Educators

A reference guide for Educators using Connect at TAFE Queensland.

Getting started with discussions

Create a discussion forum

To create a discussion forum

Use forums to organise your discussion topics into categories. Your unit can have multiple forums and topics, but you must create a forum before you can create a topic since all topics belong to forums.

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. On the Discussions List page, from the New button drop-down menu, click New Forum.
  3. Enter a title for your new forum.
  4. Enter a description for your new forum.
  5. In the Options section, select any of the following check boxes:
    • Allow anonymous posts - To enable users to post anonymously.
    • A moderator must approve individual posts before they display in the forum - To ensure that posts are approved by a moderator before they display in the forum.
    • Users must start a thread before they can read and reply to other threads in each topic - To ensure user participation.
    • Display forum descriptions in topics - To provide educators the option to display a discussion forum description within a discussion topic description.
  1. In the Availability section, select Visibility options for your forum.
  2. Select Locking Options for your forum. Locking your forum prevents users from accessing it until it is unlocked.
  3. Click Save and Close.

Create a discussion topic

To create a discussion topic

Your unit can have multiple forums and topics, but you must create a forum before you can create a topic since all topics belong to forums.

If the updated group discussions interface has been turned on by your administrator:

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. On the Discussions List page, from the New button, click New Topic.
  3. From the drop-down list, select the forum you want to put your topic in. If you want to create a new forum for your topic, click New Forum.
  4. To grant everyone access to the topic and restrict learners to only see threads from their own group, under Topic Type, select Group topic.
    Note: You cannot edit the topic type once you save the topic.
  5. Enter your New Topic Details.
  6. Select Availability options for your topic.
  7. Select Locking Options for your topic. Locking your topic prevents users from accessing it until it is unlocked.
  8. Click Save and Close.

If you are using the default group discussions interface:

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. On the Discussions List page, from the New button, click New Topic.
  3. From the drop-down list, select the forum you want to place your topic in. If you want to create a new forum for your topic, click New Forum.
  4. Enter your New Topic Details.
  5. Select Availability options for your topic.
  6. Select Locking Options for your topic. Locking your topic prevents users from accessing it until it is unlocked.
  7. Click Save and Close.

Create a discussion thread

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. Click the topic where you want to create a thread.
  3. Click Start a New Thread.
  4. Enter a subject.
  5. Enter your post.
  6. Set any of the following posting options:
    • To keep the thread at the top of the list, select Pin Thread.
    • To post anonymously, select Post as Anonymous.
    • To receive updates on the thread using your selected notification method, select Subscribe to this thread.
    • To attach a file, in the Attachments area, click Browse to locate the file that you want to attach.
    • To attach an audio recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Audio > Record. To make adjustments to your microphone selection and volume, click Flash Settings. To listen to your recording, click Play. To erase your recording, click Clear. If you have prerecorded audio and are using a supported browser, you can drag audio files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To attach a video recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Video > Allow > Record. When you finish recording, click Stop. To erase your recording, click Clear. To add the recording, click Add. If you have pre-recorded video and are using a supported browser, you can drag video files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To post your thread to more than one topic, click Post to other topics. Click Add Topics. Select the topics that you want your thread to appear in. To post in every topic simultaneously, select the Select All check box and then click Add Topics.
  1. Click Post. If the topic is moderated, your post does not appear until a moderator approves it.

View a discussion topic

If you are viewing a topic from the Discussions tool:

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. On the Discussions List page, click on the name of the discussion topic. The properties of the discussion topic related to availability, locking information, and any other details set by an educator, are listed directly below the name of the discussion topic.
  3. From the Filter by drop-down list, select an option, by which you can sort the individual discussion posts.

If you are viewing a topic from the Content tool:

  1. On the navbar, click Content.
  2. Click on a module.
  3. Click on the name of a discussion topic.
    Note: You cannot view the properties of the discussion topic when you view the topic using the Content tool.
  4. From the Filter by drop-down list, select an option, by which you can sort the individual discussion posts.

Reply to a discussion thread

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. Locate the thread you want to reply to.
  3. Do either of the following:
    • To reply to the main thread post, click Reply to Thread.
    • To reply to a particular post inside the thread, or click The reply icon Reply.
  1. Enter your reply in the HTML Editor. To include the original post’s text in your reply, click the Add original post text link. (If this option is already enabled by your unit administrator, this message will not display.)
  2. Set any of the following options:
    • To post anonymously, select Post as Anonymous.
    • To receive updates on the thread using your selected notification method, select Subscribe to this thread.
    • To attach a file, in the Attachments area, click Browse to locate the file you want to attach.
    • To attach an audio recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Audio > Record. To make adjustments to your microphone selection and volume, click Flash Settings. To listen to your recording, click Play. To erase your recording, click Clear. If you have pre-recorded audio and are using a supported browser, you can drag audio files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To attach a video recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Video > Allow > Record. When you finish recording, click Stop. Click Clear to erase your recording or Add to add the recording. If you have pre-recorded video and are using a supported browser, you can drag video files onto the attachments upload target.
  1. Click Post.

Post to a group discussion topic

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. On the Discussions List page, select a group discussion topic.
  3. Click Start a New Thread.
  4. From the Post Thread to drop-down list, select All Groups, or a specific group.
  5. Provide a subject and enter your post in the HTML editor.
  6. Set any of the following options:
    • To receive updates on the thread using your selected notification method, select Subscribe to this thread.
    • To attach a file, in the Attachments area, click Add attachments, click Upload, and locate the file you want to attach.
    • To attach an audio recording, in the Attachments area, click Record Audio > Record. To adjust your microphone selection and volume, click Flash Settings. To listen to your recording, click Play. To erase your recording, click Clear. If you have pre-recorded audio and are using a supported browser, you can drag audio files onto the attachments upload target.
    • To add your post to other topics, click Post to other topics, and then Add Topics. Select the desired topics and click Add Topics.
  1. Click Post.

Note: If you select the option to post to all groups, the Discussions tool creates a copy of the thread for each group to access and reply to.

Subscribe to a discussion

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • On the Discussions List page, from the context menu of the forum or topic you want to receive notifications of new posts for, click The subscribed icon Subscribe.
    • On the View Topics page, beside the thread you want to receive notifications for, click Subscribe.
  1. In the Customise Notifications pop-up window, select your Notification Method. If you do not have an email address set up in your user profile to receive notifications, in the Customise Notifications pop-up window, click the Add an email address in a new window link. Click the Enable email notifications link, then set your email preferences in the Email Settings pop-up window. Click Save.
  2. Click Subscribe.

Unsubscribe from notifications

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. Do either of the following:
    • From the context menu of the forum or topic you are subscribed to, click The unsubscribed icon Unsubscribe.
    • Beside a thread you are subscribed to, click The subscribed icon Subscribed.
  1. In the confirmation pop-up window, click Yes.

Restrict multiple forums or topics to specific groups

After you have created groups, you can restrict access to a forum or topic using your groups. Restricting forums or topics enables you to create discussion areas where members of a group can collaborate on assignments or discuss unit materials in small groups. You can also use create separate forums for specific groups in a unit offering.

  1. Click Group Restrictions from the tool navigation.
  2. Select your View Options.
  3. In the Edit Restrictions area, select the Restricted check box for any forum or topic you want to restrict, then select the check box for any group you want to have access to the forum or topic. To open a forum or topic to everyone, clear the Restricted check box.

Automatically create restricted topics for groups

You can automatically create a discussion topic for each group in a selected category. Topics get their names from the group they associate with.

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. From the tool navigation, click Group Restrictions.
  3. Click the Automatically create restricted topics link.
  4. Select a Group Category and the Forum where you want to create your topics. If you want to create a new forum, click New Forum.
  5. Click Create.

Copy a discussion thread with replies

  1. In the Discussions List page, view the discussion topic you want to copy.
  2. From the thread's context menu, click Copy Thread.
  3. In the Copy pop-up window, select the Destination Forum and the Destination Topic from the respective drop-down menus.
  4. Under Copy Options, select the Copy replies check box.
  5. Click Copy.

Best practices for using Discussions

Export discussion statistics

You can export statistics to a CSV file and then import the data into a spreadsheet application to perform further analysis.

  1. On the navbar, click Discussions.
  2. From the tool navigation, click Statistics.
  3. Click The export icon Export to CSV File.
  4. Once the file has finished processing, click the file name to download the file.