Forum .LRN Q&A: Re: Loss of critical functionality in forums

Posted by Dorothea Fischer-Hornung on
By way of introduction since I am new to this discussion and to DotLRN: I’m teaching Cultural Studies at the English Department at the U of Heidelberg (also Carl’s turf) and I am currently testing the first course using DotLRN as a platform here (with lots of help from Carl). I have taught 5 courses using WebCT with students from several countries enrolled. I believe those courses are the ones Carl is referring to as those that used the “WebCT forums as the single most important class feature” (other than class content, of course -- smile).

After only two days of class using DotLRN, I already know that I will have a very hard time managing the forum (and also assignment submissions) if I have no way of immediately knowing which postings/submissions are new and which are old. We had an average of 400 posting (with approx. 15 participants) in one 6-week crash course. That is in addition to assignments and corrections going back and forth. The discussions were wonderfully lively – but if we had had to wade through lots of old stuff each time we entered the classroom (usually daily), it would certainly have put a damper on things. As a teacher/user I know now I will not be happy until you have some way of separating old and new material systematically throughout the course.

Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on
Hi Dorothea!

I knew you would show up here shortly after the start of the course (2nd day... not bad 😊. I look forward to using your and student feedback to improve the system.

To emphasize the problem: after getting .LRN forum notifications in my inbox a came to to post responses. I had a real problem finding this thread because it has moved down on the list (ended up doing a quick directory search on your name to find the posting). This is suboptimal.

Possible quick solution for now (we certainly need one for the course): add a sort function (using the forums headings). Thereby making it possible to sort messages by Author, Last Post, etc.

Then we need to look at the other functions asap.

Posted by Jarkko Laine on
Carl, there is a link in the notification mail to go straight to the thread 😊

But seriously, this is very important.  Making a "what's new?" -portlet in dotlrn that would aggregate new/unanswered stuff to MySpace from forums and possibly other sources shouldn't be too hard.

"What's new" would certainly help my teaching.

Right now I get all new emails/postings/homework alerts as notifications (123 messages in my inbox yesterday from 22 students).

Due to the fact that each notification has a different number, I can't seem to set up a rule in OUTLOOK to bundle all new postings, emails, and "homework alerts" (like that expression - sounds dangerous) in one folder.

If there were a folder with only new items in the class system, I could then simply turn off the notification feature and still be assured that I have new information. My students also have problems with the flood of emails in the present system, too.

We all seem to agree that this would be useful, but I wanted to describe my hands-on situation.