The forum activity module enables participants to have asynchronous discussions i.e. discussions that take place over an extended period of time. To add a new forum:

  1. Turn editing on in the upper right hand corner of your course page
  2. Select ‘Add an activity or resource’ in the section where you would like to add the forum
  3. Select ‘Forum’ from the list of activities in the pop up that appears’
  4. Give the forum a name (what students will see on the main page of your Moodle course to get to the forum) and a description (this is a good place to outline your expectations for how the forum is used, whether it’s posting writing drafts, responding to readings, or even sharing images of your workspaces).
  5. Next, choose the type of forum; the default option is Standard forum for general use, which allows a lot of flexibility in how you and your students utilize the forum:
    • A single simple discussion – A single discussion topic which everyone can reply to (cannot be used with separate groups)
    • Each person posts one discussion – Each student can post exactly one new discussion topic, which everyone can then reply to
    • Q and A forum – Students must first post their perspectives before viewing other students’ posts
    • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with “Discuss this topic” links
    • Standard forum for general use – An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time

A teacher can allow files to be attached to forum posts. Attached images are displayed in the forum post.

Participants can subscribe to a forum to receive notifications of new forum posts. A teacher can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or prevent subscription completely. If required, students can be blocked from posting more than a given number of posts in a given time period; this can prevent individuals from dominating discussions.

Forum posts can be rated by teachers or students (peer evaluation). Ratings can be aggregated to form a final grade which is recorded in the gradebook.

Forums have many uses, such as

  • A social space for students to get to know each other
  • For course announcements (using a news forum with forced subscription)
  • For discussing course content or reading materials
  • For continuing online an issue raised previously in a face-to-face session
  • For teacher-only discussions (using a hidden forum)
  • A help centre where tutors and students can give advice
  • A one-on-one support area for private student-teacher communications (using a forum with separate groups and with one student per group)

Once a forum is created, students will see the option to ‘Start a New Discussion’ (you’ll also see this when you click into the forum). Students can also reply to each others’ posts. Please note: by default, students have a 5 minute window to edit their posts after submitting them.

You can also change your preferences in Moodle to select how you receive email notifications for forums you are subscribed to.