The learning management system (LMS) used at the University of Sydney utilises a number of integrated communication tools to promote conversation between you, your lecturers and the rest of your class. Discussion boards and the Notifications page are the most widely used.
If your uoS website uses any of these tools, your lecturer might expect you to:
- post to a blog, journal or a discussion board
- participate in group discussions on a particular topic
- communicate with other members of a tutorial or team via a private group
- introduce yourself to the rest of the class.
These communication tools have different levels of privacy. Some blogs may be shared between the whole class or just a group, while others may only be between you and the lecture/tutor. Depending on group settings and your group membership, you may see different discussions to a colleague.
Blogs are public chronological posts, usually opinion based. These posts are displayed by the date of entry. Blogs in the LMS are only visible to people enrolled in the unit of study (uos), and by default can be seen by the rest of your class. You may be set the task of maintaining a blog as part of your assessment in a uos course. Your lecturer may choose to set up the blog for the whole class or as individual blogs.
An individual blog would have only you as the author, however your classmates could respond by posting comments. Blogs are often group-based - either within your tutorial group or as an entire class contributing to the blog.
It is best to treat posting on blogs as 'public'.
It is important to be aware that discussion boards have different levels of privacy. Group discussion boards can be read only by group members and the instructors and tutors. Only people enrolled in the uos have access to the discussions.
You can subscribe to discussion forums and threads in individual uos websites, but only if this function has been enabled by your lecturer. You will need to approach your lecturer to request they enable discussion board subscription to threads and forums if it is not turned on.
Tutorials on using discussion boards, and other tools are available in the University LMS, under the My Units of Study tab, Need Help section.
Journals, by default, are shared between you and your lecturer or tutor. They are a personal journal used by you to engage in private and internal reflection on a particular topic or aspect of the course. Your tutor or lecturer can review and comment upon your reflections. Teaching staff have the option of allowing other students to view and comment on your journal entries.
A wiki is a collaborative tool which allows you to contribute and modify web pages based on your own content. It provides a means of sharing and collaboration between the class or a restricted group. Pages can be created and edited quickly by members of the group, and it allows you to see who has edited, added or made changes to the wiki. This makes collaboration between multiple writers in tutorial groups easier, and allows you to edit online, in real time.
Your lecturer or tutor can create one or more wikis for all uos members to contribute to, or wikis for specific groups to use to collaborate. You can add text, images, audio and video files to the wiki.