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FSH Instructor Lindie Wilhelm (FSH 230: Construction/Draping/Flat Pattern 2) wrote to ask about the difficulties she was having in tracking student comments and posts with the new U/I:

I get the alert that a new message or post has come in, but I cannot find it anywhere!

She continues: The New/Unread sort tool works only part of the time. I then have to go back through all the posts and look for the unread one. I’ve resorted to having my students email me their questions which is of course, very time-consuming switching back and forth from the Discussion area.

The affected topics in Lindie's class are all set to the list view. And the issue here has to do with the way the list view works.

  • Topics in the list view paginate after 12 posts.
    • When you open a topic that has more than 12 posts (i.e., a topic with multiple pages), you are taken to the first page in that topic where there are posts you haven't yet seen.
    • If this is not the first time you have opened the topic, the new posts may not be on the first page. (Remember that the default sort is chronological.)
  • If you use the "New/Unread" sort tool, all the new posts and comments are moved to the very top of Page 1.
  • However, after the sort you are still on the same page you were on before the sort, and this may not be the first page. So you need to navigate to Page 1 to see what's new.

In the grid view, the topic always opens to the first page. So when you do a sort, you are already in the right place to see the relevant information.

What is the best way to find a particular comment again? 

If you know you will want to come back to a comment, your best strategy is to flag the post where the comment appears. Then use the "Flagged" sort to find the post again.

But what if you are looking for a comment on a post you have not flagged? 

If you know the name of the person who made the comment, you can use the Grade/Activity report to track it down:

    1. Open the Grade or Activity Report page by clicking the blue button at the top of the page (inside the topic).
    2. Click EDIT + for the relevant individual to display her participation.
    3. Scroll down to Participation/Comments and click "Display All Comments." This shows the full text of all this student's comments.
    4. If you want to view the comment in its original context, click the name of the post author to open the post in a new tab. From there you can add a comment to the thread, if you like.

Note that you can use this same process if you're looking for one of your own comments.


from my Inbox

I occasionally get emails from online instructors seeking advice on teaching issues. I review their class, think through the problem, and do my best to offer them a workable solution and relevant resources. When it (finally) occurred to me that other teachers might have similar concerns, I decided to post some of these questions and answers here. I hope you find them helpful! If you need help or advice or support with online teaching, please drop me a line (

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