Other tools

Chapter 2: Moderator

Table of contents

Google Moderator

Overview

Google Moderator at your school

Add Moderator to your school Apps domain

Create and manage a Moderator page

Check availability at your school

Create a new Moderator page

Edit or delete a Moderator page or series

Allow anonymous posting

Create a topic

Edit a topic

Comment or answer questions

Submit or vote on ideas or topics

Share link to Moderator questions

Vote on an existing question or idea

Submit an idea or question

Questions with blue backgrounds

Delete and flag questions

Remove questions

Flag questions

Review flagged questions

Embed Moderator pages on a site

Presentation view for topics

Google Moderator

Overview

Google Moderator is a product that is designed to let a group of people ask and vote on questions or topics. It is more than a survey tool (which you can use via forms in Google Docs. People don't just pick from a pre-set list, they submit ideas that the entire group can view and vote on. Review Chapter 6 in Module 4 to learn more about forms » 

Google Moderator also makes it possible to submit questions anonymously, taking away the potential fear or stigma of asking questions in class.

Questions on the Google Moderator page are automatically ranked based on how many positive votes they have. If a question has 100 total votes of which 50 are positive and 50 are negative votes, it will be ranked lower than a question with 90 total votes, of which 85 are positive and only 5 are negative.

Google Moderator actually started out as an internal tool designed by a Google Engineer Intern's 20% time. He enjoyed guest lectures but noticed there were always more questions than there was time to address. He thought it would be better to have a tool that let an audience vote on whether or not a question should be asked, so the best and most popular questions could be prioritized. With that information, the presenter or moderator of an event could ask the questions that were of most interest to people in the crowd.

Google Moderator at your school

There are many occasions in which you can use Google Moderator at your school or in the classroom:

Basically, Google Moderator can be used in any situation in which you would like to solicit ideas or questions and understand the most common concerns or interests. You can let the crowd prioritize what's important through voting up or down different ideas or questions.

The anonymous submission option can also be useful in sensitive discussions or with individuals who typically don't voice their opinion or raise their hands.  

Add Moderator to your school Apps domain

Moderator is not included with your Google Apps Education Edition account automatically, domain administrators must manually add the service.

Please note: If you are not a domain administrator, you will not be able to add Moderator or access the dashboard. Please contact your domain administrator to set-up Moderator.

You must also be using the 'Next Generation' version of the control panel to use Moderator. You can turn on the 'Next Generation' as follows:

  1. Log in to your control panel with your Administrator account at http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourschool.org.   Be sure to replace [yourschool.org] with your actual school Apps domain name.
  2. Click the 'Domain Settings' tab in the blue bar on top of the control panel.
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  4. Under Control Panel, select 'Next generation (US English only)'.

Besides the list of services that appear in your dashboard, you can also add Moderator from the additional services link:

You can then add the Moderator service as follows:

  1. Log in to your control panel with your Administrator account at  at http://www.google.com/a/cpanel/yourschool.org. Be sure to replace [yourschool.org] with your actual school Apps domain name.
  2. In the Service settings section of the dashboard, click Add more services.
  3. Under Moderator, click Add it now to add the service to your school Apps domain.

Create and manage a Moderator page

Check availability at your school

Google Moderator is available as a 'Labs' feature for your school domain. Your school Apps domain administrator must add Moderator as a service to your domain in order for you to use Google Moderator with your school.

Check with your school Apps domain administrator to see if they have added Google Moderator. They will then have a specific URL for accessing moderator pages.

When Google Moderator is available on your school domain, it allows you to:

Create a new Moderator page

A Moderator page is called a 'series' - as in a series of questions. Within that page (or 'series') you can have multiple topics. Each topic refers to a subject of questions, so that topic can have a set of questions or ideas.

For example, you may want to create a page just for your class, but have links to different sets of questions.

The page for your class would be a series which you could name 'My Class Questions'.

Within that series, you could add topics such as 'Final Exam Review' and 'Class party ideas.'

Your students could then click on 'Final Exam Review' and start adding and voting on suggestions.

Basically, a series can be your 'homepage' of all the sets of questions you would like to ask.

To create a new series:

  1. Access the link to your school Moderator page (this is set by your school Apps domain administrator)
  2. Under My Series click the Create Series button.
  3. Enter the title for your series (remember, this is a page that can have several different topics, so it's better to make it broad)
  4. Enter a description for your series
  5. Add 'owners' to the series (these people can make changes to the series name or description, add new topics, and add comments)
  6. Specify the semantics of the series from the drop down menus.
  7. Select whether you will allow questions to be submitted anonymously.
  8. Click Create Series.

Your new series will have a unique URL which you can bookmark and save. It will also be available on your school moderator page under My Series.

Edit or delete a Moderator page or series

Once you have created a new Moderator page (or series), you can edit the details from two places.

While on the page of the series:

  1. Click the 'Home' button on the left side.
  2. Click the 'Edit series' button.
  3. If editing, modify the information.
  4. Click 'Save' to save, or Click 'Delete series' to delete the series.

While on the school Moderator page (set by your school Apps domain administrator):

  1. Click the series you would like to edit or delete under 'My Series'
  2. Click the 'Edit series' button.
  3. If editing, modify the information.
  4. Click 'Save' to save, or Click 'Delete series' to delete the series.

Allow anonymous posting

The creator of the series has the option to allow or disallow anonymous posts. Anonymous posting preferences will be set for the entire series, so any topics within that series will also allow anonymous posting.

Posts that are not anonymous will display the nickname of the user, which the user chooses when they start using Moderator for the first time.

You can set anonymous posting when you are creating a series by selecting the 'Let people submit questions anonymously.' checkbox.

You can also change the setting to either turn on or off anonymous posting by editing the series:

While on the page of the series:

  1. Click the 'Home' button on the left side.
  2. Click the 'Edit series' button.
  3. Check or uncheck the 'Let people submit questions anonymously'
  4. Click 'Save' to save

While on the school Moderator page (set by your school Apps domain administrator):

  1. Click the series you would like to edit or delete under 'My Series'
  2. Click the 'Edit series' button.
  3. Check or uncheck the 'Let people submit questions anonymously'
  4. Click 'Save' to save

Create a topic

A topic is a subject within a series. Think of a series as a "Homepage" for your list of questions. Topics are subpages to categorize questions and help people find where to ask their questions.

For example, if you create a series of '9th grade book recommendations,' topics could be 'Fiction,' 'Non-fiction,' or 'Auto-biographies.' These book genre topics are categories of the larger recommended books series.

When you create a new series, you will automatically be taken to start your first topic.

To create the new topic:

  1. Click 'Add new topic' on the left side of the page
  2. Enter the name of the topic (e.g. 'Fiction')
  3. Enter the description (e.g. 'Favorite fiction books you read this year')
  4. Specify additional information (date for the series, deadline for submissions)
  5. Click Save.

You will then see the information for the topic. You can save or bookmark this link if you would like to send people directly to this topic, where they can read the description and additional details.

Edit a topic

To edit a topic you have created:

  1. Click on the topic in the left side of the page
  2. Click the 'Edit' link at the top, next to the name of the topic.
  3. Modify the topic information.
  4. Click Save.

The URL for the topic will remain the same, so you do not need to update any bookmarks or links.

Comment or answer questions

In addition to voting in favor of or against a question, if you own a series you'll also be able to post comments or responses on questions.

Just click Post a response and you can share your thoughts on the question with other participants.

Submit or vote on ideas or topics

Share link to Moderator questions

Once you have created a series and added a topic, you can see a list of questions or ideas. To get to the list of questions, you can have a link that goes to your Moderator series page or a link that goes right to the topic of choice in your series page. You can then share this link with those that you want to view, vote, or post questions

To find the the link to your Moderator series page:

  1. Go to your school Moderator page (this is set by your school Apps domain administrator).
  2. Click the series under 'My Series'.
  3. Copy the URL in the address bar. This is the direct link to your series.

To find the link of a specific topic within your Moderator series:

  1. Go to your school Moderator page (this is set by your school Apps domain administrator).
  2. Click the series under 'My Series.'
  3. Click the topic link in the left side of the page.
  4. Copy the URL in the address bar. This is the direct link to the topic of your series.

You can then use that URL in emails, documents, or web site pages to direct participants to your Moderator questions.

Vote on an existing question or idea

Once you are viewing a moderator series and have clicked on a Moderator topic in the left side of the page, you can view a list of questions and ideas.

If you see a question that's been submitted, you can vote to recommend that it's asked. You can only vote on a question once.

To do so, simply click the checkmark button.

You can also click the X button if you'd like to vote against an existing question.

When you mouse over the bars, you'll see the number of votes that have already been submitted.

Please note: You can vote on as many of the questions as you want, but you can only submit one vote per question.

Submit an idea or question

You can either submit a question or vote on a question that's already been asked.

Because Moderator is part of Google Apps for your school, you will need to make sure you are logged into your school Apps account.

To submit a new question:

  1. At the bottom of the topic page, Click the Suggest a question button.
  2. Type your question or idea.
  3. Select the topic for your question or idea.
  4. Edit your signature (name and city) by clicking the 'Edit' link beneath the text box. Click Save.
  5. Click Submit.

Your question or idea will now appear within the topic you selected.

Questions with blue backgrounds

The question highlighted in blue is a random question that you haven't seen yet.

In drawing attention to a random question, it gives viewers the opportunity to vote on a question that might not be ranked at the top yet. This can be useful in cases when many questions or ideas are submitted and it is difficult to scroll and click through them all.

Once you vote on an idea, a new idea will be randomly pulled. You can also choose to skip the question and view another by clicking the 'Skip' button.

Delete and flag questions

Remove questions

Anyone who submits a question or idea can remove it at any time. When they are signed in, the questions they submitted will show a Remove link beneath the voting buttons.

When you click Remove, the question or idea will be removed from the presentation and topic view and will no longer be associated with your account.

Flag questions

Anyone who can view/vote on questions can also flag questions as inappropriate. Multiple people can flag the same question as inappropriate.

When someone flags a question, there will be a note on that question alerting that it has been flagged.

Questions will not be removed, however, until the owner of the series review the questions and decides whether the flag was correct (and should be removed) or incorrect (and should remain).

Review flagged questions

The owner of the series will have the option to review these and either approve of the flag, thus removing the question/idea from the list, or disapprove of the flag, keeping the question as-is.

If you are the owner of the series, you can review flagged questions by doing the following:

  1. Click the 'Flags to review' link on the left side beneath Please Review:
  2. Within each question, click the 'I agree' or 'I disagree' links. 'I agree' will approve the flag, removing it from the list. 'I disagree' will reject the flag, and keep the question in the list

You can always change your mind on these questions:

Embed Moderator pages on a site

If you have a class or school website, you may want to embed your Google Moderator pages directly onto a 'vote' or 'questions' page within your site instead of directing people away to another page.

You can embed a Google Moderator page on your site by iframing your Google Moderator series. However, embedding requires an additional parameter to avoid authentication issues with IE and Safari when users have to login. The next step will go through how to create the custom URL for the iframe.

In order to embed a moderator series into a website the embed URL template depends on the URL for your school Moderator page (set by your school Apps domain administrator).

For this example, assume your school Moderator page is: moderator.myschool.org. Whenever you see moderator.myschool.org replace it with whatever your actual school moderator page is.

The embed url template would then be:

http://moderator.myschool.org/?embed=#

As an example, for the Google Moderator series with a regular URL: http://moderator.g1usd.org/#15/e=308fb), the series information is 15/e=308fb, which is the text after the # symbol. (It will be different for your series).

Now that you have your embed url template, here's how to create the full URL for the iFrame:

  1. Take the webpage URL where you want to embed your Google Moderator series (e.g. http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/ms-smith)
  2. The final embed URL would be: http://moderator.myschool.org/?embed=http://sites.google.com/a/myschool.org/ms-smith#15/e=308fb

The final embed URL is what you would use as the source for your iframe.

Presentation view for topics

Presentation view is a link that opens a simplified window of questions available for topic of questions/ideas within a series.

In Presentation view, you can easily scroll through the top voted questions, but you cannot vote. Using the up and down arrows, you can highlight a specific question/idea that can indicate which question/idea you are addressing.

The full view of Google Moderator may be too cluttered to project onto a screen or in a large room or auditorium. Presentation view is a way to showcase the results of the voting and go through the top questions.

Times when you might use the presentation view:

To get to the presentation view click on a topic, then click the 'Presentation view' link next to Popular ideas.