The Forum was already described in some detail in the Beginner’s Manual. In Moodle the Forum is the central tool and it can be used in many ways, from simple communication of information by the teacher (as on a bulletin board) to graded discussion exercises. The Forum uses the Moodle text editor to create messages, which implies that messages can contain much more than just text. Forums are thus very flexible and open to creative use.
New Forum messages are always listed in the Recent Activity block, copies will be sent to the e-mail of the users if they are subscribed to the Forum. Unread messages are also listed behind Forum names on the course page and behind threads in a Forum, while unread messages in a thread are highlighted, provided that you have allowed it in the settings and that the user has selected this (default) option in their profile!
Adding a Forum
When you select the activity tool Forum, a page opens on which you are requested to specify the settings of the forum you wish to add:
Requirements for the students vary with the goal of the Forum, but if you use the tool for a graded activity, instructions should be clear (for example, as to how many messages the students should post, or how long their posts should be). The forum will appear in the course gradebook, if ratings are activated, but you may want to use another way to grade the students, which does not require this (See the Forum chapter in the Course Teaching part of this manual).
The possible use of the forum can be narrowed down by selecting another forum type than the standard forum.
- The Single discussion forum type has only one thread, so students can only post replies. This will avoid fragmentation of a discussion into many short threads.
- The opposite is the Each person one discussion type, where every student can/must start their own thread (they cannot start multiple threads, but they can reply in multiple threads).
- In the Question & Answer type users can post questions and answers to questions, but they cannot see the questions and answers of other users until they have added their own contribution.
When all settings have been filled in (note that ratings and blocking are optional), you can click the Save Changes button and the forum will be added. (Note that you can always edit these settings later, by clicking the edit icon behind the forum title.
Once you have created the forum, you could add one or more start up messages (which will ususally serve to attract attention and will point the students in a certain direction, limiting the number of new threads started), or you can leave the initiation of the discussion up to the students.