|This lesson explains how to use Message Boards for class communications.|
- Read the material on this page
- Follow the links and read the relevant Help material
- Take the practice quiz
- Observe FTF demonstration
- Do the exercise
Read the Quick Guide for an overview of the subject.
Quick Guide for Message Boards
Introduction to Message Boards
Many different methods of communication are available for students and instructors in online classes and FTF classes with Web-based enhancements. We'll look at a complete list of possibilities in the next lesson, but this time around we deal with the single most important means of communications, the Message Board.
Also known as a Message List, Bulletin Board, Disscusion Board, Discussion Forum, etc, the Message Board is a means of asynchronous communication. That means the person sending the message and the person reading the message don't need to be in contact at the same moment in time. Instead, the recipient(s) can read the message (and perhaps respond) whenever convenient.
That contrasts with synchronous means of communication -- such as Chat Rooms and telephone calls -- in which the communicating parties need to be in contact at the same moment in time.
That distinction -- asynchronous vs synchronous -- is one of the reasons the Message Board is the most important method of communicating in an online class.
Each Message Board has an "Input Page" -- that's where students enter and submit messages -- and an "Archive Page" -- that's where students read and organize messages. Each Message Board also has a Message Console -- part of the Communications module in your CATE account -- where you go to read, organize, enter, and send messages. That means your students are using the Message Board through one interface, while you're using it through a different interface.
When students send messages, they can either send a public message -- accessible to everyone participating in the list, including you -- or they can send a private message -- accessible only to you. Students can't send private messages to each other. When you send messages, you can either send a public message -- accessible to everyone participating in the list -- or you can send a private message to any individual student(s).
Private messages are only accessible to students via the "Archive Page" of the Message Board, not via email. Private messages are only accessible to you via the Message Console of your CATE Communications module, not via email.
You control how public messages are transmitted and delivered. You can configure the Message Board so that public messages are delivered strictly as email, strictly via the Web ("Archive Page" for students, Message Console for you), or both.
If you choose to have messages delivered via email, you can optionally choose to allow your students to opt out of email delivery if they care to do so.
You also control who can participate in a Message Board. The vast majority of the time, that means one Message Board per section, and one section per Message Board. In some special circumstances, you might want to create a Message Board strictly for one specific group of students (see the lesson on collaborative online student work groups), you might want multiple sections to share a single Message Board, or you might want to create multiple Message Boards for one section.
In the following lesson, the terms "Message Board," "Message List," "Board," and "List" are used interchangeably.
As always, if you use the "Magic Button" in the Section Homepage module to automatically create class components for you, the Message Board for your section will be set up and fully integrated into the class website by the system.
Nevertheless, you can always create (and edit) a Message Board on your own if you care to do so.
To begin with, log into your CATE account and go to the Communications module.
If you have any Message Boards on file, they'll be listed on the Communications Menu page. To reach any existing Board, select the corresponding radio button, then click the "View Selected List" button.
The Communications Menu also offers a "Purge Messages from Lists" button. Almost without exception, Message Boards need to be purged at the end of the semester. This option allows you to perform that task for multiple Lists simultaneously.
For our purposes, however, we want to click the "Create a New Message List" button. Doing this will deliver you to the screen for setting the basic configs for the List.
Name of List: As usual, don't name the Message Board based on the section number, because that's likely to change. Better to name it based on the course number, something like "ENGL 1A."
Subject Prefix: Optional, and only used if messages being delivered by email.
Return Address: Leave this blank unless you have specific need for something different.
Email Address for CC: If messages being delivered by email, and if you want to receive a copy, enter your email address.
Destination: Select one of the three options.
Opting out: If messages being delivered as email, choose whether or not you want to allow your students to opt out of receiving those emails. (This assumes they'll still be able to read messages on the "Archive Page.")
Submitting Messages: Except in very unusual circumstances, select the first option.
Private Messages: You almost certainly want your students to be able to send you private messages, so leave this unchecked.
After making your selections and confirming, the module will bring up a fresh screen. At this point your Message Board has been successfully created and you can now decide what you want to do about your pages.
With very rare exceptions, every Message Board must have one Input page and one Archive page. Both of these pages are actually presentation pages, created and accessed like any presentation page. Thus, at this point you have three options:
- Cancel creation of the Input and Archive pages, which means you'll need to do it yourself manually at a later time if you want this Board to actually be functional
- Create an entirely new presentation to accommodate the Input and Archive pages for this Message Board
- Choose an existing presentation to accommodate the Input and Archive pages for this Message Board
Usually the third option is the best, so you will want to select the presentation that already exists and is in use for the class which will be using this Message Board. (Remember, all presentation pages -- including Message Board pages -- for a class should always be consolidated in a single presentation.)
After making your choice, everything will be handled as appropriate and you'll be delivered to the menu page for the new Message Board.
Which Section Can Send and Receive Messages?
Having created and set the basic configurations for the Message Board, the next step is to determine who can participate in it.
In almost all cases, a Message Board is set up for a single section, and that's what we'll look at here. However, it's also possible to set up a Board other ways, such as for multiple sections or for a single group of students.
On the menu page for the Message Board, immediately under the bold heading "Configurations for Sending Messages to this List," locate the heading "Students in these sections can send messages." If any sections have already been selected, they'll be listed under that heading. To the right is a button labeled "Add Section for Sending." Click that button.
This screen shows you a list of all the sections you have on file in the CATE system. Select the corresponding checkbox for the section you want to participate in this Message List, then click at the top or bottom to confirm your choice. The selected section will now show up under the "Students in these sections can send messages" heading on the menu page for this Board.
If your Message Board is NOT configured to send messages as emails, that's the last config you need to set.
However, if your Message Board is configured to send messages as emails, you need to set one more config. In that case, immediately under the bold heading "Configurations for Receiving Messages via email from this List," locate the heading "Students in these sections can receive emailed messages." To the right is a button labeled "Add Section for Receiving."
This screen shows you a list of all the sections you have on file in the CATE system. Select the corresponding checkbox for the section you want to participate in this Message List, then click at the top or bottom to confirm your choice. The selected section will now show up under the "Students in these sections can receive emailed messages" heading on the menu page for this Board.
The menu page for this Message Board always shows you exactly which section(s) can send or receive messages for this Board. In addition, the CATE roster page for any section also shows you exactly which Board(s) can be used by that section.
Other Options and Configurations
The menu page for your Message List also allows you to see and adjust other properties of the Board.
"Back to Menu" takes you back to the menu of all your Message Lists.
"Delete List" allows you to completely delete the List and all its messages. Caution! You seldom need to use that option, and it is NOT the same as purging the messages from a List.
"Read and Send Messages" is the button that takes you to the Message Console for this Board.
"Edit Configurations" allows you to adjust the basic configs for this Board, such as how messages are being delivered and whether or not students can opt out of receiving emailed messages.
If you have not already created in Input page and Archive page for this List (manually or automatically), the button labeled "Create Input and Archive Pages" will appear and enable you to run that routine.
You can always add another section and/or group for sending messages. For each section or group on file for sending messages, a "Remove" button will allow you to remove the section or group.
The "Create Input Page" button allows you to create just that page (without the Archive Page) should that become necessary.
You can always add another section and/or group for receiving emailed messages (if that option is enabled). For each section or group on file to receive emailed messages, a "Remove" button will allow you to remove the section or group.
The "Create Archive Paged" button allows you to create just that page (without the Input page) should that become necessary.
At the bottom of the page you'll fine the "Editing Messages" option. The "Move Messages" button allows you to transfer messages from one Board to another. The "Edit/Delete" button takes you into routines where you can edit individual messages, delete individual messages, or purge all messages from the List.
Note that Input pages and Archive pages for Message Boards, being nothing more than presentation pages, can also be created and/or edited in the Presentation module. Keep in mind that the Input widget and Archive widget should never be installed on the same presentation page!
Student Use of Message Board: Input Page and Archive Page
Students use the Input page and Archive page of the Message List to organize, read, and reply to messages as well as posting new messages, public or private. It is not possible to post a message to a Message List via email. Students must use the appropriate Input page or Archive page. These are simply presentation pages set up within the class presentation for this purpose (see above), with suitable navigation (usually one or two buttons in your nav bar) for reaching the pages.
Using those pages, students can organize messages via date, sender, subject, thread, etc. They can also keep track of which messages they've already read. They can respond to an existing message and they can send a new message to open a fresh thread.
Complete information about student use of Message Lists can be found on the relevant page of the Online Student Handbook:
Instructor Use of Message Board: The Message Console
As the instructor, you don't access the Message Board via the Input page or Archive page. Instead, you log into your CATE account, go to the Communications module, and go to the appropriate Message Board. To the right of the bold "Read and Send Messages for This List (Message Console)" heading you'll see the "Read and Send Messages" button. Clicking that button takes you to the Message Console.
The Message Console provides you, in one convenient space, all the options available to your students, plus many more options available only to you.
For complete details on using the Message Console, see the relevant Help document:
Study the Help module for this topic. Think of this as a chapter in your textbook.
How to...Install a Message List: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_install_msg.html
How to...Link to a Message List: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_linkto_msg.html
How to...Determine Message List Accessibility: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_check_msg_list.html
How to...Allow a Section to Send Messages to a List: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_sec_send_msg.html
How to...Allow a Section to Receive Messages from a List: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_sec_rec_msg.html
How to...Opt Out of a Message List: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_optout.html
How to...Edit a Message: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_edit_msg.html
How to...Move a Message: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_move_msg.html
How to...Use the Message Console: http://online.santarosa.edu/catedocs/howto_message_console.html
After studying all the material for this lesson, take the self-assessment quiz.
CATE Online Training Quiz 11: Message boards
Demonstration (For face-to-face sessions)
We'll demonstrate how a student goes through the check-in process, how you accept students into a class, and how you manage students on your CATE roster.
Lecture slides: http://online.santarosa.edu/presentation/?9892
|To help you better understand the material, to integrate the different modules, and to demonstrate how an entire class can be constructed from various components, in each lesson you'll be creating a portion of a class website, so at the end of the process you'll have a complete model of an entire class. |
To begin with, you should always use a practice course (such as CATE 101, ROCK 101, or BASE 101) for your exercises. After you've mastered the process and created material that's ready for your students, then you can convert your practice class into a real class that you're actually teaching and make it accessible.
Here's the exercise for this lesson:
Create a new Message Board.
Provide an Input page and an Archive page for the Message Board.
Grant permission for your practice section to use the Board.
Have your practice student use the Input page to send a public message through the Board.
Have your practice student use the Input page to send a private message through the Board.
As the instructor, use the Message Console to read and respond to the practice student's messages.
Lab (For face-to-face sessions)
We'll walk around the room and assist individually as you undertake the exercises for this material.
WWII 101 A plain-vanilla sample class website
Rock 101 A fancier sample class website
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