Moodle: Activities & Resources: Forum Overview

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A Moodle Forum can be used as a social space for students to get to know each other, to discuss course content or reading materials, or as a place for students to ask questions about the class for all to see. The forum activity allows students and teachers to have asynchronous discussions by posting comments and replies as part of a thread. There are several types of forums that can be created depending on the purpose of the discussion and the level of control the instructor wishes to have over student response behaviors. Posts can be dynamic, as files such as images and media may be included with text. Specific preferences allow users to sort, star, and track posts, and instructors can pin posts or lock threads to further participation. Forum posts can be rated (graded) and students can rate each other’s' posts.

There are several forum types to choose from:

  • Standard forum for general use (default): Students will see introductory text in a separate space above the list of discussions. Students see a button to start a new discussion (thread).

  • A single simple discussion: The instructor posts a question and students are able only to reply. They cannot start a new topic of discussion. This is useful for keeping a discussion focused.

  • Each person posts one discussion: Each student can only add one new discussion topic. Other students can then reply to that post.

  • Q and A forum: The instructor posts a question and students respond with possible answers. This type is best used when there is a particular question that all students should answer. By default, a Q and A forum requires students to post once before viewing other students' postings. The instructor must post the initial thread within the forum before students can begin posting.

  • Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format: This type works like the standard forum for general use, but the first post of each discussion is displayed (as in a blog) so that users can read it and then choose to respond by clicking "Discuss this topic" beneath the post.

Forums are graded by using a "ratings" feature, and the ability to give a grade can be restricted to a specific period. Availability dates can be set to create a due date and a cut-off date. The ratings feature includes several types of aggregation methods, such as “sum of ratings” and “maximum rating.” Instructors can specify the type of calculation and provide a maximum grade, depending on how the forum is described in the syllabus. For example, an instructor may require an initial response of 250 words that is worth three points, and two replies to peers that are worth one point each. The maximum grade for the forum would be five points.

In the gradebook, all forums should be organized within a category. When participants are subscribed to a forum, they will receive notifications of new forum posts. Instructors can set the subscription mode to optional, forced or auto, or can prevent subscription completely. If needed, 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.


Best Practices and Considerations

When using the Forum, consider the following:

  • Create thought-provoking questions or prompts. This is an excellent way to foster student-to-student interaction, which can include single conversations, whole-group discussions, or even debates. Keep in mind that during face-to-face instruction, instructors usually mediate discussions by asking follow-up questions. Because this is more difficult to do online, make sure to post your own reply to students' answers, or to ask comprehensive questions from the start. If you plan to reply to students, let them know how many students you will reply to and how many responses you will post.

  • Set ground rules and expectations. Provide a grading rubric or basic guidelines for how to use the discussion board. Do you want students to post a certain number of replies to their classmates? Should they post before or after reading an article? What kind of language should they use to address their classmates? Be intentional about what you want students to achieve and about communicating how they can best reach those outcomes. Include a netiquette guide to prevent potential issues.

  • Set due dates and provide a schedule for discussion forum posts. Remind students that their replies should be posted by the deadline. Because your students are likely juggling assignments from different courses, your goal is to give them sufficient time to complete readings or reflections before posting a response.

  • Use Groups to create separate forums for smaller groups of students.

  • Use a “Course Announcements” forum where you post course updates that will automatically be sent out to all students by using a “news forum” with forced subscription. Note that only instructors can post to this forum type.


GROK Articles About the Forum

Click on the following articles to learn more about working with the Forum activity.

Need More Help?

Visit the following pages for more information on the forum. Please note that these articles do not show the Snap theme, but functionality is the same.


Support & Training

The Faculty Technology Center (FTC) provides Moodle support by email, by phone, or live through Zoom. For contact information, please see the article Faculty Technology Center: LSU Overview. To connect through Zoom and for further information on support services and training, see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Faculty Resources & Support page.

The FTC also provides just-in-time faculty training opportunities and recorded training sessions. Attending at least one training session for Moodle upgrades is highly recommended. For a comprehensive list of available workshops and recordings, please see the LSU Online & Continuing Education Technology Training page.

3/25/2024 3:51:44 PM