Moodle Forums are a great way to encourage communication, collaboration and debate among students and staff.

Forums allow students and staff to interact with one another even when people are taking part at different times and in different places.

Forums can be used for a wide range of activities from informal communication to graded projects.

How can I use forums?

Foster a sense of community and help students to get to know each other

Icebreaker activities in a forum can help to form a feeling of community among students at the beginning of a module. An icebreaker also provides an opportunity for students and staff to get comfortable with the forum’s features. They should be carried out in a dedicated forum to not muddle them with more academically focused work.

  • Getting to Know You - Ask the students to post a message to a Getting to Know You Forum and ask the group members to reply to three other students.

Develop academic writing skills and promote discussion and debate

Discussion Forums can be used to facilitate:

In large cohorts, you can use Group Forums to help promote discussion and engagement.

Provide support and advice

  • An opening activity, such as questions about the lecture or post it note reflections can be facilitated a few days in advance of a lecture to encourage students to ask questions about upcoming content and what they have learned. You can encourage peer support through the use of group Forums.

  • A Help Forum enables staff to address any student concerns collectively and reduce email traffic. Students can explore previously asked questions and answers. An FAQ discussion forum can have the benefit of reducing the time you spend answering common queries, and it can also encourage peer support.

  • A News/Announcement Forum enables lecturers and Course Officers to post important updates to students. Students are not able to respond to posts made on this type of Forum.

Many of the activities in the Small Group Teaching Activities blog can be easily adapted to be presented in forums.

New Forum Features

Moodle 3.8 has introduced a range of new features for forums.

Staff can now reply to forum posts privately, and can manually lock discussions.

The ability to create graded activities in forums has been improved by the introduction of whole-forum grading, using direct or advanced grading, the ability to export forum discussions, and view a details summary report of individual student activity in forums.

The appearance of forums has also been enhances with the introduction of the the ability to favourite and sort discussions, and a new forum view in preferences

Which type of forum should I use?

News forum

Every module is automatically created with a news forum. The news forum is just for staff to post announcements. It is NOT a discussion forum for students. They are unable to reply to announcements. You can't convert a news forum into another type of forum.

In addition to the news forum, staff can add more forums, choosing from four different types of forum. Any of these four forum types can be can be set-up as group forums.

1 A single, simple discussion

Lecturers post a question and students are able only to reply. They cannot start a new topic of discussion. This is useful if you wish to keep a discussion focused.

2 Standard forum

a/ Standard forum for general use

Students see an introduction text in a separate space above the list of discussions. Students see a button to start a new discussion (thread). This type of forum is great way for students to share information, to ask general questions about the course or to stimulate debate.

b/ Standard forum displayed like a blog

Similar to the Standard forum for general use, but the first post of each discussion is displayed as in a blog. Users can read it and then choose to respond by clicking the "Discuss this topic" button at the bottom right of the post.

3 Each person posts one discussion

Each student is able to post only one discussion. This requires the student to consider their response before posting, and also means that everyone can contribute equally.

4 Q and A forum

Suitable when a particular question needs to be answered. The lecturer posts a question and students respond with possible answers. By default, a Q and A forum requires students to post once before viewing other students' postings. Students don’t have to worry about whether someone else has posted a similar reply or whether their reply goes against the prevailing class opinion. Once they’ve posted, they can view and comment on other students' posts.

Group Forums

Group Forums are a great way to encourage collaboration and communication between project groups. Group Forums can help you to manage communication and collaboration when teaching large groups of students. Any of the above listed Forum types can be added as Group Forums by setting up Groups, and sometimes Groupings, in advance and changing the options under Common module settings.

Further Guidance