The features described in this article will be in place beginning December 28th, 2020.
The updated Forum Activity in Gauchospace brings several new features. Most notably, the 'Whole Forum Grading' feature comes with a new forum grading interface and allows for forum grades to be assigned without having to use the rating system. This article will discuss the following updated features: (1) Whole Forum Grading, (2) Forum Grading Interface, (3) Feedback and Other Grading Options, (4) Forum Summary Report, (5) Due and Cut-off Dates, (6) Discussion Options, and (7) Exporting Forums.
- Grade Type
- Point (recommended): This will allow you to assign a point value for forum grades and set a maximum grade (i.e., how many points the forum is graded out of).
- Scale: This will allow you to use a scale when grading. Please note that scales do not readily translate into percentage grades in the gradebook so this advanced feature should only be used for those with experience with the scale function.
- Grading Method
- Grade Category This allows you to assign the forum grade to an existing category in the gradebook.
Note that with the update to 3.9, grading does not require ratings to be enabled.
To access the Forum Grading Interface for grading forum posts, click ‘Grade users’ on the Forum page (see screenshot).
This will take you to the Forum Grading Interface with a forum viewer on the left and a grader interface on the right.
In the forum viewer you can see posts by individual students (highlighted in gray) along with links to the ‘parent post’ (the post to which the student’s post is a response) and the full thread through ‘View discussion’. The posts will be available for all of the student’s posts in a forum whether they are adding new discussions, posting responses to questions, or responding to other students’ posts.
In the grader interface you can (A) change the student, (B) enter grades, (C) save grades, (D) toggle display modes, and choose to notify students.
Entering grades here will assign students a single grade for the forum that will automatically be input into the gradebook.
For quantitative information on student responses you can also look at the Forum Summary Report located in the ‘Administration’ block for the forum (see screenshot).
This will produce a searchable and exportable table of student responses (see screenshot).
You may set a Due date as well as a Cut-off date for a forum, similar to an assignment. The Due date will be reflected on the calendar for the course but students will still be able to post after the due date and posts made after the due date aren't marked as late. The Cut-off date can be used to prevent posts from being made after a specific date. Students will still be able to view the forum and the posts within it but won't be able to post in the forum after the Cut-off date. This can be useful for grading to ensure that students have posted before a specific date.
In the forum activity you have access to three discussion options: (1) Star Discussion, (2) Pin Discussion, and (3) Lock Discussion. You can access discussion options by clicking on the three vertical dots at the right of each thread (see screenshot below).
- Star Discussion: Starring the discussion allows individuals to select personal favorite threads that will appear at the top of the list (underneath pinned discussions). You may also star the discussion by clicking the star icon on the left of the discussion thread (see screenshot).
- Pin Discussion: Pinning the discussion thread will cause it to appear at the top of the list and all other posts (starred or unstarred) will appear beneath the pinned discussion(s). The order of pinned, starred, and unstarred can be seen below:
- Lock Discussion: Locking the discussion allows you to manually prevent future posts in a single discussion thread. To lock the forum entirely, you can use the ‘Discussion locking’ section of forum activity settings. Locked discussion threads will display a red label beneath the discussion title (see screenshot below:
The Export function allows you to download forum information for classes and individual students. To export class information, select ‘Export’ from the ‘Administration’ block located on the right side of the forum activity page (see screenshot below).
On the ‘Export’ page, you may filter by (1) User Name, (2) Discussion Thread Name, and (3) Post Dates Range. Under ‘Export options,’ check the boxes for (4) Remove HTML to ensure that messages are shown in plain text and (5) Human-readable dates to ensure dates are shown in the proper format in the spreadsheet.
After selecting the filter criteria, click export to download the file.
You may also export forums for individual students through the ‘Forum Summary Report’ (see section above).