LIS 525 - Discussions Online

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

There are two kinds of required posting. First, for almost all weeks, you are required to prepost before 9 am on Tuesday. 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 Tuesday or Wednesday.

For example, in week 2, you should read about one Internet-related person or collective body and prepost the most interesting thing that you found about this person or body. You should also post a comment, some time on January 15 or January 16, on a person or body chosen by another student. (In addition, if you elect to submit a report this week, you should see that it reaches the instructor by 9 am on January 15.)

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 in the lefthand panel of the home page.

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". You can edit your posting if necessary, but you should not do this after the time the posting is due, since it will then appear that you posted late.

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

You can enter discussion items as plain text or as HTML code (with some restrictions). 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 text of all the postings appears to be saved even if you have not chosen to display it by clicking on the plus-sign icons. By contrast, printing results is something closer to what you see on the screen, though you may notice some formatting problems.

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.

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 covered by the course, you should use the "General Discussion" discussion board. For general comments or questions about the course project, use the "Consultant's Report 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 October 2, 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