I asked Ray if he would make a screencast about his new ForumNG features, and (after a little bit of convincing) he agreed! Finally, some variety in this blog.Play screencastVideo player: forum_ray.swf (note: will not work in IE7 - please use Firefox or IE8).
The screencast covers three minor features in about four minutes. The features will be included in the OU's March update.
- Permalink (posts are always shown within discussions, but this gives you a link to the discussion with #p1231312 or whatever so that it jumps straight to the post and expands it automatically)
- Important posts (moderators etc. can mark a post as important, this makes it a different colour and adds an ! icon)
- Alert (if somebody posts an offensive message, students can report it; this directly sends email to a nominated person so they can check)
Ray was a bit negative about it but I think the screencast is really great! However it did take him a long time (mostly outside work time) to make, which isn't really fair, so I probably won't ask him to do another one... at least not for quite a while.
Two notes for those considering using our forum at other institutions:
1) The screencast shows our version, but outside the Open University, default text on the 'Alert' form obviously won't mention the OU or our code of conduct. Instead there is generic text that should be suitable everywhere. You can replace the text with something specific to the institution using a local language file, which is what we've done here.
2) We haven't updated the community version with these features yet - going to do a batch update around the end of the year or start of next.