The Topic Manager
The Conference Manager is designed to let you set up the top level
of your conference: access rights, description, list of topics,
etc. The Topic Manager, on the other hand, lets you define each
topic in more detail, including the topic message, additional
access rights, and the ability to freeze conversations.
To enter the Conference Manager, you entered the conference
main page and used the link at the top of the page. There are two
ways to get to the Topic Manager: 1) After you create a topic, you
should see a link that allows you to edit that new topic; 2) When
you look at the bottom of your conference page you see a list of
the topics; you may click on any of these topic names to enter the
topic page; at the top of the page you should see a message that
looks like this...
You are the Fair Witness for this conference
[Topic Manager] is
Click on that link; a new browser window will open up with the
Topic Manager in it. Note that there is only one Conference
Manager per conference, as can be expected. However, each topic in
the conference has its own Topic Manager, so to speak. However, to
keep you from getting confused, whenever you click into a Topic
Manager page, the top of the page will tell you the name of the
topic you are now editing.
The Topic Manager looks like this .
The setup for this page is very similar to the Conference Manager.
You have several buttons, each of which allows you to edit some
part of the topic. Again, I will describe each of these pages
- User Access List
- Edit Topic
- Freezing Conversations
- Hiding Messages
- Arrange Topics
- Conference Manager
- Back to Topic
User Access List
Like I mentioned before, you have the option of making your
conference private (let's call it Bagel Discussion for the
purpose of this tutorial). This means that you, as the fair
witness, decide who should be allowed into the Bagel
Discussion conference and who should not. Let's say that this
conference has four topics: 1. eating methods, 2. tales from the
factory, 3. Sesame, and 4. Onion. Let's also say that the Onion
group has some secret recipe they're not ready to share with
everybody just yet. You can make topic 4 private, meaning that
only the people belonging to the Onion group can enter the Onion
topic. Note that 'membership' in the Onion topic doesn't prevent
those people from going into any other topics.
A more realistic reason for making a topic private is, for
example, if you wanted an arena where only the Professor, GSI's,
and graders could post and read messages.
When you created your topic, you had the option of making it
private by checking the appropriate box in the
Create New Topic page. If you didn't
check this box, then your new topic was automatically made public
to everyone in the conference. That being the case, you can't use
the User Access List button here in the Topic Manager (if you did,
you would get an error message). An access list can only be
defined if you specified that the topic is private. If at some
later point in time you decide to make the topic
private-access-only, you can make this change in the
Edit Topic page, as I describe below. At any
rate, if the topic is private you may click this button.
The process to add or remove members from a private Topic's
Access List is identical to that of the Conference's Access List
(if the conference is private). I described this process before.
Click here to review.
This is the page you will probably find yourself visiting most
often. It allows you to change several things:
- Title: The name in the box is the current title for this
topic. If you want to change it, simply delete the words in the
box and write the new title.
- Related Topics (comma separated list of topic numbers):
Again, in order to fill this box out you have to remember what
number goes with what topic. To make the related topic link,
just list the numbers for the related topics in this manner:
- Access: (to this topic only. access to Bagel Discussion
is controlled separately) Here you can click the
corresponding button to make the topic either private or topic.
The default is public unless you specified otherwise when
creating the topic. Remember that to change the 'membership' to
this topic you should go to the User Access
List part of the Topic Manager.
- Topic Text: This is the text that participants will see
upon entering the topic page. The same rules that you followed
for making the Conference Welcome
Message apply here. Don't forget to use the Preview option
before you click the Change Topic button.
COW is a very free, open forum for discussion. By the same token,
it is very likely that some conversations will go astray. If you
are an instructor, you may want to put some boundaries on the
material under discussion. If a conversation does get out of hand,
though, you have the option of freezing it. Freezing a
conversation simply means that no more messages may be posted to
the conversation. The conversation is still there, meaning that
people can still go back and review the old messages in it. They
just can't submit any new messages.
To freeze a conversation, first use the drop-down list under
'Select a Conversation:' (click the down arrow). You should see an
ordered list of all the conversations in the topic. Next to each
number there is first a word yes or no, and then the
title of the conversation. The word Yes means that the
conversation is frozen. No means that the conversation is
thawed or unfrozen, which is what conversations normally are. Use
your mouse to choose a conversation and then click the 'Toggle
Freeze' button. This button flips the state of a conversation: if
it is frozen, using this button thaws the conversation; vice
If a participant posts a message to a conversation and later
regrets having sent that message, they can't actually edit the
message. Their only option is to hide the message. They way to do
this is to look back into that conference using the [go back
one day], [go back one week], or [go back one
month] links. Then, when they see their old message, they
would also see a link that allows them to hide the message. It
would look like this: [ hide/unhide ].
There is a safety built into COW whereby you can only hide or
unhide messages you post. The only exception to that is that
fair witnesses have the right to hide any message they
wish, whether they posted it or not. Also, if you as the fair
witness hide one of the student's messages, they cannot go in and
unhide it. You have the last word!
Don't be confused. This is exactly the same page you saw in the
Conference Manager. To see a description of how to use this page,
This button simply allows you quick passage back to the Conference
Back to Topic
As expected, this button links you back to the topic you just
edited and refreshes the page to show you the changes you just
made. Another way to do this would be to simply close the Topic
FAIR WITNESS | Next
Aaron Rosen |
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