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Forum settings

Adding and editing a forum

  1. With the editing turned on, in the section you wish to add your forum, click the "Add a Coaching Activity or Resource" link and choose Forum.
  2. This will take you to the forum settings page titled "Adding a new forum".

You can access an existing forum by clicking the configure icon or clicking on the forum and then Administration > Forum administration > Edit settings.

General

Forum name

A short name of the forum (e.g. "Favourite colour"), which will be displayed on the program homepage.

Description

Provide instructions for your clients here so they are clear what they have to do. Click "Show editing tools" to display the rich text editor and drag the bottom right of the text box out to expand it.

Display description on program page

Enabling this will display the description on the program page just below the link to the forum.

Forum type

There are five forum types to choose from:

  • A single simple discussion - A single topic discussion developed on one page, which is useful for short focused discussions (cannot be used with separate groups)
  • Standard forum for general use - An open forum where anyone can start a new topic at any time; this is the best general-purpose forum
  • Each person posts one discussion - Each person can post exactly one new discussion topic (everyone can reply to them though); this is useful when you want each client to start a discussion about, say, their reflections on the week's module, and everyone else responds to these
  • Q and A Forum - Instead of initiating discussions participants pose a question in the initial post of a discussion. Clients may reply with an answer, but they will not see the replies of other Clients to the question in that discussion until they have themselves replied to the same discussion.
  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format

Note: News forum is a special type of forum that is automatically created with a new program.

Attachments and word count

(This setting is collapsed by default)

Maximum attachment size

The maximum file size that may be attached to a forum post will first be determined by the Coaching Hub site settings. The coach may want a smaller size limit for the forum. Server file capacity, client downloading speeds and discouraging images in a document centered discussion are a few reasons to limit file size.

Maximum number of attachments

The maximum number of attachments a user can add to their forum post (from 0 to 100) can be specified here.

Display word count

If "Display word count" is enabled, then the number of words in forum posts will be shown at the bottom of each post.

Subscription and tracking

(This setting is collapsed by default)

Subscription mode

When a user is subscribed to a forum it means that they will receive notification (via popup and/or email, depending on the user’s messaging settings preferences) of each new posting. By default, posts are recorded about 30 minutes after the post was first written. Depending upon the email settings of each forum member, they may be sent an email immediately after the 30 minute edit window is closed, or in a batch at a time.

People can usually choose whether or not they want to be subscribed to each forum. However, the coach can choose to force subscription on a particular forum then all program users will be subscribed automatically, even those that register at a later time.

There are 4 subscription mode options:

  • Optional subscription - Participants can choose whether to be subscribed
  • Forced subscription - Everyone is subscribed and cannot unsubscribe
  • Auto subscription - Everyone is subscribed initially but can choose to unsubscribe at any time
  • Subscription disabled - Subscriptions are not allowed.

The subscription mode and subscribe or unsubscribe links appear in Navigation>Forum administration when viewing the forum. Coaches can quickly change the mode via the 'Subscription mode' options and view the current subscribers via the 'Show/edit current subscribers' link.

Tips:

  • Forcing everyone to subscribe is especially useful in the news forum and in forums towards the beginning of the program (before everyone has worked out that they can subscribe to these emails themselves).
  • Changing the setting from "Yes, initially" to "No" will not unsubscribe existing users; it will only affect those who registered in the program in the future. Similarly changing "Yes, initially" will not subscribe existing program users but only those registering later.
  • There is also a "Subscriptions not allowed" setting which prevents Clients from subscribing to a Forum. Coaches may choose to subscribe to a forum if they wish.

Read tracking for this forum?

"Read tracking" for a forum allows users to track read and unread forum posts.

There are three options for this setting:

  • Optional (default) - Clients can turn tracking on or off for the forum via a link 'Track / Don't track unread posts' in Administration > Forum administration
  • On - Tracking is always on in this forum (so no link in Administration > Forum administration)
  • Off - It is not possible to track unread forum posts

Note: The first two options require users to also have forum tracking set to yes in their profile settings.

RSS

(This setting is collapsed by default and will only appear if RSS has been enabled sitewide and for forums)

RSS feed for this activity

This turns RSS on or off for this forum. When set to “None,” RSS is disabled. When set to “Discussions,” the RSS feed will send out new discussions to subscribers. When set to “Posts,” the RSS feed will send out any new posts to subscribers.

Number of RSS recent articles

This number sets the number of articles that go out via RSS. If this number is set to 5, then the 5 most recent articles will be sent to subscribers. As new posts (or discussions) get added, the oldest post/discussion gets replaced on the RSS feed. If your forum gets a lot of posts every day, you will want to set this number high.

Post threshold for blocking

(This setting is collapsed by default)

Time period for blocking

Choose here the time period in which can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts.

Post threshold for blocking

Set the number of posts here that users may add before they are blocked.

Post threshold for warning

Set the number of posts here after which users will be warned they are about to be blocked.

Grade

(This setting is collapsed by default) Choose the category in which this forum will appear if ratings are enabled.

Ratings

(This setting is collapsed by default)

Roles with permissions to rate

Forum posts can be rated using a scale. By default, only coaches can rate forum posts, though clients can be given permission to do so if desired (see Forum permissions below). This is a useful tool for giving clients participation grades. Any ratings given in the forum are recorded in the gradebook.

Aggregate type

You can set an aggregate type, in other words, decide how all the ratings given to posts in a forum are combined to form the final grade (for each post and for the whole forum activity). Some scales do not lend themselves to certain types of aggregates. There are five options:

  • Average of ratings (default) - This is the mean of all the ratings given to posts in that forum. It is especially useful with peer grading when there are a lot of ratings being made.
  • Count of ratings - The counts the number of rated posts which becomes the final grade. This is useful when the number of posts is important. Note that the total can not exceed the maximum grade allowed for the forum. A count may be used if the coach simply wants to acknowledge that a reply was given in the case clients being required to make a certain number of posts in the discussion. Note: Count of ratings does not work for the "Separate or Connected Ways of Knowing" scale or custom scales due to the limitation imposed by the max grade.
  • Maximum rating - The highest rating is returned as the final grade. This method is useful for emphasising the best work from participants, allowing them to post one high-quality post as well as a number of more casual responses to others.
  • Minimum rating - The smallest rating is returned as the final grade. This method promotes a culture of high quality for all posts.
  • Sum of ratings - All the ratings for a particular user are added together. Note that the total is not allowed to exceed the maximum grade for the forum. Note: Sum of ratings does not work for the "Separate or Connected Ways of Knowing" scale or custom scales due to the limitation imposed by the max grade.

Restrict ratings to items with dates in this range

The coach can allow only posts within a certain date range to be rated. This is useful if the coach wants to keep clients focused on the most recent content and maintain a specific pace within the forum or program.

RSS feed for this activity

This turns RSS on or off for this forum. When set to “None,” RSS is disabled. When set to “Discussions,” the RSS feed will send out new discussions to subscribers. When set to “Posts,” the RSS feed will send out any new posts to subscribers.

Number of RSS recent articles

This number sets the number of articles that go out via RSS. If this number is set to 5, then the 5 most recent articles will be sent to subscribers. As new posts (or discussions) get added, the oldest post/discussion gets replaced on the RSS feed. If your forum gets a lot of posts every day, you will want to set this number high.

Note: RSS feeds must be enabled for the site and for forums in order for the RSS settings to appear.

Common module settings

(These settings are collapsed by default)

See Common module settings for more information, but note the details below relating specifically to use of forums with groups.

Group mode

The group mode setting has three options:

  1. No groups
  2. Separate groups - each group can only see their own group; others are invisible
  3. Visible groups - each group works in their own group, but can also see other groups

If the group mode is set to separate groups:

  • Coaches are given the option of adding a new discussion topic for all participants or for a selected group. If a coach adds a new discussion topic for a selected group, then only group members can reply to it. If a coach adds a new discussion topic for all participants, then clients can't reply to it. (This is to ensure that groups are kept separate.)
  • Clients can only start discussions for their own group.
  • Clients can only reply to discussions started by other group members or discussions for their own group started by a coach.

If the group mode is set to visible groups:

  • Coaches are given the option of adding a new discussion topic for all participants or for a selected group. If a coach adds a new discussion topic for a selected group, then only group members can reply to it.
  • Clients can only start discussions for their own group.
  • Clients can only reply to discussions started by other group members or the coach.

Coaches, and mentors, can view and post in all forum discussions, regardless of the group mode setting.

Note: Single simple discussions cannot be set to separate groups. Instead, a standard forum should be used, with the coach copying and pasting the same discussion topic for each separate group. If required, a permissions override may be set to prevent clients from starting new discussions.

Restrict access/Activity completion

(These settings are collapsed by default)

These settings are visible if Conditional activities and Activity completion have been enabled in the site and the program.

Forum moderator

A client can be given the rights to moderate a forum by assigning them the role of non-editing coach in the forum.

  1. In Settings > Forum administration > Locally assigned roles click on client
  2. Select the client from the potential users list on the right, and use the Add button to add them to the existing users list on the left. Multiple users may be selected by holding down the Apple or Ctrl key whilst clicking on the users' names.

See also Forum moderator role.

Archiving a forum

A forum can be closed / archived so that clients may no longer start new discussions, nor add replies, but can still read all the discussions by clicking the Prevent icon (X) for the client role for the capabilities 'Start new discussions' and 'Reply to posts'.

Guests and posting in a forum

There are certain things, such as posting in a forum, that guests are never allowed to do.

The guest role has some special functionality, for example when a guest user attempts to post in a forum, they obtain the message "Sorry, guests are not allowed to post. Would you like to log in now with a full user account?"

User administration settings

Users can choose whether or not to track unread posts in their profile settings under 'Forum tracking'. The settings are:

  • Yes: highlight new posts for me
  • No: don't keep track of posts I have seen

If the user chooses 'Yes: highlight new posts for me' and the forum administrator has set the 'Read tracking for this forum?' to On or Optional then the user will have new posts highlighted for them. The posts will be highlighted in the following places:

  • My home page
  • Program page
  • Within the forum itself
  • In forum discussion threads

Use email address in reply

By default, a user's email is set as the 'From' address for forum notifications (unless the user has hidden their email address in their profile) so that recipients can choose to reply personally rather than via the forum. To set noreply@yourcoachignhub.org as 'From' address for all forum notification emails, untick the forum_replytouser checkbox.

Long and short posts

The long and short post setting determine how forum posts on the site front page, social format program pages, and user profiles are displayed.

Enabling timed posts

Timed forum posts may be enabled i.e. having the option to set a display start and end date for a new discussion. Timed posts can then be created by users with the capability to view hidden timed posts (normally mentors and coaches).

Maximum time to edit posts

This specifies the amount of time people have to re-edit forum postings, glossary comments etc. Usually 30 minutes is a good value. The setting may be changed by your Account Manager.

Mark post read after 'X' days

This setting is forum_oldpostdays and specifies the number of days after which any post is considered to be read. E.g. If this is set to 14 days then any post older than 14 days will be considered read. If you set this to 0 then ALL posts are instantly considered to be read. If you don't want any posts to be considered read without the user reading them then set a high figure (e.g. 1000)

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