News (Announcements) Widget
Also known as “Announcements,” the News widget offers a number of ways to keep students up to date in your class. This page offers suggestions for ways to use News and instructions for how to add and manage news items.
Ways to Use News
- Post timely messages about what you want students to do next in your course.
- Perhaps most important, include a welcome message so students know what to do first.
- Include links to quizzes, dropbox folders, discussions, and content items.
- Write messages before the course starts and have them automatically appear on the course home page at set times.
- Make your syllabus and other key files available to students on your course homepage.
Create a News Item
To make the first news item in your course, click “Create a news item.” To add more news items, click the little downward-pointing triangle next to “News.”
The menu under that triangle has several options. You can
- “Go to News Tool” lets you view and edit all new items, including those not currently visible in the widget.
- “New News Item” takes you strait to the editor to add an item to the widget.
- “Reorder News Items” .
- Get an RSS feed of the news items.
- Set notification options.
- Customize the number of items that show at once.
- “Style” the way the widget looks.
News Item Options
Below the required Headline and Content boxes, you find the following.
You can set a time when the item becomes visible to students, and a date when it ends and disappears.
Attach files you want to share with students here. For each file you attach, there will be a link beneath your message. The link’s text will be your file name, so give you file a meaningful name before you attach it.
You can also record a short audio message. It too will become a link beneath your message. The audio recorder uses Flash, which can be tricky to get set up. Once it’s working, though, the recorder is easy to use.
Additional Release Conditions
As with many tools in Pilot, you can use release conditions to control who sees a New item and under what conditions.
Dismiss Versus Delete a News Item
To “dismiss” an item hides it only for an individual user and can be undone. To “delete” an item removes it from the course for all users.
Dismiss a News Item
There’s a little X in the top right of each news item. Each user can click the X to “dismiss” the item. This hides it from that user only. It neither deletes the item nor hides it for other users.
Restore a News Item
To make a dismissed news item visible again on the homepage, first click the triangle next to “News” in the widget’s title bar and choose “Go to News Tool.”
On the News page, click the triangle next to the name of the item you have dismissed and choose “Restore.”
Delete a News Item
If you want delete a news item from your course, click the little triangle next to the item’s name and choose “Delete.” That will remove the item from your course. No one will be able to see it. You cannot undo it.
Reorder News Items
You can reorder items in News either from the homepage or from within the news tool. On the homepage, click the triangle next to “News” and choose “Reorder News Items.” Within the news tool, click the “More Actions” button at the top of the page and choose “Reorder.”
In the “Sort Order” column, change the numbers to reflect the order you want, then click “Save” at the bottom of the page.