|Getting Started - Moderator||DISCUS Administration Instructions|
This tutorial is intended for moderators new to this discussion board program. This covers basic procedures of setting up your topics using the Page Manager, the User Manager, and the Access Manager. We strongly recommend the Discus Resource Center as a source of ideas on how to set up your topic.
This tutorial will be most valuable if you are actually performing the actions as you are directed in this tutorial. For this purpose, we recommend that you open a new browser window to access your board or that you print out a hard copy of this tutorial before proceeding further.
This tutorial goes into depth covering basic information that you as a moderator will need to know to utilize the Discus program fully. It will take approximately 20 minutes for a new user to complete this tutorial. We suggest that you do this tutorial in one time block with minimal interruptions. Once you get the feel of the program, you will be able to figure out most everything for yourself without consulting tutorials or instructions.
All administration functions are accessed and used through the administration program. Moderators may log in to the administration program by clicking the "Administration" link from the discussion board. Moderators must supply their username and password, which are initially established by the board administrator, in order to log in.
Once your username and password has been supplied, you will see the administration program Main Menu in the left frame and the first screen of the Page Manager in the right frame.2. Locate the administration instructions
Upon logging in, the administration instructions are accessible from the Main Menu. To access the administration instructions, click on "Administration" under the "Instructions" section. This brings you to an index of all administration instruction pages. This tutorial is part of those administration instructions.
Pages which contain subtopics and messages are created and edited using the "Page Manager." The Page Manager will be the functionality that you use most to administer the board as a moderator, so it is essential that you gain familiarity with the functionality therein.3. Choose a topic to edit
Upon logging in after changing your password, you should see the first screen of the Page Manager in the right frame. If not, click on "Page Manager" from the Main Menu. You are presented with a list of topics that you are permitted to edit (the superuser determines who is allowed to edit what topics). From that list, choose any topic you wish to edit by clicking on the topic name. We recommend that you choose a topic designed for test messages if such a topic has been created.
When you have chosen a topic to edit, you will be presented with the Page Manager interface to edit the first page in that topic. The Page Manager contains a lot of functionality to manipulate subtopic and message pages. Scroll down the Page Manager to get an idea of what functionality is available. Here is a quick tour of what you will see.
Page Title and Navigation Bar -- these items at the top of the page tell you where you are. The navigation bar allows you to go backwards in the tree structure of the discussion pages, much like navigation bars in the user interface and on the Yahoo! search engine.
Quick Navigation/Quick Options -- these items always appear on Page Manager pages. Quick Navigation gives you an idea of where in the discussion you are, and it allows you to move quickly between parent pages (one level above the current location), sister pages (same level as the current location), and child pages (one level below the current location). You can also jump directly to the user interface and start from page you are editing by clicking "Go to this page on the board," and you can view all the subtopics in the topic you are editing in a graphical tree view by clicking "Show all subtopics." Quick Options allow you to jump down the page to the section you wish to edit.
Announcement Message -- this appears if an announcement message is contained on the page. It allows you to place a message onto a page that appears above all subtopics. Therefore, an announcement appears above everything else on the page (except for the page title and the navigation bar), which is a great place to post any important announcements.
Subtopics/Add a Subtopic -- these items appear if subtopics are contained on the page. You can delete, move, change the properties of, edit, add, and reorder subtopics from this section.
About Message -- this appears if an about message is contained on the page. It allows you to place a message onto a page that appears below all subtopics but above all messages. It allows you to describe the purpose of a page.
Messages -- these items appear if messages are contained on the page. You can delete, move, edit, add, view, view information about, and reorder messages from this section.
Page Layout -- this always appears on Page Manager pages. It allows you to select which discussion elements appear on a page (any combination of announcement messages, subtopics, about messages, and messages). Changing Page Layout settings affects what functionality is available in the Page Manager and in the user interface when viewing a page.
If subtopics are not displayed on the page you are editing, you will not see the subtopic editing options in the Page Manager and you won't be able to the following steps in this tutorial! To ensure that subtopics are displayed on the page you are editing, click "Page Layout" from Quick Options (or scroll down the page to the Page Layout section). Check the box next to "List of subtopics" if it is not already checked. Note that the selection under "Available Templates" will change as you check and un-check elements. To save your change, click "Change Page Layout."5. Add your first subtopic
After completing step 6, you are guaranteed to see "Subtopics" as an option under Quick Options. Click that link, or scroll down the page to the "Subtopics" section. You will see any existing subtopics (if there are any). What you want to do is to add a subtopic, so scroll down to "Add a Subtopic."
Your first subtopic will be created to hold all subtopics and messages you will create in the future. Think of this first subtopic as creating a "directory" for your future subtopics in this tutorial. (This does not technically happen but it is the best explanation for what you are trying to accomplish. You can then mess around entirely within this area so you don't accidentally destroy the work that other moderators have created.)
For the "Name" of the subtopic, enter "Frank Smith's first subtopic" (substituting in your own name). For the options under the name, leave "New discussion page" and "Private Index" checked -- we'll see later what these options do. Also, leave "Edit new subtopic once created" checked, as this will place you directly into your new subtopic once you have created it. Click on "Add this Subtopic" to create the new subtopic.6. Create a bunch of subtopics
Upon completing step 6, check the navigation bar at the top of the screen to verify that your position is now within the subtopic you just created. If not, use "Quick Navigation" to navigate into the new subtopic.
We will now explore some of those settings under "Add a Subtopic" and learn first-hand what they do. Click "Add a Subtopic" from Quick Options. Create a subtopic named "Private Index" and choose "Private Index" as the page type. Also create a Public Index named "Public Index" and a Message Page named "Message Page." Since you do not necessarily want to jump directly into editing these new subtopics once you've created them, uncheck the "Edit new subtopic once created" box each time upon creating new subtopics. If you forget to do this and you are placed into the new subtopic, you can use the navigation bar at the top of the page (or the "Quick Navigation" box) to jump "up" one level.
You can also create links to documents on the WWW and make them look like subtopics. This is useful to organize frequently added items and is used in a variety of ways. To create a link, first give the subtopic a name of "Discus Home Page - right frame." Then check "Link to external document" and choose where the link is to be displayed using the "Right frame" option. Give the URL of "http://www.chem.hope.edu/discus" in the appropriate blank. Create two more links as well, using the "Top (replace board)" option for one and the "New browser window" option for the other. When you are creating links, it does not matter whether the "Edit new subtopic once created" box is checked or not.7. View the subtopics in the user interface
At this point you should have six subtopics created. Scroll up to Quick Navigation and click "Go to this page on the board" to take yourself to the page that contains your subtopics. Click on each subtopic you created, noting what discussion elements are contained on each page (for the subtopic pages) and where the pages are displayed (for the linked pages).
The moderators (that's you) have control over who may post messages to their topics. You can configure the board to allow public posts, require logins, or even disable posting entirely. One way to control posting is to create user accounts, which allow authorized users to post. Even if you do not use accounts to control posting privileges, your regular users will benefit from user accounts because they will then be able to enable e-mail notification for themselves and establish a profile. Adding user accounts is accomplished through the "User Manager."8. Add a user account
If you exited administration to perform step 7 above, log back into administration.
Click on "User Manager" from the Main Menu to bring up the first User Manager screen. Select the group that you wish to edit by clicking on the link. Note that the number of user accounts in the group is indicated.
Upon clicking on the group, you will see three sections on the User Mananger screen. The first section, "Users," shows all user accounts (or, if you have more than 25 user accounts, a portion of the user accounts is displayed as well as options to select alternate ranges). The second section, "Add a User," allows you to create one user account; we'll do this momentarily. The third section, "Add a User List," allows you to paste in a delimited user list, such as from a spreadsheet program or database, to create user accounts rapidly without ever having to enter the names manually.
Under "Add a User," create a user with username apple and password orange and then click on "Add this User" to create the account. When the page reloads, you should see the user added to the user list at the top of the page.
As stated in the previous section, the moderators (that's you) have control over who may post messages to their topics. In addition to creating user accounts, moderators can enable public posting, give users and moderators from other groups posting permissions. If the board administrator has purchased the professional version of this software, the moderator may also configure advanced permissions such as allowing (or disallowing) users from certain IP addresses and enabling a "Message Queue" so that the moderator approves all messages before they are put into public view.9. Configure public posting
To set up posting so that anyone can post to the topic using any username/password they wish, you need to use the "Access Manager." Remember that any changes you make here will affect the entire topic that you select, so if there are other moderators for this topic or there is serious discussion in this topic, you should probably not apply these changes. Just navigate through the interfaces but don't actually perform the steps if this is the case.
Enter the "Access Manager" by selecting the link from the Main Menu. On the ensuing screen, select the topic for which you wish to configure access settings. To enable public posting, check the "Public Posting" box and click "Save." You can also authorize posting for users and moderators in the group, or for all users and moderators on the board. If the board administrator has purchased the professional version of this software package, you can also use the "Advanced" button to specify additional settings or to enable a "Message Queue."
[ ] Log into administration program
[ ] Access the Page Manager
[ ] Change page layout
[ ] Create an initial subtopic
[ ] Create six new subtopics with various layouts
[ ] Look at the board to see what you've done
[ ] Return to administration program
[ ] Access the User Manager
[ ] Add a user named "apple"
[ ] Access the Access Manager
[ ] Enable public posting
Congratulations, you have now seen some of the basic functionality available from within the administration program. You now know that you can create subtopics, change page layouts, add users, and enable/disable public posting. But there is a lot more...
You should continue to experiment with administrative tools and the posting interface to determine how the board works. To learn more about specific administrative functions, continue reading these administration instructions, or experiment on your own.
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