WEBCT: DISCUSSION BASICS

Reading, Composing and Replying to Messages

Introduction
You can communicate with your tutor and fellow students on your WebCT course using Discussion. Discussion works a bit like email, except that when you send a discussion message it automatically gets posted for everyone on your WebCT course to read (it’s a bit like writing on a piece of paper and pinning it up on a notice-board for everyone to see). There are a number of reasons why your tutor may want you to use Discussion. You may be asked to use it to raise and share any course issues that you have, to enable you and your fellow students to support each other during the course, or to respond to specific course tasks and activities that you have been set.

Select the Discussion tool. You see a table similar to the one below:

Click on a topic title, for example ‘Main’. You will enter the topic and see a screen like the one below.

There are several important options that you can choose from, on this page. They are described in the following table. Compose message: Update listing: All / Unread: Opens up a new message window. See the ‘Composing a message’ section. Refreshes the screen when you have posted a new message. ‘All’ option shows you every message that has been posted. ‘Unread’ option shows those messages that you have not opened. Threaded / Unthreaded: ‘Threaded’ option displays the messages as shown above. You can click on the green triangles to expand the threads, and the magnifying glasses to show all the messages in a thread, at the same time. ‘Unthreaded’ option shows you all messages from all threads displayed in order of the time that they were sent.

Reading a message
On the previous screen shot, you can see that each message has an envelope title. Open envelopes indicate that you have opened the message. next to its

To read an unopened message, click on its title. The message opens in a new window, and you will see a screen like the one below.

The key message options available to you are: Reply: Close: Opens a ‘Reply to Message’ window. Similar to composing a message (see the ‘Composing a message’ section), except you cannot change the topic area. Closes the message window. The envelopes take you back and forward through the list of messages a thread. The pins take you back and forward through the list of threads. Greyed out images mean that there are no more threads / messages to view.

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Composing a message
When you enter the discussion tool or a topic area, you will see a ‘Compose message’ button near the top left of the screen. You can use this to send a message that starts a new discussion thread. When you have clicked on the ‘Compose message’ button you will see the following screen.

The key message options available to you are: Topic: Subject: Message: Post / Preview/ Cancel: Indicates the discussion area in which you want to post the message. Use to describe what the message is about. Add the message text here. ‘Post’ sends your message to the discussion board. Use ‘Preview’ to see what it will look like when sent. ‘Cancel’ will close the message without sending it.

Discussion ‘netiquette’
‘Netiquette’ is the word we use to describe the acceptable ways in which you should use Discussion. You must always remember that any message you send in Discussion gets posted for everyone on your WebCT course to read. This means that you must make sure that you never send any message or attach any documents or images that might offend anyone else – bear in mind that as a student registered at Edge Hill, you must adhere to the college’s Acceptable Use Policy.

Documentation Version: A4_2006.3 WebCT Version: CE 4.1

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact Learning Technology Development, on 01695 584889 or email webct_webmaster@edgehill.ac.uk