The new Discussion date workflow will change the way instructors can manage their Discussion visibility and posting restrictions. More specifically, this change simplifies date management for discussion activities, offering a more consistent, simplified, and consolidated experience for instructors.
When the new dates feature is enabled, instructors will see their existing topic and forum unlock dates, availability dates, and lock option consolidated into a new set of availability dates with additional options. Most combinations of dates and lock options that lead to visibility and access of topics are preserved when the new dates feature is enabled, however, there is a single use case that is no longer supported which you can review here.
When will the new date workflow be enabled in BOLT?
December 10th, 2021
To minimize impact to both Fall and Winter semesters this date was selected as it allows the current date settings on discussions to be available through end of Fall 2021 finals and provides instructors teaching in Winter 2021 time to review/update their discussion date settings (if needed) prior to start of the Winter 2021 term.
Summary of Key Changes
- Option to set unlock dates and the lock option on Discussion topics and forums will be removed (Restrictions tab changes).
- New options on availability dates for flexibility in visibility and access will be added. This applies to the Restrictions tab of Discussion forums and topics, to Classic Content, and to Manage Dates. When a Discussion is setup with availability dates, the instructor can choose (not the tool), whether learners can see and access discussions.
- The “Display in Calendar” option associated with availability date will apply to both Availability Start Date and Availability End Date. The tool will no longer decide which calendar event should be added. Consequently, Calendar events for availability dates may change and additional events for Availability Start Dates may be added.
- Calendar events for unlock dates will be hidden.
- Where Discussions and User Progress may have previously hidden a topic or forum when outside of availability dates, those tools may show them as visible but not accessible.
- Instructors can choose the default visibility and access behavior for new discussion forums and topics from new options under Discussion Settings.
New Properties of Availability Dates
The availability dates for Discussion topics and forums will have new properties as described below.
The Availability Start and End Dates each will have a set of three options. You will be able to select one option for each date. By choosing an option, you are deciding whether learners can see the discussion and access it.
|Options||When Applied to Start Date||When Applied to End Date|
|Visible with access restricted||The topic/forum will be visible to learners before the Start date, but they cannot click/open it.||The topic/forum will be visible to learners after the End date, but they cannot click/open it.|
|Visible with submission restricted||The topic/forum will be visible to learners before the Start date and they can access it but cannot post new threads or replies. This will effectively make a discussion read-only, which will replace the current method of setting up read-only via unlock dates.||The topic/forum will be visible to learners after the End date and they can access it but cannot post new threads or replies. This will effectively make a discussion read-only, which will replace the current method of setting up read-only via unlock dates.|
|Hidden||The topic/forum will be hidden from learners until the Start date. This will be a new feature. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends will be hidden until the Start date. Notifications will also not be sent until the Start date.||The topic/forum will be hidden from learners after then End date. This will be a new feature. Calendar events for Availability Starts and Availability Ends will be hidden after the End date. Notifications will also not be sent after the End date.|
Learner Visibility And Access
When the new dates feature is enabled, you can expect the availability date properties to affect the information learners can see about forums and topics.
|Visible with access restricted|
|Visible with submission restricted|
Note: Topic visibility and access can be inherited by a parent forum, but a greater level of restriction specifically on any topic in a forum overrules inheritance from the parent forum. For example, a topic marked as hidden before a start date is considered to have a greater level of restriction; thus, such a topic would be hidden within a visible but submission-restricted forum.
Date Combinations not Preserved Leading to Changes in Visibility or Access
Any combination of dates, with or without the lock option, that previously allowed learners to view discussion topics but restricted them from posting between two dates is not preserved.
|Existing Workflow||New Workflow|
Start Date: October 1
|Start Date: October 8|
(Visible with access restricted before start)
End Date: No end date
|End Date: October 15|
(Visible with submission restriction after end)
Unlock Date: October 8
Lock Date: October 15
The existing workflow would allow the Topic to only be visible starting October 1 and learners could not post until unlocked on October 8. The Topic would lock on October 15 making it read-only.
The new workflow would allow the Topic to be visible to learners before October 1 but they cannot click or open it until the start date of October 8 at which point they can view the topic and make posts. On October 15 the Topic would be visible but no submissions/posts/replies would be allowed, making it read-only.