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“Brandeis

Quick Start Guide for Rabb/GPS Students

Overview

Instructors use discussion forums in your courses to facilitate asynchronous discussion amongst students. Your course will include multiple discussion forums, each with a specific purpose and topic. You can adjust your personal preferences for how you receive notifications from forums.

Netiquette

Most of your courses will include regular participation in discussion forums with your classmates and instructors. GPS courses are both academic and professional environments and you should tailor your communication accordingly.

"Netiquette" is a general set of guidelines to follow in your courses when interacting with your instructor and fellow students. These are not firm rules but rather a set of best practices to ensure that others understand what you've written and that everyone is respected. In synchronous or face-to-face communications we can use body language to supplement our words and we can clarify or rephrase our messages in real time. However, in this online written environment we have to put more thought and planning into our words before sharing them since we don't have the benefit of spontaneous modifications. Below are some general tips and guidelines to keep in mind when you're posting in your courses.

  • Proofread your posts. A quick read through what you've written before posting them will help you avoid spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. 
  • Avoid “text speak,” internet language, or non-standard abbreviations. It may be difficult for your fellow participants to understand you and most instructors expect academic-style language in both the forums and the assignments.
  • Be mindful of your tone and word choice. Humor and tone are difficult to convey in a written message and may come across as rude or brusque if your words are not chosen carefully.
  • Avoid typing in all capital letters or italics. All capital letters is seen as shouting (and therefore often offensive) and long strings of italics are difficult to read. Using capitals, italics, or bold for brief emphasis is fine.
  • Respect others’ privacy and confidentiality. Your classmates may share details or struggles about their professional lives as they're relevant to the course material. Don't share that information, or anyone's personal contact information, without their explicit permission.

Types of Forums in GPS Courses

Your GPS courses include multiple forums with different purposes. Scroll through the other tabs within this box to read about the different forum types. Each tab includes a note at the top about the location of each forum within your GPS course shell.

 Communications Center

Many instructors will enable a Private Forum which you can use to communicate one-on-one with your instructor. As a private forum, no other students in the course can view your posts or the instructor's replies to you. If you are subscribed to the forum, you will receive emails alerting you to responses to your posts.

If you are struggling to complete an assignment, need some clarity on a concept, or just want to talk about any aspect of the course, please reach out to your instructor. Your instructor may also use this forum to reach out to you about an assignment or with a question. By default, you are automatically subscribed to notifications from this forum. We recommend keeping this setting turned on so you don't miss any of your instructor's messages. However, you may opt to unsubscribe in your personal forum settings.

Some common concerns you might write about include:

  • I'm having trouble with a team member who is not completing their work on time. Can you provide some guidance?
  • I'd like to understand why I received the grade I did on my paper. Can we schedule a time to talk about how I can improve in the future?

 Communications Center

Your classmates can be your best resource when you're having trouble with coursework. Often, you'll have a question that others in the class either know the answer to, or others would benefit from seeing the answer to your question (because they have the same question, too!).

Use the Ask the Class forum to pose questions to your classmates and browse past questions. Your instructor will periodically check this forum to answer any questions that are not addressed by students. Some common topics you may find in this forum include:

  • Why do I keep getting an error message when I run this code?
  • What does everyone think about this current event related to what we're learning in this class?

If you find any broken links or have questions regarding your own work, please contact the instructor directly.

 Each Weekly Section

In most of your courses, you will have a weekly discussion forum where your instructor will post one or more prompts for you to reply to. These prompts relate to the topic you'll be reviewing that week. Most courses require you to post two substantive replies to other students' posts in addition to your own. These are included as part of your final grade for the course. The scoring rubric and percentage of your total grade vary by instructor, check the information in your course and in your syllabus to understand what's expected of you. 

Your instructor will post the grade and feedback for your discussion forum posts and replies in a separate activity called Participation Feedback. 

Creating Posts and Replies

You can start new discussions and reply to your instructor and/or classmates in most LATTE forums

Posting

  1. Navigate to the forum you want to post to, then click on its name or icon.
  2. The forum prompt will display at the top. Click the Add a new discussion topic button to write and post your reply. 
  3. Some forums are set up where there isn't a button to add your post. For those forums, click Reply under the prompt to enter your post.
  4. After you complete your post, click Submit.

Replying

You can reply to posts by your instructor or your classmates within the forums. Click Reply under the post you want to reply to, write your reply, then click Submit.

Forum Preferences

You can adjust the forum settings to your own preferences. You could adjust each forum individually, but you can also set your preferences for almost all forums sitewide at once. The Course News and Announcements forum in each course is used to push important information to you from your instructor and is not affected by the preferences below. 

Accessing Forum Preferences

  1. To view your profile, click your name on the upper right-hand corner of any page then click Preferences.
  2. Select Forum preferences under User Account.

Adjusting Forum Preferences

You can adjust any of the settings on this page, then click the Save changes button when you're finished.

  • Email digest type: You may choose to receive all emails from LATTE in one daily message. There is also the option to receive either the complete message or just the Subjects from forums you subscribe to.
  • Forum auto-subscribe: If you select yes for this, it will mean that when you post a message to a forum, you will be subscribed to that forum and receive email copies of all messages for that forum. You may unsubscribe from forums if you wish as well.
  • Forum Tracking: This is a useful option to enable. If it is enabled in your LATTE courses, it will highlight unread forum messages so you can easily see what is new.
  • When sending forum post notifications: When you are notified of a forum post, you can choose whether this should mark the post as read for the purpose of forum tracking.