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Forums (discussions) are an important communication tool. They provide student/student and student/instructor communication (dynamic use). They are also used for posting information (static use). Forums provide learners with a means to: share experiences and different perspectives, offer encouragement and support, ask questions and receive input, work collaboratively, and learn team building and interpersonal skills. Having a venue to discuss course content also helps in retention and application of content.

In This Article:

Adding A Discussion Forum

  1. Turn editing on
  2. From the "Add an activity or resource'
  3. Select Forum
  4. Add
  5. Click on "Expand all" (top right of General section) to see all the settings


  • Forum Name: This is a required field, it appears on the main content page.
  • Description:  Enter a short summary of the intent of the forum.
  • Forum Type - 5 options:

    1. Standard forum for general use: Default. 
      Anyone may add a new topic at any time. This is the best general-purpose forum. Example: FAQ Forum - students post their question, other students and/or the instructor may respond.
    2. A single simple discussion: Only one topic per discussion. Example: instructor initiates the discussion topic and students reply.
    3. Each person posts one discussion: Restricted to allowing one new discussion topic posting per person. Other students reply. Example: a group assignment could be posted and other students could reply to the group presentation.
    4. Q and A Forum (Question & Answer): Students must first post their response/answer before they can see other students' submissions.  This can encourage independent thinking. Instructors must enter the first post and this will be the question that students reply to.
    5. Standard forum displayed in a blog-like format: An open forum where anyone can start a new discussion at any time, and in which discussion topics are displayed on one page with "Discuss this topic" links.


  • Due Date: To enable Due Date, first check the "Enable" button. 
  • Cut-off Date:  Postings to this forum will not longer be accepted after the set date.  To enable Cut-off date, first check the "Enable" button.

Attachments And Word Count

  • Maximum Attachment Size:  Set the maximum attachment size, if any. The default of 500 KB is reasonable unless you are expecting graphics.
  • Maximum Number of Attachments:  Set the maximum number of attachments, if any permitted. Change this from the default of 3.
  • Display Word Count:  Moodle can display the number of words in a post. Choose "yes" or "no".

Subscription And Tracking

A Moodle subscription is similar to a newspaper or magazine subscription.  When you subscribe, it is delivered to you.  In this case the forum postings will be delivered to your Selkirk College email.

Subscription mode:

  • Optional:  Every can choose to be subscribed or not.
  • Forced Subscription:  Participants will received copies of the forum posts in their email and cannot unsubscribe.
  • Auto Subscription:  Initially everyone will be sent the forum posts, however they can choose to unsubscribe at any time.
  • Subscription Disabled - Subscriptions are not allowed.  This is becoming the setting of choice for several reasons.
    1. Frequently ISP's (i.e. Hotmail) view the forum postings as spam and will block them or put them into a 'junk' folder
    2. Students receiving the postings via email will reply to the email (not in the forum).  This response only goes to the person that 'replied' restricting their thoughts/conclusions/questions from the rest of the class.
    3. Subscription emails do not include the context in which the posting and all other contributions are situated, thereby creating gaps of information and sometimes confusion.
    4. Requires student to check into their course regularly to not only be part of the learning discussion forums but also to stay current with the day to day changes and flow of the class.
  • Read Tracking:  Suggested setting:  "On"

Discussion Locking

Discussion may be automatically locked after a specified time has elapsed since the last reply.  An instructor can 'unlock' the discussion by replying to it

  • Lock Discussions After Period of Inactivity:  Set this if applicable by using the drop down menu options.

Post Threshold For Blocking

This feature permits managing the number of posts per student in a specified time period.

  • Time Period For Blocking:  Options include "Don't Block", or select from the number of days to block from drop-down menu.


  • Grade Category: Enter the gradebook category that it should be placed under.


Aggregate Type

Forum aggregation defines how all the ratings given to posts in a forum are combined to form the final grade (for each post and for the whole forum activity).

Choose from the following aggregation methods:

  • Average of ratings: The mean of all ratings given to posts in that forum. This is especially useful with peer grading.
  • Count of ratings: The number of rated posts becomes the final grade. This is useful when the number of posts is important. Note that the total cannot exceed the maximum grade allowed for the forum.
  • Maximum rating: The highest rating is returned as the final grade. This method is useful for emphasizing the best work from participants, allowing them to post one high-quality post as well as a number of more casual responses to others.
  • Minimum rating: The smallest rating is returned as the final grade. This method promotes a culture of high quality for all posts.
  • Sum of ratings: All ratings for a particular user are added together. Note that the total is not allowed to exceed the maximum grade for the forum.

Example of what percentage will return based on the type of Rating (i.e. Aggregate Type) you choose:


Post A=8/10, Post B=3/10, Post C=7/10

Average of ratings = 6/10 = 60%

Count of ratings = 3/10 = 30%

Maximum rating = 8/10 = 80%

Sum of ratings = 10/10 = 30%


Selecting any of the above choices, except No ratings, activates this field.  If posts are rated, choose the rating criteria (grade or scale) from the drop down menu.


Consider creating a scale for forum posts.  Eg. Mostly irrelevant, Relevant but can be more focused, Very relevant, Relevant and insightful.

Restrict Ratings To Items Within Date Range

If there is a specified date to rate posts, complete this. It is useful if you want the discussion to continue freely but do not want to grade the posts indefinitely.

Clicking on the 'To' date will trigger a pop up calendar to select the end date.  Time based on the 24 hour clock.

Common Module Settings

  • Visible:  Choice of Hide or Show
  • ID Number: This field (number) identifies this activity as a custom grade calculation.  It is an arbitrary number you create.  It can be left blank.
  • Group Mode: 
    • Visible Groups:  can see other groups, read their contributions to a forum, etc., but cannot participate in another group.
    • Separate Groups:  members can see other groups contributions in forums.  They can only see their own group.
    • No groups.

Restrict Access

Restrict access settings are optional settings.  They can be left blank.

Activity Completion

Completion Tracking:

  • Do not indicate activity completion
  • Students can manually mark the activity as complete (Note: Student progress must be enabled.  Recommended that this be enabled prior to adding content to the course).
  • Show activity as complete once conditions are met.
You are evaluating Refined.