Forum’s classroom stage can be configured into many different layouts that display participants, slides, collaborative docs, and more.

An instructor, or any other starred participant, can manually configure the stage when they want to depart from the timeline or default configuration. Forum does its best to simplify these interactions by automatically keeping the stage filled with participants so as to equalize talk time.

What is the classroom participant bar?

The bar of videos displayed along the top of the screen. Depending on the size of the class, everyone may be displayed in the participant bar, or students will be shuffled into the bar if the class is larger.

What is the classroom stage?

Just below the participant bar, the stage is used to display participants, resources and other artifacts from class. The stage consists of 1-8 panes. During class, everyone sees the same stage and participant bar.

What is a participant?

A person that can talk, speak, and be seen during class. Those with the role of ‘observer’ are not participants, as they can not directly participate in class. There are two types of participants, general participants (ie learners) and starred participants.

Starred participants have special privileges and controls in the classroom, identified by a star next to their name. They are grouped on the left side of the participant bar and include instructors, guest instructors, and TAs.

Who can change the stage layout?

Only instructors and starred participants can manually configure the stage. Forum does its best to simplify these interactions by automatically keeping the stage filled with participants, minimizing the actions required by an instructor.

How to change the classroom stage layout

To change the number of people on stage, use the 1-8 keys on your keyboard. This will create 1-8 panes on the stage. For instance, pushing the 5 key will change the stage to have 5 panes. The equally-sized panes (i.e. the four on the right side of the screen in the screenshot below) will be auto-filled with students, while the large pane is reserved for displaying resources.

How does Forum handle the automatic filling of panes?

Forum follows 4 rules when it comes to populating panes.

  1. Autofill Same-Sized Panes

    Anytime the stage is manually or automatically changed, Forum will automatically fill all same sized panes (the blue panes in the image below) with a participant.

  2. Leave Large Panes Empty

    Anytime the stage is manually or automatically changed, Forum will leave all single large panes in a 1, 3,5, or 7-up (the white panes in the image below) empty so that the instructor can choose a resource or other artifact to display.

  3. Pick the Right Random Participant

    Anytime Forum has to pick a participant to be displayed (either on stage or in the participant bar), Forum will prioritize these conditions:

    • Participants with the least number of times in the participant bar (for large classes)

    • Participants with the least amount of talk time for the current class

    • If there are empty panes left on the stage, these will be filled in with starred participants

    • Note: Participants with non-functional microphones (i.e. people who can't talk) will be the lowest priority in all cases

  4. Replace the Right Participant

    Anytime Forum has to pick a participant to replace (either on stage or in the participant bar), Forum will prioritize these conditions:

    • Participants with the most talk time

    • Note: Resources, polls, pinned participants, starred participants, or currently speaking participants are never replaced automatically

Using keyboard shortcuts

There are many keyboard shortcuts to help instructors manage the stage quickly and easily. To view these keyboard shortcuts while you’re in the classroom, use the keyboard shortcut “K”.

You can view this article on keyboard shortcuts for more information.

Managing stage content and the participant bar

Now that you know the basics of changing the stage layout, learn how to:

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