LIS 523 - Discussions Online

Online discussions will be supported by Microsoft SharePoint on the FIMS server.

There are two kinds of required posting. First, for a number of weekly assignments, you are required to prepost before 9 am on Wednesday. Preposted contributions will thus be ready for everyone to read and comment on in the second kind of posting, comments, which should be contributed on Wednesday or Thursday. For example, in the first assignment, you are asked to evaluate a Web site and prepost its URL and a one-paragraph summary of your evaluation; after reading other students' prepostings and looking at the sites that they evaluated, you are then asked to post your comments on two of those sites as well as a comment on what you found in your reading on good Web design.

Each week will be assigned a different discussion board. So, make sure that you post to the correct one. You are expected to post every week; missing posting more than two weeks, other than for reasons of serious illness or family emergency, is grounds for failure in the course.

To access a discussion board, use a browser that allows the University's user validation (Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Mozilla FireFox, and Opera 9 are all OK, but not Lynx or older versions of Opera); go to the SharePoint site for the course (; log in, using your FIMS user name and password and the domain FIMS; click on the name of the discussion board under "Discussions" at the left. In the discussion board, to add a new posting or comment, click on "New Discussion". In the "New Discussion" window, enter a subject and text and click on "Save and Close".

Since the SharePoint site may time out if you take too long to enter a new discussion item, create any longer comment first in another application, such as Notepad, and then paste it into the text area in the "New Discussion" area.

To view the full text of a posting or comment, click on its title. Click on the plus signs or on "Expand/Collapse allows you to see the complete text of shorter comments or the first few lines of longer comments.

You should not attempt to delete or edit other people's items, but you may, if you wish, reply to an item, by clicking on "Post Reply" in the window that shows the full item. When finished viewing the item, click on "Go back to Discussion Board".

You can click on "Threaded" or "Flat" on the left to either group replies under their original postings or display all postings in a single list.

The "Filter" link, available in "Flat" view, allows you to restrict the list of items to those with specific subjects, authors, or dates. The "Alert Me" link allows you to set up automatic e-mail notification of changes in the discussion board; but it is unlikely that you will want to do this for the weekly discussions. If you see a "Modify settings and columns" link on the left, do not click on it; it is designed for use by the administrator of the discussion.

You can enter discussion items as plain text or as HTML code (with some restrictions; for example, no tables). Some HTML code will be added automatically. In addition, properly formed URLs will be displayed as hot links automatically regardless of HTML coding. Use character entity references (<, >, etc.) to show HTML examples literally.

The "New" icon normally appears next to new items for one day.

If you save the discussion board list as an HTML file, the first few lines of all the postings are saved even if you have not chosen to display them by clicking on the plus-sign icons or "Expand/Collapse". By contrast, printing results is something closer to what you see on the screen, though you may notice some formatting problems.

Occasionally, instead of a requested page, the server may return a misformed text file consisting of HTTP header lines followed by HTML code. If this happens, just try reloading the page.

If you have general comments or questions that you would like to post about the course or about any subject relating to Web design, you should use the "General Discussion" discussion board. For confidential communications relating to such topics as illness or marks, you can communicate via e-mail or telephone; these channels may also be more suitable for extended technical discussions relating to running software on your particular machine.


Last updated April 24, 2007.
This page maintained by Prof. Tim Craven
E-mail (text/plain only):
Faculty of Information and Media Studies
University of Western Ontario,
London, Ontario
Canada, N6A 5B7