By: Sarina Canelake and Jenna Makowski

The new Community Release, Olive, contains many long-awaited updates to the Discussions Forums experience, for learners, course teams and forum moderators.

A freshly designed UI

In the above screenshot, you can see how the author of a “Question” type post can mark a response as an “Answer” to the question that was asked. Additionally, a new tabular layout (top left) makes it easier for both learners and moderators to see, organize and track forum activity. 

In the new layout, learners and course teams have access to:

  1. The My Posts tab shows posts authored by the current user.
  2. The All Posts tab shows all posts in the course.
  3. The Topics tab shows hierarchy of discussion topics (categories and subcategories).
  4. The Learners tab shows per-user statistics for the course forum, allowing you to sort by top poster or recent posters, and to drill down into forum activity by individual learner.

The new UI also enables improved functionality for sorting and filtering posts. The new layout makes it easier for users to filter for followed posts, recent activity and more. New filters for post types (Discussions and Questions) have also been added

Upgraded search experience

A single search bar can now be used for keyword searches across content, topics and learners, including searches for partial usernames. Keyword searches are refined by tab. For example, typing the keyword “Introduction” in the search bar, with the “My Posts” tab selected, will limit results to only posts I’ve written. You can instead choose to search “All posts”, search topic titles under “Topics”, or search for a specific learner under “Learners”.

Interactive post summaries

New interactive post summaries in the left sidebar streamline interaction opportunities for learners and make it easier to track post activity:

Legend:

  1. An icon indicating if a post was submitted as a question
  2. The username of the post author is now visible, along with specific colors and icons to indicate user roles such as “Staff”.
  3. Number of likes, with the option to like or unlike directly.
  4. A clickable star icon to follow or unfollow a post.
  5. Number of responses.
  6. An answered icon to indicate if an open question was answered.
  7. Flags to identify reported content in the post or in its comments.

Inline Discussions

In-context discussions appear, as before, below course content.

In the next release, Palm, look forward to a new interface that will allow you to display the in-context discussions within a sidebar on the right side of the course content.

And more!

Our next post will take a look at some of the new features for the forum moderation team, as well as improvements to course authoring. Site operators can find information about how to configure the new Discussions feature in the Olive release notes.

Thank you to Kshitij Sobti and the team at OpenCraft for the gifs shown in this post

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