The tips below give a general guide to how to post new topics, how to reply to topics and other features of the system. For a more detailed printable guide in MS Word format, which also describes how to set up and manage email notification of topics you are interested in, click here.
If your post is not a direct reply to a previous post or an extension of a particular topic or thread, post a New Topic, rather than Add a Reply. This helps prevent long unwieldy topics which move from subject to subject, and means people will be able to find your topic instead of it getting buried inside someone elses!
Posting a message can take a bit of getting used to if you've not used a forum before, but the main thing is not to be scared of doing anything wrong. If you do it won't damage anything!
First of all, have a look at the front page of the forum (the Forum Frontpage on the navigation to the left of this screen), and you'll see lots of categories and sections. It's a good idea (though not absolutely necessary) to post in a forum appropriate to your question. So, find a forum area that seems appropriate - for example, if you're a reception teacher, and want to talk about a reception specific issue, use the top category.
Inside the top level categories, you'll see they're broken down further. If your question is general, then click on general issues, for example. Once you're down here you'll see the individual topics people have started off. If you look at the top right of the screen you'll see a button marked 'New Topic'. That's what you'll need to click if you want to start off a topic.
You'll find yourself in a screen which allows you to type in a title and message. Write whatever you want, and then when you've finished, click the 'Post New Topic' button.
If you want instead to reply to someone else's post inside an already existing topic, simply navigate your way to the end of the page that the discussion is happening in, and click the 'Add Reply' button. You'll be presented with a new screen, which has a dialogue box in it. Enter your message, and then click 'Add Reply' once again at the bottom.
That's it! It might sound like a lot but it's really quite straightforward when you've done it a couple of times. It takes a lot more space to describe it than it should!
There are many ways to configure and customize the forum area to your own requirements. The fullest listing of options is via the My Controls link at the top of the forum index page. Some of the most popular are listed, for your convenience, in the MyFSF page - where you can also find other information on who is using the forum at the moment. Use the My Controls link to check which topics you are tracking or forums you have subscribed to. You can change the way you are notified of updates to these topics and forums, and unsubscribe from them when you are no longer interested in being kept up to date. Spending some time looking around these pages will help you get the most out of your time on the forum.
In your user profile, there are a couple of fields that provide what you might think of as personal information. These are Your Interest in FS Education, and How did you find us. These fields are not displayed if anyone goes to look at your personal profile and can only be accessed by, well, me...
Similarly, guests and visitors to the site cannot see the Introduce Yourself forum. This means that your introductions will only be visible to other members, many of whom will have posted their own introduction at some time.
If you clicked the 'Remember me' link when you first became a member, you'll find that the computer you were using at the time will not require you to log in each time, but will assume that you are the same member who last logged on from that computer. If this is not the case and you no longer want to have your login details remembered on a particular machine, just go to the bottom of the forum index page, and click the 'Delete Cookies Set by this Board' link.
To find out if people have been posting since a last recent visit, go to the foundation-stage.info homepage and look at the last 10 posts listed there. You can also click the Track This Topic button underneath a particular topic, to get emailed when someone posts to it.
If you've lost your way in the morass of posts you've been making, and can't find one although you know you've made it, try clicking on My Assistant at the top of the screen. This gives you a whole heap of useful information, including the last 10 posts you've made.
Once you've settled in, and you notice someone new has registered and posted an introduction, (or just their first post), go and reply and welcome them in. An introduction can be the hardest post to make, but very rewarding when it's responded to enthusiastically!
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