Message Center: Overview

What it does

The Message Center is a communication tool that instructors or site leaders can use to create an unlimited number of discussion forums for their course or project sites. Private messaging between individuals and groups is also supported. The Message Center is designed to be an effective tool for both academic and collaborative work, and is integrated closely with other tools (e.g., Resources and Gradebook).

Key concepts

Discussion forums: Asynchronous discussion provides an opportunity for your site participants to engage site resources and each other, and allows for the free expression of convergent and divergent ideas.

Private messages: Individuals and groups can send private messages to each other. This function can be deactivated.

Viewing forums: On your site's Home page (select Home on the site's menubar), participants can see how many unread private and discussion forum messages they have. On the Message Center screen, participants see the number of unread messages and the grand total of messages for each topic. In the forums list, forums and topics are sorted chronologically by default.

Viewing messages: Unread messages are in bold; viewed messages are permanently marked as read. By default, messages are listed chronologically. Also, users can select Threaded view to display messages in indented threads. The View By Outline option changes the Threaded view to display threads in an outline format.

Composing messages: A WYSIWYG interface allows Rich Text, plain text, and HTML editing. You can add attachments to any message by linking to files or web links in Resources. By default, the original message is not included in a reply, but a quote option is available that pastes the original text into the message.

Settings: The site owner (or another participant with the appropriate role) can require participants to submit their posts to a topic before they have permission to read the responses of others. Other settings provide control over access rights (i.e., which individuals or groups can see forums and contribute), the ability to hide messages until approved by a moderator (and reject and comment on unapproved messages), and control over permissions for creating forums, topics, messages, and responses.

Things to consider


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Last modified on January 11, 2006.