Forums are one of Moodle's most useful features. A well-run class forum can stimulate thoughtful discussion, motivate students to become involved, and result in unexpected insights.

You can add any number of forums to a course and to the site's front page. By default, anyone with access to the course will have access to various forums in that course. To separate students, you can use the group mode to ensure that students from different groups cannot see each other's posts in the forum.

You can also create a course that consists only of a forum. The course's home page is the forum. The course would consist only of discussion topics. You perform this using the course type to Social under course setting.

While writing a forum post, the student uses the same online editor you see when creating web pages, resources, and activities in Moodle. Also, you can allow students to upload files to a forum posting. These files are attached to the forum post.

If you ask students to collaborate on assignments or ask them to review each others' work, consider adding a forum specifically to discuss the assignment. Encourage students to use the forum to preview each others' work and collaborate on various assignments.

News Forum for Notifications

Moodle offers several ways to send e-mail announcements to a class. You can use the People block to select people in your class and send them a message. Also, when you want to send a message to everyone in a class, you can use the default News Forum that is automatically added to every class. By default, in the News Forum, Subscription mode is set to Forced subscription. Also, only teachers have the ability to post messages in the forum.

When the teacher posts a message in the class's News Forum, everyone who is subscribed to the Forum receives the message. With everyone subscribed, the entire class will receive a copy of each posting. As News Forum is unique for all other forums, it should not be deleted or moved. If you think that you will not need it, just hide it instead of deleting it.

Forum Settings

Forum name

This is the name that students will see when a forum is listed on the course's home page.

Forum description

When a student enters a forum, he or she will see Forum description at the top of the forum's page. This text should tell the student what the forum is about. As with other activities, if you check the Show description box, the description will display on the course page.

Maximum attachment size

Students can attach files to forum postings. This sets the maximum file size the student can upload.

Maximum number of attachments

This sets the maximum number of files that can be attached to one post, not the maximum for the whole forum.

Display word count

When set to Yes, the forum will show how many words are there in each post. The word count is shown at the bottom of the post, so you will not see the word count until you have clicked on the post.

Subscription mode

Selecting Force subscription subscribes all students to the forum automatically (even students that enroll in the course at a later time). Before using this setting, consider its long-term effect on students who took your class.

If you select Auto subscription, everyone in the course is subscribed to the forum, but later, they can unsubscribe. With Force subscription, the student cannot unsubscribe as long as he or she is enrolled in the course.

Read tracking

When turned on, this highlights the forum posts that he or she hasn't read.

Post threshold to block settings

These settings help you to prevent the forum from being taken over by a few prolific posters. Users can be blocked from posting more than a specific number of postings in a specific amount of time. As they approach the limit, they can be given a warning.

Ratings

In a forum, a rating is a grade. When you enable ratings, you are allowing the teacher to give each forum posting a grade.

Forum type

On Moodle, you can create several types of forums. Each type can be used in a different way.

A single simple discussion

The entire forum appears on one page. The first posting at the top of the page is the topic for the forum. This topic is usually created by the teacher. The students then post replies under this topic. A single topic forum is most useful for short and highly focused discussions. 

Each person posts one discussion

Each student can create one and only one new topic. Everyone can reply to every topic.

Q and A

This is like a single topic forum. Here, the teacher creates the topic for the forum. Students then reply to this topic. However, a student cannot see anyone else's reply until he or she has posted a reply. The topic is usually a question posed by the teacher and the students' replies are usually answers to this question.

A standard forum displayed in a blog-like format

In a standard forum, anyone can start a new topic. Teachers and students can create new topics and reply to existing postings. Displaying the discussion in a blog-like format makes the title and body of each discussion visible.

A standard forum for general use

In a standard forum, anyone can start a new topic. Teachers and students can create new topics and reply to existing postings. Only the titles of discussions are visible; you must click on a discussion to read the postings under it.