Thank you for adding the option to select open and ending dates in the recent release of the Forums tool. Feedback from our faculty is generally positive, but several have requested an improvement to the availability options.
The current feature opens (shows) and closes (hides) the topic on set dates/times. The issue is that on the close date the topic disappears for students completely. Several faculty have requested an option for open and lock dates for topics. This way, the topic would appear and be available for conversations at a specified date and then be locked (but still viewable) at a later date.
We imagine three options under the Availability heading:
Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (hide)
Specify dates to open (show) and/or close (lock)
Either that, or add a selection below the "Specify dates..." option. When selected, there are the date fields for the open and close dates, but an additional radio button selection for the behavior:
hide - the topic disappears from student view at the close date
lock - the topic remains visible in student view but posting is disabled at the close date
In graded discussion activities, it's important to have deadlines. This feature would enforce deadlines but also enable students to learn from their postings and those of their peers after an activity is over. If a topic is completely hidden from students, then they do not have an opportunity to review previous postings, peer feedback, professor feedback, etc.
This feature would also save faculty valuable time. As it stands, if professors want students to learn from previous conversations but prevent additional conversation/edits, then the professors must return to the topic, edit the settings, and manually change the availability from "specify" to "show immediately" (which faculty often overlook) and then click the separate "lock" checkbox under topic posting. This revised feature would automate or streamline the process, saving faculty time and efforts. I know several of our faculty would be very grateful for this feature.
Thank you for considering this feature request.