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Discussion forums in Moodle

This guide describes the two types of forums in Moodle: the Forum activity and Announcements. It details how to create each type and describes when you might find each one suitable.


Skip to Announcements

What is a Forum?

Discussion Forums are a popular online communication medium, allowing users to exchange asynchronous conversation with course leaders/teachers and peers within the security of a Moodle course. Students can post and reply to posts in the Forum activity.

How to create the Forum activity

  1. Go to the Moodle space and click Turn editing on.
  2. Click Add an activity or resource.
  3. Select Forum from the list.
  4. Give the forum a Name and a Description. The description might include instructions on what students should use the forum for as they will see it at the top.
  5. Choose a Forum type from the drop-down menu. The default is set to Standard forum for general use. This is an open forum where anyone can start a new topic at any time.
    • Each person posts one discussion: Each person can post one new discussion topic which everyone can reply to. This is useful when you want each student to start a discussion about, say, their reflections on the week's topic or as an introduction task.
    • A single simple discussion: A single topic discussion developed on one page, which is useful for short, focused discussions.
    • Q and A Forum: Students must post before viewing their peers' posts. This acts as a way of encouragement and students are not influenced by other posts read before.
  6. Click the Subscription and tracking header to expand the section.
  7. Review the Subscription mode. When a participant is subscribed to a forum it means they will receive forum post notifications. The default is set to Auto subscription, meaning participants are automatically subscribed but can unsubscribe at any time. Click the question mark icon next to the drop-down menu for more on each option.
  8. Click Save and display at the bottom of the page.
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 Moodle Gradebook.

Watch the Moodle video below for more information on the forum activity (04:23):

More information on the forum activity is available at Moodle Docs.

Announcements

The Announcements forum is a one-way discussion platform where editors can post messages to all participants enrolled on the Moodle space. Participants will receive notification by email when a new post is made. Students are unable to reply to posts.

The default subscription mode is set so that all students are subscribed and cannot unsubscribe. The Announcements forum is created automatically and is located below the header in the centre space. Announcements can be used in conjunction with Groups for more granular communications.

Add an announcements forum

If required, additionally to the default one, further Announcements forums can be added:

  1. Go to the Moodle space and click Turn editing on.
  2. Click on Edit for the existing Announcements forum.
  3. Select Duplicate from the action menu.
  4. Hover over the four headed arrow to drag and drop the new Announcements Forum to the appropriate location.
  5. Make changes to the name and settings as required.
Add a post to an Announcements Forum
  1. Click Announcements in the Moodle space.
  2. Click Add a new topic.
  3. Type a Subject and add content to the Message field.
  4. To add an attachment, click Advanced and then drag and drop your files into the Attachments box.
    • Under Advanced, you can also Send forum post notifications with no editing-time delay. This will send notifications straight away. When this option is not ticked, notifications will be sent with a 30 minute editing delay.
  5. Click Post to forum.
  6. To pin your post to the top of the forum, click the ellipsis icon and then click Pin this discussion. Alternatively, posts will be ordered chronologically.
Using announcements with Groups

In order for participants to receive announcements based on their group membership:

  1. Create the groups and add the relevant participants (see guide on how to create groups).
  2. Under Common Module Settings, select a Group mode. Use Separate groups to prevent groups seeing announcements sent to other groups.
  3. Create a new announcement and choose the relevant group from the drop-down menu.
    • A new Group section appears below Attachment. Note the checkbox to Post a copy to all groups.
Please note that Editing teachers will always receive a notification from Announcements even when sent to a specific group.

More information on Announcements is available at Moodle Docs.


The information on this page relates to Moodle v3.10 and was last updated September 2021.

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