Forums

Forums are discussion boards and are an excellent asynchronous communication tool. You can set up general forums in the main header topic of your course to allow your students to communicate with each other in an informal peer-support way, or for posting general course inquiries. You can also add forums as activities within topics as part of a tutorial discussion around a given topic and/or as part of an assessable activity.

Note: The News forum, added to every course by default, does not allow students to post or respond to posts. You need to create an additional forum for students to interact with one another.

Forum subscription

In Moodle, users can subscribe to forums, which means they will get a notification email each time a new post is made. If a forum has been set to Automatic or Optional, the students have the ability to control their own subscription and tracking settings.

Student view

Student forum settings

When setting up a forum, you can choose whether you want to force students to be subscribed forever Forced), never (Subscription disabled) or only initially (Auto subscription) or whether subscription is Optional. It is best to set forums to have students subscribed automatically as this gives them the option of unsubscribing later. The exception to this is the News forum which always forces subscription forever. Teaching staff can change settings at any time, as well as change the subscriptions status of individuals.

Staff view

Forum Controls for teaching staff

Forum types

There are different types of forums you can set up and use for different purposes.

News forum

The News forum is added by default to every new Moodle course and is generally used to make announcements. Everyone enrolled in the course will automatically be sent an email every time a post is made in the news forum. Use this forum to provide your welcome message and for time sensitive information.

You can edit the name of the News forum, for example to change it to Announcements or Important Information, by clicking the update button m_editicon. However, for consistency, this is not recommended.

m_newsedit

Remember students cannot post or reply to the News forum. This is a place for you, the teacher, to post important general announcements that relate to your course.

Forum types – Setting up a new forum

There are four different types of forums you can choose when creating a forum.

A single simple discussion

Where you have a specific discussion question that you are posing and want to keep all discussions within the same view. The forum introduction box (visible only during creation) doubles as the first post. Students can only reply to this posting rather than spark their own topic which means you keep discussions on track and are more likely to have students responding to each other.

Each person posts one discussion

Each student can post one discussion topic only, but can reply to their own and other students posts as many times as they wish. After their initial topic post, they may only reply to existing discussions. This is useful for creating an environment where each student creates a discussion and others give them feedback.

Q and A forum

In the Q and A forum, students have to post their own response before they can see and respond to that of other students. If you are concerned about originality of posts, for example if using posts for assessment, you might want to use this type of forum to force students to think independently in the first instance. Students can only see other students' posts 30 min after they have made their own post.
Note: The teacher has to first post the question as a discussion topic for this to work.

Standard forum for general use

This is an open forum where anyone can start a discussion topic. You should set up at lease one standard forum for general discussions about your course, this is usually called the Common Room or Course Questions and General Discussion.

e.g. Another example of using this forum is a Media Forum: Throughout this topic, or course post links to and discuss the relevance of any media references to topic x.