Creating a Forum

Instructors and students can communicate and collaborate using Moodle Forums. Instructors can create discussion topics or, depending on the forum type, allow students to originate topics. Course members can then "post" replies, and "subscribe" if they want to receive an email copy of each post made to a particular forum.

Forum Types

There are multiple forum types in Moodle. Some forum types allow only the instructor to start a new topic, and others allow students to start new topics. 

Choose the type(s) of forums that make sense for the activities you are asking your students to do:

  • A single simple discussion allows for only one topic started by the instructor. This is best suited for short-term, focused conversations.
  • Each person posts one discussion allows each student to only start one new topic or conversation within the forum. Students are not limited in the number of replies they can post within those topics.
  • Q and A forum allows an instructor to pose a question to students. Students must post their response or answer before they can view other students’ responses.
  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format allows for the “standard” usage of a discussion forum with multiple topics arranged in a “blog" style format with the first post prominent and comments behind a link. Students may start new topics in this format.
  • Standard forum for general use allows for the “standard” usage of a discussion forum with multiple topics arranged in a threaded conversation. Students may start new topics in this format.

Add a New Forum to Your Course

  1. On your Moodle course page, click Turn editing on (top right). Editing icons and links will appear.
    Turn Editing On
  2. Locate the Topic or Weekly Section where you will add the forum. 
  3. At the bottom-right of the Section, click + Add an activity or resource. The Activity chooser will open.
    Add Activity or Resource
  4. In the Activity chooser, select Forum and then click Add. The Adding a new Forum screen will open.
    Select Forum
  5. On the Adding a new Forum screen, in the Forum name field, enter a name for the forum (required). The name you enter will display as the link to the forum on your course page.
    Forum Name
  6. In the Description field (required), explain the purpose of the forum to your students. For example, you might describe how often students should post, how many posts and replies they should make, and/or the expectations about post content.
    Forum Description 
  7. Optional: To display the Description on the course page below the link to the forum, check Display description on course page. (We recommend selecting this option only if your forum description is very brief.)
    Display Description
  8. For Forum type, select a forum type from the drop-down menu. The default is Standard forum for general use. See descriptions of Forum Types above.
    Forum Types
  9. Attachments and Word Count – Limits the attachment file size and the number of attachments allowed.  Many students like the display word count option – choose whether to enable this option.
    Attachment and Word Count
  10. Subscription mode is set to Optional by default (recommended). This allows students to choose to subscribe to the forum and receive an email copy of each post made. Other choices are:
    • Forced subscription - Everyone is subscribed and cannot unsubscribe (not recommended in most cases)
    • Auto subscription - Everyone is subscribed initially but can choose to unsubscribe at any time
    • Subscription disabled - Subscriptions are not allowed
  11. When Read tracking is enabled in the Read tracking for this forum? drop-down menu, Moodle will indicate when there are unread messages in a forum.  By default, this is set to Optional, and forum tracking is controlled by individual users in their Personal Profile
    Read Tracking
  12. There are several additional forum settings you may choose to configure. The most commonly used settings include:
    • Post threshold for blocking
      Limits the number of posts students can make in a period of time. You can also automatically send students a warning before they reach the posting limit.
      Threshold for Blocking
    • Grade
      If you have created categories in your Moodle gradebook, you can select one from the Grade category drop-down menu. Then set up ratings (below) to assign a grade to the forum.
    • Ratings
      You can grade your students' posts using Ratings. Instructors can rate each post a student makes, and the ratings are aggregated into a single grade in the gradebook. To enable rating for the forum, choose an Aggregate type and Scale.
      Average of ratings - The mean of all ratings becomes the final grade
      Count of ratings - The number of rated items becomes the final grade. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.
      Maximum - The highest rating becomes the final grade
      Minimum - The lowest rating becomes the final grade
      Sum - All of a student's ratings are added together. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade for the activity.
      You can also set a specific date range during which a post must be made in order to receive a grade.
      all ratings options ratings
    • Common module settings
      To assign groups of students to a forum, under Common module settings, choose a Group mode (separate or visible) and Grouping.  The grouping must already exist.
      common module settings
    • Restrict Access
      Restrict access can be used to set the date range during which the forum will be available, or to set conditions for completing other activities before the forum will be available to each student.
  13. Click Save and return to course or Save and display.
Last modified: Monday, June 22, 2015, 2:10 PM