Using Forums and Messaging
Moodle forums allow teachers and students to exchange comments and questions in a public discussion forum on the AlzEducate site. This allows everyone in the each course to share information and benefit from everyone's experience. Simply, it's a place where messages can be posted for public display.
In Moodle there are two types of forums:
Course news and announcements
A news forum will usually be provided in all courses. It will be at top of the page and generally it will be called 'Program news and announcements'. This type of forum is for teaching staff to provide announcements to students. Only teaching staff can post to these forums. By default everyone in the course will be sent an email whenever there is a new posting.
Most courses will also have other forums. They may be near the top of the page for general discussion or appear within the topic sections where they are used for discussion specifically for that topic or module. These types of forums are usually set up so that you do not receive an email when there is a new posting. You can subscribe to receive emails if you wish. To do this go to the forum and look at the Settings block on the left. If available, click on the "Subscribe to receive emails from this forum" link. If you want to stop receiving emails go to the Settings block and click on the 'Stop receiving emails from this forum' link.
Please practice the same courtesy and respect that you apply in face-to-face contact. In some cases the words you use to communicate may require even more attention. Before you participate in any forum, chat or blog, please read Moodle Good Practice Guide and Etiquette Tips
Add a new Discussion
Within some courses, you may be asked to start a new discussion topic for review.
To start a new discussion:
- Click on the Add a new discussion topic button.
- A new window will appear. Enter the Subject of your discussion, then write and format your Message.
- You can specify whether you want or do not want emails of every single post by setting your Subscription preference. You can also attach a file to the message by clicking the button or drag-and-drop an image from a folder on your desktop into the highlighted area.
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and click Post to add your new discussion to the forum.
- This will post your discussion topic to the forum area.
Reading, Replying and Editing a Post
Read & Reply to a Post
When you click on a forum topic link, a list of messages will be shown. To read the message, click on the subject line. This will bring up the message and any replies to it. To reply to the message, click the reply link for the message you are replying to.
In the lower section of the page below the messages will be an editor where you enter your reply. You can also attach a file.
When you are ready to post your reply, click on the 'Post to forum' button. Your reply will be immediately visible, but you still have 30 minutes to make changes. Once 30 minutes is up, notifications will be sent to anyone subscribed to that forum. Only the teaching staff or a Moodle administrator can remove the message after 30 minutes have passed.
Editing a Post
The Moodle editor has many features similar to standard word processing software. At the top of the editor are buttons and tools that you can used to enhance your text.
Some useful buttons are:
Bullets, numbered lists and indents. Create a bulleted or numbered list, or to indent text.
Links. Links can be pasted directly into the editor, but you can also put the link behind text such as Alzhiemer Toronto instead of http://www.alzheimertoronto.org. To do this, select the text in the editor that you wish to make a link, click the 'insert/edit link' icon (the icon on the left in the image above) and type/paste your url into the Link url field.
Insert picture or media. The first icon inserts a picture. Place the cursor where you want the picture to be located, click the picture icon, select 'Find or upload an image' and use upload a file to add an image. The Moodle media button is similar but is used to add sound or video files from your computer or videos from Youtube. Youtube links can also be pasted directly into the text in the body of the editor and will automatically display as a video when you post the message.
More information about the editor is available from the Moodle HTML editor 2.6 page.
Displaying messages in threaded or unthreaded form
At the top of each discussion posting, you will see a drop-down menu. It is usually set to 'Display replies in nested form' and is the most common way of viewing forums. The two most common settings are:
Display replies in threaded form
Only the post starting the discussion will be displayed in its full form; replies will be reduced to the headlines (including information about the author and date of release) and organized chronologically. Replies will be shifted towards the right so that only replies to the same post are in the same line.
Display replies in nested form
All posts are displayed in their full forms; replies will be reduced to the headlines (including information about the author and date of release) and organized chronologically. Replies will be shifted towards the right so that only replies to the same post are in the same line.
More information is available on the moodle discussion views page.
Keeping track of viewed posts
Read tracking keeps track of the threads and posts that you have been to. To update this, edit your user profile and change the 'Forum Tracking' setting to 'Yes: highlight new posts for me'.
With forum tracking enabled
A message is displayed on the sites main page next to the forum showing there are unread posts.
The Forum Summary page that is accessed from the Activities block will also display additional links, buttons and information.