Forums are the central tools for asynchronous discussion in online courses and also in OLAT groups. Forums can be used for the exchange between the course participants, for organizational arrangements or the technical discussion with the teacher. Some online methods also use specific forums, e.g. for pro-contra discussions, the structured collection of ideas on specific aspects (brainstorming), etc.
The following options are available in a forum thread:
The forum is used for exchanging information among the course participants or discussions with the lecturer about the course content. Also it can be used specifically for asynchron communication.
Upload a photo in your "profile". Instead of a standardized image your personal photo will then appear next to your forum entries.
If you want to write a new message in your forum just select "Open new topic." Title and contribution are mandatory. Be sure to use a meaningful title and change it appropriately for Reply postings. You can also attach files to your posting, e.g. if your contribution is larger or you refer to a specific file. It is possible to edit or even delete your message later on, provided that no one has already sent a reply to your message.
If you want to reply to an existing message in a forum just open its topics by clicking on its title. Then select "Reply with quotation" if you want the original message to appear underneath your contribution. Select "Reply without quotation" if you only want your message to appear. You can attach a file as well. It is possible to edit or even delete your contribution later on.
Forum messages can be marked with a flag. In order to do that, click on the little flag in the right upper corner of a message. The topic overview shows the number of marked messages per topic. In the forum overview you can see how many posts have been marked per topic. This makes it easier to find individual posts.
When archiving a forum any contributions will be zipped along with their attachments before storing them in your personal folder.
In order to be kept informed on new forum entries you should select "Subscribe" in the overview of topics. Then you will get a notification by e-mail or in your "Subscriptions" in the "Personal Tools" section. It does not matter whether a new post was posted by a registered OLAT user or a guest.
Also the representation of the forum contributions can be displayed differently. The user can display all contributions with or without indentation. The start post appears first and the other posts are displayed according to the discussion structure. With extensive forums with many contributions it can be helpful to display only the new contributions over the Button "new". Especially interesting for more complex discussions is also the view "one". The entire thread structure is displayed here and can therefore be easily traced. It is helpful that individual parts can be faded in and out. In addition, you can quickly recognize new forum posts by the asterisk in this display.
In the file dialog course participants can discuss a certain document, e.g. the draft of a seminar paper, a picture or a concept. There is a forum to each uploaded document.
By default course participants can not upload files. This option must be activated specifically by the course owner. To transfer a file, choose "Upload file". The columns Last name, First name and Date list who uploaded which file and when. To view an uploaded file just click on the file name and it will open in a new window.
In order to take part in discussions just click on the link "Show" next to the file name. Now it is possible to open new topics or to reply to contributions as stated in the section "Forum".
To be kept informed on new documents in file dialogs just click on "Subscribe" on the overview page. You can also subscribe to each dialog and its corresponding document. Modifications will get to you by e-mail or you will see them in your "Subscriptions".
A test is meant for efficiency controls within a course. Its result will be stored and the course author is able to assign it to the corresponding person.
Click on "Start" to begin with the test. According to its configuration you may pause and continue later on. It depends on the test's settings if you can cancel it without storing any results achieved so far. Finally click "Finish test" to save your results. All these options are available in the form of buttons on your top right.
The course author decides how often you may take that test and how often you may try each single question. According to the configuration of the test it is allowed to use the navigation or not. If not, you will have to respond to one question after the other.
It is also the course author who determines when and how detailed you will get your test results.
When finishing or cancelling your test you should click on the button "Close" on the upper right to get back to that test's homepage.
Contrary to tests, results of self-tests will be stored anonymously. Self-tests are suitable for practicing and can be taken as often as you like.
Click "Start" to begin with your self-test. Similar to tests it is the course author who determines the self-test's configuration.
When finishing or cancelling your self-test you should click on the button "Close" on the upper right to get back to that test's homepage.
Questionnaires are used for evaluations or opinion polls. Each questionnaire can only be filled in once. Its results will be stored anonymously. The questionnaire appears directly when the corresponding course element is called. You can also save a questionnaire temporarily.
Wikis are suitable for easily creating joint content. Each Wiki has a homepage, the so-called index, a Wiki navigation, as well as the tabs "Article," "Discussion," "Edit page," and "Versions/authors" on top of its content. Further information about the wiki can be found here.
A podcast provides information in the form of audio or video files. These so-called episodes can either be accessed directly in OpenOLAT or they can be subscribed to before being uploaded by means of online services such as iTunes. After that you can copy them to your mobile device.
In order to create new episodes you have to be authorized by a course author. Click then on "Add episode" to create a new podcast episode.
Each OpenOLAT user has the right to comment on episodes and to assess them by means of 1 - 5 stars. In order to write a comment or read other comments you should click on the link "Comments."
Subscribe to the RSS Feed of your podcast if you do not want to miss any new episodes.
Similar to a podcast a blog serves to provide new content. You can include text as well as pictures or movies in your contributions.
Each OpenOLAT user has the right to assess or comment on blog entries. Such entries can be assessed by means of 1 - 5 stars. It is also possible to see assessments of other blog readers. In order to write a comment or read other entries you should click on the link "Comments."
Blog entries can only be created if a course author has provided his authorization. Just click on "Create new entries" to write a new blog entry.
You can either publish this entry directly, determine a date for its publication or save your entry as a draft.
In folders courseware is stored. In general only course authors are allowed to upload files; course participants can only read files stored in folders. Subscribe to a folder to be notified in the case of new documents. Modifications are sent to you by e-mail or can be found in your "Subscriptions".
If course participants are also allowed to upload files they will find a corresponding link on their top right. In order to store those files in a structured way it is possible to create subfolders. If you are allowed to upload files you will also be able to delete files in folders. If you want to prevent others from deleting your files you should click on the icon "Meta data" in the tab containing all files in folders before locking your file. Locked files are marked with a lock.
The assessment feature is suitable for evaluating achievements not handed in electronically. The course author or tutor can assess a presentation with passed/failed, a score or with an individual comment.
By means of the course elements Task and Group Task you can provide exercises to be handed in electronically before being assessed by a tutor. It may be that you cannot see all the steps mentioned below since it is not necessary to use all features for a task.
The workflow interface for both Task and Group Task is the same. The task assignment, submission of documents and grading are performed as a group. A group member selects then - acting as group representative and in agreement with the whole group - a task, and submits the solution as well as any - if so required - revisions.
According to the configuration there are either one or more tasks at your disposal in the step "Assignment" or a task will be assigned to you automatically. If the title of a task file is linked along with several tasks it is possible to first have a look at a task before selecting it. If there is only the „Select" link it is not possible to have a look at it first. If a task has been selected or assigned automatically click on "Download task" to see it on display.
In order for you to get an automatically assigned task, you need to open the respective OpenOLAT course element once before the deadline, if there is one in effect. You can download the task anytime.
If you have performed a task you can transfer it to the drop box in the „Submit“ step. If so configured though, you will also have an internal editor at your disposal, for creating and saving a solution file directly in OpenOLAT. Click on „Open Solution Editor“ if available. Enter a file name and create your solution content. You can save and edit the document before the final task submission. You will then get an acknowledgment of receipt.
If additional document editors are activated in the administration, additional file formats can also be created. For example, if Only Office is used, Word, Excel or PowerPoint files can also be created and submitted.
The now marked as completed submission step lists all submitted files. You may read all, but not delete any files.
If the task assignment step is configured, you must mandatorily be assigned - either manually or automatically - a task, in order to be able to submit a solution.
In the „Return and feedback“ step you will find those files your tutor has returned to you. It is possible that you are required to revise your your work. If so, the next step „Revision phase“ is now activated. If you are not required to revise your solution, you will soon have access to your assessment.
Once your revised solution is finished, follow the directions from „Submit Solutions“. During the revision phase you may be required to revise your documents multiple times. As soon as your tutor regards the task as completed, he will close the revision phase. You can see and access all documents submitted by you and returned by your tutor at any given point in time.
It is possible to add a sample solution to your task; the course author can determine when that sample solution will be visible. In any case, the sample solution will only be visible after your coach accepted the submission of your solution. Just click on the file name to download a sample solution.
Assessments can vary. You can assess by means of passed/failed, by means of a score or by means of an individual comment.
As an informational tool, the checklist assists users to complete small tasks or keep valuable information secured. It enables the coach to keep e.g. attendance or todo lists.
Achievements, unfinished tasks, correct or false answers - checklists make them visible and thus assessable for the coach.
This allows for example to document tasks from outside of OpenOLAT and make them assessable, too. You might find information concerning the assessment on the element page if this is the case.
You find the checklist below the assessment information and the due date. A checklist cannot be edited after its due date. The checklist itself contains the description, the score and possibly files for download. If a checkbox is grayed out, it's either because it can only be checked by your coach or because or the submission date has already expired.
In the course element "Portfolio task" you can collect the task assigned by the course author and then edit the provided template and fill it with artifacts (texts, images, reflections, etc.). In this way, learners can, for example, document and reflect on their learning process or make edits over a longer period of time.
Just click on "Collect portfolio task" to have a look at that task before embedding required entries into predefined folders. If a course author does not set any limitations you will be able to configure your folder as you like. It may be that the author has defined a certain deadline that should be kept in mind.
In the topic assignment topic authors provide others with topics e.g. for writing term papers. Depending on your configuration you can either select one or more topics, upload files and look at files returned to you by the topic authors. Perhaps you will not be able to see all the sections mentioned below since in your topic assignment not all features are active.
If you are authorized by the course author to act as topic author you can announce a topic. More information on accepting and supervising participants can be found in the chapter "Course Elements" → "Others" under the item "Course Element Topic Assignment".
As course participant you will see any announced topics in a table. When clicking on that topic's title you will get further details regarding dates or links to files attached.
Depending on your configuration you can choose between one or more topics. The course author is the first to determine if your selection should be accepted or if the person in charge has to accept your application as a start. As soon as your selection is definite you will see a corresponding entry in the table. On your top right you will find a link to your group with the title of your topic. You can only deselect a topic if the person in charge allows it for the respective topic. In case of an existing registration deadline, topic deselection will be deactivated after the deadline in any case.
Click on the topic's title. In the tab "Folder" you will find the drop box. Depending on your configuration you will only be able to upload files within a certain period of time since there is a deadline to meet. For further information on deadlines please go to the tab "Description."
In the tab "Folder" you will find files in the section "Return box" the topic author has returned to you.
This function is a kind of contact form. By means of an e-mail you can get in touch with your course author. Just fill in the field "Subject" and "Message" before sending your e-mail via OpenOLAT.
The course element "Calendar" offers an alternative view on the course calendar that can be selected on your right in the box "General." A course author can predefine a date for your calendar view, e.g. a particular week, and appoint a time for certain events during that week.
The course elements vitero, OpenMeetings and Virtual Classroom allow you to embed virtual rooms into a course. The type of virtual room element included depends on the system chosen by your administrator. Most likely, only one of the three course elements mentioned above will be available, if any.
A virtual room allows you to work online with multiple individuals simultaneously (synchronal), that are geographically separated. A virtual meeting room facilitates communication via chat, video and audio as well as screen and file sharing. Upon entering or opening a virtual meeting, a new browser window pops open. Depending on the deployed virtual room software, you have either one virtual room for the whole OpenOLAT installation that needs to be managed accordingly, or you have one virtual room for each separate course element at your disposal.
The course element offers the following range of functions
|User||Enter virtual room & View recordings||Open meeting||Open virtual classroom|
|Author||Close room, Manage members & Room configuration||Meeting administration||Moderate virtual classroom, Close meeting & Meeting synchronisieren|
In order for you to be able to make use of the full functional range of the virtual room, you will need a headset and a camera connected to your computer. You might need additional software to be installed temporarily.
Here learners can make files available to the instructors and also receive feedback from the instructor via the return folder. If the administrator has activated an appropriate document editor, it is also possible to create different file formats such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint files directly in OpenOLAT.
Points or passed/not passed will not be processed.