Quick Start Guide to Forums

Forums can contribute significantly to successful communication and community building in an online environment. This is quickstart guide to forums and how to use them.

What is a forum?

  • The forums on this website give you a place to meet, discuss and share ideas. It might be useful to think of the forum as an online message board where you can post messages and read those from other learners.
  • You can keep track of a conversation on a particular topic. You don't have to be logged into the website at the same time as other learners to communicate with them, so you can leave a message one evening to find someone has left you an answer overnight! This also means you can take your time in composing a reply.
  • Each forum can have a number of discussions going on, each with a number of posts. You can post as many comments as you like to any number of forums.

Contributing to a forum

  • You will need to be logged in to the website in order to contribute to forums.
  • You can choose to display the comments in the discussion in a number of ways. Experiment with these to see what suits you best.
  • Look through the discussion thread titles to see if there is one that relates to what you want to discuss. If there is, click on the discussion heading. If you want to join the discussion, simply click on reply on one of the posts.
  • If nobody has started a discussion on your topic of interest, click on the button that says 'Add a new discussion topic'.
  • You will then be asked to complete a simple form.

Completing the form

  • Subject: The title of the discussion. Make sure it is something that clearly describes the focus of your discussion so others can find it easily.
  • Message: Write whatever you want to say. Good forum postings generate debate, ask questions and add a different view or new idea to the current discussion.
  • Subscription: You can choose to subscribe to a forum. When you do this all new posts are automatically sent to your email address. You can choose to receive these individually or in a daily digest by choosing a setting in your profile. This makes it easy to keep track of what is happening in the forums without needing to return to the website.
  • Attachment: You might have an image or document that illustrates what you are talking about. You can upload it here provided you comply with copyright regulations and it is under 2MB in file size.
  • Post to forum: Click on this to submit your post. Your post will appear immediately, although you can edit it to make changes at any time. Your name and photograph will appear as you have set them in your user profile.

Guidelines for use

  • As in a real community, users of forums are asked to respect others.
  • The forums on this website are not monitored in real time but we will take appropriate action against postings and users who misuse the forums.

Here are the main guidelines we suggest for using forums:

Post on topic

Keeping on-topic makes forums easier to follow and more constructive to use, so please keep your posts relevant to the topic being discussed.

The facilitators of the website may delete or move posts that appear irrelevant to the discussion in which they're posted.

Keep your personal information safe

Please don't be afraid of building a user profile as it enriches discussions and lets other users know who's "behind the post", giving context to your opinion. However, information in your user profile is intended to give other users a background to your posting, rather than specific personal information.

Close the window to return to the forum

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 August 2011, 2:58 PM