On Monday, May 9 the College will launch a new web-based tool for online discussion, sharing of events and announcements, and posting classified ads. Located at https://community.cofc.edu, the College’s community web forums will replace three of our current emailing lists: ClassifiedAds, Events, and OpenDiscussion.
Currently, the College uses listserv emailing lists for announcements and discussions on various topics and to various audiences within the faculty and staff. Feedback from the faculty and staff indicates that many users want to participate in such discussion groups, but prefer to do so more selectively and without e-mail interruptions throughout the day. The web-browser based community forum system offers a number of advantages over emailing lists in terms of giving users selective control over participation, and better access to posted information.
Some features of the browser-based forums at https://community.cofc.edu:
- Conversations are automatically grouped by topic or “thread”. This makes the forum better-organized, easier to browse, and easier to search.
- One can subscribe to some threads within a forum and not others, which allows granular control over what you pay attention to. Specifically, users can choose to receive immediate email reports of new posts in subscribed threads, and can choose to receive daily or weekly email summaries of activity in a forum.
- One can search within a forum, or across multiple forums.
- One can add tags to posts to help searches.
- One can edit existing posts, avoiding the need of sending correction or retraction emails.
- Attachments to posts are stored as a single copy on the forum server rather than being distributed to email inboxes. This saves on server storage.
- New forums can easily be created for specific groups and topics, such as members of a department or committee, or users of a particular operating system.
- The forum supports polling for conducting informal surveys and votes.
- Threads can be moved by the thread owner from one forum to another, so that for example, if a person posts a thread in the wrong forum, they can move it to the correct forum.
- The forum allows reporting to forum administrators of spam, advertising messages, and problematic (harassment, fighting, or rude) posts.
- One can choose to ignore posts from specific users in the community.
- There is a mobile version of the web forums available.
The Faculty Education Technology Committee has been using this new tool with success, and looks forward to seeing it used across campus.
To login, go to http://community.cofc.edu and use your COUGARS login and password. You will also be able login by using the Community icon in MyCofC. The forums are secure and only available to College of Charleston community members. Individual forums can also have access to a more limited group, such as faculty only, staff only, students only, or members of a certain department.
Learn more about the forums at http://it.cofc.edu/vvw/web/forums.php.
Thanks to Information Technology and the members FETC for their work in bringing this new service to the campus.
Chair of the Faculty Educational Technology Committee