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Communication Tools and Descriptions

There are a number of tools within Cougar Courses that you can use to communicate.

Announcements Forum

Common Uses: Send an announcement to the entire class.

Instructor to Student? Yes.

Student to Student? No.

How to set it up: Pre-loaded in every course container (in the Introduction section).

Considerations:

  • Posts are displayed in the Announcements forum in the course, in the Forum Posts section of every student's My Courses dashboard, and are emailed to all enrolled users (not right away - around the top of the hour)
  • Only Instructors can post in this forum
  • Use Display Period settings for delayed release
  • If users click "Reply" to the email sent, the response will be sent directly to the instructor's CSUSM email

Chat

Common Uses: Online office hours; synchronous group planning

Instructor to Student? Yes.

Student to Student? Yes.

How to set it up: At the bottom of a module/section, click "Create learning activity" and then select Chat.

Considerations:

  • Real-time, text only
  • Sessions can be saved and shared
  • Can be set to groups
  • May be one-time or repeating

Zoom

Common Uses: Online office hours; synchronous group planning; presentations.

Instructor to Student? Yes.

Student to Student? Yes.

How to set it up: Go directly to Zoom to set up a meeting. See our help guide "Getting started using Zoom" for more information. Once the meeting is set up, you can post the invitation in Cougar Courses. 

Considerations:

  • May be one-time or continuously open
  • Allows for webcam video, audio, chat, and desktop sharing
  • Can be recorded
  • Can invite non-CSUSM users to meeting

Messages

Common Uses: Private messages between users within Cougar Courses.

Instructor to Student? Yes.

Student to Student? Yes.

How to set it up: To send a message, go to your Participants list (from homepage click on Course Dashboard and then Participants). Check the boxes to the left of the student(s) you wish to message. Scroll to the bottom of the list and for the "With the selected users" drop-down choose "Send a Message." Write your message and send. 

Considerations:

  • Cannot add attachments
  • Messages display on the right of your My Courses dashboard, and the notifications icon (bell) at the top right of the course. Each user’s notification settings determine whether messages are also sent to email.

Forum

Common Uses: Asynchronous discussions, course FAQs (students post their course-related questions there instead of emailing the instructor), group planning, sharing projects (files/links), etc.

Instructor to Student? Yes.

Student to Student? Yes.

How to set it up: At the bottom of a module/section, click "Create learning activity" and then select Forum.

Considerations:

  • Can be open to the whole class or limited to smaller groups. To use groups, must first set up groups (click the gear link in the upper right to open the Course Administration > Users > Groups).
  • Can be graded (like for asynchronous discussions), or not (like for course FAQs or group planning).
  • Subscription options: Optional (students can opt-in to receive email notifications of posts), Auto (students are automatically opted-in, but can later opt-out of email notifications), Forced (students cannot opt-out of email notifications), and disabled (no email notifications).
  • Instructor replies to posts are not private.
  • See our help guide on Setting up Forums for more information.