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Moodle 3.0, 3.2: Add a Discussion Forum
Applies to: Moodle 2.8, 3.0, 3.2
Forums are like online message boards. They are used for asynchronous, online discussions. They allow students and instructors to exchange ideas by posting comments as part of a thread.
There are two different types of discussion forum tools in Moodle: Forum and Forum+.
In this article:
By default, forums allow students and instructors to:
- Create new discussions.
- Reply in others’ discussion threads.
- Include images and links in posts.
- Attach documents to posts.
Forums can also be set up so that:
- Discussions can only happen within small student groups, see Use Groups with Forums.
- Instructors can rate student posts, see Rate or Grade a Discussion Forum.
- Instructors can assign a grade for posts (Forum+)
- Instructors can lock discussions after a specific period of time (Forum)
Note: In future versions of Moodle, the Forum+ features will be integrated into the regular Forum tool, and Forum+ (beta) will be retired. Forums created with the Forum+ (beta) tool might not be migrated to new course sites. You may have to manually recreate any forums created with this tool in future versions of Moodle.
Forum+ has most of the features available in the standard Forum. In addition, Forum+ has the ability to set up:
- Anonymous posting
- Allows forums to be completely anonymous, with the option to reveal your identity when replying to a post.
- Private Replies
- Allows private communication in forum replies.
- Bookmark a post, indicating that it needs to be addressed later.
- Mark posts as Substantive to indicate that the posting is significant or relevant to the topic in some way.
- Manual Grading
- Allows grading through the grade book instead of directly rating forum posts.
Only use Forum+ (beta) if you need one of these features.
- Go to the course homepage and click Turn editing on.
- Click Add an activity or resource in the section where you want to add the [item].
- Select Forum or Forum+ (beta) and click Add.
- In the Forum name text box, enter the name of the forum.
- In the Forum Description text box enter a description and instructions for the activity.
- For Forum type, choose one of the following:
- Single simple discussion –The instructor can create only one discussion. This keeps the conversation focused on one topic. Users are allowed to post replies but cannot start new discussion topics.
- Each person posts one discussion – Each person in class can start only one discussion. This forum type can be useful if each student needs to post one question or choose only one topic from a reading. Each discussion can have multiple replies.
- Q and A Forum – Use to present a question and answer format that requires students to post their answers before viewing other student postings. Once a student sends a post, they must wait 15 minutes (the allotted time to edit their own post) before viewing and responding to other posts.
- Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format - Anyone can start a new discussion at any time. Discussion topics are displayed on one page with a snippet of the discussion included.
- Standard forum for general use – Anyone can start a new discussion at any time. Each discussion is on a separate page.
- Select and complete additional options (see Commonly Used Settings below).
- Scroll down and click Save and display.
Use Moodle Help next to each setting for more information.
- Subscription and tracking: Subscription mode - Controls whether emails are sent from the forum when posts are made. Note: Students can also choose through their profile whether they receive an email every time someone posts or whether they receive an email at the end of each day with a compilation of all that day’s posts.
- Optional: Students can choose to subscribe to the forum or not.
- Forced: Everyone is subscribed and cannot unsubscribe (not recommended)
- Auto: Everyone is subscribed initially, but can unsubscribe
- Disabled: subscriptions are not allowed
- Post threshold for blocking - Sets a maximum number of posts allowed for students during a particular time period, e.g., no more than three posts per day.
- Discussion locking - Discussions (in 3.2) can now be locked after a specific period of time. The default is not to be locked. A period from a day to a year may be selected. Instructors can override a locked discussion by posting a reply.
- Ratings - To grade a discussion, select an Aggregate type and Scale. If the scale is numeric, it will be calculated as part of the grade. If the scale is non-numeric, it will not be calculated. To allow only certain posts to be rated, select a date range.
- Restrict access - Select the dates for allowing access. When the activity can't be accessed, you can choose to show it grayed-out, or hide the activity entirely. You can also restrict access according to criteria that you define.