your
Computer screen appears.
ii. Locate and select the files. The pop-up window closes and the selected files are listed
under Add Attachments.
•
TIP:
If the files you want to attach are in WebCT, locate and select the files. The pop-up window
closes and the selected files are listed under Add Attachments.
If you want to remove an attached file, next to the file, click its Remove Attachment
icon.
6. If you want to preview the message before posting it, click Preview. The Preview Message pop-up
window appears and your message is displayed as it will appear to other members of the course.
a. If you want to edit the message before posting it, click Edit. The Draft Message pop-up window
appears and you can edit the message as desired.
b. If you want to print the message, click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears. Make your
selections to print the message.
c. If you want to post the message, click Post. The messages screen appears and the message is
posted.
7. Do one of the following:
•
If you want to save the message as a draft, click Save. The messages screen appears and the
message is saved.
•
If you want to post the message, click Post Now. The messages screen appears and the message
is posted.
Editing Posted Messages
You can edit messages that you have already posted in a topic, and then repost them. The edited message
replaces the original message in the thread.
1. From the messages screen, locate the message you want to edit and, under Subject, click its subject.
NOTE:
You can only edit messages that you posted.
The Message pop-up window appears.
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2. Click Edit Message. The Edit Message pop-up window appears.
3. If you want to change the message subject, in the Subject text box, edit the text.
4. Edit the content of the message:
a. If you want to edit the message using HTML, do one of the following:
•
If you want to use the HTML Creator, next to HTML Creator, select On.
NOTE:
Depending on administrator settings, the HTML Creator may not be available
or it may appear by default.
The screen updates and the HTML Creator appears.
•
If you want to hand-code the HTML, under the Message text box, select Use HTML.
b. In the Message text box or HTML Creator editing area, edit the content of the message.
c. If you want, edit or insert an equation.
5. If you want to attach files to your message:
a. Click Add Attachments. The Content Browser pop-up window appears
b. Do one of the following:
•
If the files you want to attach are on your computer:
i.
Click the My Computer icon. Your computer's file browser or the Upload Files from Your
Computer screen appears.
ii. Locate and select the files. The pop-up window closes and the selected files are listed
under Add Attachments.
•
TIP:
If the files you want to attach are in WebCT, locate and select the files. The pop-up window
closes and the selected files are listed under Add Attachments.
If you want to remove an attached file, next to the file, click its Remove Attachment
icon.
6. If you want to preview the message before posting it, click Preview. The Preview Message pop-up
window appears and your message is displayed as it will appear to other members of the course.
a. If you want to edit the message before posting it, click Edit. The Draft Message pop-up window
appears and you can edit the message as desired.
b. If you want to print the message, click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears. Make your
selections to print the message.
c. If you want to post the message, click Post. The messages screen appears and the message is
posted in place of the original message.
7. If you did not post the message from the Preview Message pop-up window, do one of the following:
•
If you want to save the message as a draft, click Save as Draft. The messages screen appears and
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the message is saved as a draft.
•
If you want to post the message, click Post. The messages screen appears and the message is
posted in place of the original message.
Creating a Printable View of Messages
You can create a printable view of all or selected messages. This allows you to do the following:
•
print or download messages to your local computer so you can read them offline
•
create a list of the messages that you want to read and respond to at one time
1. From the messages screen, select the messages for which you want to create a printable view:
•
To create a printable view of one or more messages, next to each message for which you want to
create a printable view, select the check box.
•
To create a printable view of all the messages in a thread, next to the first message in the thread,
select the check box. All the messages in the thread are selected.
•
To create a printable view of all messages on the current page, in the table heading row, select the
check box. All the messages on the page are selected.
2. Click Create Printable View. The Compiled Messages pop-up window appears.
3. If you want to print the compiled messages:
a. Click Print. Your browser's print dialog box appears.
b. Make your selections to print the compiled messages.
4. If you want to download the compiled messages:
a. Click Save as File. Your browser's save file dialog box appears.
b. Make your selections to save the compiled messages to the desired location on your local
computer.
5. If you want to reply to a message, click Reply. The Reply pop-up window appears. For more
information, see Replying to Messages.
6. If you want to forward a message, click Forward. The Create Message pop-up window appears. For
more information, see Forwarding Messages.
7. When you are finished viewing the compiled messages, click Close this window. The messages
screen appears.
NOTE:
After you have compiled messages, they are marked as read.
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Navigating Multiple Pages
If there are enough items to appear on multiple pages, paging controls appear at the bottom of the screen
and you can use them to navigate from one page to another. You have options to go to a specific page, go
to the next page, or return to the previous page. If there are no items on the page or if there are not enough
items to appear on multiple pages, you cannot use paging controls.
You can also the Paging Preferences icon to set the number of items to be displayed on each page. By
default, ten items are displayed per page. You can set a maximum of 999 items per page.
•
If there are enough items to appear on multiple pages, you can use the following options to navigate
those pages:
•
To select a specific page: From the Page drop-down list, select the page and click the Go icon.
NOTE:
•
You may see the page number followed by the number of records in parentheses.
For example, 1 (1-10) means page 1 contains records 1 to 10.
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To view all pages: From the Page drop-down list, select All and click the Go icon.
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To go to the next page, click the Next Page icon.
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To return to the previous page, click the Previous Page icon.
To set the number of items per page:
1. Click the Paging Preferences icon. The Edit Paging pop-up window appears.
2. In the Number of records per page text box, enter the number of items and click OK.
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