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Authoring Forum

All properties sheets contain three tabs:

  • Basic: Which controls the Content of the Activity.
  • Advanced: Which controls the Behaviour of the Activity.
  • Instructions: Provides information on the structure of the activity.

The Forum tool supports branching based on conditions.

Basic Tab

View of the Forum Basic tab.

The Basic Tab for the Forum Activity allows you to specify a title for the activity, give learners a set of instructions for completing the activity, and create Forum topics to categorize messages:

  • Title: All Activities have a web page title which is presented at the top of the activity page when displayed in the Learning Environment. This is NOT the same title as the Title that can be set using the Properties Inspector.
  • *Instructions:*All Activities have a text area that is presented beneath the title. This is where the main activity text to be displayed to learners is entered. The text can be formatted using the Rich-Text Editor. Image, Video, Audio and URL content can also be displayed in the Instructions area.
  • Specific Feature - Forum Topics
    • To create a new Forum Topic, click "+ Create a New Topic". A new text box will open on the properties sheet where you can create the new topic.
    • Subject: This is the title of the Forum Topic, and is displayed on the main Forum Screen in the Learning Environment.
    • *Body:*This is where the content of the Forum Topic is created. To view the topic body, learners click on the Forum Title in the Learning Environment.
    • Attachment: Files such as documents, pictures or audiovisuals can be added to a forum topic for viewing/downloading.
    • To change the order in which topics are displayed, use the Green up and down arrows.
    • To edit a topic, click the Yellow pencil.
    • To delete a topic, click the Red cross.

Advanced Tab

View of the Forum Advanced tab.

  • Lock When Finished: This option is available on all Activities.
    • Enabling this option in Forum means that learner's will only be able to contribute and/or edit postings until they click the "Finish" button. If afterwards they return to the Forum, they will only see a history record of the Forum session, and will not be able to create new posts or topics.
    • If this option is disabled, the Forum session will be available for contribution and editing until the sequence is stopped by a monitor.
  • Allow Learners to Change their own postings: When enabled, this option allows learners to edit postings once they are part of the forum. The default is 'on.'
  • Allow Learners to Upload Files: This feature allows learners to add attachments to their forum postings. The default setting is 'on.'
  • Allow Learners to use Rich Text Editor: This feature allows learners to add formatting effects to their postings. The default is 'off.'
  • *Maximum number of characters per posting:*The length of each individual post to the forum can be limited by using this setting. The default is enabled with 5000 characters.
  • *Add Notebook... :*This option is available on all Activities. Enabling this option creates a Notebook as part of the Activity, which Learner's can use to reflect on the activity just completed. The reflections are personal (ie: not shared with other learners).
  • Posting Limits: Only one of these options can be enabled for each specific forum.
    • Allow Learners to Create New Topics: This allows learners to add new forum topics to the activity. This setting is enabled by default.
    • *Number of Posts per Learner per Topic:*This specifies how many postings Learners are permitted to add before they can progress to the next activity. This setting is disabled by default.

Instructions

View of the Instructions tab. This is the same for all activities.

The Instructions tab contains the same features for all Activities.

It allows the Author to create specific instructions for the activity, as well as upload files that may be useful for running the activity (ie: support documents, etc.). It is a resource that can be used by teachers who are running the sequence for their learners. (In the Monitoring Environment, the Instructions for an Activity can be viewed by double clicking the activity on the Sequence tab and then selecting the Instructions tab.

There are two types of Instruction possible, Offline and Online, depending on the mode that the teacher wishes to run the activity. The feature is useful for teachers who are sharing sequences with their colleagues as it provides an area where the Author can describe any learning objectives and/or the specific purpose of the activity.

Branching Condition for Forum

The Forum tool supports branching based on conditions. No setup is required in Forum - the condition is available automatically for a Tool Output Based Branching Activity if you have a prior Forum activity.

Learner's number of postings in the forum

This condition is based on the total number of posts that a learner/participant had made in a forum. The condition is expressed as a number. For example, if Sally has added two messages to one thread, and one message to another thread in the SAME forum activity, the total number of posts is 3.

So for branching, an author could set up conditions so that all users who have 0 to 5 postings go to one branch, whereas the users who have 6 or more postings go to another branch. The number of postings is checked when the user reaches the branching point so if they go back to the forum later and add more postings, then they will NOT change branches.

Internationalisation key (for translators): output.desc.learner.number.of.posts

 

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