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CIC Faculty Guide Online



Why Use GoPost?

GoPost is an online forum for class discussion. This type of discussion is particularly applicable to composition courses, as it engages students in writing to express their ideas about course content, assignments, or other topics. Many instructors incorporate electronic discussion into their class participation grades and have found that students who tend to be quieter during in-class discussion are often some of the more active participants in electronic conversations.

Although some instructors use email and/or a mailman listserv for electronic discussion, many prefer to use a discussion board for several reasons:

Below is an image of the text editor for messages. Notice that students can attach files, upload images, use emoticons, and format text (for example, for posting citations in MLA or APA style).

Screen shot of GoPost conversation box


Ways to Use GoPost

  1. Students can read each other's responses to inform their own--reflecting on another student's response can also be part of the prompt.
  2. You can set the posting deadline so that you have access to their reading responses before class, making this an excellent resource for planning class.
  3. If you are teaching in a CIC lab, you can ask students to peruse the class posts in order to prepare them for an in-class discussion, or prompt them to respond to a post to start off a discussion in class.
  4. GoPost keeps tracks of the numbers of posts per student. This is an easy way to track participation points.


Configuring GoPost Discussion Boards

Creating a GoPost Discussion Board

To create a discussion board with GoPost:

  1. Go to the Catalyst Web site: http://catalyst.washington.edu. Select “Web Tools Login” from the top of the welcome page and enter your UW NetID and password when prompted.

    screen shot of Catalyst homepage menu bar and login link
  2. Click on the GoPost icon in Catalyst Web Tools menu across the top right of the page. If you have never used a Catalyst tool before, you will be prompted to enter your name and other information.
  3. Choose a Name for your board. This is usually your course name, unless you plan to have multiple boards for a particular course (for example, regular vs. anonymous postings or required vs. optional discussion).
  4. The Description box is where you include general information about the discussion board for your students, such as the purpose of the board (and perhaps a pedagogical rationale for why you incorporate electronic discussion in your course) and board policies, such as whether posts are required or optional and whether you, as the instructor, will be responding regularly or simply monitoring the board.
  5. Below the Description box is a box labeled Choose how to organize your board. This choice is one of the few irreversible set-up options for your board is organization. GoPost offers two options:

    One list of conversations: The main board page will display all conversations that have occurred as a single list.

    Discussion areas: The main board page will link to discussion areas you create. For example, some instructors ask students to post journal reflections to the board each week. They make a specific area for those discussions and create other areas for other discussions and assignments. Other instructors have one discussion area with required participation, and another that is optional or extra credit.

    Once you have chosen a particular organizational scheme, it cannot be changed, as it is part of the fundamental structure for the discussion board. If you are unsure which option to choose, we recommend choosing One list of conversations, as this is the simplest organization format.
  6. After selecting your board’s organization, click the Save button. The main administration screen for your discussion board will appear.
  7. On the administration screen there are two things that are immediately important. The first is to notice that the Availability of the board is indicated as Closed. Your students will not be able to access the board until you manually set the board to Open. Second, you will see the board's URL underneanth your name as owner. This is the URL that you can distribute to students to access your board once you have set participant access.
  8. Once you have opened your board and set participant access, your board is ready for use. The Catalyst GoPost Help Center offers instructions for adding, editing and reordering discussion areas, starting a new conversation, and ensuring that important postings appear at the top of the discussion thread.



Sample GoPost Boards

The CIC Swap Spot—available on the LAN and online—contains a GoPost folder with sample materials. You can browse also the following boards to see what sorts of inquiries and activities English classes engage through GoPost:


Additional Resources

Resources for Instructors

Resources for Students

You might find these particular links useful to share with students, if they are new to electronic discussion and/or the GoPost tool: