Virtual Guest Speaker Program Discussion List 

Procedure for registering for the discussion list

1.    When you go to http://www2.law.mercer.edu/pforums (the home page for the discussion list) for the first time, you will see a screen that looks something like this:

On the screen, you will notice four buttons on the upper right hand corner - Search, Register, Help, Login.  Click on the Register Button.

2.    When you click on the Register button, you will see a form that asks you to enter various information.  The only required fields are username, password, and e-mail address.  You can create your own username and password.  When you have entered the required information, click on the "Register" button at the bottom of the screen.   When you click on the button, you will see a screen that looks something like this:

3.    Click on the "Virtual Guest Speaker Program - Environmental Law" link.  At that point, you should see a page that looks something like this, which prompts you for a password.  Type in the password, which is "environment" (without the quotation marks), and click on the Enter button. 


   

4.    You will then see a screen that looks like the screen below.  You will notice that there are eight buttons across the top right hand corner of the page (Signup, Search, Calendar, Home, Control Panel, ...).  Click on the "Signup" button to join the discussion list for the Virtual Guest Speaker program.  Once you do that, you will be a member of the list and you can post messages to the list.  



5.    After you click on the Signup button, the page should look something like the screen below.  You will notice that the buttons at the top right hand corner of the screen have changed and the "Signup" button has been replaced by a "New Post" button.   If you want to post a new message, simply click on the "New Post" button at the top of the screen.  If you want to read existing messages in a thread, such as the "Welcome Message" thread, click on the link for the message.  In the example above, you would click on the "Welcome Message" link to read the message and any replies to the message.


6.    At the end of your session, click on the "Logout" button in the top right hand corner of the screen to logout.


Procedure for using the discussion list

1.    When you go to the home page for the discussion list (http://www2.law.mercer.edu/pforums), you will first need to login.  You will see the login button in the upper right hand corner of the screen, as the home page should look something like this:

 

2.    When you click on the "Login" button, you will be prompted for your username and password.  Type in your username and password and click on the "Login" button at the bottom of the page.  After your hit "Login", you should see a screen that looks something like this:

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3.    To enter the Virtual Guest Speaker Program discussion list, click on the "Virtual Guest Speaker - Environmental Law" link on the screen.  At that point, you should see a page that looks something like this, which prompts you for a password.  Type in the password, which is "environment" (without the quotation marks), and click on the Enter button. 


4.    You will then see a screen that looks like the screen below.

5.    Reading and Replying to Existing Questions: If you want to read the Welcome Message that was posted and any replies to that message, click on the "Welcome Message" link.  If you want to read a different message (such as the message regarding Professor Kornfeld's Lecture on the screen above) and any replies to that message, you could read that message and any replies to that message by clicking on the link for that message.  If you clicked on the "Welcome Message" link above, you might see something like this:


6.    You will notice that there are a series of icons above the text of the message to the right of the information regarding the time that the message was posted.  If you mouse over the icons, you will discover that, by clicking on the left-most icon, you can reply to the message.

7.    Posting New Questions or Topics: If, at any point, you wish to post a new message, rather than replying to messages that have already been posted, simply click on the "New post" button at the top of the screen.

8.    At the end of your session, click on the "Logout" button in the top right hand corner of the screen to logout.


 
 Advanced features and software quirks

1.   Attachments:  You can attach files to the messages that you send to the discussion list.  Simply press the "Advanced" button that you will see when you are posting a message or responding to a message.  While the software indicates that users can include HTML in their messages, this merely means that you can include actual HTML code as an attachment.  This will not be very useful for most users.  Unlike many e-mail or discussion list software programs, this software will not convert URLs (i.e. http://www.mercer.edu) into active links that you can click on.  In order to make a URL an active link, you would actually have to include the HTML code as an attachment.   


2.   Changing the look of the list:  When you enter the discussion list page, you can change the way that you receive messages (i.e. receive e-mail notification of messages, in addition to Web notification) and change many other features of the page (i.e. frames v. no frames) by clicking on the "Options" button at the top of the page.

** E-mail notification feature:  The software includes an e-mail notification feature that allows you to receive messages that are posted to the list in categories (threads) that you choose (mentioned above).  If, however, you wish to respond to a message and you want your response posted to the list, RESPOND FROM THE WEB SITE AND NOT VIA E-MAIL.  When you receive an e-mail notification of a message that has been posted on the Web site, you may instinctively want to respond to that message via e-mail.  However, if you do so, your e-mail will only be sent to the person who sent the message to the list, and not to the whole list.  If you want to send a message to the list, you must send the message from the Web site.  This is due to a quirk in the software.


 3.   Terminology quirk:  When you see references to "threads" in the "options" section of the software and elsewhere, the software is referring to all of the messages in a particular category as a "thread."  This definition may be a bit broader than the traditional definition of a "thread."