The Forums Tool

Introduction

The Forums tool allows you to create and manage threaded discussion boards on your WISE sites so that all site members can discuss topics at length in an organized environment. The Forums tool has three levels of hierarchy: Forums, Topics, and Conversations.  The Forums and Topics levels are organizational; the Conversation level is where the discussing takes place.

Quick Start

Select the Forums tool from the tools list on the left side of the WISE page. By default, there will be a general forum titled Course Name Forum with a topic called General Discussion.

Creating a New Forum

To create a forum, select New Forum from the Forum tool menu.
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On the Forum Settings page, enter the name of the new forum into the Forum Title field. The two description fields are optional. The Short Description will be displayed on the main Forums page below the title. The Description will only be shown when a user click the View Full Description link on the main forum page. Additional material relating to the subject can be attached directly to the forum by clicking the Add attachments button below the Description text entry box.

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If you want to accept the default forum settings, you are done. Click the Save button to publish the forum. Click the Save Settings & Add Topic button to save and publish the forum and immediately add one or more topics to it. If you are not ready to publish the forum, click the Save Draft button to save your work for a later time. Clicking the Cancel button cancels the process and deletes your work.

Forum Settings

Forum Posting

  • Lock forum: site members can see the forum but cannot post to it
  • Moderate topics in forum: each post must be approved by the moderator (site administrator role) before it can be viewed
  • Require users to post before reading: prevents users from reading other responses before they post their own (one answer to "everything has already been said")

Availability

  • Show immediately: the forum can be seen as soon as it is published
  • Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide): forum is only available during specific times.

Mark all Messages in Conversations Read

Disables notifications that new messages are available in the Forum

Grading

If forum participation is graded, the forum can be associated with a Gradebook item. Note that the Gradebook item must be created in the Gradebook tool before it can be associated with the forum.

Permissions

Each role (Instructor, Student, Teaching Assistant) has a set of pre-defined permissions associated with a forum. By default, the permission level for the Instructor role is set to Owner; for all other roles, the permission level is Contributor. To select a different pre-defined permission level, click on the drop-down menu in the Permission Level column associated with role you want to change or click the Customize button to create a set of custom permissions.

Once you have entered all the information for the forum, click the Save button to publish the forum. Click the Save Settings & Add Topic button to save and publish the forum and immediately add one or more topics to it. If you are not ready to publish the forum, click the Save Draft button to save your work for a later time. Clicking the Cancel button cancels the process and deletes your work.

Editing a Forum

You can edit a forum from the main Forums page. Click the Forum Settings link next to the name of the forum you want to edit. This will open the Forum Settings page, which gives you access to modify all the information you entered when you created the forum. When you are finished editing, click the Save button at the bottom of the page.

Deleting a Forum

You can delete a forum from the main Forums page. Click on the More link next to the name of the forum you want to delete and then click the Delete Forum link.

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You can also delete a forum by clicking the Forum Settings next to the name of the forum you want to delete and then clicking the Delete Forum button at the bottom of the Forum Settings page.

You will be asked to confirm that you want to delete the forum. On the pop-up

Setting up a New Topic

Use the same process to set up new topics within a forum.  Give the discussion topic a title and add descriptions and attachments as desired.  Once again, the default settings are usually fine.  When done, select either "Save Settings" to finish or "Save Settings & Add Topic" to add additional topics.  Selecting "Save Draft" saves the forum and topics for later editing; site participants do not have access to the forum until "Save Settings" is selected.

Using the Forums

The Forums main page now includes the new forum and its new topic and site participants can begin posting threads to the topics.  To create a discussion thread, click on the topic name ("Topic 1" in this example) to open the Threads page.

using forums

Select "Post New Thread" from the menu at the top of the page.

forum thread

Give the new thread a name and enter the text in the "Message" box.  When done, click on the "Post Message" button to post the thread.

To comment on a thread, click on the title of the thread; on the next page, select "Reply to Thread" from the menu or the "Reply" link to the right of the thread title and enter the comment text.

forum comment