A Forum is an activity for asynchronous communication. Forums are useful for organizing conversations and providing a collaborative space for students. The Moodle Forum tool can be used on its own for asynchronous, online discussions, or in combination with face-to-face discussions. Online, asynchronous discussions and face-to-face synchronous discussions each have their advantages. Each requires planning in the context of integrated, student-centered course design.
On this page, you’ll find some tips on using a Moodle Forum and its features for class discussions.
There are five different forum types. Select a type based on the learning objectives for the activity, and desired types and number of responses.
- A single simple discussion: A single topic discussion developed on one page, which is useful for short, focused discussions. This type of forum cannot be used with separate groups.
- Standard forum for general use: An open forum where anyone can start a new topic at any time; this is the best general-purpose forum. Standard forums are well suited for open-ended, complex discussions.
- Each person posts one discussion: Each person can post exactly one new discussion topic, and everyone can reply. This forum type can be used for students to post reflections and notes on a course topic or reading, and then respond to each other. You can require that each student respond to a specific number of discussions.
- Q and A Forum: The instructor poses a question in the initial post of a discussion. Students may reply, but they will not see other students' replies to the question until they have themselves replied to it. Q&A forums are well-suited for questions with more defined answers.
- Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format: The first few lines of an entry are displayed, with the newest entries displayed first.
The descriptions above are adapted from moodle.org documentation
A News Forum is a special type of forum that is automatically created with a new course, and can be used for general course updates and announcements. Only the instructor can post, and everyone is automatically subscribed, meaning that everyone in the course will get a copy of the post in their UMN email accounts.
A Forum can be made available to the entire class, or can be made available to smaller groups through the use of Groups and Groupings.
Feedback and Assessment
Instructor ratings and replies:
- Ratings of posts can be numeric or non-numeric and are shared only with the student being rated.
- Replies to Forum posts are shared with the entire class or groups (depending on settings).
- External rubrics can be used for assessment.
- Private email replies will be soon available. In the meantime, the Dialogue tool can be used for one-to-one discussion between instructor and student.
Peer ratings and replies: Students can reply to one another in any forum to which they have access and which allows replies, but if students are to provide ratings, changing permissions is required. See Change a Role Permission in a Forum.
Forums can be graded or ungraded, depending how you set them up.
Grading options include:
- Non-numeric: use a predefined scale (One to four stars (*), Excellent to Very Poor (4 points), Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, etc.)
- External Rubrics
Non-numeric grades cannot be used in grade calculations.
To encourage participation in a forum, you can prompt students through subscriptions, which send email notifications as participants post. See Forum Subscription Options